Freedom of Expression
Throughout the world individuals face harassment and imprisonment as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression. Yet the Amnesty International Report 2011 reveals a world in which people continue to challenge oppression and to confront human rights abusers, despite the powerful array of repressive measures deployed against them. The Report shows that it is often the communities most affected by human rights abuses that are the real driving force behind the human rights struggle.
Many human rights violations are so serious that they amount to crimes under international law – crimes which all states have a duty to investigate and prosecute in their national criminal courts. War crimes, torture, genocide, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearance all fall under this category. As the Amnesty International Report 2011 shows, opportunities to end injustice have increased markedly under the new system of international justice. However, millions of victims are still being ignored.
Globalization has significantly changed the world we live in, presenting new and complex challenges for the protection of human rights. Companies that operate across national boundaries have gained unprecedented power and influence across the world. The Amnesty International Report 2011 highlights the enormous impact that companies have on the rights of individuals and communities. It shows that communities are frequently denied access to information about company operations and excluded from participating in decisions that affect their lives.
When Amnesty International was created in 1961, only nine countries had abolished the death penalty and few considered it a human rights issue. Fifty years on, the momentum for worldwide abolition is unstoppable and 96 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.
Reproductive Rights are Human Rights
Women have gained greater equality in the past 50 years, but the Amnesty International Report 2011 illustrates that in many countries across the world much more remains to be done. Women and girls still face discrimination and violence, and are denied their right to decide freely when to have children. In some countries, access to abortion is granted in law but denied in practice. In others, such as Nicaragua, abortion is illegal, even for survivors of rape.
Middle East and North Africa
Across the Middle East and North Africa people are speaking out for freedom and justice - a new generation has come of age and said “enough” to repression and corruption. The protests have left the world in no doubt about the appalling human rights records of governments across the region and given rise to an unprecedented opportunity for change.