What about Human Rights at Home?

By Carlos Fernández-Vega on March 27, 2023

photo: Bill Hackwell

This article comes on the day that the human rights of 3 more children and 3 adults are snuffed out in Nashville in yet another mass murder that flourishes unabated in the US.

Who watches the watchman and who authorized it? Why did the United States get to happily assign itself the right to decide who violates human rights in the world and who doesn’t, who are authoritarians or terrorists, who deserves sanctions or blockades and much more, without its evaluation including its cannibalistic historical practices, permanently violating human rights in its own territory and throughout the planet. And it has been doing so year after year for at least half a century.

In its “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices”, the State Department presents itself as the moral leader of humanity, even though the United States is one of the main promoters of coups d’état, invasions, clandestine prisons, torture, kidnappings, assassinations, blockades, sanctions, illegal detentions and much more, although none of this is part of its evaluation of human rights -which it measures by different standards- which includes the community of nations… except its own.

La Jornada’s  David Brooks and Jim Cason reviewed it like this:

“according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the intention of the report is to evaluate all countries by the same standard. However, some questioned this, because in addition to severely criticizing Russia, China, Cuba and Venezuela, among others, as ‘authoritarian governments’, the summary does not apply the same lens to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, despite the fact that in these countries the voting rights of large sectors of the population are annulled, and in the chapters dedicated to each of these nations considered allies of Washington, the criticism of their violations of other rights is more measured”.

At a conference to present the report, Brooks and Cason add, “Secretary Blinken was asked why the assessment does not seem to impact U.S. foreign policy toward allied countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Israel, which have been denounced internationally for their severe human rights abuses. He replied: ‘we work in different ways with different countries, we have a multiplicity of interests that we work on… Human rights is a central interest for us, it’s not the only one'”.

That’s right: the United States comfortably evaluates human rights in the world according to its geopolitical interests and condemns countries like Cuba, Russia, China and Venezuela, but gives a green light to terrorist nations like Israel (which massacres the Palestinian people), Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Here is the self-styled moral leader, to whom Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, dedicated her most recent report: “The United States uses sanctions to impose its jurisdiction on people abroad, which can constitute human rights violations. The United States has for years imposed sanctions on individuals and entities without domestic criminal jurisdiction and in the absence of universal jurisdiction”.

This, Douhan stresses, is a clear violation of the right to due process, including the presumption of innocence and a fair trial, guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States has ratified and must fully implement. Sanctions are directed against subjects abroad, including activities that are legal where they occur. Such sanctions violate the rights to freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary deprivation of property. This fear has led many foreign companies and financial institutions to comply excessively in order to reduce their risks, which only worsens the impact on human rights, affecting labor rights, freedom of movement and the rights of individuals; in addition, there is the harm caused to individuals who depend on the goods or services of certain companies, including pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. This type of imposition of extraterritorial jurisdiction violates international human rights standards. Of course, this is not part of the State Department report.

Source: Cuba en Resumen