Freedom: Amnesty cry for help: human rights in danger worldwide

It is a devastating picture that the human rights NGO paints. The international legal order is in danger; double standards dominate in conflicts. There is also criticism of Germany.

Targeted attacks on civilians, war crimes and abuse of artificial intelligence: in a devastating annual report, Amnesty International (AI) has denounced serious violations of human rights worldwide. “The rule of law and human rights are under greater threat worldwide than they have been in decades,” said the organization when presenting its annual report.

In the Gaza war, Amnesty accuses the Islamist Hamas and the Israeli armed forces of war crimes. In this context, there are serious allegations from the German Amnesty section against the traffic light government and especially against Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens).

In particular, the wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip as well as in Sudan would question the universality of human rights, says the AI ​​report. Growing social inequality and the worsening climate crisis are also an increasing danger.

In a kind of cry for help for human rights, Amnesty warned of numerous problems that were in the shadow of global trouble spots. These included setbacks for women’s rights in Afghanistan, for example, or tough anti-abortion laws in several US states. There are also dangerous tendencies in the use of artificial intelligence. An overview:

Israel and Gaza

The Secretary General of Amnesty International in Germany, Julia Duchrow, said in Berlin that Hamas and other armed groups had committed war crimes with their brutal attack on Israel on October 7th. “Nothing can relativize the suffering of the victims.” But the Israeli military operation in Gaza has lost all measure and is accompanied by numerous war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law. Double standards dominated when dealing with armed conflicts.

Duchrow criticized that the federal government was also contributing to the erosion of the international order. “She is silent about the war crimes of the Israeli army and is thereby losing her credibility. Double standards are not compatible with the human rights-based foreign policy that Annalena Baerbock has announced,” she criticized.

The federal government refuses to “name the war crimes committed by the Israeli army.” Amnesty is calling on all states and the federal government not to supply weapons to Israel or other parties involved in the conflict “who are at risk of committing war crimes or human rights violations.”

When asked whether AI was labeling Hamas a terrorist group, Duchrow replied: “We do not label any organization a terrorist group.” Amnesty does not use the term because it is not legally defined under international law.


Amnesty notes positively that there is finally a federal police commissioner – this creates more transparency and strengthens constitutional control. Overall, the global negative trends were also evident in Germany. Germany does not sufficiently recognize structural racism and does too little to protect people from hate crime. Freedom of expression and assembly are also under pressure. One example is blanket bans on protests that show solidarity with Palestinians.

“Very heavy artillery” with house searches, several weeks of preventive detention and investigations into the formation of a criminal organization had been brought out against the climate activists of the last generation, Duchrow complained: “This is an attack on the right to peaceful protest and civil society.” Bavaria is particularly problematic, where 30 days of preventive detention can be imposed.

Women’s and minority rights

In many countries there have been setbacks in the fight for gender equality. Women in the USA are finding it increasingly difficult to terminate a pregnancy. In Afghanistan, school attendance for girls was further restricted, and in Iran the authorities took increasingly harsh action against women who resisted forced veiling. Numerous governments restricted the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) people. There are laws in 62 countries that criminalize same-sex acts.


The fact that the international order based on human rights is being offensively questioned is shown by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. AI criticizes that Russia is attacking densely populated civilian areas, the energy infrastructure and grain exports. The use of torture and other ill-treatment against prisoners of war was also documented.


In Sudan, according to AI, both parties to the conflict are carrying out targeted and indiscriminate attacks against civilians. The power struggle between de facto ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo has triggered what is now the world’s largest refugee crisis in the past twelve months. According to the latest figures from the UN refugee agency, more than 8.6 million people are on the run within Sudan and neighboring countries. Sudan is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Artificial intelligence

The expert on human rights in the digital age at Amnesty Germany, Lena Rohrbach, warned that the increasing use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, spying or facial recognition software often acts as an amplifier in threatening the human rights situation. People on the run would become “a field for experimentation with new technologies,” for example through biometric surveillance or algorithmic decision-making systems such as alleged lie detectors at the border. What is needed is a robust, future-proof regulation of new technologies, demanded Rohrbach.

She also criticized the video surveillance planned during the Summer Olympics in Paris. It’s less about facial recognition than about intelligent video surveillance that is supposed to recognize certain predetermined situations – for example when a large crowd of people becomes too restless from the perspective of the standards that the AI ​​has received. “We consider this to be an infringement on the personal rights of the people who are admitted there,” said Rohrbach.


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