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U.S. Human Rights Record in 1999


The Information Office of the State Council, on February 27, 2000, released an  article entitled "US Human Rights Record in 1999." The article says  that the human rights report for 1999 issued by the US State  Department on February 26 ignored China's efforts at improving  human rights and vigorously attacked China again with its unflinching  political bias. The US report also criticizes almost every other country  for its human rights situation, but is silent about the human rights  problems in the United States. "It is therefore quite necessary to have  a look at the US human rights record in 1999," the five-part article  says.

I. Civil, Political Rights Endangered

In the United States, the safety of the general public and individuals is  threatened by the huge number of privately owned firearms and  widespread violent crime. According to the latest estimates by the US  Department of Justice, Americans now own about 235 million guns,  roughly one per person on average.

According to a Reuters report on April 22, 1999, the United States  reported an average of 1 million gun-related murders annually. Since  1972, over 30,000 people have died in gun related homicides,  accidents and suicides every year.

An AP report on April 16, 1998, citing a government study, showed  that "the United States has by far the highest rate of gun deaths:  murders, suicides, and accidents, among the world's 36 richest  nations."

DPA, the German news agency, reported on May 10, 1999, that in  1995 there were 21,600 murders and accidental killings in2 the  United States, including 15,551 shootings causing 35,673 deaths.  Between 1985-95, the number of juvenile crimes tripled, while the  number of gun-related murders by juveniles quadrupled. In 1997,  there were 6,044 gun related murders involving young people  between 15-24 years old.

Shooting rampages at high schools have frequently made headlines in  the United States, with one out of every 10 schools witnessing at least  one severe criminal incident every year. The number of cases of  gun-related violence has been increasing. In 1997-98, 48 people  were killed as a result of violence in schools. In April 1999, in the  most notorious and tragic case in US history, two high school students  with guns and home-made bombs slaughtered 13 teachers and  students and injured another 25 at Columbine High School in  Colorado.

According to official statistics, an average of 15 out of every 100,000  young Americans are shot dead annually. The accidental shooting  death rate among American children under 15 years of age is 15 times  higher than that of the total of the other 25 industrialized countries.

Police brutality is common in the United States and cases of judicial  corruption are on the rise. According to a US newspaper, Workers  World, on March 25, 1999, 65 incidents of police brutality were  reported in Chicago between 1972-91, but none of the police officers  involved were dealt with. In 1996, 3,000 people sued local police  officers in this American city, but none of the accused were dismissed.

In San Francisco, between 1990-95, 4.1 out of every 100 murders  were caused by police shootings. And not a single police officer has  been sued for shooting at random in the city, though there were  1,000-2,000 complaints against local police officers each year.

In the last five years, 756 former law enforcement officials have been  convicted of corruption, brutal conduct and other crimes, setting a  new record in this regard. By June 1999, there had been 655 inmates  in federal prisons who were formerly law enforcement officials,  compared with 107 inmates in 1994, an increase of five times,  according to USA Today's report on July 29, 1999.

The United States, which calls itself the "land of the free," ranks first in  the world in the proportion of prisoners among its population.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of  Justice in 1999, the number of American adults in prison, on  probation and on parole topped 5.92 million in 1998, accounting for 3  per cent of the total population. In all 1.82 million of them were  incarcerated in state or federal prisons, more than double the figure of  744,000 reported at the end of 1985 and setting a new record.

Between 1985-98, the number of prisoners in the country increased  by 7.3 per cent annually. Meanwhile, the imprisonment rate went up  by more than 100 per cent as the number of prisoners out of every  100,000 Americans increased from 313 to 668.

This year, AFP reported on February 16 that by February 15 the  number of American prisoners had topped 2 million, to account for  one-fourth of the world's total, ranking the US first in the world.

