June 30, 2012

UNITED STATES IN HUMAN RIGHT STANDARDS

UNITED STATES IN HUMAN RIGHT STANDARDS

Part II – The US is the only G8 member that carries the death penalty. In past years, 1,077 people were executed in the electric chair. Most of these were blacks, some were executed by mistake and others due to name misplacement.

According to 2011 reports, the US ranks the first in the world for imprisoning people. 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 cold weather conditions; use of rubber bullets on human targets; pepper spraying on eyes of detainees; exposing detainees to deafening sounds; soldiers cutting fingers off their victims in places like Afghanistan and sending them as gifts for their girlfriends back home…

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 2011, 98% of the police brutality complaints were rejected by the Department of Internal Affairs.

Based on the ample and plenary authority that the US Congress gave the President in the wake of the 2001 terrorist acts, prisoners of war were categorized as “unlawful combatants,” an excuse used by the US to bypass the codes of Geneva Conventions. Accordingly, prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo were coerced by nudity humiliations, rape (men to women, women to men, and mass rapes), release or threat of release to attack dogs, chemical spraying, breaking phosphoric lights on their bodies, underwater immersion in barrels, and waterboarding.

What is more saddening however is the fact that those soldiers performing these acts are considered as heroes by the Department of Defense. When former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, heard about prisoners being forced to remain standing in one position for 24 hours with their faces covered with cloth, he had joked saying “Even I stand for 8-10 hours a day.” While it’s true that he usually worked standing in his office, it was his preference and with all his comforts.

The ever growing frustration of US soldiers is not unjustified. Being forced to go and commit atrocities in lands not theirs, these soldiers are the primary victims of their administration’s adventurous policies. 20% of US soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and 50 soldiers commit suicides every month.

Under the 1903 Cuban- American Treaty, the United States assumed territorial control of Guantánamo Bay, an island it chose for conducting its tortures. People have been shocked of the tortures carried out in the island. Some have even referred to it as “the symbol of American cruelty and its supremacy above the law.” Republican governor, Mike Huckabee, has however a different opinion: “Guantanamo had gained notoriety only with the advent of terrorist acts; other than that, the detainees there are treated better than the prisoners in mainland America.” The details from this onwards are left to history.

When tortures and harsh interrogation techniques cannot be easily carried out in Guantanamo, prisoners are transferred, under a “rendition program,” to other countries such as Ethiopia (Ghedo, Debrezeyt), Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, where the tortures can go unnoticed.

The U.S. has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It instead uses the ICC to hunt down Africans with accusations of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court serves as a cover up for the US to pick on a leader it wanted to be punished. When President Laurent Gbagbo refused to sign the agreement conceding 90% of oil revenues to France, it is to be recalled that he was threatened with the ICC.

When the UN demanded that the US sign the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Washington Administration passed the American Service Members’ Protection Act (ASPA), granting immunity to United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution in any country. The US congress also authorized the Department of Defense to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”.

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.

The issue of immigrants in the US is an issue where politicians seek political advantage. The fact that President Obama signed, with great media fanfare, on June 16, 2012, a new policy allowing immigrants under 30 years of age to stay in the country is an example of political choices. The green cards for the 800,000 largely Hispanic immigrants, were made available in a move to win the votes of the 3.2 million others influenced by them. Consequently, Hispanic voters favored Mr. Obama over Mr. Romney by 67 percent to 23 percent.

US Self-Assessment –World’s Assessment of the US

In 2011, the US released a so-called comprehensive Country Report on Human Rights. In the report, the country has named itself, followed by 29 other countries, “the most free country in the world” in all standards of Human Rights.
If the US only knew what the world really thinks of it!
An institute called Privacy International had said: if exam grading systems were to be applied for American Human Rights standards, the US would get 30 out of 100.

“Reporters without Borders,” the institution established by the American intelligence agencies and funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, has itself ranked its sponsor country at 56 in a list of countries with gross human rights violations.

Dearest readers, in coming publications we will delve into details and present you with facts about the rights of American citizens with respect to fields of education.

Hirgigo power plant: Project worth over 98 Million...

Cabinet Ministers holds meeting

“Beyond Refugee Crisis and Human Tracking...

Engaging & Understanding the Horn of Africa...

Speech by H. E. Ambassador Hanna Simon, Permanent...

The Board of Directors of the African Development...