Governments increasingly view human rights as “a luxury” they can ill afford, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday, warning that abuses fuel crises in world trouble spots like Syria and Ukraine.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, said that Wahhabism and western “double standards” were behind the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other militant groups in the region in 2014.
Western powers, he said, are far from blameless, and in some cases their wrongdoings have fed the very climate in which serial rights abusers like ISIS jihadists thrive.
Ignoring human rights while addressing global security risks “fails to get at the root causes that gave rise to many of these threats,” Roth told reporters in Beirut.
Even as it seems that “the world is unraveling,” he warned, many governments “appear to have concluded that today’s serious security threats must take precedence over human rights.”
“In this difficult moment, they seem to argue, human rights must be put on the back burner, a luxury for less trying times,” Roth said, introducing the 660-page HRW World Report 2015.
Such a calculation is false, Roth insisted.
Governments that flout human rights during crises are not only violating international law, but they are also following “short-sighted and counter-productive” strategies, he added.
From Iraq to Syria, Egypt, Nigeria and Ukraine, “protecting human rights and enabling people to have a say in how their governments address the crises will be key to their resolution.”
The emergence of ISIS was in part fueled by the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, and also by the West’s failure to address atrocities committed in the Syrian conflict. (ISIS is entirely the result of the US invasion of Iraq, the American Empire must create havoc wherever it goes–far more profitable)
The Iraq invasion led to a security vacuum and abuses in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay which fueled distrust of the US occupying forces in the region.
Later, the US and Britain “largely shut their eyes” to the sectarian policies of the Iraqi government and claims that it persecuted the country’s Sunni minority, and even continued to supply it with arms.
In Syria, the US cobbled together a 60-strong coalition to combat the ISIS jihadists, but no nations have stepped up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad “to stop the slaughter of civilians,” Roth said.
Speaking to AFP in Beirut, Roth said: “The West is not going to succeed in stopping ISIS if it allows ISIS to say that it’s the only one trying to stop Assad’s barrel bombs.”
This same selectivity has been shown in Egypt, where the global response to “unprecedented repression” by general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been “shamefully inadequate.”