In overcrowded American prisons, inmates are mistreated and  violence is commonplace. Between 1990-97, the average jail term of  American prisoners increased from 22 months to 27 months, while the  rate of inmates to be released dropped to 31 per cent from 37 per  cent every year; the number of paroled convicts sentenced again  increased by 39 per cent; and the number of new inmates rose by 4  per cent, according to a report by Chicago Tribune on March 22,  1999. By December 31, 1998, state prisons reported they were  housing 13-22 per cent more convicts than their facilities were  designed to accommodate. That figure was 27 per cent in federal  prisons and 100 per cent in 33 state prisons.

The New York Times reported in April of 1999, that in a prison in  Nassau County in the state of New York, a shockingly large number  of inmates had been brutally beaten and some died as a result of  abuse. None of the prison guards involved were charged with criminal  behaviour.

In 1999, there were over 36,000 elderly inmates, compared with  around 9,500 in the early 1980s. Over 220,000 more inmates are  expected to join the ranks of the aged within 10 years.

American prisons have used a large number of inmates as labourers to  generate profits. These prisoner-workers are paid between US$0.23  and US$1.15 a day, though the minimum wage set by the US  Government stands at US$5.15 per hour.

The Boston Globe reported on September 26, 1999, that prisoners in  94 federal prisons under the US Department of Justice were working  for a company to manufacture electronic parts, furniture, clothing and  other goods. In 1998, the company generated nearly US$540 million  in sales.

Some American prisons have begun to charge prisoners for  imprisonment. American companies that were looking for cheap  labour abroad in the 1980s are now taking advantage of the 1.8  million prisoner-labourers at home. Two American firms have signed  contracts with government departments on managing and charging  nearly 100,000 inmates in over 100 jails. The two contractors would  charge US$35 per prisoner per day for food and management and  could earn US$12.78 million within the contract term, if the number of  the prisoners would not decline, the US Insight Weekly reported in its  May 4, 1999 edition.

The United States insists that there are no political prisoners in the  country. But the April 29, 1999 issue of the US-based bi-monthly  Workers' World reported that at least 150 political prisoners were  jailed in the country. Many of them were incarcerated as a result of an  FBI counter-intelligence operation in the late 1960s and early 1970s,  which targeted all those who took part in campaigns against  oppression and Southeast Asian wars and supported the  independence of Puerto Rico. Some 768 members of the Black  Panther organization were arrested and jailed following the FBI  operation.

The self-proclaimed freedom of the United States has always served  the interests of a small number of wealthy people. In 1998, a book  titled "The Buy of Congress: How Special Interests Have Stolen Your  Right to Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness" was published in  the United States, exposing how the US Congress has become a tool
of special interest groups.

According to the book, between 1987-96, 500 large American  companies donated at least US$182 million to congressmen and  US$73 million to Democratic and Republican parties.

In the same period, "donations" from major US cigarette  manufacturers to congressmen and the two parties exceeded US$30  million. Health and medical companies donated US$72 million to  congressmen, while the US Congress helped large and medium-sized  firms reduce the cost of medical insurance for their employees.

Although gun-related tragedies have become all too common in the  United States, the National Rifle Association (NRA) spent US$1.5  million over a two-month period to lobby the congressmen who  bowed to the NRA and vetoed a gun control bill which was strongly  favored by the majority of the American people. The veto of the bill,  coupled with other practices, has soured the American people on  politics, and the voting rate for the 1998 mid-term election hit a  record low of 36.1 per cent. Compared with 1994, voting rates in 36  states declined, with a 4.3 per cent drop for Republican voters and a  2.1 per cent fall for Democrats.

The United States claims that it has a free press. In fact, the American  media has become a propaganda machine used by the authorities to  manipulate public opinion.

According to a statistical and analytical study of CNN's reports on  Kosovo, among all the CNN stories on the Kosovo crisis, 68.3 per  cent were one-sided with the sources of information tightly in the  hands of the US officials, while 50 per cent of the reports were based  on sources from the US Government, 26.5 per cent from NATO and  the Kosovo Liberation Army, and 14.7 per cent from Albanian  refugees in Kosovo.

