Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3476932 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Human Rights Watch and Double Standards
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (3)

The organization Human Rights Watch has released its most recent World Report.

Have a look around and see how the listings of the United States compare to other countries. First of all, we get a link all to ourselves (we aren't included with "Americas", though I thought we were in the Americas last time I checked). Anyway, our human rights abuses are listed out in bullet points:

--Anti-Terrorism Campaign

--Death Penalty

--Police Brutality


--Abstinence-Only Programs

Notice that last one (but I'll get to that in a moment). Other countries don't have such specific listings. Why not? Why exactly is the listing for the U.S. different?

Also, there are no other democratic industrialized countries listed in this report. These are all the countries listed for Europe and Central Asia:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Russian Federation
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Where is the U.K.? Where is France? Where is Germany? These countries have perfect human rights records?

Here are the countries listed for the Americas:


Where is Canada? Do they have a perfect human rights record?

We're listed for incarceration and police brutality. Does this not happen in countries like Britain and Canada, or are the levels so low, compared to a rampant human rights abuser like the U.S., that it isn't worth reporting on?

Now let's get back to our specific abuses. We're holding hundreds of people in Guantanamo Bay, without due process. What sort of due process do enemy prisoners normally receive in a war? During WWII, were all German prisoners given a trail of some sort? I admit to not knowing much about international law with regard to POWs or enemy combatants, but I do know that there have been a number of visitors to Guantanomo Bay, such as the Red Cross, who have reported that the prisoners are being treated well, that they are being well-fed, housed, and allowed to worship their religions freely.

The death penalty I think should be revoked, in all states, but it is carried out in accordance with democratic law and with due process. Is this really a human rights violation?

Police brutality, again, goes on in this country, but it is not sanctioned by the state, and nor do I think the state is systematically turning a blind eye or otherwise implicitly sanctioning police brutality. We have means in place to deal with complaints and rectify abuse by police officers. How does police brutality in the U.S. compare with other industrialized countries? Is it that much worse?

And overcrowding and poor conditions in U.S. prisons. The report says we have the highest rate of incarceration among developed countries. Is this in itself a human rights issue? It could mean, for example, that our criminal justice system is working more effectively and that more criminals are being brought to justice. They say 1 in every 146 U.S. adults were incarcerated at the end of 2001. Were they all wrongly convicted? What percentage of the adult population commit crimes, in the U.S. and in other countries? Would it be better for society to have criminals in overcrowded prisons or to have them running around free? If the conditions are subhuman, say so, and indicate how it can be corrected. But leading off with such statistics is misleading and disingenuous.

And then we get to my favorite: Abstinence-Only Programs. This, according to the Human Rights Watch, is a human rights violation. You have got to be joking. Look, I think it's bad policy. I think it's stupid policy. I don't want my tax money being spent on it. But a human rights violation? Yeah, it's right up there with forced circumcision of minors and apartheid. Good grief.

I went to the site because the news story piqued my interest, but I have to say that it's difficult to find the organization credible because of their obvious bias, skewed political agenda, and double-standard in their criticism and representation of the United States.

Read/Post Comments (3)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.