Human Rights Watch Annual Report Blames War on Terror with Hampering Religious Freedoms

January 19, 2006

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: RNS

On January 19, 2006 Religion News Service reported, "The governments of a number of countries, including China and Uzbekistan, are branding political opponents as Islamic terrorists and using the 'war on terror' as a way to stifle dissent, Human Rights Watch said in its annual global survey of human rights conditions. The report by the New York-based human rights watchdog and advocacy group, covering the year 2005, was issued Wednesday. It said that counterterrorism policies are having a harmful effect on the global defense of human rights. 'Fighting terrorism is central to the human rights cause,' said Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch's executive director. 'But using illegal tactics against alleged terrorists is both wrong and counterproductive.' The report was particularly critical of Bush administration policies it said had condoned torture and made it difficult for the United States to pressure other states to respect international law. It also noted that other countries are using the war on terror to crack down on opponents, with religious and cultural identity often a factor in stifling dissent."