News / USA

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

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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid