Report assails US on human rights
Updated: 2015-05-13 07:42
The United States has long blamed other countries for violating human rights, but 122 United Nations member states and some 100 related domestic and international organizations said this week that the US itself has a number of human rights problems that violate international benchmarks of equality, justice and protection.
These include the use of capital punishment; racial, religious and sexual profiling and discrimination; excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies; torture; and hate crimes.
More than 70 points of concern - and related recommendations - were raised in a report prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights dealing with problems ranging from the administration of justice, migrant rights and environmental issues, to counterterrorism practices.
Human Rights Watch, an NGO, has cataloged a number of US shortcomings on treaty ratification, national security, criminal justice and privacy since the first periodic review took place in November 2010.
One topic under review is racial profiling and the excessive use of force by law enforcement following events in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and in Baltimore, Maryland, this year.
The human rights high commissioner urged the US in 2014 to examine how race-related issues were affecting law enforcement and justice administration at federal and state levels.
The US Department of Justice has reported opening more than 20 investigations into police departments, with 254 police officers convicted over the last five years.
Another issue cited is the failure to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison facility in Cuba.
The United States is also one of two countries in the world not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, though it has signed and ratified two optional protocols relating to children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
The Human Rights Committee also condemned the use of targeted killings carried out by unmanned aircraft in extraterritorial counterterrorism operations and urged the US to disclose criteria used for drone strikes, as well as the legal basis for such attacks.
The Universal Periodic Review working group is expected to adopt the recommendations made to the United States later this week.