London, Feb 25: Amnesty International today painted a bleak picture of global response to atrocities and called on India and other nations to ratify the arms trade treaty to stop flow of weapons to rights abusers.
Describing the year 2014 as "catastrophic" in terms of violence, the London-based rights group in its annual report called on world leaders to act urgently to confront the changing nature of conflict and protect civilians from horrific violence by states and armed groups.
"The global response to conflict and abuses by states and armed groups has been shameful and ineffective. As people suffered an escalation in barbarous attacks and repression, the international community has been found wanting," said Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty International.
It asked India and other countries yet to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, which came into force in December 2014, to join the 60 countries which have already done so.
"The irresponsible flow of weapons to human rights abusers must stop now," the report said. "The global outlook on the state of human rights is bleak, but there are solutions. World leaders must take immediate and decisive action to avert an impending global crisis and take us one step closer to a safer world in which rights and freedoms are protected," Shetty said.
In specific reference to India, the rights body highlighted two court orders among important "gains" in the year 2014 including a Bhopal court's decision in November to demand that its criminal summons against the Dow Chemical Company to be re-issued and a "landmark judgement" by the Supreme Court in April granting legal recognition to transgender people.
However, Amnesty was extremely critical of India's record on human rights abuses by armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East and also highlighted May 2014 General Election related violence as a concern. The report on India added: "Despite progressive legal reform and court rulings, state authorities often failed to prevent and at times committed crimes against Indian citizens, including children, women, Dalits and Adivasi (Indigenous) people.
This year's report is also strongly critical of the United Nations' failure to find solutions to mass-scale violence and calls for the five permanent UNSC members to renounce their veto rights in situations of genocide and other mass atrocities.
"This could be a game changer for the international community and the tools it has at its disposal to help protect civilian lives. "By renouncing their veto rights the five permanent members of the Security Council would give the UN more scope to take action to protect civilians when lives are at grave risk and send a powerful signal to perpetrators that the world will not sit idly by while mass atrocities take place," said Salil Shetty.