World's response to ISIS terror shameful - Amnesty

2015-02-25 09:38
FBI image of an English-speaking individual, who was seen in a propaganda video released in September of 2014 by the group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. (FBI, AFP)

FBI image of an English-speaking individual, who was seen in a propaganda video released in September of 2014 by the group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. (FBI, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - World leaders have proved "shameful and ineffective" in failing to protect civilians from groups like ISIS, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, calling 2014 a "catastrophic" year.

In its 415-page annual report detailing abuses in 160 countries, the group accused governments of "pretending the protection of civilians is beyond their power”.

It said millions of civilians had been killed from Syria to Ukraine, Gaza to Nigeria, while the number of displaced people around the world exceeded 50 million last year for the first time since the end of World War II.

"2014 was a catastrophic year for millions caught up in violence," said Amnesty's secretary general, Shalil Shetty.

"The global response to conflict and abuses by states and armed groups has been shameful and ineffective.

"As people suffered an escalation in barbarous attacks and repression, the international community has been found wanting."

It warned that the situation would get worse this year unless leaders took immediate action.

Failed miserably

Amnesty singled out the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for criticism, with Shetty saying it had "miserably failed" to protect civilians.

The five permanent UNSC members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - "consistently abused" their veto right to "promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians," he added.

Amnesty is now urging the five states to give up their right to veto action in cases where genocide and other mass killings are being committed.

This proposal is similar to a push being led by France with the backing of 70 countries, but Amnesty hopes its support will give the idea fresh impetus.

It believes the move would give the UN a better chance to save civilian lives in conflict zones.

Amnesty also urged all states to abide by a treaty regulating the international arms trade which came into force last year, saying this could help stop huge shipments of weapons to countries like Syria and Iraq.

In addition, it called for new restrictions on the use of explosive weapons like mortars and rockets in populated areas.

Syrian refugees failed by EU

The human rights group, which says it has seven million campaigners worldwide, sharply criticised the European Union's response to the four million Syrian refugees displaced by conflict in the world's worst refugee crisis.

By the end of 2014, only 150 000 Syrian refugees were living in EU states, it said, while 3 400 refugees and migrants had died in the Mediterranean Sea trying to make their way to Europe.

"The response of the EU and its member states was, with few exceptions, driven above all by the desire to keep them out," the report said.

Shetty added that the European response to the problem was "actually pushing people into the water of the Mediterranean."

The report said only two percent of refugees from Syria had been resettled by the end of last year, and called for this figure to at least triple this year.

Overall, armed groups like ISIS, Boko Haram and Shebab were found to have committed abuses in 35 countries last year, Amnesty said - over one in five of those investigated for the report.

Across the border from Syria in Iraq, Amnesty said there was a "marked deterioration in human rights" across the board, as fighting against the IS group intensified.

"IS fighters committed widespread war crimes, including ethnic cleansing of religious and ethnic minorities through a campaign of mass killings of men and abduction and sexual and other abuse of women and girls," the report said.

"Government forces carried out indiscriminate bombing and shelling in ISIS-controlled areas, and government-backed Shi'a [Shiite] militias abducted and executed scores of Sunni men in areas under government control."

Read more on:    isis  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.