The Daily News Egypt

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

- 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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Egypt