The U.S. State Department has released its 2006 Human Rights report, naming Sudan, China, Russia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Burma , North Korea, Kazakhstan and Iran among the world's worst human rights offenders.
The congressionally-mandated annual report cites the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region as "the most sobering reality of all." It blames the Sudanese government and government-backed (Janjaweed) militia for the widespread killing of civilians, using rape as a tool of war and systematic torture.
The report acknowledges that the human rights record of the United States itself has been called into question, saying "our democratic system of governance is accountable, but it is not infallible."
The State Department report also cites Iraq and Afghanistan, saying internal or cross-border conflict can threaten advances in human rights. In Iraq, the report says deepening sectarian violence and acts of terrorism seriously undercut human rights and democratic progress during 2006.
It says Afghanistan's human rights record remains poor, mainly due to weak central institutions and a deadly insurgency.
The report says Russia experienced continued centralization of power in the executive branch, as well as restrictions on the media. It also says the Chinese government's human rights record deteriorated in some areas in 2006, with an increased number of high-profile cases of imprisonment of political and religious activists and journalists.
The report notes significant progress on human rights in Liberia, Morocco and Ukraine. It also commended the Democratic Republic of Congo for holding its first democratic elections in more than 45 years, but said the country's human rights record remains poor.
The congressionally-mandated annual report said citizens in Haiti showed their commitment to democracy by going to the polls three times in 2006. But it said much remains to be done to restore the rule of law, including restraining and vetting the Haitian National Police.