World News

US Alleges Widespread Global Human Rights Violations

The U.S. is alleging that too many governments around the world are tightening controls on free expression and using repressive laws to "deny citizens their universal human rights."

In the annual U.S. look at global human rights, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that many governments are engaging in politically motivated prosecutions and using new technologies to control dissent, whether in public squares or through various types of technology.

Kerry singled out several governments he said have abused the human rights of their countrymen, including Syria, Russia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Bangladesh and the recently ousted government in Ukraine. He said 80 governments around the world have enacted laws discriminating against homosexuals.

He said the U.S. record on human rights, where slavery was legal in the 1800s, is not perfect, but that it stands for the advance of human dignity.



"We join with many other nations in reaffirming our commitment to a world 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 or changing one's faith does not lead to imprisonment and where marching peacefully in the streets does not get you beaten up in a blind alley or even killed in plain sight."



The chief U.S. diplomat said that countries that commit human rights violations and fail to hold officials accountable for abuses are acting against their own best interest, as well as those of the United States.

Kerry said that violent extremism and crime take root in countries where human rights are denied, which in turn contributes to instability, insecurity and economic deprivation.



The report said the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has engaged in "systematic and widespread use of torture," carried our massacres and displaced and starved people during nearly three years of fighting in the Mideast country.

The State Department said Russia has "continued its crackdown on dissent that began after Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency." It said Moscow also adopted anti-gay laws and used laws against extremism to prosecute religious minorities.

The human rights report alleged that in China repression against civil and political rights organizations are routine and that increasingly officials have harassed relatives and associates of rights advocates.

It said that Cuba has largely dropped travel restrictions that prevented people from leaving the island nation. But the report said Cuba has denied the passport requests for some opposition figures or harassed them as they returned to Cuba.

The State Department said that in Egypt both the government of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and the interim military government have engaged in human rights violations.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs