- By Elizabeth DickinsonElizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based American journalist and former assistant managing editor at Foreign Policy.
Unfortunately, it makes perfect sense: as the world struggles to rebound from the global financial downturn, human rights have taken a backseat. As Amnesty International launches its annual report today, the organization worries: "human rights problems have been relegated to the backseat as political and business leaders grapple with the economic crisis."
So if getting delinquent countries to fix their human rights records was arduous before, now it’s downright grueling. There’s neither money nor time for addressing the scourge — even as recession leaves unemployment, cut wages, and even hunger in its path.
It’s not hard to imagine what they’re talking about — and here are a few hypothetical examples:
As the unity government in Zimbabwe tries to get on its own feet, it has been applying for aid to supplement increasingly sparse government revenues. With foreign donors feeling rattled by domestic conditions, it will be that much harder to get help.
In Nigeria, where falling oil prices are drying up government revenues hard and fast, the country’s army has responded full force to put down insurrection in the country’s oil-producing Niger Delta — to the detriment of thousands displaced.
Or take South Africa, just recently hit by its first real economic downturn in a decade. Xenophobia (particularly against an influx of Zimbabweans looking for work) was already a problem last year, when times were (relatively) good. This year could be even trickier.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |