The World Weighs In! Human Rights Matters In America

Around the world there seems to be a growing consensus that the United States is not exactly a role model for human rights, and that it should not be interfering in the humanitarian matters of other countries.Как отделать дом сайдингом

Based on national and international reports from noted journalists, publications, and organizations, here’s a sample of what the world has to say about the recent internal conflict in the United States.

North Korea

A December 16, 2014 article from Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled: North Korea: Third Anniversary of Kim Jong Il Death: A Legacy of Mass Atrocity, Famine, Executions, Forced Labor, notes that “in February 2014, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry found that the North Korean government, under the rule of Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, and Kim Jong-Un, committed systematic human right abuses that the UN described as being without parallel in the contemporary world.”

As a result of the findings of human rights atrocities, the United Nations’ (UN) Human Rights Council, and third committee of the UN’s General Assembly, adopted resolutions to “take action to ensure international accountability for crimes against humanity committed by successive North Korea governments, possibly by referring North Korea leaders to the International Criminal Court.”

The UN Security Council is expected to debate the human rights situation in North Korea for the first time, which the Guardian notes, is expected to take place on December 22 or 23, 2014.

In spite of its noted egregious human rights crimes and unprecedented international backlash, North Korea hasn’t been dissuaded from weighing in on internal matters in the United States (U.S.), and from calling for investigations into what North Korea perceives as human rights crimes by the U.S.

Following the Ferguson situation, where an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a white police officer, the Democratic People’s Republic 0f Korea (DPRK) Foreign Ministry Spokesman criticizes:

“The U.S. is, indeed, a country wantonly violating the human rights where people are subject to discrimination and humiliation due to their races and they are seized with such horror that they do not know when they are shot to death.”

KCNA, a North Korea state news agency, says to the U.S.: “You have your own human rights problems, so stop criticizing us.”

KCNA further states: “the U.S. has ‘suffered disgrace’ from Ferguson,” and has become ‘a laughing stock of the world.’” (Washington Post)

North Korea offers some advice to the United States:

‘The U.S. had better honestly accept the unanimous accusations of the broad international community and mind its own business, instead of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.’ (Washington Post)

‘It [United States] should not seek solutions to its problems in suppressing demonstrators, but bring to light the real picture of the American society, a graveyard of human rights, and have a correct understanding of what genuine human rights are like and how they should be guaranteed.’ (Washington Post)

North Korea defends against the criminal findings of its regime, and calls for an investigation into U.S.’s human rights matters, particularly regarding the recent US Senate intelligence committee’s report detailing torturous interrogations of terror detainees during the George W Bush administration. The Washington Post reports that Ja Song-nam, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations states:

“The so-called ‘human rights issue’ in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is politically fabricated and, therefore, it is not at all relevant to the regional or international peace and security,”

“On the contrary, the recently revealed CIA torture crimes committed by the United States, which have been conducted worldwide in the most brutal medieval forms, are the gravest human rights violations in the world.” North Korea’s ambassador requested that the council take up the issue with a view to establishing “a thorough probe into the CIA torture crimes”.

Since the U.S. has veto power over the UN Security council, we would all likely agree that the council’s taking up of such issues is…well….unlikely.

China

In an article entitled: Commentary: Ferguson riot reveals U.S. racial divide, human rights flaw, Xinhua writer Li Li notes that in an annual human rights report issued by the U.S. in February, the United States assaulted almost 200 countries across the world for their so-called poor human rights records. As such, Chinese officials opine:

“The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even if in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home.”

“It is undeniable that racial discrimination against African Americans or other ethnic minorities, though not as obvious as in the past, still persists in every aspect of U.S. social lives, including employment, housing, education, and particularly, justice.”

“Despite the progress, racial divide still remains a deeply-rooted chronic disease that keeps tearing U.S. society apart, just as manifested by the latest racial riot in Missouri.”

China offers advice to the U.S.:

“Each country has its own national conditions that might lead to different social problems. Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.”

Further, “in a highly-mixed society like the United States, such racial inequalities could only jeopardize social peace and security. It is highly advisable for the country to make extra efforts to effectively uproot racism in all fields so as to prevent tragedies from recurring.”

Human Rights Watch.org reports that “China’s human rights activists often face imprisonment, detention, torture, commitment to psychiatric facilities, house arrest, and intimidation.” Human Rights Watch.org also notes that China “leads the world in executions.”

Jonathan Adelman, a professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver points out in USNews that China’s quality of life is poor, and that over 60% of the wealthiest Chinese want to leave the country.

Germany

Germany too has found itself compelled to cast opinion on race and police matters in the United States. Adam Taylor and Rick Novack of the Washington Post note that Zeit Online, a centrist news site recently reported:

‘the situation of African Americans has barely improved since Martin Luther King,’ and that the ‘dream of a post-racist society, which flared up after the election of [President] Obama, seems further away than ever before.’

Taylor and Noack also note that Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the biggest newspapers in Germany, “singled out the U.S. president for his failures” as it noted: ‘It seems like mockery that [Obama] is still called the most powerful man on earth.’

