AFRICANGLOBE – The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as the world judge of human rights again. As in previous years, the reports are full of carping and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions.
However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it. Facts show that there are serious human rights problems in the U.S. which incur extensive criticism in the world. The Human Rights Record of the U.S. in 2012 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the U.S. to people across the world by simply laying down some facts.
The human rights situation in the U.S. in 2012 has deeply impressed people in the following aspects:
– Firearms-related crimes posed serious threat to the lives and personal security of citizens in the U.S. Some shootings left astonishing casualties, such as the school shooting in Oakland, the Century 16 theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.
– In the U.S., elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributions have, to a great extent, influenced the electoral procedures and policy direction. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.
– In the U.S., citizens’ civil and political rights were further restricted by the government. The government expanded the scope of eavesdropping and censoring on personal telecommunications. The police often abused their power, resulting in increasing complaints and charges for infringement upon civil rights. The proportion of women in the U.S. who fell victim to domestic violence and sexual assault kept increasing.
– The U.S. has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gaps. In 2011, the Gini index was 0.477 in the U.S. and about 9 million people were registered as unemployed, about 16.4 million children lived in poverty and, for the first time in history, public schools reported more than 1 million homeless children and youth.
– There was serious sex, racial and religious discrimination in the U.S. Indigenous people suffered serious racial discrimination and their poverty rate doubled the national average.
– The U.S. seriously infringed upon human rights of other nations. In 2012, U.S. military operations in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan caused massive civilian casualties. U.S. soldiers had also severely blasphemed against local residents’ religion by burning copies of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and insulting bodies of the dead. There has been a huge rise in birth defects in Iraq since the war against Iraq with military actions in which American forces used metal contaminant-releasing white phosphorus shells and depleted uranium bombs.
– The U.S. was not able to effectively participate in international cooperation on human rights. To date, the U.S. remains a country which has not participated in or ratified a series of core U.N. conventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
U.S.-Led Military Operations Bring Forth Ecological Disasters to Other Countries
Military operations led by the United States have brought forth ecological disasters to other nations such as a huge rise in birth defects, says the report on the U.S. human rights record.
An article posted on the website of the Independent cited a study that reported a “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war, says the report, titled “the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012,” which was released by China’s State Council Information Office.
The study found that in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which saw two of the heaviest battles during the Iraq war, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010.
Before the war, the figure was more like one in 10. More than 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from the previous 10 percent, according to figures of the study cited by the report.
The report also quotes Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, as saying that the Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007. “The war emits more than 60 percent of all countries,” Kretzmann said.
U.S.-Led Wars Cause Massive Civilian Casualties
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both started by the United States, have caused massive civilian casualties, says the report.
From 2001 to 2011, the U.S.-led “war on terror” killed between 14,000 and 110,000 per year, the report cites an article on the website of Stop the War Coalition as saying.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tallied at least 10,292 non-combatants killed from 2007 to July 2011.
The Iraq Body Count project records approximately 115,000 civilians killed in the cross-fire from 2003 to August 2011, according to the report.
Beyond the two states under occupation, the “War on Terror” has spilled into a number of neighboring countries, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing a great many civilians there, it says.
In addition, a news report posted on BBC’s website pointed at recurrent U.S. drone attacks in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the report. “Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians,” the report quotes an article on the website of the Daily Mail as saying.
U.S. Women Victims of Discrimination, Poverty, Sexual Violence
Women in the United States are facing discrimination in employment and more vulnerable to poverty and violence, with some falling victim to sexual assault, says the report.
The U.S. remains one of a few countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, says the report.
Women made up about two-thirds of all workers in the U.S. who were paid minimum wage or less in 2011 and 61 percent of full-time minimum wage workers, the report says, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
On average, women have to work as far as April 17 into 2012 to catch up with what men earned in 2011, it says.
Pregnant women and new mothers face the danger of being forced out of the workplace, according to the report.
A Houston mother was reportedly fired from her job at a collection agency after asking to bring a breast pump into the office so she’d have plenty of fresh breast milk for her newborn. A new Connecticut mom said her new employer asked her to resign after she told them she was pregnant.