A recent nationwide survey in the United States indicated that only 2  per cent of Americans believe what journalists report, just 5 per cent  trust the accuracy of local TV news programmes, and 1 per cent trust  radio show hosts.

II. Infringement on Citizens' Economic and Social Rights

The United States is the most developed nation in the world today,  with its economy growing for the ninth consecutive year. But the  American working class suffers from infringements on their economic  and social rights.

A vast chasm exists between the rich and the poor in the United  States. The British weekly magazine, the Economist, said in an  October 3, 1998, article that the income of the richest families,  accounting for one-fifth of the total American families, made up a half  of the total income of American families. Meanwhile the earnings of  the poorest families, about one-fifth of the total, earned a mere 4 per  cent of the overall figure.

A September 1999 report by the US Centre on Budget and Policy  Priorities showed that the income of the 2.7 million richest Americans  was equal to that of the 100 million poorest. Another report released  last month by the US Economic Policy Institute and the Centre on  Budget and Policy Priorities said that in the late 1990s, the average  annual income of the richest one-fifth families stood at US$137,500,  10 times that of the poorest one-fifth, which was about US$13,000.  The disparity in the US capital of Washington ranks first in the  country, with a 27-fold difference between the incomes of the rich and  the poor. In 46 states, the income gap between the richest one-fifth  and the poorest one-fifth of families in the United States is larger than  it was 20 years ago. In the past 10 years, the average annual income  for the richest one-fifth of families has increased by 15 per cent, while  for the poorest one-fifth the increase is less than 1 per cent. In fact,  the average annual income after taxes for the poorest families has  decreased in the past 20 years, since the minimum wage and medium  income have not increased or dropped in the past two decades.

According to a local report by the Washington Post on August 30,  1999, the gap between the average salaries of senior managers and  ordinary staff in American companies grew to as much as 419:1 in  1998 from the 1980 proportion of 42:1. In 1998, chief executive  officers of big companies boasted an average yearly income of  US$10.6 million, six times that of the 1990 figure of US$1.8 million.

American workers have experienced serious infringements of their  rights while on the job. The Chicago Tribune reported on September  6, 1999, that in the past 20 years, almost all American workers have  experienced a declining wage to a certain degree, while their working  hours have increased.

The International Labour Organization issued a report on September  6, 1999, indicating that American workers have the longest working  hours among all the industrialized nations, with an individual worker's  yearly work time extended by 83 hours, or almost 4 per cent,  compared with 1980.

The International Federation of Free Trade Unions said in a July 1999  report that the United States had been engaged in a "large-scale,  sustained and surprising" infringement on the rights of labourers,  including the infringement on the rights of trade unions and using  children and prisoners as cheap labour.

Some 40 per cent, or almost 7 million of the country's public servants  were deprived of the right to participate in labour negotiations with  their employers, and at the same time, more than 2 million government  employees have been banned from staging strikes or bargaining over  work hours or salary.

The rights of employees working for private businesses have not been  protected, while laws governing private companies' unlawful activities  are often weak or ineffective. Only one of seven core labour  standards of the International Labour Organization has been ratified  by the United States, which is "one of the worst ratification records in  the world," reported by Reuters on July 14, 1999.

The United States is the only major industrial power that has not  adopted a compulsory medical insurance system. According to a  report by the US Department of Commerce, 43.45 million  Americans, or 16.1 per cent of the total population, live without  medical insurance; 11.2 million, or 31.6 per cent of poor Americans  have no medical insurance; and 30 per cent of New York residents  do not have medical insurance for part of a year.

The poor population in the country has increased, rather than  declined. Currently, the United States is adopting an austere economic  policy to reduce spending, regardless of the effect this has on ordinary  citizens, posing a threat to the living conditions of tens of millions of  Americans. A US Department of Commerce report disclosed that  35.8 million Americans live in extreme poverty, a figure which  accounts for 13.3 per cent of the total population. In other words, one  out of every 6.5 Americans is poor.

