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ICC Note: The State Department released global human rights report on April 20, calling out China, Russia, Iran and North Korea for their severe violation of human rights on a daily basis. The U.S. is particularly concerned about the efforts of Chinese authorities to eliminate the religious, linguistic and cultural identities of Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists, as well as restrictions on the worship of Christians.   

04/20/2018 United States (The Strait Times) – The United States labelled China, Russia, Iran and North Korea on Friday (April 20) as “morally reprehensible” governments that it said violated human rights within their borders on a daily basis, making them “forces of instability”.

In releasing the State Department’s global human rights report for 2017, acting Secretary of State John Sullivan also singled out Syria, Myanmar, Turkey and Venezuela as nations with a poor human rights record.

Improved human rights in Uzbekistan, Liberia and Mexico were global “bright spots,” Sullivan added.

Michael Kozak, a senior State Department official who helped oversee the report, said he did not think policies by President Donald Trump’s administration on freedom of the press, refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and other issues undermined the report or left the United States open to accusations of hypocrisy.

The governments of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea “violate the human rights of those within their borders on a daily basis and are forces of instability as a result,” Sullivan said in a preface to the congressionally mandated report that documents human rights in nearly 200 countries and territories.

Countries like these that restrict freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, allow and commit violence against religious, ethnic and other minority groups or undermine the people’s fundamental dignity “are morally reprehensible and undermine our interests,” Sullivan added.

Sullivan said Russia’s government “continues to quash dissent and civil society, even while it invades its neighbors and undermines the sovereignty of Western nations.”

“We once again urge Russia to end its brutal occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, to halt the abuses perpetrated by Russian-led forces in Ukraine’s Donbas region, and to address impunity for the human rights violations and abuses in the Republic of Chechnya,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the United States seeks to lead other nations by example in promoting just and effective governance based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

He said the right of peaceful assembly and freedoms of association and expression are “under attack almost daily” in Iran, drawing criticism from Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi.

The Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Qasemi as saying the report was “completely biased and politically motivated, and presented a distorted and unrealistic image of the conditions in Iran”.

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