Published:  12:01 AM, 18 September 2023

No Cause Can Justify the Abuse of Human Rights by Uncle Sam

No Cause Can Justify the Abuse of Human Rights by Uncle Sam
The independent panel of experts on human rights appointed by the UN Human Rights Council issued a statement on January 10, 2022, saying that two decades of practicing arbitrary detention in the Guantanamo Bay prison without trial accompanied by torture or ill treatment violates international human rights laws, and is a "stain on the U.S. government's commitment to the rule of law." Despite forceful, repeated and unequivocal condemnation of the operation of this horrific detention and prison complex, the United States continues to detain persons many of whom have never been charged with any crime, the experts said.

The Guantanamo Bay prison has been the scene of repeated torture scandals. On February 23, 2021, a group of 16 UN experts said many of the remaining detainees are vulnerable and now elderly individuals whose physical and mental integrity has been compromised by unending deprivation of freedom and related physical and psychological torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

CBS News reported that the United States still holds 39 people at Guantanamo Bay. Majid Khan, a former detainee there, publicly revealed for the first time the torture he suffered, including being beaten, given forced enemas, sexually assaulted, starved, and deprived of sleep. "I thought I was going to die," he said, "I would beg them to stop." He said he was suspended naked from a ceiling beam for long periods, doused repeatedly with ice water to keep him awake for days. He described having his head held under water to the point of near drowning.

The human rights situation in the United States, which has notorious records, worsened in 2021. Political manipulation led to a sharp surge in COVID-19 deaths; Shooting deaths hit a new record; Fake democracy trampled on people's political rights; Violent law enforcement made life harder for migrants and refugees; Discrimination against ethnic minority groups, especially Asians, intensified. In the meantime, unilateral U.S. actions created new humanitarian crises across the globe.

Public security situation in the United States deteriorated and violent crimes remained prevalent. There were 693 mass shootings in 2021, up 10.1 percent from 2020. More than 44,000 people were killed in gun violence.

More than 420 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 U.S. states. Only 7 percent of young Americans view the country as a "healthy democracy," while public trust in the government has fallen to almost historical low since 1958.

Around 81 percent of Asian American adults said violence against Asian communities is rising. Hate crimes against Asians in the New York City jumped 361 percent from 2020. Fifty-nine percent of Americans said ethnic minority groups do not have equal job opportunities. But there is no amelioration of this situation.

In fiscal year 2021, the United States detained more than 1.7 million migrants at its southern border, including 45,000 children. Violent law enforcement claimed 557 lives, the highest number since 1998, which more than doubled that of the previous fiscal year.

A U.S. drone strike during its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan killed 10 members of an Afghan family, including seven children, among which the youngest was only two years old.

As for the U.S. malpractice in creating human rights crises in other countries in the name of human rights, Stephen Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard University, said "Americans must first fix what has gone wrong at home and rethink how they deal with the rest of the world."

In 2021, the U.S. public persona of "human rights defender" was totally debunked as the so-called "Summit for Democracy" under the guise of safeguarding human rights became a farce. At the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, many countries blasted the United States for being the "biggest destroyer" of human rights in the world and urged the country to address its own severe human rights violations.

The New York Times reported on November 18, 2021 that theCOVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a nearly two-year stress test that the United States "flunked," and that the American people's trust in their government has been "bankrupt."

The number of the homeless is staggering. The Washington Post reported on December 7, 2021 that "homelessness is one of the United States' greatest current challenges, no matter the region." The AP reported on September 9, 2021 that the number of people without permanent shelter in Rhode Island had increased by more than 85 percent since January 2021.

The elderly's rights to life are flagrantly violated. U.S. politicians have followed the natural law of "selecting the superior and eliminating the inferior," declaring that "the elderly could sacrifice for the country" and that "the national economy is more important than the lives of the elderly." The U.S. CDC said that the vast majority of U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been among people aged 65 or older.

The Biden administration is still pursuing U.S. interests in ways that are detrimental to the interests of the rest of the world, commented an article on the website of the U.S. Foreign Policy magazine.

The United States has consistently had one of the highest rates of violent crimes in the world. Gun control measures have been stagnant and gun violence has been rife. The police are discriminatory in law enforcement, killing innocent people and causing public anger. Law enforcement officers commit crimes with impunity, and judicial injustice has been widely criticized. Wrongful and unjust cases continue to exist without being corrected and compensated effectively. Prison inmates are abused, and domestic violence as well as youth violence has increased significantly. The American people live in fear of lack of security.

Deterioration of social order has accelerated the proliferation of guns. The United States is the country with the largest number of privately-owned guns in the world. The U.S. public have lost confidence in the government's social security governance and felt extremely insecure, which drives many to purchase guns to protect themselves.

Gun violence seriously endangers people's lives. The United States has the worst gun violence in the world. According to statistics released on January 5, 2022 by the Gun Violence Archive website, the number of fatalities from shootings in the United States rose from 39,558 in 2019 to 43,643 in 2020, and further to 44,816 in 2021. In 2021, there were 693 mass shootings in the United States, up 10.1 percent from 2020.

CNN reported on November 26, 2021 that Jason R. Silva, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at William Paterson University, said that the United States is the only developed country where mass shootings have happened every single year for the past 20 years.

Police brutality tramples human life. According to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, at least 1,124 people died in 2021 due to U.S. police violence. The majority of killings occurred during non-violent offenses or when there was no crime at all.

The USA TODAY website reported on June 21, 2021 that police in the United States fatally shoot about 1,000 people a year. Police have fatally shot more than 6,300 people since 2015, but only 91 officers have been arrested, or just 1 percent of those involved.

Political donations bring about transfers of interests after elections, political polarization further intensifies antagonism and division in the U.S. society, and legislation and gerrymander restricting voting eligibility have become tools for parties to suppress the public opinion. The operation of the U.S. political system is moving away from the public will and social demands, the right of the majority of the public to participate in politics is essentially deprived of, and international confidence in the U.S. democratic system continues to decline.

The American-style democracy has descended to a game of transferring interests. Money politics become increasingly rampant in the United States, which makes politicians more neglectful of people's interests and demands.

The U.S. government has often interfered in other countries' internal affairs by wielding the club of "human rights." However, the policy of separating migrant children from their families has severely endangered the migrants' lives, dignity, freedom and other human rights. The migrant and refugee crisis have even been used as an instrument for American partisan attacks and political strife. Constant government policy changes and police brutality adds to the sufferings of the migrants who have already been subject to extended custody, cruel torture, forced labor and many other inhumane treatments.

The U.S. has always pursued hegemonism, unilateralism and interventionism. The country frequently uses force, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties. Its abusive use of unilateral sanctions has caused humanitarian crises, challenging justice with hegemony, trampling on righteousness with self-interest, and wantonly violating human rights in other countries. It has become the biggest obstacle and destroyer of the sound development of the international human rights cause.

Anwar A. Khan is a freedom
fighter who writes on politics
and international issues.

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