Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, October 6, 1998 Published at 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK


World: Americas

Amnesty slams US over human rights

Florida suspended the death penalty after "Old Sparky" caught fire

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has condemned the widespread use of the death penalty in the United States saying it is racist, arbitrary and unfair.


Pierre Sane of Amnesty International: wants moratorium on use of death penalty
In its first comprehensive report on human rights violations in America, the organisation also raises concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers and condemns America for criticising other countries' behaviour while failing to uphold proper standards itself.

"When the US house is not in order, it makes it far harder for the US to take the kind of leadership role in international human rights that many of us in Amnesty would like to see it take," says William Schulz, executive director of the American chapter of the London-based organisation.

Amnesty International, a long-time opponent of the death penalty, alleges that in the US it is used in a way which is racist, arbitrary and unfair.

It points out that as well as the disproportionately high number of black criminals who are sentenced to death, some state authorities also execute juveniles and people who are mentally retarded.

'Cruel and degrading'

The report severely criticises the use of force by police and prison officers, saying cruel, degrading and sometimes life-threatening methods of restraint continue to be a feature of the American criminal justice system.

As part of a year-long campaign focusing on human rights in America, Amnesty recommends that independent watchdog groups are set up to monitor the criminal justice system.

A State Department spokesman said while the US welcomed Amnesty's scrutiny, it believed the American judicial system to be the envy of the world.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

06 Oct 98 | Americas
Why Amnesty turned its guns on the US

10 Sep 98 | Americas
US accused over immigrants





Internet Links


Amnesty International


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels