Friday, March 10, 2006

Spotlight On Human Rights

Here's some information of which you may be unaware.
US on human rights: Laugh yourself to death

It's that time of year for the US State Department's annual comedy classic, the "Country Reports" on human rights. Funnily enough, Iran is now among the worst offenders, along with Cuba, home to the US's own Guantanamo Bay prison for those not charged with any crime. But Iraq - great news - has seen a significant improvement, Abu Ghraib and Shi'ite death squads notwithstanding. Rib-tickling stuff - especially, no doubt, for US captives who have been "rendered" for torture.

Maybe you knew all that already. Perhaps you also saw the humour in it. You could very well have anticipated Iraq's spectacular improvement, but that isn't the info I thought you might not know.

This is.
As in the past, this year's edition does not address rights conditions in the United States or in US-controlled facilities overseas, such as detention centers at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba and in Afghanistan where Washington has been holding suspects in its "war on terror" in conditions that some human-rights monitors, including several UN special rapporteurs, have said amount to "torture".

That's right. In all these years, the US has not been cited in the report because it is intentionally omitted. Rather arrogant, no?
"The United States government considers itself a moral leader on human-rights issues, but its record of indefinite and arbitrary detentions, secret 'black sites', and outsourced torture in the 'war on terror' turns it from leader to human-rights violator," Schulz [director of the US section of Amnesty International] said.

To be fair, the report has been published since 1976, so both political parties are to blame for the omission of the US. I agree with the critics who say the US is being hypocritical to produce such a report and not critically look inward.

(read more)


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