26 Feb 2004

US slams Asian rights violations

US slams Asian rights violations
By Jon Leyne
BBC state department correspondent

The US has focused criticism on China, North Korea, Burma and Cuba in its annual human rights report.

The state department survey also condemned the activities of the Russian government for weakening civil society.

The report insisted that the United States was not compromising on human rights to help the war on terror.

The massive annual analysis - hundreds of pages long - contains a detailed review of the human rights in just about every country in the world.

The US state department insists it has not watered down its views to help allies in the war on terror and the document points out that the current focus on the Middle East has not taken attention away from the rest of the world.

Among the countries facing tough criticism is China, where the report says there was backsliding on key human rights issues.

It also highlights North Korea where it describes what it says is a bleak picture of one of the world's most inhumane regimes.

Standards 'not met'

The report says that Burma's extremely poor human rights record worsened last year, particularly with the attack on a convoy containing the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

And it says human rights abuses in Cuba also worsened dramatically.

Russia comes under criticism for a number of its actions. The report says elections held by Russia and Chechnya failed to meet international standards.

It also points to the closure of independent TV networks and the prosecution of businessmen who support the opposition, which, it argues, weakens civil society and raised questions about the rule of law.

With the United States under attack for its own record on Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq, some human rights activists have asked whether Washington has any right to produce this report, but its authors argue that promoting respect for human rights is a central dimension of American foreign policy.

Story from BBC NEWS:

The following is a link to The US State Department's report on Singapore. LINK

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