Amnesty International released its annual report on Thursday, weighing up the world's worst human rights offenders of 2009, country by country. Our Observers from some of the 159 countries on the list give their reactions.
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X, who prefers not to be named, is an exiled journalist from Sri Lanka. He is a member of Europe-based activists Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.
If you consider human rights violations by the number of body bags, then you would say that the situation is better today. But if you look at it in terms of freedom of speech for journalists, then the government hasn't shown any progress this year. For the 23 journalists who ‘went missing' before March 2009, no investigation has been launched."
Oleg Kozlovsky is a human rights campaigner from Moscow.
I can't see any progress from my point of view. [President Dmitry] Medvedev is no different from how [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin was. They talk about democracy but there's no action; they create laws but they don't apply them.
With no elections at present, we've got a bit of temporary stability, but the government will start to tighten the screws soon enough - we've got the legislative elections coming up [expected late 2011] and then the presidential election to follow [expected 2012]. Freedom of speech is certainly not going to see an improvement."
Kouyate is a Guinean student.
The problem is that those responsible weren't punished. It was the same after the last massacre in my country. And if things carry on in the same way, nothing will change. We'll be holding our presidential election on 27 June. I really hope we'll get a democratically elected president, someone who will first and foremost reform the justice system, and turn it into something strong and independent."
Khin Ohmar campaigns for human rights in Burma. She lives on the border between Thailand and Burma.
We need the ASEAN, UN, EU and US to stand up together to press this military regime to enter into dialogue and release all political prisoners. That is what's needed to bring Burma into a transition, and that's the only way. Burma will not turn into a peaceful state with this military might planning on holding onto power."
Mokhtar Yahyaoui is a former judge from Tunis.
The most problematic part of 2009 was probably the crackdown on freedom of speech and the attack on the Tunisian journalists' union. There's an ongoing conflict between the dictator and everyone who fights for the freedom of the press. We're not asking for a press as free as say, in France, but something similar to the situation in Morocco or Algeria for example.
The government also needs to tackle the justice system, and soon. They need to give us a freer and stronger justice. The fact that they signed all the international human rights conventions, and even incorporated them into national law, doesn't mean anything until they start applying them. I know what I'm talking about; I was a judge for decades."