Taylor and Novack further refer to an article by Spiegel Online, a centrist, left-leaning publication, where Marcel Kuhlmey, an academic who studies police reactions, stated that in Germany, ‘weapons are the last resort, but in the U.S. police officers make use of them much faster.’ Kuhlmey also noted that the ‘last time the German police owned assault rifles [which are being used in Ferguson] was during the Cold War.’

With regard to the police killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson Missouri, Kuhlmey concluded: ‘police officers ‘would never proceed like this in Germany.’

Iran

According to British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports, Iran joined the criticism against the U.S., “with Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the deputy foreign minister for European and American Affairs, saying the unrest was a sign of ‘the phenomenon of racism’ in the West.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has even chimed in tweeting:

“Brutal treatment of black ppl isn’t indeed the only anti-human rights act by US govt; look at US’s green light to #Israel’s crimes.”

“Look at how US govt treats black community! It’s not about 50-100 years ago but it’s about today!”

“Racial discrimination is still a dilemma in the US.”

Notably, the U.S. has previously sanctioned the Islamic Republic for violating the rights of women, gay people and political dissenters.

Egypt

Aljazeera, a Doha, Quatar based media outlet highlighted a report released by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization, which accused Egyptian security forces of “systematically and deliberately killing protesters at a sit-in at Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square in August 2013.” HRW noted that “up to a thousand supporters of the former president, Mohamed Morsi, were killed in the clashes.”

Egypt subsequently introduced laws preventing demonstrations that did not have clearance from authorities.

In spite of Egypt’s approach to protesters, and in spite of the fact that (according to the BBC), Egypt gets about $1.5 billion in aid from the US every year, “Egypt’s government has called on US authorities to show restraint against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.”

Egypt noted that it was “closely following the escalation of protests” in the U.S.

Aljazeera also reported that “Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, Badr Abdel-Aty, hoped investigations would reveal the truth about ‘Mike Brown’s murder.’”

Russia

Taylor and Novack of the Washington Post refer to Svobodnaya Pressa, a popular Russian news website which ran an article calling the Ferguson protests “AfroMaidan,” in reference to Euromaidan protests in Kiev, Ukraine, earlier in 2014.

In that Svobodnaya Pressa article, “Sergei Bespalov, the docent of the humanities division of the Russian Academy of Agriculture and State Service, attributes the events in Ferguson in part to the ‘fact’ that white Americans have ‘prejudice towards African-Americans … in their blood.’”

Taylor and Novack also refer to a Moscow based Washington Post report which notes: “the riots in Ferguson ‘provide an opportunity, in this era of sanctions and new Cold War-style sentiments, to accuse America of being a giant hypocrite.’” “Russian state television has warned President Obama that ‘the problem may soon become national.’”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that a 2012 law in Russia requires Non Governmental Organizations that are “receiving foreign funding and conducting broadly defined ‘political activity’ to register as ‘foreign agents,’ effectively demonizing them as foreign spies.”

HRW further notes that in June 2013, “parliament unanimously adopted a law banning promotion among children of ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships,’ meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) relationships Violators risk stiff fines, and in the case of foreigners, up to 15 days’ detention and deportation.”

Also, in June 2013, “President Vladimir Putin signed a law imposing a maximum three-year prison sentence for publicly ‘insult[ing] the feelings of religious believers.’”

Further, “parliament was debating a bill to ban criticism challenging the fairness of Nuremberg Trial judgments or actions of anti-Hitler coalitions, with a maximum three-year prison sentence. Doing so in the media or while holding a public office carries a harsher criminal penalty of up to five years in prison.”

Also, “the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had issued over 200 judgments (monetary) holding Russia responsible for grave human rights violations in Chechnya.”

Imprisoned activists are sometimes held “incommunicado.”

According to the BBC, in 2009, “nearly 60% of black and African people living in Russia’s capital Moscow have been physically assaulted in racially motivated attacks.”

So Russia hereby acknowledges race relations in the U.S. and gives advice.

The New York Times reports that Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s commissioner for “human rights, democracy and rule of law acknowledged “the high degree of tension in U.S. society, which remains split along racial lines,” and said that regarding race relations:

“the U.S. “should take care of large-scale internal problems and take effective measures to resolve them.”

I wonder what he means by “take care of” and “take effective measures!”

Canada

As further reported by Taylor and Novack in the Washington Post, David Butt, a lawyer writing for Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper with a conservative bent, noted:

“The sad events in the St. Louis suburb give us the opportunity to ponder how we do things differently, and to realize how comparatively well things work here.”

United Nations

ABC News reports that Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, reported that with respect to the matter in Ferguson Missouri, the Secretary General called on U.S. authorities “to ensure that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are protected.”

The Secretary General further “calls on all to exercise restraint, [and] for law enforcement officials to abide by U.S. and international standards in dealing with demonstrators.”

In spite of the United State’s relationship with any of the aforementioned countries, and regardless of the perception of truth, falsity, and/or the intentions of their statements, I guess the real message here is……the world is watching!