PTS Ratings and Significant Events: Examples
Burundi (U.S. State Department 1996): The human rights situation continued to deteriorate. The security forces continued to commit numerous, serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings. Military forces committed massacres of unarmed civilian Hutus and frequently permitted Tutsi extremists to engage in violence against Hutus. The Government was largely unable to prevent such abuses, and perpetrators generally went unpunished. Serious incidents of ethnically motivated extrajudicial killing and destruction of property occurred throughout the country. Armed troops and civilian militias killed both armed and unarmed ethnic rivals, including women, children, and the elderly. They also killed expatriates.
Between October 1993 and December 1995 more than 100,000 people were killed in ethnic violence. The army was more responsible than any other group for these deaths. The United Nations Human Rights Rapporteur for Burundi estimated in June that 800 people per month were being killed; the majority of deaths continue to be attributed to government security forces.
Organization for African Unity (OAU) military observers estimated that an average of 500 people per month were killed during the first 6 months of the year. Western nongovernmental organizations (NGO’s) believe that about 10,000 people died in conflict during the year, although these sources acknowledge that their figures lack any degree of precision.
In August the U.N. Center for Human Rights in Geneva issued a report that said that the Tutsi-led army killed 2,100 to 3,000 civilians in a series of incidents that took place between April and July. Between October and December, massacres of civilians by the military forces and the killing of innocent civilians by Hutu rebels occurred regularly. According to human rights monitors, there were more than 20 incidents in which civilians were killed, mainly by the army, but also by Hutu rebels. The number of civilians killed, estimated at 2,000 during the months of October through December, was the heaviest of the year.
The U.N. International Commission of Inquiry concluded in 1996 that much but not all of the ethnic violence since the 1993 assassination of Burundi’s president has constituted genocide.
Colombia (Amnesty International 2001): Colombia’s internal conflict continued to escalate. Systematic and gross abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law persisted. Paramilitary groups acting with the active or tacit support of the security forces were responsible for the vast majority of extrajudicial executions and ‘‘disappearances’’; many of their victims were tortured before being killed. Armed opposition groups were responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, including arbitrary or deliberate killings. More than 300 people ‘‘disappeared’’ and more than 4,000 civilians were killed outside of combat for political motives by the armed groups. Over 1,700 people were kidnapped by armed opposition groups and paramilitary forces. All parties to the conflict were responsible for the forced displacement of large numbers of civilians. The security situation of those living in conflict zones, particularly human rights defenders, trade unionists, judicial officials, journalists, members of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities and peasant farmers, continued to worsen. Evidence emerged of the strong links between the security forces and the paramilitaries. Judicial and disciplinary investigations advanced in several high-profile cases, implicating high-ranking officials in human rights violations, but impunity remained widespread.
Chad (U.S. State Department 1999): The Government’s human rights record remained poor, and there continued to be serious problems in many areas. The Government limited citizens’ right to change the government. State security forces continue to commit extrajudicial killings, and they torture, beat, abuse, and rape persons. Prison conditions remain harsh and life threatening. Security forces continued to use arbitrary arrest and detention. Although the Government detains and imprisons members of the security forces implicated or accused of criminal acts, it rarely prosecutes or sanctions members of the security forces who committed human rights abuses.
Egypt (Amnesty International 2001): Thousands of suspected supporters of banned Islamist groups, including possible prisoners of conscience, remained in detention without charge or trial; some had been held for years. Others were serving sentences imposed after grossly unfair trials before military courts. Torture and ill-treatment of detainees was widespread. Prison conditions amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were reported. At least 67 people were sentenced to death and at least four were executed.
Cambodia (U.S. State Department 2001): The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens in a few areas; however, its record was poor in many other areas, and serious problems remained. The military forces and police were responsible for both political and nonpolitical killings, and the Government rarely prosecuted anyone in such cases. There were other apparently politically motivated killings by non-security force persons as well. The Government arrested suspects in some of these cases and convicted suspects in two such cases. Police acquiesced in or failed to stop lethal violence by citizens against criminal suspects; the Government rarely investigated such killings, and impunity remained a problem. There were credible reports that members of the security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused persons in custody, often to extract confessions. Prison conditions remained harsh, and the Government continued to use arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention. Impunity for many who commit human rights abuses remained a serious problem.
Cambodia (Amnesty International 2001): Hundreds of refugees from Viet Nam crossed the border into Cambodia after unrest in their home provinces in February. Cambodia’s ability and willingness to protect them was limited, and scores were forced back across the border.
Jordan (U.S. State Department 1997): Since the revocation of martial law in 1991, there has been noticeable improvement in the human rights situation, however, problems remain, including: abuse and mistreatment of detainees; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of accountability within the security services; prolonged detention without charge; lack of due process; infringements on citizens’ privacy rights; harassment of opposition political parties; and restrictions on the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association. Citizens do not have the right to change their form of government, although they can participate in the political system through political parties and municipal and parliamentary elections. New restrictions on the press decreed by the King in May shutdown many smaller publications and led the others to practice increased self-censorship. In reaction to these limitations and to the “one-man, one-vote” change in the election process, the Islamist and other parties boycotted the October parliamentary elections. Abuse of foreign servants is a problem. Restrictions on women’s rights, violence against women, and abuse of children are also problems. The Government imposes some limits on freedom of religion, and there is official discrimination against adherents of the Baha’i faith.
Bahrain (Amnesty International 2001): Significant steps were taken in 2001 to promote and protect human rights. All political prisoners and detainees were released and the State Security Court and state security legislation were abolished. Bahraini nationals who had been forcibly exiled or prevented from entering the country were allowed to return without conditions. An Ethiopian woman remained under sentence of death. In December, two people . . . were said to have been subjected to beatings by police officers. . . . They were detained for two days before they were released on bail.
Ivory Coast (Amnesty International 1988): Twenty trade unionists who had been forcibly conscripted into the army for political reasons were released in July.