MINELRES: E-News: Human Rights Watch - World Report 2003

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Wed Jan 22 08:41:37 2003


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E-NEWS FROM UNITED
19/01/2003

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH - WORLD REPORT 2003 is available on-line and in pdf
format.

Quote:
The remarkable pace of European integration could not mask continued
serious human rights problems throughout the region, however. In fact,
it accentuated the increasing disparity between the progress in Central
and Eastern Europe and the deteriorating rights situation in much of the
former Soviet Union. Continued integration also brought new human rights
challenges to Western European states adjusting to their growing
multicultural reality. Even as the European Union poised itself to
become more diverse, it became less friendly to migrants and certain
minority communities. The popularity of political parties touting
anti-immigrant and nationalistic agendas drove more moderate politicians
to embrace increasingly restrictive asylum and immigration policies that
threatened the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and
refugees at both the national and the European Union level.

The section Europe can be found at:
http://www.hrw.org/wr2k3/europe.html
Contents:
Europe and Central Asia
* Overview
* Albania
* Armenia
* Azerbaijan
* Belarus
* Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Croatia
* Georgia
* Kazakhstan
* Kyrgyzstan
* Macedonia
* Russian Federation
* Tajikistan
* Turkey
* Turkmenistan
* Ukraine
* Uzbekistan
* Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

The complete, world-wide report:
http://www.hrw.org/wr2k3

INTRODUCTION ON THIS REPORT

This report is Human Rights Watch's thirteenth annual review of human
rights practices around the globe. It addresses developments in
fifty-eight countries, covering the period from November 2001 through
November 2002. Most chapters examine significant human rights
developments in a particular country; the response of global actors,
such as the European Union, Japan, the United States, the United
Nations, and various regional and international organizations and
institutions; and the freedom of local human rights defenders to conduct
their work.

This report reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2002 by
the Human Rights Watch research staff, usually in close partnership with
human rights activists in the country in question. It also reflects the
work of the Human Rights Watch advocacy team, which monitors the
policies of governments and international institutions that have
influence to curb human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch publications,
issued throughout the year, contain more detailed accounts of many of
the issues addressed in the brief summaries collected in this volume.
They can be found on the Human Rights Watch website, www.hrw.org.

As in past years, this report does not include a chapter on every
country where Human Rights Watch works, nor does it discuss every issue
of importance. The failure to include a particular country or issue
often reflects no more than staffing limitations and should not be taken
as commentary on the significance of the problem. There are many serious
human rights violations that Human Rights Watch simply lacks the
capacity to address.

The factors we considered in determining the focus of our work in 2002
(and hence the content of this volume) included the severity of abuses,
access to the country and the availability of information about it, the
susceptibility of abusive forces to influence, and the importance of
addressing certain thematic concerns and of reinforcing the work of
local rights organizations.

Unlike previous World Reports, this year's does not have separate
chapters addressing Human Rights Watch's thematic work. Instead, this
year's report incorporates such material directly into the report's
regional overviews, country chapters, and a new chapter on "Global
Issues." The change was made in the interests of streamlining the volume
and mainstreaming developments in thematic areas into our country
descriptions and analyses. The Human Rights Watch website can be
consulted for more detailed treatment of our work on children's rights,
women's rights, arms, academic freedom, business and human rights,
HIV/AIDS and human rights, international justice, refugees and
displaced, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, and for
information on our international film festival.

HUMAN RIGHTS DEVELOPMENTS EUROPE
Introduction

The continued expansion of European institutions in 2002 marked
significant economic and political progress in many parts of the region.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a quintessential Cold War
institution, once again stretched across old divides to extend
membership invitations to the three former Soviet Baltic states of
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as to Bulgaria, Slovenia,
Romania, and Slovakia. The European Union (E.U.) and ten candidate
countries made rapid progress toward their proposed 2004 admission to
the E.U.

The remarkable pace of European integration could not mask continued
serious human rights problems throughout the region, however. In fact,
it accentuated the increasing disparity between the progress in Central
and Eastern Europe and the deteriorating rights situation in much of the
former Soviet Union. Continued integration also brought new human rights
challenges to Western European states adjusting to their growing
multicultural reality. Even as the European Union poised itself to
become more diverse, it became less friendly to migrants and certain
minority communities. The popularity of political parties touting
anti-immigrant and nationalistic agendas drove more moderate politicians
to embrace increasingly restrictive asylum and immigration policies that
threatened the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and
refugees at both the national and the European Union level.

In some cases integration got ahead of reform, as when NATO offered to
partner with Russia in a NATO-Russia Council, notwithstanding continued
violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed by Russian
troops in Chechnya. In a similar fashion, the Council of Europe admitted
Bosnia and Herzegovina although it had achieved few of the conditions
originally set for its admission. Such premature integration promised to
strain European institutions and the principles on which they were
founded.

Throughout the Europe and Central Asia region, repressive governments
justified violations as necessary for the United States-led global fight
against terrorism. Russia fought its abusive war in Chechnya, Uzbekistan
continued its violent crackdown against independent Muslims, and Belarus
gave its police Stalinesque powers of surveillance, all in the name of
combating terrorism. Even former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
sought advantage in the anti-terrorism discourse, defending himself
against war crimes charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by arguing that his troops had been
combating Muslim terrorists in Kosovo.

/from Human Rights Watch/

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