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U.S. Releases Report on Human Rights - 2003-04-01


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
"Where human rights and freedoms flourish, terrorists and tyrants do not thrive, and conflict and chaos do not reign"

The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Monday, as the State Department released its 27th annual Report on Human Rights.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
"These country reports on human rights practices will help shape the Bush administration's policy decisions as we work toward a safer, freer world" And Secretary Powell spoke specifically of Iraq -- and the current military campaign to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
"Remove it, put in place a representative government that will provide a better life for the Iraqi people. Get rid of the torture chambers. Get rid of a regime that would cut the tongues out of people who would resist it. This kind of barbaric behavior has no place in the world"

The report accuses the Chinese government of extra-judicial killings, torture and mistreatment of prisoners, forced confessions, arbitrary arrests, and denial of the due process of law. At the same time, the report gives credit to Beijing for some positive steps -- including the release of a number of prominent dissidents -- and granting permission for senior representatives of the Dalai Lama to visit China.

On Israel, the report says that country's overall human rights record -- in the occupied territories -- remains poor. And has worsened in several areas as Israel continues to commit many "serious human rights abuses," that its security forces killed 990 Palestinians during the year and injured almost 4,400 others.

And the report takes the Palestinian Authority to task as well, saying many members of Palestinian security services and the PLO's Fatah faction have taken part with civilians and terrorist groups in violent attacks against Israeli settlers, other civilians, and soldiers. It says they have not complied with commitments to renounce violence and terrorism, to take responsibility for all elements of the PLO, and to discipline violators. Again, Secretary Powell:

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE
"We have done our utmost to ensure that these reports are accurate – and objective"

Mr. Powell visits Turkey and Belgium this week, hoping to patch up relations with Turkey, and to request help from European Union and NATO member states in re-building Iraq.

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