Human Rights Watch: Democracies must do more | Current world | DW

When presenting its annual report in Geneva, the human rights organization said it often supports autocratic systems in order to prevent migration, fight terrorism or create so-called stability instead of defend democratic principles. For example, the United States continued to deliver arms to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, even though US President Joe Biden had promised a foreign policy based on human rights.

Report faults

Democratic countries should do more than just point out the shortcomings of the autocratic regime, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) executive director Kenneth Roth. Anyone who wants to promote democracy must stand up for independent courts, free media and a vibrant civil society – even if this challenges their own real political interests.

HRW also criticizes Germany for its “disastrous withdrawal” from Afghanistan (file image)

Germany criticizes HRW for dealing with Afghan civilians following the country’s catastrophic withdrawal. “Germany has largely ignored the need for human rights activists, journalists and local staff to leave the country before international troops withdraw,” HRW said in its annual report.

“Democracy remains attractive”

Parts of the German government have transferred responsibility to each other, misjudging the situation and thus endangering many Afghans. When the Bundeswehr pulled out of Afghanistan this summer, Germany left thousands of local workers and others allegedly threatened by the Taliban. Some were not taken out of the country to safety until after the conquest of the country by the militant Islamist Taliban.

Human Rights Watch |  Kenneth roth

HRW boss Kenneth Roth (file photo) calls for boycott of Beijing Olympics

At the same time, over the past year the people of many countries have resisted authoritarian governments, Roth said. From Cuba to Hong Kong, people have taken to the streets, sometimes at the risk of dying, to claim democratic rights. This shows “that the attractiveness of democracy is uninterrupted,” said the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

“Horrible” human rights record

At the same time, HRW boss Roth called on other countries to diplomatically boycott the Beijing Olympics. China used the sporting event to cover up its “terrible” human rights record, he warned. “The Chinese government is clearly using the Beijing Games to whitewash its terrible oppression or to hide it behind sporting exploits,” Roth said.

In its report for the year 2021, the organization documents human rights violations in more than 100 countries. The authors highlight, among other things, violations of the refugee law, attacks on media workers and human rights violations in the context of the implementation of corona measures.

nob / fab (epd, dpa, rtr, afp)

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