According to Amnesty Internationals 2008 report, which you can access and view for yourself at http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/report-08-at-a-glance, revealed that people are still not allowed to speak freely in over 77 countries across the globe. Additionally, 54 countries still maintain unfair trials and often abuse within the penal system, while in at least 81 countries people continue to be tortured or ill treated. In Ethiopia alone the army carries out executions, rape and torture, but this is widespread across many nations, particularly those struggling with extreme poverty and oppression.
AI made several recommendations for the coming year which includes a challenge to China to uphold the promise to allow freedom of speech and free press, also urging them to end "re-education through labor" programs. They also challenge Russia to allow for political dissent and allow no "impunity" on the human rights violations occurring in Chechnya. Finally, the U.S. is urged to close Guantanamo Bay and other secret detention facilities and allow for fair trial. Additionally the U.S. is urged to end the torture and ill treatment of prisoners within these systems. Several countries were asked to end the practice of rendition.
People's human rights are violated on a routine basis across the globe, yet few of us pay attention. What's worse is that not all human rights violations are viewed in the same way. While people with disabilities are being neglected, abused, tortured and killed across the globe, Amnesty International barely offers this issue any recognition. With attention these situations can change. Reports from 1994-1997 revealing the severe neglect and abuse of children with disabilities in Russian orphanages, caused a small uproar that led to organizations standing up to promote change. Volunteers began to work to provide daily needs in these facilities and since these children's have have changed! They are no longer malnourished and neglected and treatment continues to improve. Yet, in Ireland patients with mental health disorders and disabilities are forced to stay in long term wards and are neglected and abused, and although attention was brought to the situation in the past few years, the country is still cited for inadequate inspection and care in organizations meant to support people with disabilities. The most horrible pictures and reports I have seen came out of Romania. Young children with disabilities tied to beds, bony from malnutrition and languishing in a state of neglect. These atrocities are not listed high in the priorities of Amnesty International and other organizations. I say this is much a human rights violation as any other and it's time people recognized it as such! All human rights abuses should stop, but we need to include the rights of people with disabilities along with everyone elses!
Stand up, say something, pay attention and GET INVOLVED! Even if it is as small as writing a letter or telling someone else, please send a message that the violation of rights of people with disabilities is just as important to us and as criminal as the violent acts carried out against non-disabled people.
For more info. on Romania visit these links:
"Disabled Children Confined and Abused in Romania" (ABC News)
Video: "Orphans 'Near Death' in Romania" (ABC News)
Report: "Romania’s Segregation and Abuse of Infants and Children with Disabilities" (Mental Disability Rights International)
"Romania Acknowledges Child Care Problems" (Associated Press via Newsday)
"EP member: international adoptions not a solution for institutionalized children" (Bucharest Daily News)