News / USA

State Dept. Rights Report: Murder in Syria, Progress in Burma

State Dept. Human Rights Report: Murder in Syria, Progress in Burmai
X
April 20, 2013 2:53 AM
The U.S. State Department Friday released its annual report on human rights around the world. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is calling for the protection of rights regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability.
The U.S. State Department Friday released its annual report on human rights around the world.  Secretary of State John Kerry says the Obama administration is calling for the protection of rights regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability.

As he released this year's Human Rights Report, Secretary Kerry said one of the bright spots is Burma, where democratic reform and better human rights protections are ending years of isolation.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department, April 19, 2013, where he released the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department, April 19, 2013, where he released the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
x
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department, April 19, 2013, where he released the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department, April 19, 2013, where he released the 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
"Has it reached where we want it to be? No. But it's on the road. It's moving," he said. "And by starting to embrace universal rights, the Burmese government has opened the doors to a stronger partnership with their neighborhood and with countries around the world."

The report says Burma still faces many challenges including corruption and political prisoners.

"But if Burma’s leaders stay focused on promoting and protecting the rights of all people in their country, Burma is likely to continue along a promising path of renewal," Kerry said.

In the Middle East and North Africa, the human rights report says "the hope of the early days of the Arab Awakening has run up against the harsh realities of incomplete and contested transitions."

"Where entrenched regimes have been swept out and new governments have been slow to guarantee those rights and protect the most vulnerable and build accountable, democratic institutions, we still see resistance in this part of the world," Kerry said.

Including Syria, where the United States is backing opponents of embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

"In Syria, Assad is desperately clinging to power, responding to the cries of freedom with murder and mayhem and more bloodshed," said Kerry. "The vision of so many who have fought and sacrificed across the region will never be released if their human rights are denied or ignored."

In Tibet, the human rights report says the number of Buddhist self-immolations last year was more than six times that of 2011.  It says authorities repressed Tibet’s unique religious and cultural heritage by "strictly curtailing the civil rights of China’s ethnic Tibetan population."

In Iran, the report says the government continued its crackdown on civil society by arresting journalists, students, lawyers, artists, and ethnic and religious activists -- with security forces committing acts of politically motivated violence and repression, including torture, beatings, and rape.

Kerry says the United States promotes human rights not simply because it is the right thing to do but because it is tied to security.

"Countries where strong human rights prevail are countries where people do better, economies thrive, rule of law is stronger, governments are more effective and more responsive, and they are countries that lead on the world stage and project stability across their regions," he said.

The report noted a shrinking space for civil society activism around the world -- especially in Russia where new laws increase fines for unauthorized protests, limit Internet freedoms, and dramatically expand the definition of treason.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid