WASHINGTON - February 25 - The State Departments annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which was issued today, is considered by the US government to be a full and objective report on the current state of human rights in the world. However, many human rights organizations take issue with this claim.
According to the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), an association of over one hundred US-based organizations, whose founding members include the ACLU, the American Friends Service Committee, the Urban Justice Center, Columbia Law School, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Center for Economic and Social Rights, any report on the state of human rights in the world particularly in the context of the current war on terror must include a very large section on human rights violations taking place in the US to have any credibility.
The US government has lost the moral authority to issue proclamations on human rights problems in other countries while it continues to repress both ordinary Americans and nationals of other countries in the name of national security at home, said the USHRN.
More than 1,200 foreign nationals were detained by the US post-September 11th, many of whom were deprived of safeguards under international law. Some continue to be held in undisclosed locations to the consternation and anguish of their families. These dramatic and flagrant violations are occurring in the context of sustained general attacks on privacy, freedom of information and expression, due process, and economic and social rights, among others.
According to the USHRN, the Bush administration is taking a not in my backyard approach to human rights reporting its OK to criticize other countries, but not OK for those countries to question the Bush administrations practices.
This report will be seen around the world as a cynical attempt by the Bush administration to draw attention away from the more than 650 people still languishing in a legal black hole in Guantanamo Bay -- without real access to their families, a lawyer or human rights monitors -- and the upcoming military tribunals, which many in the international community believe will violate fundamental standards for fair trials.