News / USA

US Human Rights Report Hits Conditions in Iran, China, North Korea

TEXT SIZE - +

The U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights world-wide issued Thursday cited an upsurge in efforts to restrict access to the Internet and other new communications means, and escalating persecution of vulnerable minorities. The report was sharply critical of the rights performance of several countries including China, North Korea and Iran.

The massive two million-word report, covering 194 countries, is mandated under a 1976 act of Congress and was originally intended to guide U.S. lawmakers on foreign aid decisions.

But introducing the latest report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the document has become the most comprehensive record available on the condition of human rights around the world.

"These reports are an essential tool for activists who courageously struggle to protect rights in communities around the world, for journalists and scholars who document rights violations and who report on the work of those who champion the vulnerable, and for governments including our own, as they work to craft strategies to encourage protection of human rights of more individuals in more places," Clinton said.

Clinton said principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are a "North Star" (eds: guiding light) for the Obama administration's foreign and human rights policies.

The report itself, covering events in 2009, levels harsh criticism at some familiar sources of U.S. concern.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Richard Posner said the human rights situation in Iran worsened after disputed presidential elections.  

"In Iran, an already poor human rights situation rapidly deteriorated after the June elections," Posner said. "At least 45 people were killed in clashes, thousands were arrested, another thousand were arrested in demonstration in December. It is a place where are continuing to see severe repression of dissent and are continuing to pay great attention."

Iran was also cited for discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused of fueling anti-semitism.

China was similarly faulted for increased repression of Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs.

Citing the prosecution and jailing of prominent Chinese democracy advocates, Assistant Secretary Posner said pressure on civil society groups challenging Beijing government policies is on the rise.

"In the last several years, more public interest, human rights, environmental lawyers have been taking cases, law clinics are springing up," Posner said. "There seems to be a real crackdown, and there are also greater restrictions on NGO's."

China was among some 25 countries said to have imposed restrictions on the ability of non-governmental groups to register and operate, and among those restricting the Internet and other new media.

Posner said the situation in neighboring North Korea was far more bleak.

"It's probably one of the most closed societies in the world. So across the board, I would say conditions are poor, they're not getting better, and we continue to be very mindful of the plight of the North Korean people living in that circumstance," Posner said.

The report also took aim at media curbs in Russia and Venezuela.

Yet Posner noted positive human rights trends in a number of countries including Georgia, Ukraine, Bhutan, the Maldives and Liberia, where the government has set up a truth and reconciliation commission in the aftermath of years of civil conflict.

While the U.S. human rights record is not assessed, the report noted that the United States will submit to its first periodic review before the U.N. Human Rights Council later this year.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid