Amnesty International today released its annual report on the state of human rights across the world. It makes for grim reading and it is a damning indictment of leaders, governments, politicians and other influential players who are exploiting peoples’ fears and pushing the world towards “a darker and more unstable place”

Amnesty didn’t pull any punches when it laid out the state of human rights today which it says is suffering from a global pushback

“Seismic political shifts in 2016 exposed the potential of hateful rhetoric to unleash the dark side of human nature. Whether it is Trump (USA), Orban (Hungary), Modi (India), Erdogan (Turkey) or Duterte (the Philippines), more and more politicians call themselves anti-establishment and wield politics of demonization that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people to win the support of voters.” (Amnesty International Annual Report 2016-2017)

In its report, Amnesty surveyed the human rights records of 159 countries and territories. It found that 2016 was a year of “unrelenting misery and fear, as governments and armed groups abused human rights in a multitude of ways.”

Countries like Syria, Yemen, Myanmar and South Sudan were all cited as places where human rights were ignored with willful abandon.

But the most worrying findings of the report were those that focused on the newer abusers of human rights. Europe and the United States, once beacons of liberal tolerance, have become divisive battlegrounds where racist, xenophobic rhetoric has become part of the armory of those propagating hate and unleashing what Amnesty calls “the darkest instincts of human nature”.

“By casting collective responsibility for social and economic ills onto particular groups, often ethnic or religious minorities, those in power gave free rein to discrimination and hate crimes, particularly in Europe and the USA.”

The recent political changes in the USA were highlighted in the report as an illustration of the global shift towards intolerance.

“Donald Trump’s poisonous campaign rhetoric exemplifies a global trend towards angrier and more divisive politics. Across the world, leaders and politicians wagered their future power on narratives of fear and disunity, pinning blame on the “other” for the real or manufactured grievances of the electorate.” (Amnesty International Annual Report 2016-2017)

The appalling response to the global refugee crisis was cited as another example of the disregard for human rights.

“While world leaders failed to rise to the challenge, 75,000 refugees remained trapped in a desert no man’s land between Syria and Jordan.”

In 2016 human dignity, equality and the notion of the human family came under “vigorous and relentless assault from powerful narratives of blame, fear and scapegoating propagated by those who sought to take or cling on to power at almost any cost” Amnesty reports adding that “the reality is that we begin 2017 in a deeply unstable world full of trepidation and uncertainty about the future”.

You can click here to read the report in full.