THE conflict in Syria, LGBT rights in Russia, and lack of aid
for refugees in Africa are the biggest human-rights issues on the
planet, the 2014 World Report, released by the NGO Human
Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday of last week, suggests.
The executive director of HRW, Kenneth Roth, said that Syria was
"by far the deadliest armed conflict of 2013". The UN estimates
that more than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict
between the government and rebel fighters up to July 2013, and 4.25
million Syrians internally displaced.
Mr Roth said that "the international community's response was
"diplomatic complacency about the Syrian government's largely
unimpeded, murderous strategy for Syrian civilians."
The report called the situation globally for refugees
"catastrophic because of their limited access to humanitarian
assistance". The Central African Republic was highlighted in the
document as one of the worst locations for refugees' receiving
The UN estimates that about 170,000 people fled fighting in the
north of the country in September 2013, and most were left to fend
for themselves without any international aid.
Figures throughout the document draw attention to the plight of
internally displaced people, and the huge numbers forced to flee to
neighbouring nations worldwide.
Russia was criticised for its anti-LGBT laws and its new freedom
of expression Bill. The introduction of laws in June 2013 banning
the promotion of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual
relationships" to children, and banning the adoption of Russian
children by foreign same-sex couples was condemned as a violation
against the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
Also in June 2013, President Putin implemented a law imposing a
maximum three-year prison sentence for publicly "insult[ing] the
feelings of religious believers". Human-rights activists say they
fear how this could be interpreted in the country.
Improvements and abuses to women's rights were highlighted in
the document. The removal of restrictions on polygamy in Libya, and
the continuing practice of female genital mutilation in Egypt were
contrasted with the first woman to be allowed to train as a lawyer
in Saudi Arabia, and the easing of conditions for Chinese couples
to have a second child.
Afghanistan repeatedly weakened the status and rights of women
in 2013. It made a parliamentary decision to reduce the number of
seats set aside for women on provincial councils, and introduced
laws to ban family member testimony in criminal cases, which makes
prosecution for domestic violence and forced marriage
The 2014 World Report is the organisation's 23rd annual
review of the status of human rights around the world. Edward
Snowden's NSA revelations, and abuses of democracy in Egypt were
also among the issues highlighted in the report.