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|Tuesday, February 27, 2001, updated at 18:58(GMT+8)|
US Human Rights Record in 2000 (Part II)The Information Office of China's State Council Tuesday released an article titled "US Human Rights Record in 2000."
IV. Gender Discrimination & Ill-treatment of ChildrenGender discrimination is widespread in almost every aspect of US society. American women have not yet enjoyed equal constitutional rights compared to men. Women in the United States not only have weak voice in politics, but also are discriminated in terms of employment, job status and wages. The labor protection standards for women are below the international norms, and sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic violence against women are also rampant in the United States.
Reuters reported on March 22, 2000, that as many as 1,100 women have joined a class action gender discrimination lawsuit, which was initiated by five women in 1978, against the US Information Agency and Voice of America on 48 charges involving job discrimination because of gender. Following an investigation, the court discovered that the human resource departments of the defendants had purposely overlooked female candidates through deceptive means such as revising test results and selecting beforehand. It was not until 2000 that the U. S. government was forced to accept an out-of-court settlement and paid 508 million U. S. dollars in compensation after 46 out of 48 charges were upheld by the court. The breadth and depth of gender discrimination in the US can be seen from this case, which involved the highest compensation for such a case since 1964.
A report released in November 2000 by an American institute studying policy on women showed that women are paid an average of 26 percent less than their male colleagues.
The number of female prisoners has been increasing markedly in the United States, and they often are the victims of various abuses. Since 1980, the number of prisoners in the United States has tripled, while that of the female prisoners has quadrupled. A report released by the US government in December 1999 showed that accusations against jail officers of sexual abuse and other negligent behavior are widespread and criminal prosecution of prison guards for abuse of power has been on the rise.
The following major cases have been reported since December 1999:
-- Eleven guards and one officer at a county jail were accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment by 16 female inmates;
-- a jail guard in New Mexico was convicted of sexual assault;
-- a prison officer in New York was sentenced to three years imprisonment with probation for raping two female inmates;
-- a prison officer in Ohio was sentenced to four years of imprisonment for conviction of sexual assault of three female inmates;
-- Some female inmates at a prison in New York disclosed that a number of female inmates were raped and even some of them gave birth to babies in their cells.
The majority of the female prisoners who have been sexually assaulted cannot get access to adequate legal protection. The state of Michigan stipulates explicitly that prisoners are not protected by civil rights laws.
Quite a number of women and children have been smuggled to the United States who are subject to slavery and torture. According to a report released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in November 1999, as many as 50,000 women and children are smuggled from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to the United States every year. They are often forced to become prostitutes or ill-treated workers and servants, the youngest of whom are aged nine. Despite as many as 100,000 women and children were smuggled to the country in recent two years, only 250 of whom are listed as the victims of relevant cases. The New York Times reported on April 2, 2000 that in 1999, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service conducted an investigation in 26 cities and found smuggled women in 250 brothels. An article carried on the " Insight" weekly in December 2000 revealed that the human trafficking and the sexual slave trade has become the third largest illegal trade in terms of business volume in the United States, following drugs and arms smuggling. An incomplete statistics showed that criminal rings in the United States earn 7 billion U. S. dollars from human trafficking annually.
Children in the United States live under worrying conditions, and they are often the major victims of violence and as many as 5, 000 children are shot fatally annually. The percentage of gunshot victims under age 14 is 21 times that of 25 other industrialized countries. Some 1.5 million children, or two percent of the country's total, have one or both parents in prison. The United States, one of five countries that have the death penalty for juveniles, has the highest number of juveniles sentenced to death in the world. Twenty-five states of the country give death penalty to juveniles, four of which set the lowest age for the death penalty at 17 years and the other 21 states set 16 years as the bottom line or have no age limit at all. Since 1990, 14 juvenile criminals have been executed in the United States, and in the first seven months of 2000, four juvenile criminals were put to death, more than the figure of other countries combined in the past seven years. By October 2000, 83 juvenile criminals, who were under 18 when their crimes were committed were waiting to be executed. The US Department of Justice released a report on February 27, 2000, indicating that from 1985 to 1997, the inmates under age 18 in adult prisons more than doubled from 3,400 to 7, 400; and 90 percent of juvenile criminals were high school dropouts. To date, more than 100,000 children are incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities and many of them are subject to brutal treatment.
Many children in the United States are threatened by poverty. According to an investigation conducted by the UNICEF, the poverty rate of children in the United States ranks second among the 29 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 1998, the poverty rate of American children hit 18. 7 percent, 2.5 percent higher than that of 1979. To date, as many as 13 million children live in poverty, three million more than the figure of 1979.
Reuters reported on January 20, 2000, that children in 15.2 percent of the families in the US are starving, and that children aged below six years in 16.3 percent of households don't have enough food. About one million immigrant children who do not hold U. S. citizenship are not covered by the medical insurance system. More than one million children in the country live on the streets, 40 percent of whom are under 5, 20 percent suffer from hunger, 20 percent are not covered by the medical insurance system, 10 percent have seen murders, shootings, rapes and violence, and 25 percent have experienced domestic violence.
