Increased repression and violence a sign of weakness, says Human Rights Watch | Human rights

The increasingly repressive and violent acts against civilian protests by autocratic rulers and military regimes around the world are signs of their desperation and the weakening of their grip on power, says Human Rights Watch in its annual assessment of human rights around the world.

In its global report 2022, the human rights organization said autocratic leaders faced a major backlash in 2021, with millions risking their lives to take to the streets to challenge the authority of regimes and demand democracy.

Human Rights Watch also said that the emergence of opposition parties willing to put aside their political differences and form alliances in an attempt to overthrow corrupt or repressive governments or leaders was another sign of a tendency to overthrow. weakening of the autocratic regime.

As examples of “unlikely” opposition coalitions, HRW cited the Czech Republic, where Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was defeated, and Israel, where Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure as Prime Minister ended after 12 years in power in 2021. Large alliances of opposition parties have also been formed to challenge Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey in the upcoming elections.

Demonstrators in Budapest are protesting against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after another anti-LGBTQ + law was passed last June. Photograph: Márton Mónus / Reuters

In an essay featuring the Human Rights Watch report, which analyzes the situation in countries around the world, its editor, Kenneth Roth, also argues that the growing repression and “overt electoral charades” in countries like Russia and the United States. Nicaragua should be seen as a sign of weakness, not strength.

“There is a narrative that autocrats are prevalent and democracy is in decline, but if you look at human rights trends over the past 12 months, it doesn’t look so rosy for autocrats,” Roth said. .

“There has been a wave of public support for democracy with people taking to the streets in China, Uganda, Poland, Myanmar, often risking their lives to do so, and in many other places where repressive regimes struggle to maintain their control.

“While the increasingly violent and regressive actions of repressive regimes around the world may appear to be flexing their muscles, we increasingly see them as acts of desperation,” he said. declared.

As 2021 saw the seizure of power by armed groups in Myanmar and Afghanistan, Roth said there had been no normalization of their regime or control of civilian populations.

“As we see bloodshed in the streets, we also see millions of people refusing to accept the denial of their human rights and the failure of autocratic leaders to distract people with policies attacking LGBTQ communities, l abortion or women’s rights. “

However, he said democracy would not thrive without stronger leadership from democratic governments, which have focused on short-term political gains in 2021 and have failed to address the world’s most pressing issues. climate emergency, inequality, racial injustice and poverty.

Human Rights Watch said that despite its alarming record of rights violations, the United States continued to supply arms to countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. He also stressed that the EU continues to conclude investment deals with China, despite Beijing’s alleged use of ethnic Uyghurs as forced labor.

“Promoting democracy means standing up for democratic institutions such as independent courts, free media, strong parliaments and vibrant civil societies, even when it results in unwanted scrutiny or challenges for executive policies,” said Roth .

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