Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, March 08, 2007

U.S. State Department report addresses human rights throughout world

In an analysis of how governments worldwide handle the “non-negotiable demands of human dignity,” as President Bush calls them, the U.S. State Department, in its annual report released Tuesday, declared the genocide in Darfur as the world’s gravest human rights abuse in 2006. Certain aspects of the report were highlighted by the International Herald Tribune the same day.

Among the 44 pages on the situation in Iraq, abuses included: government corruption; police involvement in the disappearances and torture of prisoners; and increasing violence, including “targeted Sunnis in large-scale death squads and kidnapping activities.” Though human rights abuses continued in Afghanistan, the report notes that last year police were monitored more closely and were better trained.

The report was released in the middle of, or just days before, talks with countries whose handling of human rights was strongly criticized, including Sudan, North Korea and Iran. Not all countries received negative feedback, however. Among others, Liberia was recognized for President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s dismissal of corrupt officials; Congo for its first democratic elections in 45 years; and Indonesia for its reduction in “killings by the armed forces and the police in politically sensitive areas.”

In an unusual occurrence, the report even critiqued the U.S. government’s handling of terror suspects. “Our democratic system is not infallible, but is accountable,” the report said. Additionally, Barry Lowenkron, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, remarked, “We recognize that we are issuing this report at a time when our own record and actions we have taken to respond to the terrorist attacks against us have been questioned. We will continue to respond to the concerns of others.”

For the full article, click here.
For the U.S. State Department’s 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights, click here.


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