News / USA

US Slams Unremitting Crackdown on Human Freedoms

US Slams Unremitting Crackdown on Human Freedomsi
X
February 28, 2014 1:50 AM
The United States says too many governments are "tightening their grasp" on basic human freedoms. The finding comes from the State Department's release of its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. As VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the State Department, those named as the worst actors in the world come as no surprise.
The United States says too many governments are "tightening their grasp" on basic human freedoms. The finding comes from the State Department's release of its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Those named as the worst actors in the world come as no surprise.

The United States says nowhere was the disregard for human rights more blatant or horrible than Syria, where on April 21, 2013, the government dropped sarin gas on a suburb of Damascus.  More than 1,400 Syrians died, including 426 children.

"We know that countries that deny human rights and human dignity challenge our interests as well as human interests," said Secretary of State John Kerry.

The State Department reports also targeted other well-known human rights violators, like North Korea, slammed earlier this month by the United Nation's for what is described as Nazi-like crimes.

And despite ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Uzra Zeya says problems remain there, too.

"Torture, political imprisonment, executions in the absence of due process which have gone up under this government, harassment of ethnic and religious minorities and limits on free expression," said Zeya.

In many places, the report said hopes for improvement were dashed by stubborn repression, like in China, where the government announced the end of its re-education camps, but cracked down on dissent on the Internet and on basic freedoms in Tibet, where 26 people set themselves on fire in protest.

In Egypt, where hopes had risen with the Arab Spring, the State Department criticized the killings and torture that came with the military's continued crackdown on protesters.

In Africa, officials noted grave concerns in South Sudan and in the Central African Republic, where Muslims and Christians engaged in a cycle of killings, disappearances, rape and torture.

There is also alarm at the rate of sexual violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians in places like Uganda and Russia, where new laws make harassment easier and more dangerous.

"We join with many other nations in reaffirming our commitment where speaking one’s mind does not lead to prosecution and where professing one’s love does not lead to persecution, a world where practicing one’s faith does not lead to imprisonment," said John Kerry.

The State Department reports even raise concerns about worker's rights, noting the garment factory fire in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 people.

"Despite documenting so much abuse and repression, U.S. officials insist there is hope pointing to the bravery of people in place like Ukraine, who took to the streets to stand up for change."

As for places where standing up remains a challenge, like Venezuela, Secretary Kerry said those who struggle will not be alone.

“The United States of America will continue to speak out, without a hint of arrogance or apology, on behalf of people who stand up for their universal rights," he said.

The diplomat saying reports like these on human rights abuses will help ensure those responsible will be held accountable.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NY
February 28, 2014 10:08 AM
In Tibet, the Chinese Communist Party has set up a giant police state on the Tibetan Plateau where Tibetans have no genuine freedom & are treated as 2nd class citizens by the authorities. Hundreds of Tibetans are in prison for the political/religious views and over 120 Tibetans have self-immolated against Chinese colonialism and oppression. It's a humanitarian crisis the world has ignored b/c of China's economic wealth.


by: pako from: pako
February 27, 2014 6:35 PM
Israel does to the Palestinians the Holocaust. So the Palestinians to fight Israel. Israel has sold a plot of the American language to justify this holocaust., And America was dragged to war and killed in these wars. America a huge advantage against Palestinians. Where in the World? Where is sanity? Why America will not impose sanctions on Israel?. Because interests?. America has fallen to the lies of Israel enough. America needs to work harder and start to take action against the crimes of Israel. America should not give up on the peace process. Kerry should keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Kerry did not need to address and take to heart the barking of the extreme right in Israel. Because that can not continue.


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
February 27, 2014 5:11 PM
The European Commision/Court of Human Rights was so corrupt there was even an Abba song about it. In Britain we have no human rights apart from just two clauses in Magna Carta to protect the people. "to no man sell, to no man deny right of justice"
I have witnessed denial of right of justice, also I have witnessed right of justice sold here.(Swift v Babergh district council in the royal courts of justice 1992)

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
February 28, 2014 6:31 AM
I agree there are many countries which call themselves advanced and modern democratized contries yet selling weapons to earn money and benefits for themselves to countires which can not help suffering domestic conflicts. To worse the matter, these countries disguise themselves as world police holding up the banner of justice. It is a pity that they are not aware of their immatuarity, selfishness, unilateral decision, pushing others to their own sense of value. They must feel ashamed and change their claims and attitude when they learn eastern thoughts for example Toism. Thank you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid