The human rights organization said it documented rights violations in at least 144 countries. Cases of summary execution were recorded in at least 38 nations, the detention of ``prisoners of conscience'' in 61 countries and torture in 132.
``For the majority of the world's population, 1999 brought repression, poverty or war,'' Amnesty International said in the report. ``In country after country, imprisonment, torture and political killings were used by governments to silence opposition and maintain their hold on power.''
The report said human suffering was not confined to trouble spots such as Sierra Leone or Kosovo, but also countries like the United States, Japan and Switzerland - criticized for allegations of police brutality or cruel treatment of prisoners.
But despite the grim statistics, Amnesty International said 1999 also saw some human rights breakthroughs.
Most notable, the report said, were the efforts to bring former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet to trial in Europe on charges that he ordered political opponents tortured and killed during his 17 years in power.
A British court last year stripped Pinochet of the immunity he claimed as a former head of state - sending a clear warning that the days when retired dictators could travel the world with impunity are over. Pinochet was allowed to return to Chile in March after he was declared too sick to stand trial, but he may still face prosecution at home.
``The Pinochet case ... opened a window of hope for all the victims and relatives still pursuing justice,'' Amnesty's report said.
But the number of human rights victims continued to grow last year, the report said. Serbs in Kosovo cracked down on their Albanian Kosovo neighbors; Russian forces destroyed Chechen cities in a fight against separatists; hundreds were killed and thousands displaced in East Timor in unrest after citizens voted for independence from Indonesia.
The United States came in for criticism for executing 98 prisoners and for allegations of police brutality and racist and sexual abuse in prisons. Amnesty also pointed to allegations of excessive police force against demonstrators at the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in December.
Israel was condemned for continuing the controversial practice of demolishing Palestinian homes built on the West Bank, China for cracking down on the Falun Gong religious sect, and Pakistan for failing to investigate reports that hundreds of girls and women have been slain in so-called ``honor killings.''
The human rights group also criticized a half-dozen African nations for forcibly recruiting children to fight in the continent's battles and condemned rebels in Sierra Leone for amputating the legs and arms of thousands of civilians.
Amnesty appealed to the international community to do more to prevent human rights abuses before they reach crisis point - and to act against friends and foes alike.
``None of the human rights tragedies of recent years were unpredictable or unavoidable,'' the report said.