According to the US State Department, the governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea are “morally reprehensible” because they violate the human rights of their citizens and others and are “forces of instability”. Presenting the US foreign policy annual report on the human rights situation in countries around the world in 2017, the Secretary-General John Sullivan reminded that the new US National Security Strategy has recognized that corrupt and weak governance jeopardizes global security and US interests .
“Some governments are unable to maintain security and meet the basic needs of their peoples and others simply do not want”, said John Sullivan. “The countries that restrict freedom of speech and peaceful assembly that allow and commit violence against members of religious, ethnic and other minority groups or impair the dignity of the person, are morally reprehensible and undermine our interests”, added he.
In his words, the governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, for example, violate the human rights of people on a daily basis, resulting in instability.
John Sullivan explicitly pointed out Syria, Myanmar, Turkey and Venezuela as countries where the human rights situation is bad. As “bright spots” where the situation has improved, he boasted Uzbekistan, Liberia and Mexico.
The United States is striving to lead other countries through their example in promoting fair and effective governance based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, and will continue to support those in the world who are fighting for human dignity and freedom, according to the Secretary-General of the US State Department.
This is the first annual report, made entirely by the Trump team. In it, the sections on “reproductive rights” introduced in 2012 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were replaced by “compulsion to control the population”. This change highlights the position of Trump’s Anti-Abortion Administration, which has already found expression in cutting funding for international health programs and has been criticized by women’s rights advocates.
The report criticizes China for arbitrary arrests, executions without due process and forced evictions, kidnappings and significant restrictions on freedom of speech, the media, assembly, association, religion and movement. The country is also accused of pursuing a policy of forced birth control, which in some cases involves sterilization and abortion.
“China continues to spread the worst features of its authoritarian system”, said John Sullivan.
The report sharply criticized Russia for allowing a “climate of impunity” for human rights violations. He regrets the “authoritarian political system dominated by President Vladimir Putin”.
The list of Russia’s offenses is long – from systemic torture, through the “lack of independence of the judiciary” and repression against journalists and political dissidents to censorship on the Internet and foreign organizations. Sullivan called “once again for Russia to put an end to the brutal occupation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula, to stop the abuses of Russia-led forces in Donbass, Ukraine, and to (take action against) impunity for human rights abuses and abuses in the Chechen Republic”.
Prior to the expected historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the report criticized the closed communist party for “unhappy human rights violations” in almost all categories. Labor and abortion, torture, arbitrary arrest, extrajudicial killings, strict control over the privacy of citizens, and the presence of political prisoners. Continued impunity is also mentioned as a problem.
The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of widespread atrocities, including chemical weapons attacks on civilians, hunger-striving civilians, raids against hospitals, torture and child rape as a “military weapon”.
Despite the rough tone for Iran, the report is more moderate to Saudi Arabia – another country that is ruled according to a strict version of Islamic law. The State Department of the United States marks unconfirmed violations similar to those in Iran, including unjustified executions, lack of free and fair elections, and discrimination against women and homosexuals.
The report makes soft criticism of Saudi Arab military intervention in the Yemeni conflict, which is blamed for a large number of civilian casualties.