July 11, 2012

THE UNITED STATES IN HUMAN RIGHT STANDARDS

THE UNITED STATES IN HUMAN RIGHT STANDARDS

PART IV | Human Rights Violation Through Gender Inequality and Racial Discrimination
When talking about the right to equality and justice, having already seen the situation of the US within the context of education, this case is not any different.

When it comes to dignity, rights or justice one doesn’t necessarily have to see them in terms of different standards, because the US’ history of human rights is not that blurred. In fact, its record has been marred by differences between black and white, rich and poor, citizen and alien, religious affiliations and others.

In the course of time, America has been seen drafting policies that contradicted with the right to equality, but not once has it attempted to nullify them. To mention a few:

The Alien and Enemies Sedition Act 1798, authorizing the apprehension and deportation of resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States, remains intact today.

The Espionage Sedition Act 1917, 1918, criminalized any support to U.S. enemies during wartime and different forms of speech, including “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States.

Operation Garden Plot 1798 authorizes the military and law enforcement forces to crush down any major civil disturbances that pose a threat to the government.

Executive Order 12656 1988: consenting to federal reconnaissance over its citizens and those of other countries, including limiting their movements.

Executive Order 9066, 12148 1942 & 1979: authorizing the detention, deportation and killing… These and other laws, used as pretexts for committing all sorts of human rights violations, are abundant.

The US has so far declined to sign the following treaties: Protocol of Civil and Political Rights, Protocol of Convention against Torture, Protocol of the Rights of All Immigrants, and other treaties opposing the production of unconventional weapons.

All these attest to the country’s way of dealing with human rights.

Renowned black American activist, Martin Luther King, delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech over 40 years ago, weeping of the atrocities committed against black Americans. But that dream has not yet come true for the black Americans. They know the reason very well: US administrations lack the will, and knowledge, to realize that dream.

Racial discrimination persists to this day in the same manner as that during the slavery times. The symbol of justice in American courtrooms depicts a blindfolds and scales bearing arms: this was done to symbolize the delivery of justice equally to all rich and poor, black and white, regardless of gender or religious affiliation. But the justice given to blacks and whites today is different, with the blacks receiving two or three times more punishments than the whites.

The US, known as the “Prison Island,” has about 37 million inmates. Although it’s wise to refer to additional sources, we concluded that the Us’ own reports are enough so we are presenting the facts as
they are. Blacks make up 13% of the total American population, 42% of those in prison, and 53% of those in jail for possession of narcotics and illegal drugs.

The problem lies not only in the imprisonment, but also in the inhuman tortures inside prisons. Examples of mistreatment include leaving prisoners naked and exposed in extreme conditions; use of prisoners as human targets; depriving them food; solitary confinement; exposing detainees to deafening sounds… the list goes on.

21% of inmates, whether males or females, are essentially raped or sexually abused by those guarding them. The United States is the only country in the world allowing sentencing of young adolescents (13 year-olds) to life imprisonment. In contrast to the general belief that America is a country where citizens can freely voice criticism about public offices, in 2011 only, 98% of the police brutality complaints were rejected by the Department of Internal Affairs.

In its May 2010 publication, the New York Times disclosed that the number of blacks held up by suspicion and interrogated by police in the streets was nine times more that than of whites.

According to a study conducted in 2003, the number of Americans suffering from hunger and unemployment is on the rise. 5.2% of whites are unemployed compared to twice that number (10.4 %) of unemployed black Americans. Moreover, 24.2% of black Americans live in destitute poverty while another 20.2% don’t have medical insurance.

When comparing the annual income of a white middle class family with that of Black Americans, the latter is 40% lower. Over 70% of the high level job positions are held by whites, while the black and their likes usually have low-income and very demanding (physically) jobs. About 87% of job opportunities in America don’t apply to blacks.

At jobs where both blacks and whites have the same level of education, capacity and physical aptitude, the black’s daily wage is 6 dollars lower than that of his fellow white colleague.

The policy of bus segregation among blacks and whites that was said to have ended following the Montgomery Bus Boycott movement (1955 -1956), has taken another dimension now 60 years later. In places densely populated by blacks, bus fares increase with decrease in number of buses and declining services; while in the whites’ areas, the fares are cheaper and the services better. This is in itself a good example of how separated the blacks and whites are even in terms of their residential neighborhoods.

Without having to go back to old examples, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the US Administration not only did it alienate the over 134,000 mostly black victims, but didn’t even bother to provide assistance of any kind.

People might hear American women have equal rights as their male counterparts, but in reality, the opposite is true. For every man and woman with the same age, level of education and physical fitness, the women don’t get equal job opportunities. For every dollar pay, men get 77 cents as opposed to the 33 cents women get. This means women’s salary declines annually by 10,784 USD from that of men.

It’s not easy to come up with names for some of the discriminatory laws drafted by the US administration. Women are for instance made to pay “Gender Tax,” which demands a 22.6% of their daily income. When women appealed for the revoking of the law that promoted such differences, and called for equal pay, the fact that senate rejected their appeal is an indication of the country’s stance on gender equality.

Making up 20% of the army, women fall victim to 20,000 rape cases every year.

These images are only a drop from the ocean of the human rights violations through gender inequality and racial discrimination.

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