International protection of human rights are in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interests and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, Amnesty International has said.
“Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty International, as the organisation released its annual assessment of human rights around the world.
“Millions of people are suffering enormously at the hands of states and armed groups,” said the report. “Governments are shamelessly painting the protection of human rights as a threat to security, law and order or national ‘values’.”
The report on South Africa said the government came under increasing pressure from opposition political parties, civil society and communities over alleged corruption and poor service delivery, among other issues.
“Parliamentary processes were undermined by irregular responses to repeated challenges to the ruling ANC party by opposition parties,” the report said. The report detailed the recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry into the deaths of 44 people at the Lonmin Marikana mine in North West in August 2012, as well as the number of deaths as a result of police action in 2014-2015, documented by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
The report also detailed the number of deaths in custody, calling them “torture” and “other ill-treatment”. Ipid reported 244 deaths in custody in 2014-2015. It also reported 145 cases of torture, 34 cases of rape and 3 711 cases of assault by police officers in the same period.