10 global hotspots for major human rights violations in 2017

The world witnessed a shocking rollback of human rights last year, according to Amnesty International's latest annual report, with signs of regression across the globe.

"Leaders have pushed hate, fought against rights, ignored crimes against humanity and blithely let inequality and suffering spin out of control," the campaign group said in its yearly audit of human rights.

Amnesty's State of the World's Human Rights report, published Thursday, assessed human rights violations in 159 countries in 2017. It claimed a broad clampdown on human rights had created a "more dangerous" world.

CNBC takes a look at some of the major human rights hot spots identified by Amnesty International.

United States

Amnesty accused the U.S. government of setting the tone for a year of "hate-filled rhetoric" that fueled bigotry and persecution across the world.

The campaign group said the polarizing decision to ban travel from six Muslim-majority countries was "transparently hateful."

On Thursday, a second federal appeals court found President Donald Trump's travel ban violated the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion. Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the ban to go into effect while litigation challenging it continues.


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been widely condemned for overseeing one of the worst human rights crises in the country's history.

Citizens of the crisis-torn nation are struggling to cope with widespread food shortages, the collapse of its traditional currency and hyperinflation — which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast to hit 13,000 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, almost 75 percent of Venezuelans are reportedly suffering from weight loss and unemployment in the South American country is expected to skyrocket to 32 percent by 2022.

Amnesty International said the crisis in the South American nation had reached "breaking point."


Amnesty International said three years of a major armed conflict in Yemen, as well as a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led coalition, had "shattered" access for people's basic needs, including food and water.

The United Nations (UN) described the ongoing conflict in Yemen as "the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time."

Approximately 22.2 million people in Yemen — or three-quarters of its population — require immediate assistance with over 8 million citizens thought to be at risk of starvation.


The campaign group alleged Turkey's ongoing state of emergency had created an environment in which the state actively carried out human rights violations.

It referenced Turkey's crackdown on journalists, political activists and human rights defenders as examples of the Ankara's human rights abuses.


Amnesty said the "catastrophic war" in Syria was continuing to evolve on a global scale. And human rights violations were seen to continue with government and allied forces, including Russia, carrying out indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

The UN Security Council is scrambling to achieve a resolution to impose a ceasefire in Syria after rebel-held areas were attacked for a sixth consecutive day Friday.


Russian President Vladimir Putin's clampdown on free speech showed little sign of abating throughout 2017, Amnesty said.

Ahead of a presidential election next month, the government has arrested hundreds of peaceful protestors at a time. The campaign group said those arrested frequently faced "arbitrary detention, beatings and intimidation."

Saudi Arabia

Amnesty International accused Saudi Arabia of unfairly detaining human rights defenders and executing Shi'a activists. It also said women were still facing "systemic discrimination" both in law and in practice.

Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is currently pushing through substantial social and economic reforms in a bid to transform the kingdom. Late last year, bin Salman detained scores of top princes, businessmen and government officials in a so-called clampdown on corruption.


In September 2017, the UN described a security operation in Myanmar that targeted Rohingya Muslims as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

When violence erupted in Rakhine state in August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled crimes against humanity to neighboring Bangladesh. Amnesty said the country's army committed "extensive violations" of international humanitarian law and authorities were continuing to restrict humanitarian access in the Asian country.

EU, Australia

Amnesty accused both the European Union and Australia of adopting an "outright callous" approach to the global refugee crisis. The group said refugees were not being treated as human beings but instead as "problems to be deflected."


Under the guise of national security, Amnesty warned Chinese Premier Xi Jinping had enacted "serious threats" to human rights into law last year.

In October, President Xi laid out China's new policy direction for the next five years during his maiden party congress speech on the opening day of the Congress. He stressed the need to tighten supervision of party members and institutionalize anti-corruption work.


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Advisory Committee: Yves Berthelot (France),  PV Rajagopal (India), Vandana Shiva (India), Oliver de Schutter (Belgium), Mazide N’Diaye (Senegal), Gabriela Monteiro (Brazil), Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia), Anne Pearson (Canada), Liz Theoharis (USA), Sulak Sivaraksa (Thailand), Jagat Basnet (Nepal), Miloon Kothari (India),  Irene Santiago (Philippines), Arsen Kharatyan (Armenia), Margrit Hugentobler (Switzerland), Jill Carr-Harris (Canada/India), Reva Joshee (Canada), Sonia Deotto (Mexico/Italy),Benjamin Joyeux (Geneva/France), Aneesh Thillenkery, Ramesh Sharma, Ran Singh (India)