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Nations Use Fear to Distract From Rights Abuses, Group Says
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post

Washington Post, May 24, 2007
Posted: June 2nd, 2007

Powerful governments and armed groups are spreading fear to divert attention from human rights abuses ... Amnesty International said yesterday in its annual assessment of rights worldwide. "The politics of fear is fueling a downward spiral of human rights abuse in which no right is sacrosanct and no person is safe," said Irene Khan, secretary general of the human rights watchdog. Governments are undermining the rule of law and human rights with "short-sighted fear-mongering and divisive policies." The United States is "the leading country using fear to justify the unjustifiable," said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA. "The U.S. used to be in a position to speak out effectively against torture and military tribunals. We can't do that now because we are carrying out some of the same practices," he said. The organization urged the new U.S. Congress to take the lead in restoring respect for humane standards and practices at home and abroad. Citizens in many countries are being manipulated by fear, the group said. Amnesty applauded civil society for its "courage and commitment" in the face of abuses. Marches, petitions, blogs and armbands "may not seem much by themselves," the report said, "but by bringing people together they unleash an energy for change that should not be underestimated. People power will change the face of human rights in the 21st century."

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