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.