A survey published last April said that the United States has 60 million  poverty-stricken people, which represents 22.5 per cent of the total  population. A Columbia University report in 1999 noted that 29 per  cent of New York residents live under the poverty line, while the  income of 5 per cent of New Yorkers is only one-fifth of the sum set  for the poverty line. And 17 per cent of New Yorkers often cannot  afford to pay their bills on time, according to a report released by the  Efe news agency on March 3, 1999.

The number of Americans who suffer from hunger and homelessness  has been increasing. A report issued by the American Conference of  Mayors in December said the number of urban homeless and hungry  in urgent need of food and shelter is higher than at any time in recent  history. In 1999, the number of people who applied for urgent food  aid was the largest ever and 18 per cent more than the figure of 1998.

According to another report issued on January 20, 2000, and picked  up by Reuters, more than 30 million Americans live in families that are  short of food, 7.2 per cent of American families cannot secure their  daily needs, and children in 15.2 per cent of American families are  starving. In 1999, the number of people in big cities who applied for  temporary housing went up by 12 per cent. In San Francisco, nearly  14,000 were homeless and at least 169 people died of exposure,  drug addiction, illness and violence in the streets.

A 1994 study made in New York after a series of incidents involving  vagrants being killed showed that 80 per cent of these homeless had  become the target of violent crimes.

According to an AFP story on December 16, 1999, a survey  published last December found that among the homeless questioned,  66 per cent were suffering from chronic illness, one-third of them  were parents, one-fourth were children, one-third were veterans, and  49 per cent were mental patients in need of treatment.

III. Serious Problems of Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is the most serious social problem plaguing the  United States. The US administration's handling of Chinese American  scientist Wen Ho Lee's alleged spy case once again revealed that  racial discrimination is prevalent in the United States.

Without any FBI evidence to prove Lee's alleged act of espionage,  the US Department of Justice indicted Lee on charges of illegal use of  classified information and other charges.

The report said a former FBI head had been involved in an act similar  to Wen Ho Lee, but he was only prohibited further access to any  classified documents.

However, Lee has been under surveillance by FBI agents for over  one year and has been held in prison without bail.

People widely believe that Lee has been unfairly targeted because of  his Chinese heritage.

The US bi-monthly Workers' World pointed out in its December 23  issue that a US survey conducted in October 1999, indicated that  racial prejudice is deeply rooted in US culture: a fact that Americans  either do not realize or do not willingly admit.

Racial discrimination is a nationwide phenomena in the United States.  Though the number of African Americans stands at only 13 per cent  of the total US population, the number of black prisoners accounts for  49 per cent of all US prison inmates.

The number of imprisoned black women is eight times higher than that  of white women. An investigation released by a US medical treatment  association in March showed that 15.3 per cent of the whites are  under the poverty line, while 45.7 per cent of Hispanics and 42.5 per  cent of blacks are poor.

A September report by a US immigration research centre indicated  that the poverty rate of immigrants rose by 123 per cent between  1979 and 1997, and the population of poor immigrants grew from 2.7  million to 7.7 million.

Between 1989 and 1997, among the poor population, 3 million were  immigrants, accounting for 75 per cent of the newly increased poor  population in the country. A March 17 report by Efe showed that  whites get an average 12.8 years of education in the United States,  while blacks partake in 11.8 years and Hispanics 9.3 years on  average.

Among whites in New York, at least three out of 10 people have  college degrees, while less than 10 per cent of the Hispanics and  blacks in the city have received a university education.

In the United States, the black, Hispanic and American Indian  populations account for 24 per cent of the total. But the number  of doctors of these races only stands at 7 per cent of the country's  total doctors. According to US statistics from 1996, the expected  average life expectancy of a white male is 74 years, and 80 years for  a white female, while the average for a African-American male and  female are 66 and 74 years respectively.

The infant mortality rates for black and native Americans are much  higher than whites as well.

The infant mortality rate of these infants are 2.0 and 1.5 times higher  that than that of white infants.

