Amnesty International Report 2011: The state of human rights in the world

Amnesty International has published its annual report on the situation of human rights worldwide, the result of research in 157 countries and territories in 2010.

First, the report presents a general overview of the regional conclusions. This year, the key issues are: freedom of expression, international justice, accountability of companies, the death penalty, reproductive rights and the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. In the second part, a section is devoted to each country, with a description of the state of human rights in that particular place and particular noteworthy cases. Finally, it presents the situation of some international and regional treaties in various countries.

The title of the prologue, "Activists use new tools to challenge repression," clearly reflects the trend in the struggle for human rights over the last year. The new means available to citizens in general and activists in particular to confront human rights violations have been a milestone in the cause. WikiLeaks (and the revelations about human rights violations accepted or not punished by states), Internet social networking and the mobile telephone have been at the centre of unique moments in the struggle for human rights. They were present, for example, in the demands for freedom, dignity and justice in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the displays of support by anonymous Chinese Internet users for the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Liu Xiaobo.

However, the new technologies are only tools for channelling demands and are only still a possibility for real change. This real change should end the cases of human rights violations that Amnesty International has identified, like the restrictions on freedom of expression in at least 89 countries; the vulnerability of journalists and women around the world; the precarious situation of minorities, refugees and migrants; and the denial of the right to truth and justice in post-conflict areas.