Why the United States’ Human Rights Report is MeaninglessOn October 25, 2019 by Ann Brown
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, the United States this week submitted a human rights report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. The report singled out such failures such as high unemployment, hate crimes, poverty, and discrimination against minorities, gays, and lesbians.
Worst of all, however, is how self-congratulatory and meaningless this report is.
The State Department had this to say in its press release: “The United States is proud of its record on human rights and the role our country has played in advancing human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world.”
That’s a very interesting statement, as the U.N. Human Rights Council members include some of the world’s most repressive countries: Iran, China, Russia, and Burma. As if anticipating this criticism, the administration in the report said its participation did not express “commonality with states that systematically abuse human rights.”
There are many areas where the United States needs to address its human rights record. Instead of demonstrating a commitment to reform, it acts with hypocrisy. For example, last November the White House hosted a summit with leaders of Tribal Nations. But the United States is one of only four countries (out of 155) to vote against the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Of course, there are other core domestic human rights issues, including the criminal justice system and death penalty, immigration detention policy, and the many violations committed in the name of counterterrorism.
With the release of this report, the U.S. has accomplished one thing at least: getting its paperwork in on time.