The report also indicated that 38 per cent of Hispanics and 24 per  cent of blacks in America do not have medical insurance, while only  14 per cent of whites have no medical insurance.

Black farmers are discriminated against in obtaining preferential loans,  and the ethnic people are also discriminated against in receiving  medical treatment for AIDS. Police brutality stemming from racial  discrimination frequently occurs in the United States. A survey of the  black and Hispanic residents by the New York Times on March 16,  1999 showed that 55 per cent of the Hispanics and 63 per cent of the  blacks believed that police violence is on the rise. Some 67 per cent  of Hispanics in the United States believed that the US police are  biased in favour of whites.

The US police all too often suspect people of colour (black,  Hispanics) are guilty of crime, even when little or no evidence is  available to support their charges. According to a report from a  human rights watch group released in San Francisco, California, in  March of 1999, of the people killed or injured when shot by police,  75 per cent are minorities or from low-income districts.

US Attorney General Janet Reno has reported that in the past five  years, the Justice Department has dealt with over 300 cases of police  abuse of power. On February 5, 1999, four New York police  officers opened fire on a 22-year-old black West African immigrant  and killed him, shooting him 24 times, saying they mistook him for a  suspect. The high-profile case has come to symbolize the violent  behaviour of American police.

The New York Times reported on May 2, 1999, that black families,  either rich or poor, are afraid of being mistaken as criminals and shot  by police.

Race-related killings are also on the rise. Various white supremacy  groups have formed throughout the country, based on the principle  that all black, Jewish, and Asian people are inferior and are constantly  arranging racially motivated acts of violence.

Statistics indicated that the number of such hate groups has increased  from 474 in 1997 to 537 in 1998.

The US Department of Justice has announced that out of nearly 9,000  murder cases in 1998, over half are race-related.

The statistics released by the Department of Justice in 1999 showed  that between 1992 and 1996, 124 of every 1,000 native Americans  over 12 years old were victims of criminal acts. The figure is twice  that for black children and 2.5 times more than the country's average.

IV. Rights and Interests of Women and Children Violated

Gender discrimination is a chronic malady in the United States.  According to a report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in January, the  US Congress is made up of only 12.9 per cent women.

The latest survey from the National Women and Police Centre  showed that from 1990 to 1997, the number of women in law  enforcement departments across the country increased by just 3.2 per  cent. One-third of 176 police organizations surveyed have no women  as senior officers, according to a report in USA Today on April 14,  1999.

Women, who make up some 45 per cent of the US work force,  earned on average only 75 per cent as much as men, black women  only 65 per cent, and Hispanic women only 57 per cent, according to  a Reuters report on July 14, 1999. It also said that women with higher  education earned only 76 per cent of what men did.

The United States has poor labour rights protection and social  security for women. American women have only three months of  unpaid maternity leave, and are not allowed any time off for  breast-feeding after they go back to work, according to an  International Labour Organization study of 152 countries released in  February 1998. It also showed that about 40 per cent of the female  employees with children have no medical insurance.

Reuters reported on September 21, 1999 that the US marriage rate  has plummeted by a third since 1960. It said there were about 73  marriages per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15 and up in 1960. In  1996, the rate was about 49 per 1,000.

An AP report on November 23, 1999 said that a survey of the  University of Chicago showed that the percentage of American  households made up of married couples with children dropped from  45 per cent in the early 1970s to just 26 per cent in 1998.

The number of single-mother families in the United States is  increasing, and poverty is becoming a bigger threat to these families.  From 1995 to 1997, the income of the poorest single-parent families  headed by women, which make up one-fifth of the total number of  American families, has dropped by nearly 7 per cent, according to an  article in the British journal the Economist released on August 28,  1999.

Women are the major victims of domestic violence. The US  Department of Justice estimated that there are at least 4.2 million  cases of domestic violence in the country each year, and 95 per cent  of the victims are women.

