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10 global hotspots for major human rights violations in 2017

A Rohingya girl cries as refugees fleeing from Myanmar cross a stream in the hot sun on a muddy rice field on October 16, 2017 near Palang Khali, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Paula Bronstein | Getty Images

The world witnessed a shocking rollback of human rights last year, according to Amnesty International's latest annual report, with signs of regression across the globe.

"Leaders have pushed hate, fought against rights, ignored crimes against humanity and blithely let inequality and suffering spin out of control," the campaign group said in its yearly audit of human rights.

Amnesty's State of the World's Human Rights report, published Thursday, assessed human rights violations in 159 countries in 2017. It claimed a broad clampdown on human rights had created a "more dangerous" world.

CNBC takes a look at some of the major human rights hot spots identified by Amnesty International.


President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Getty Images

Amnesty accused the U.S. government of setting the tone for a year of "hate-filled rhetoric" that fueled bigotry and persecution across the world.

The campaign group said the polarizing decision to ban travel from six Muslim-majority countries was "transparently hateful."

On Thursday, a second federal appeals court found President Donald Trump's travel ban violated the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion. Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the ban to go into effect while litigation challenging it continues.


Feb 12, 2018: Venezuelans honor those killed during recent protests.
Román Camacho/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been widely condemned for overseeing one of the worst human rights crises in the country's history.

Citizens of the crisis-torn nation are struggling to cope with widespread food shortages, the collapse of its traditional currency and hyperinflation — which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast to hit 13,000 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile, almost 75 percent of Venezuelans are reportedly suffering from weight loss and unemployment in the South American country is expected to skyrocket to 32 percent by 2022.

Amnesty International said the crisis in the South American nation had reached "breaking point."


Huthi rebel fighters inspect the damage after a reported air strike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition targeted the presidential palace in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 5, 2017.
Mohammad Huwais | AFP | Getty Images

Amnesty International said three years of a major armed conflict in Yemen, as well as a blockade imposed by a Saudi-led coalition, had "shattered" access for people's basic needs, including food and water.

The United Nations (UN) described the ongoing conflict in Yemen as "the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time."

Approximately 22.2 million people in Yemen — or three-quarters of its population — require immediate assistance with over 8 million citizens thought to be at risk of starvation.


OZAN KOSE | AFP | Getty Images

The campaign group alleged Turkey's ongoing state of emergency had created an environment in which the state actively carried out human rights violations.

It referenced Turkey's crackdown on journalists, political activists and human rights defenders as examples of the Ankara's human rights abuses.


Smoke billows following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held parts of Jobar in Damascus, Syria on August 9, 2017.
Ammar Suleiman | AFP | Getty Images

Amnesty said the "catastrophic war" in Syria was continuing to evolve on a global scale. And human rights violations were seen to continue with government and allied forces, including Russia, carrying out indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

The UN Security Council is scrambling to achieve a resolution to impose a ceasefire in Syria after rebel-held areas were attacked for a sixth consecutive day Friday.


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Alexey Nikolsky | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin's clampdown on free speech showed little sign of abating throughout 2017, Amnesty said.

Ahead of a presidential election next month, the government has arrested hundreds of peaceful protestors at a time. The campaign group said those arrested frequently faced "arbitrary detention, beatings and intimidation."

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman (2nd L) takes his seat to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and his delegation on April 19, 2017 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Jonathan Ernst - Pool | Getty Images

Amnesty International accused Saudi Arabia of unfairly detaining human rights defenders and executing Shi'a activists. It also said women were still facing "systemic discrimination" both in law and in practice.

Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is currently pushing through substantial social and economic reforms in a bid to transform the kingdom. Late last year, bin Salman detained scores of top princes, businessmen and government officials in a so-called clampdown on corruption.


A woman collapses from exhaustion as Rohingya refugees arrive by a wooden boat from Myanmar to the shore of Shah Porir Dwip, in Teknaf, near Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, October 1, 2017
Mohammad Ponir Hossain | Reuters

In September 2017, the UN described a security operation in Myanmar that targeted Rohingya Muslims as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

When violence erupted in Rakhine state in August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled crimes against humanity to neighboring Bangladesh. Amnesty said the country's army committed "extensive violations" of international humanitarian law and authorities were continuing to restrict humanitarian access in the Asian country.

EU, Australia

Greenpeace members unfurl a sign protesting the detention of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat. The February 2016 protest was one of many held against the country's tough border protection policies.
Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

Amnesty accused both the European Union and Australia of adopting an "outright callous" approach to the global refugee crisis. The group said refugees were not being treated as human beings but instead as "problems to be deflected."


Xi Jinping delivers a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on behalf of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2017.
Xinhua | Ju Peng | Getty Images

Under the guise of national security, Amnesty warned Chinese Premier Xi Jinping had enacted "serious threats" to human rights into law last year.

In October, President Xi laid out China's new policy direction for the next five years during his maiden party congress speech on the opening day of the Congress. He stressed the need to tighten supervision of party members and institutionalize anti-corruption work.