An­nual US hu­man rights re­port crit­i­cises vi­o­la­tions in Syria, Iran, Rus­sia, China

The Daily News Egypt - - News - By Mo­hammed El-Said

The US Depart­ment of State crit­i­cised, in its an­nual re­port on global hu­man rights in 2017, the sit­u­a­tion of hu­man rights in a num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing Egypt and Saudi Ara­bia.

The re­port, re­leased on Fri­day, men­tioned de­tails and sto­ries of abus­ing pris­on­ers, de­tain­ing jour­nal­ists, and child labour. It also high­lighted vi­o­la­tions against women, LGBT per­sons, abo­rig­i­nals, and re­li­gious mi­nori­ties.

The first such re­port re­leased dur­ing the pres­i­dency of Don­ald Trump ac­cused the gov­ern­ments of China, Rus­sia, Iran, North Korea, and Syria of vi­o­lat­ing hu­man rights and be­ing “forces of in­sta­bil­ity.”

“The most sig­nif­i­cant hu­man rights abuses in­cluded un­law­ful and ar­bi­trary killings by the gov­ern­ment and its al­lies re­sult­ing from atroc­i­ties they com­mit­ted dur­ing the con­flict, in­clud­ing the re­peated use of chem­i­cal weapons, in­clud­ing sarin and chlo­rine, against civil­ians,” the re­port said re­gard­ing Syria.

It also high­lighted the wide­spread use of “bar­rel bomb­ing” of civil­ians and res­i­den­tial ar­eas; sys­tem­atic at­tacks on civil­ian in­fra­struc­ture; at­tacks on med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties; ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions; rape, in­clud­ing of chil­dren, as a weapon of war; mas­sacres; and thou­sands of cases of torture, in­clud­ing sex­ual vi­o­lence.

Re­gard­ing Egypt, the re­port men­tioned that the 2014 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion “was ad­min­is­tered pro­fes­sion­ally and in line with the coun­try’s laws,” while it also ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cerns that gov­ern­ment lim­i­ta­tions on as­so­ci­a­tion, as­sem­bly, and ex­pres­sion con­strained broad po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion. The par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in 2015 was also pro­fes­sion­ally ad­min­is­tered in ac­cor­dance with the coun­try’s laws, the re­port said, but con­cerns were also ex­pressed about re­stric­tions on free­dom of peace­ful as­sem­bly, as­so­ci­a­tion, and ex­pres­sion, and their neg­a­tive ef­fect on the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate sur­round­ing the elec­tions.

The re­port cited sev­eral al­leged hu­man rights al­le­ga­tions in the coun­try, in­clud­ing vi­o­la­tions of pris­on­ers’ rights, in­clud­ing crim­i­nal “‘defama­tion of re­li­gion’ laws.”

The re­port also pointed to re­stric­tions on the press, in­ter­net, and aca­demic free­dom, as well as re­stric­tions on free­doms of as­sem­bly and as­so­ci­a­tion, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment con­trol over reg­is­tra­tion and fi­nanc­ing of NGOs. LGBT per­sons faced ar­rests, im­pris­on­ment, and de­grad­ing treat­ment, the re­port charged.

It also crit­i­cised what it re­ferred to as re­stric­tions on the me­dia and jour­nal­ists.

Mar­garet Azer, mem­ber of the hu­man rights com­mit­tee of the Egyp­tian House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, told Daily News Egypt that such re­ports lack sci­en­tific method­ol­ogy and do not men­tion cer­tain cases or dates, but gen­eral talk that makes it hard to be in­ves­ti­gated and re­sponded to.

Re­gard­ing blocked web­sites and raided news­pa­pers, Azer said that the com­mit­tee will read the re­port and re­spond to the points re­gard­ing the press. But she also added that those web­sites “pub­lished false news that in­cite pub­lic opin­ion [against the state] and pro­mote false thoughts, and the state has the right to at­tack them, and the Supreme Me­dia Coun­cil has the right to block the vi­o­lat­ing web­sites.”

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