The human rights of female prisoners are seriously violated in the  United States In 1997, some 138,000 women were incarcerated in  the United States, three times more than in 1985, according to a  report from Amnesty International in March 1999. Male prison  guards are also accused of sexually harassing women inmates during  routine searches, and female inmates are often raped.

According to the report, 41 per cent of the personnel who come into  contact with women inmates in the United States are male, which runs  counter to regulations established by the United Nations.

In 1997 to 1998, more than 2,200 pregnant women were imprisoned  and more than 1,300 children were born in prison, said Amnesty  International. In at least 40 states, babies are taken from their  imprisoned mothers almost immediately after birth or at the time the  mother is discharged from hospital. In many American prisons, female  inmates have to wait for several months before they can receive  medical care from doctors.

The state of children in the United States is grim. The United States,  one of the few countries which have the death penalty for juveniles,  has the highest number of juveniles sentenced to death in the world.

Since 1994, 43 American states have revised their juvenile  delinquency laws, and made sure juvenile delinquents receive the  same punishment as adult criminals, which violates the regulations of  the United Nations.

According to an AP report on November 29, 1999, in the United  States, 14.5 million children - nearly one in five - experience poverty.  In 1998, 11.1 million children younger than 18 had no health  insurance. And each year, 3 million American teens are infected with  AIDS, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. And about 6.4  per cent of the population at or under 12 use illegal drugs.

The use of child labour is rampant in the United States. A 1997  survey based on federal government data found that 290,000 children  were working illegally, 14,000 under 14 and some under nine years  old, according to an article carried by Reuters on July 14, 1999.

There are many children of migrant workers in the farming and  horticultural sectors, where between 400 and 600 were injured and  many killed annually in accidents, the article said.

Children are the leading victims of the culture of violence in the United  States. Many juvenile delinquents have learned to shoot people with  guns from seeing films, TV and playing computer games which have  violent and sexually explicit content.

A 1999 survey by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed  that in 1997, 268 out of every 100,000 juveniles were arrested for  crimes involving violence, almost double the figure of 1970. A report  by the US Department of Justice in June of 1999 said that among all  gun-related murders, nearly one-fourth were committed by young  people between 18 to 20 years old, most of whom were students.

V. Wantonly Violating Human Rights of Other Countries

In 1999, countless cases of the United States' violation of human  rights in other countries were reported. In March 1999, over 400  Canadians, representing more than 1,000 victims of contaminated  blood transfusions received from prisoners in the United States, filed a  class action suit in a US court for compensation.

Despite the fact that it was known as early as 1980 that blood  transfusions from prisoners, many of whom are homosexual and/or  drug addicts, might lead to AIDS, the United States continued to  export the plasma to Canada, Japan, Europe and other countries. The  practice has caused thousands of recipients to be infected with AIDS,  hepatitis C and other diseases. Preliminary estimates show that the  number of victims of the tainted plasma in North America and  Caribbean Region exceeded 10,000.

On April 6, 1999, a Russian newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta,  reported that after the attack on Pearl Harbour, over 120,000  Japanese-Americans were arrested without charges and held in  remote camps in desert areas.

The newspaper said the Japanese-Americans were still in prison at the  end of World War II.

On June 22, 1999, Hong Kong-based newspaper the South China  Morning Post reported that during the Viet Nam War, the United  States sprayed 42 million litres of bio-chemicals in non-military zones  in rural Viet Nam, an act which still affects 5 million Vietnamese and  has left 600,000 seriously ill.

In early October 1999, American media such as the Associated Press  and Newsweek magazine, citing eyewitness accounts from American  veterans and survivors, reported that in July 1950, the early period of  the Korean War, US troops massacred hundreds of Korean refugees,  including women and children, with machine-guns in No Gun Ri.

