Tue 22 Feb 05, 17:24 • RSI
Slovak offices of the non-governmental organizations Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth have sent an open letter to American President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin to express their concerns over a lack of respect for international standards in the area of human rights, as well as social and environmental rights in the international policies of the United States and Russia. The organizations are concerned that current policies of the USA and Russia are shaped by "narrow, one-sided interests rather than commitments to international rights."
They reminded President Bush that his administration led the war against Iraq, which was not authorized by the Security Council of the United Nations. Amnesty International has documented cases of illegal detention of civilians, torture, and mistreatment of prisoners. American troops continue to detain thousands of people in detention centers around Iraq in spite of the fact that the occupation is formally over. Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth stress in the letter, that the USA holds in detention more than 500 people from about forty countries at the Guantanamo military base in Cuba for more than three years, even though this contradicts the Geneva Conventions.
They also recall that Washington rejects the Kyoto Protocol and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The NGOs reproach President Putin for serious abuses of fundamental principles of international humanitarian law regarding the war in Chechnya, which also involves attacks on civilians. Several NGOs have warned that the freedom of the media in Russia has been considerably constrained. They have also noticed development towards the marginalization of the political opposition and almost-zero progress in solving the problem of numerous accounts of torture at police stations and bullying in the army.