LONDON: The Amnesty International on Wednesday stated that the post-World War II order, was on the “brink of collapse”. It said that bitter conflicts on multiple fronts due to the rapid and unregulated rise of artificial intelligence, are also ‘threatening’.

“Everything we’re witnessing over the last 12 months is indicating that the international global system is on the brink of collapse,” Amnesty’s secretary general, Agnes Callamard told reporters. She issued these remarks as the group released its annual, “State of the World’s Human Rights” report.

“In particular, over the last six months, the United States has shielded and protected the Israeli authorities against scrutiny for the multiple violations committed in Gaza,” she said.

“By using its veto against a much-needed ceasefire, the United States has emptied out the (United Nations) Security Council of what it should be doing.”

US accused of shielding Israeli authorities against scrutiny for multiple rights violations in Gaza

Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip has killed 34,183 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

The global rights body termed that Hamas carried out “horrific crimes” on Israeli communities bordering Gaza but that Israel had responded with “a campaign of collective punishment”.

“It is a campaign of deliberate, indiscriminate bombings of civilians and civilian infrastructure, of denial of humanitarian assistance and an engineered famine,” Callamard wrote in her foreword to the report.

“For millions the world over, Gaza now symbolises utter moral failure by many of the architects of the post-World War Two system,” she said.

Israel’s allies, including those who provide them with arms and ammunition, were complicit, she said. She went to deplore ‘a lack of action’ by international institutions and questioned whether postwar ideals of “never again”, had faded away.

AI threat

“Powerful actors” which include Russia and China, are “demonstrating a willingness to put at risk the entirety of the 1948 rule-based order” Callamard warned.

The report documented “flagrant rule-breaking by Russian forces during their continued full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the use of torture or other ill-treatment against prisoners of war”.

The rights group said that Beijing, too, had acted in contravention to international law, “by protecting the Myanmar military”, despite its attacks against civilians. “Urgent measures” were required “to revitalise and renew the international institutions intended to safeguard humanity” Callamard said.

“What we are calling for is an urgent reform of the UN Security Council, in particular reform on the right of veto so that it cannot be used in situations of massive human rights violations,” she told members of the press.

The rise of AI is also concerning. The report found that AI is, “enabling pervasive erosion of rights, perpetuating racist policies” and “enabling spreading misinformation.”

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2024

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