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World map Introduction



Europe and Central Asia

Middle East and North Africa

Special Issues and Campaigns

United States


Children’s Rights

Women’s Human Rights


The scope of today's global human rights problems far exceeds the capacity of global institutions to address them. The problem is most acute in the global economy, where a disturbing institutional void frequently leaves human rights standards unenforced. But the problem also arises as the world struggles to stop mass atrocities, protect the victims of these crimes, rebuild their countries, and bring their persecutors to justice. In each case, a more interconnected and seemingly smaller world rightfully feels a greater responsibility to respond. Yet the capacity to meet these demands has not kept up with the challenges. A reinforced global architecture is needed.

This introduction to Human Rights Watch's annual World Report describes this weakness in the institutional capacity to address the global human rights challenges of our time. It highlights the enforcement gap for issues of human rights in the global economy. It discusses the inadequate resources given to the United Nations to assume its assigned tasks of keeping the peace and assisting war-torn nations with national reconstruction. And it describes the recent strides taken toward a new institutional justice system for the world's worst human rights criminals but laments the U.S. government's persistent refusal to countenance U.S. nationals being held to the same standards as the rest of the world.

This report--Human Rights Watch's eleventh annual review of human rights practices around the globe--covers developments in seventy countries. It is released in advance of Human Rights Day, December 10, 2000, and describes events from November 1999 through October 2000. Most chapters examine significant human rights developments in a particular country; the response of global actors, such as the European Union, Japan, the United States, the United Nations, and various regional organizations; and the freedom of local human rights defenders. Other chapters address important thematic concerns.

Highlights of the year include, on the positive side, the popular rebellion against the Milosevic regime in Yugoslavia, the conclusion of a treaty barring the use of children as soldiers, and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights's first formal criticism of a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council (Russia, for its abuses in Chechnya). On the negative side, the U.N. Human Rights Commission refused yet again to condemn China for its relentless suppression of political opposition, the U.S. government failed to abide by conditions included in a major military aid package to Colombia that would have required the Colombian army to sever its ties with paramilitaries, and there was a growing crisis in the world's response to refugees and asylum-seekers and persistently inadequate protection for the internally displaced.

This report reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2000 by the Human Rights Watch research staff, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the countries in question. Human Rights Watch reports, published throughout the year (see, contain more elaborate accounts of the brief summaries collected in this volume. The chapters here also reflect the work of the Human Rights Watch advocacy staff, which monitors the policies of governments and institutions with influence to curb abusive human rights conduct.

As in past years, this report does not include a chapter on every country where Human Rights Watch works, nor does it discuss every issue of importance. The failure to include a particular country or issue often reflects no more than staffing limitations and should not be taken as commentary on the significance of the problem. There are many serious human rights violations that Human Rights Watch simply lacks the capacity to address. Other factors affecting the focus of our work in 2000 and hence the content of this volume include the severity of abuses, access to the country and the availability of information about it, the susceptibility of abusive forces to outside influence, the importance of addressing certain thematic concerns, and the need to maintain a balance in the work of Human Rights Watch across various political divides.


Next Section - The Global Economy

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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  The Global Economy
  A Human Rights Framework
  Need for Stronger Institutions
  Voluntary Codes of Conduct
  The OECD Anti-Corruption
  The U.S.-Jordan Trade Pact
  International Financial
  From Voluntarism to
  North-South Collusion
  International Justice
  International Tribunals
  National Justice Efforts

Human Rights Defenders


International Criminal Court Ratification Campaign

Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

The Campaign to Ban Landmines


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