This article was last updated on March 28, 2023
Ukraine war exposes hypocrisy
Amnesty International‘s annual report on human rights in 2022 highlights the double standard in the Western world’s response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine. While the West’s reaction to the crisis is commendable, the organization believes that one country is being treated much harder internationally than the other.
The report notes that the Western world is not addressing the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, is passive towards Egypt, and is refusing to acknowledge the Israeli system of apartheid against Palestinians. Amnesty believes that the selectivity of the West’s response to human rights violations fuels impunity. The organization investigated the situation in 156 countries and found that the illegal invasion of Russia and the violence against the Ukrainian population were among the worst humanitarian and human rights crises in Europe’s recent history.
Amnesty recognizes the West’s robust and welcome approach to the crisis in Ukraine, including imposing sanctions on Moscow, sending military aid to Kiev, and launching a war crimes investigation through the International Criminal Court. However, the organization points out that this response stands in stark contrast to previous responses to massive violations by Russia and others, and to the restrained responses to conflicts in Ethiopia, Yemen, and Myanmar.
According to a spokesperson for Amnesty Netherlands, (geo)politics have always played a major role in determining whether and how a country is held accountable for human rights violations, and the West has historically been quicker to criticize enemy states than allies.
The report also highlights the widespread human rights violations against the Uyghurs by China and Beijing’s use of its global influence to block action against them. The report notes that many hundreds of thousands of members of this Muslim minority are housed in camps, and China denies international charges of genocide. On a positive note, the report mentions that Kazakhstan and Papua New Guinea have abolished the death penalty, and several prominent activists have been released after years of imprisonment.