<\body> Stories in America: U.S. Foreign Policy Hinders Human Rights Work Worldwide

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

U.S. Foreign Policy Hinders Human Rights Work Worldwide

From Amnesty International:
In response to the Department of State’s release today of its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Amnesty International said that while the reports recognize the plight of human rights defenders around the world, they fail to acknowledge that U.S. foreign policy may have exacerbated conditions for many of these brave individuals. In the name of national security, the Bush administration continues to turn a blind eye to many instances of abuse by countries cited by the State Department for appalling human rights records.

“Today’s reports provide useful data that should be factored into foreign policy decisions,” said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA executive director. “However, if the Bush administration persists in allowing other considerations to trump human rights concerns, the real-world impact of these reports will be greatly diminished.”

“There are many countries listed in these reports that have questionable human rights records, including Turkey, India, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia,” said Cox. “The United States can, in its capacity as a major donor, provide the leadership to help end abuse around the globe. However, for meaningful change to occur, the Bush administration must not only give lip service to condemn the abuses, but also must refuse to conduct business as usual with repressive governments.

“While Amnesty International welcomes the reports’ emphasis on accountability, until the United States changes its own policies of holding detainees indefinitely, in secret prisons and without basic rights, it cannot credibly be viewed as a world human rights leader,” added Cox. “Human rights abuses must not be hidden behind a façade of national security rhetoric.”

Amnesty International and others have reported that the United States is believed to have transferred, “rendered” or “disappeared” more than one hundred detainees in the war on terror to countries that the report cites for torture or ill-treatment of detainees. Some detainees are believed to be held in a labyrinth of secret prisons around the globe run by the United States government in collusion with regimes that have problematic human rights records.


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