By Zhong Sheng
What has the U.S. contributed to global human rights cause as certain people in the U.S. have kept pointing fingers at the human rights situation in other countries? Frequently declaring wars and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, the U.S. is the creator of numerous severe humanitarian disasters in the world and its human right records are bad.
The State Council Information Office of China recently issued a report on the human rights situation in the U.S. titled The Record of Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2019. The irrefutable facts in the report show the world that the U.S., though burdened by domestic human right issues, has kept trampling on human rights in other countries and pursuing hegemony in the name of human rights, creating a large number of human rights disasters.
U.S. militarism has led to chaos and serious humanitarian disasters. In a speech delivered in June 2019, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter pointed out that the United States had only enjoyed 16 years of peace in its more than 200-year history, making the country “the most warlike nation in the history of the world.”
The United States had been at war for decades, including the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and so on. These wars caused large casualties and aggravated the situation of terrorism in those countries.
The estimated cost of the United States’ global war on terror since late 2001 stood at 6.4 trillion U.S. dollars and it was estimated that up to 801,000 people have died in post-9/11 wars, according to reports released by the Costs of War project based at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University in 2019.
Statistics showed that the Afghanistan war claimed the lives of more than 40,000 civilians and around 11 million Afghan people became refugees. More than 200,000 civilians died in the Iraq war and around 2.5 million became refugees. The death toll of civilians in the Syrian war surpassed 40,000 while 6.6 million fled the country.
The U.S. adopted the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, but it was the culprit of the worsening immigration problems in the Americas. The families in the migrant caravans trudging toward the U.S. border are trying to escape a hell that the U.S. has helped to create. Hegemony worshippers in the U.S. are obsessed with wars and killing and don’t care about the right to survival and development of tens of millions of people.
The U.S. unilateral sanctions have grossly infringed on human rights in other countries. At present, the novel coronavirus epidemic is spreading globally. Working together to fight the epidemic and maintaining global public health security is the proper approach to promote human rights development. However, the United States has gone the other way by continuing to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran. Such practice has violated the humanitarian spirit.
In the book Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions, U.S. scholar Joy Gordon said that “what we should know from Iraq is this: that causing destitution in distant lands does not make the world a better place, or make the United States, or anyone else, more secure.”
Waving the big stick of sanctions, the U.S. is trampling on the human rights of other countries.
According to a report by the United Nations on May 28, 2019 titled Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba, the economic and commercial embargo in almost six decades was a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans.
In a statement published by the UN website on Aug. 8, 2019, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet pointed out that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela would have far-reaching implications on the rights to health and to food in a country where there were already serious shortages of essential goods.
At the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council on Sept 9, 2019, the U.S. unilateral sanctions were condemned by representatives of relevant countries and non-government organizations. However, the U.S. turned a deaf ear to the call of justice from the international society, and took human rights as a bargaining chip to punish other countries, which is typical political bullying.
The U.S. has been wantonly pursuing unilateralism. It bragged about its human rights situation and shirked international responsibilities. At the crucial moment when the world is fighting against the coronavirus, the U.S. announced to cut its funding to the WHO by half in the 2021 fiscal budget.
In recent years, the United States withdrew from multilateral mechanisms out of its own interest, including the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the UN Global Compact on Migration, and refused to ratify multiple key international human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The U.S. bullying actions have threatened international institutions. John Bolton, former U.S. national security adviser, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, warned in September 2018 and in March 2019 respectively that if the International Criminal Court (ICC) went ahead with investigating personnel from the United States and its allies on their crimes in the war in Afghanistan, the United States would impose retaliatory measures against the personnel that were directly responsible for the investigations such as a ban on their entry to the United States, fund freeze and even economic sanctions on the ICC.
Adopting UN human right rules that fit its own interests and abandoning those that don’t, the U.S. has become a stain on international human rights cause with its double-standard practices.
The self-touted world human rights “defender” couldn’t hide the truth that it has adopted double standards on human rights issues and used them to maintain hegemony. International morality and human conscience cannot be violated; international human rights cause is not a pie in the sky, and it marches forward only when countries work to promote common development and prosperity.
The U.S. is advised to lay down arrogance and prejudice, seriously face up to and examine its own serious human rights issues, stop making troubles in the world under the guise of human rights and stop the hegemonic actions that create human rights disasters, and fulfil its international human rights obligations.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)
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