Comment by the Information and Press Department on the annual report of the US Department of State on human rights practices in the world

Monday, 23 April 2018 07:20

Like its previous reports, the annual report of the US Department of State on human rights practices in the world released on April 20 abounds in politicised assessments and crude ideological clichés.

Depending on its categorical assessments of the “level of democracy” the report presents some countries as the main violators of human rights and some as countries that have embarked on a road of improvement. The report cynically assesses human rights practices, up to and including direct verbal attacks against the national authorities of sovereign states. Russia was not surprised at this approach because it is in line with the US policy of double standards on human rights when Washington judges other states by their loyalty to Washington’s foreign policy course and its methods of defending democracy and human rights.

As for Russia, we must state with regret that Washington has yet to shed its Russophobic stereotypes. Thus, the section on Russia was written in a negative light a priori and without considering Russia’s repeated well-grounded explanations of its positions on specific issues of human rights in the domestic arena.

As before, the authors of the report do not stop at using tricks that form a persevering negative attitude towards Russia as “the main human rights violator.” To add weight to this precept Washington uses a routine package of accusations that is largely lifted from previous reports and the “facts” tailored to them.

There is one more indicative element: responsibility for degrading human rights practices in Ukraine is being shifted to Russia. Moreover, and we believe this is unacceptable for a report that claims to be objective, it continues to be silent on the large-scale and crude violations of human rights in Ukraine. Nor does it call on Kiev to improve these practices, including the investigations into the arson attack on the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, which led to many victims, and the sniper attacks on Kiev’s Maidan Square. They were frozen with US tacit approval (this is further confirmed by the contents of the report).

In the meantime, the poor record of the United States on human rights, democracy and the rule of law is not covered in the report. It ignores mounting system-wide problems, including deep-rooted racial discrimination, the unprecedented scope of xenophobia and activities by extremist organisations. There is impunity for the inhuman treatment and torture under the CIA’s special programmes or for the mass-scale tapping of personal communications in the US and beyond. The report does not mention many other large challenges in this area.

It is time for the US to seriously deal with these urgent problems at home and finally heed the numerous persistent recommendations of relevant inter-governmental agencies and human rights champions rather than try to lecture those who do not need to be lectured.

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