According to a report released by Reuters on October 6, an  apartheid-era germ and chemical warfare campaign against blacks in  South Africa was based on a US Government biological and chemical  programme. On October 25, British weekly magazine New  Statesman quoted a new book about the United States and biological  warfare by two Canadian scholars as reporting that after World War  II, the United States secretly granted pardons to Japanese war  criminals who participated in human biochemical weapons  experiments in China. The United States used their experimental
results to develop biochemical weapons that they later used against  China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea during the  Korean War.

US human rights violations have shown no signs of decreasing with the  appearance of the new millennium. On January 13, Staff Sergeant  Frank Ronghi, a US soldier with the Kosovo peacekeeping force,  was arrested and transferred to the US army's central prison in  Germany after he allegedly sexually assaulted and murdered a  12-year-old Kosovo girl.

Following the case of three US soldiers who gang-raped a Japanese  girl in Okinawa in 1995, which triggered mass protests in Japan, an  alleged rape attempt of a Japanese woman by a soldier of US Navy in  a dance hall in Okinawa on January 14 is another example of human  rights violations by US troops based in other countries.

The United States ranks first in military spending in the world, with the  1999 total reaching US$287.9 billion, about 150 per cent of the  combined military expenditures of the European Union, Japan, Russia  and China that year.

The US military budget for 2000 is expected to reach US$300 billion,  exceeding the record high of US$291.1 billion in the mid-1980s,  when the United States was conducting a "Star Wars" programme  and a large-scale arms race against the Soviet Union.The United  States was the world's biggest arms supplier for the eighth consecutive  year, from 1991 to 1998.

With its powerful military strength, the United States uses its military  might to indulge in aggressive wars, violating sovereignty and human  rights of other countries. It used its military force overseas more than  40 times in the 1990s.

In 1999, ignoring the international norms and bypassing the United  Nations Security Council, the US-led NATO forces launched 78  days of air strikes against the sovereign state of Yugoslavia, a war in  the name of "avoiding humanitarian disaster," causing the biggest  humanitarian catastrophe in Europe since the end of World War II.

During the war, US-led NATO air forces completed 32,000 sorties  and dropped 21,000 tons of bombs on Yugoslavia, equivalent to four  times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan,  by the United States during World War II.

The bombs used by US-led NATO in their aggression against  Yugoslavia include cluster bombs, depleted uranium bombs and other  weapons banned by international laws and newly developed but more  destructive weapons such as electromagnetic pulse bombs and  graphite bombs.

More than 2,000 innocent civilians were killed and 6,000 injured in  Yugoslavia during the air strikes, which also left nearly 1 million  people homeless and more than 2 million without any source of  income.

The large-scale bombing paralyzed manufacturing facilities and  infrastructure for daily life in Yugoslavia, bringing about a 33 per cent  increase in unemployment and pushing 20 per cent of the population  below the poverty line, leading to direct economic losses of US$600  billion and producing lasting and disastrous impact on the ecological  environment of Yugoslavia and Europe as a whole.

Worse still, NATO went so far as to bomb the Chinese Embassy in  Yugoslavia, killing three Chinese journalists and seriously damaging  embassy buildings, in gross violation of Chinese sovereignty and  human rights. The United States has also maintained a poor record in  participating in and observing international conventions on human  rights.

The United States is the only country other than Somalia that has not  yet joined the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and one of  the few countries that have not yet signed the Convention on the  Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. It has  been 23 years since the United States signed the International  Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but it still has not  ratified the covenant.

The United States has refused to recognize the superiority of  international laws over its domestic laws, and made numerous  statements and rationalizations regarding international conventions on  human rights according to its domestic laws.

As for the international conventions on human rights it has ratified or  joined, the US federal government has simply let its states go their  own ways and refused to meet obligations to implement them  nationwide. It has even failed to hand in reports of implementation on  time as required, and has ignored criticism and comments from other  United Nations organizations.

The United States does not have a good human rights record of its  own, but likes to play the role of the world's human rights judge. It  makes unwarranted accusations about other countries' human rights  records year after year.

The US Government needs to keep an eye on its own human rights  problems, mind its own business and stop interfering in the internal  affairs of other countries.
 
-End-

 


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