In the United States, at least 290,000 children are working in factories, mines and farms where working conditions are dangerous. Children working on farms often have to work 20 hours a day and run the risk of pesticide poisoning, injury and permanent disability. They account for 8 percent of the country's total child workers, while the job-related deaths among them make up 40 percent of the country's total occupational death toll. Among these child farm laborers, merely 55 percent have graduated from high school. It is estimated that there are one million cases of human rights violations against these child farm workers in the United States every year; yet the US Labor Department listed only 104 such cases in 1998.
V. Racial Discrimination Prevails, Minorities Ill-TreatedRacial discrimination in the US has a long history and is well known throughout the world; it stands as one of the most serious social problems in the United States.
A US report on implementation of the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination submitted to the United Nations in September 2000 admitted that racism exists as one of the most daunting challenges facing the US
The minorities in the United States have been called the "Third World of the First World."
Racial discrimination is evident everywhere in America. The Washington Post reported on February 3, 2000, that even in large U. S. cities, few residential areas are actually racially integrated.
In the 1990s, the actual earnings of high-income families increased by 15 percent on average; however, the rich-poor gap between whites and minorities remained unchanged.
A survey made by the US Federal Reserve in March 2000 indicated that in 1998 the average net wealth of a middle-income family of Latin Americans, African Americans, or other minorities stood at 16,400 US dollars, equal to just 17.28 percent of that of a white family. The percentage was basically unchanged compared with 1992's 17.23 percent.
In 1998, 72.2 percent of the white families owned their own homes while the proportions for African American and Latin American families were only 46.4 percent and 44.9 percent respectively.
Even worse, nearly two million aboriginals were living on streets of big cities in the United States and 40 percent of them went without food for up to three days at a time. They are the poorest people in the world's richest country.
The Christian Science Monitor reported in May 2000 that immigrant families account for over one-fifth of the US poverty- stricken population and one-fourth of the total number of poor children. Among the immigrants in the US, over nine million, or 43 percent of the total, do not have medical insurance. In contrast, 12 percent of white people do not have medical insurance, according to a research report released last year by the Journal of American Medical Association.
The report also indicated that 41 percent of white youths could receive higher education while the rate for young Latin Americans was only 22 percent.
The discrimination against minorities is deeply rooted in America. The unemployment rate among African Americans is double that of whites.
An investigation made in 1996 indicated that 90 percent of the chief executives or managers of US companies have never given any black people the same status and responsibilities.
Computer giant Microsoft had a staff of over 20,000 in the US in 1999; only 557 of them were African Americans. The number accounted for 2.6 percent of the company's total employees. The company has 5,155 mid-level administrative personnel and only 82 people, or 1.6 percent, are African Americans.
A report in USA Today in 2000 said that charges of sexual harassment on immigrated workers had witnessed a fast increase, up 10 times from 1986 to 1999. About 2,200 cases were reported in the 1980s, while the figure became 15,150 in the 1990s.
Racial discrimination has also emerged as a very serious problem in the courts. A total of 98 percent of the judges in the US are white while most of the people receiving prison terms or the death sentence are blacks or other minorities.
Twelve percent of the US population are African American; nearly half of the two million prison inmates in the US are black, and another 16 percent are Latin American.
Black men are eight times more likely to be in prison than white men, with an incarceration rate of 3,408 per 100,000 black males compared to the rate of 417 per 100,000 white males. In 11 states, the incarceration rate of African American men is from 12- 26 times greater than that of white men.
The US Department of Justice estimated that 9.4 percent of all black men at the age of 25-29 years were in prison in 1999, compared to one percent of white men in the same age group.
Also in 1999, the juveniles belonging to minority groups constituted one-third of the adolescent population in the United States, but they comprised two-thirds of the young people confined in local detention and state correctional systems. One of every three young black people were confined in juvenile facilities or out on bail.
An investigation funded by the Justice Department indicated that the number of young black inmates jailed on first offenses is six times higher than that of white youths. Among the violent crime cases, the number of incarcerated black youths is nine times higher than that of the white youths.
Fifteen percent of juveniles under 18 are black; while among the confined people of the same age group, 26 percent are African American.
Among youths held in adult prison facilities, 58 percent are black. The likelihood of conviction for black youths is much higher than that for whites.
In California, children of color are 6.2 times more likely than white youths to be charged with crimes, and seven times more likely to be sentenced to prison when they are tried as adults. The proportion of black men sent to state prisons on drug charges to the state's total population is 13.4 times greater than that of white men. The number of black youths sent to correctional facilities for drug offenses is 48 times higher than that for whites.
In at least 15 states, the number of African American men sent to prison on drug charges is 20 to 57 times more often than white men. In seven states, 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders are black men.
Although the majority of crack cocaine users are white, almost 90 percent of convicted federal drug offenders are black.
In the 200-plus years since the US was founded, a total of 18, 000 people have been sentenced to death; only 38 of them were white, accounting for 0.2 percent of the total. No white man has ever been sentenced to death for raping a black woman.
Between 1977 and 1998, African Americans comprised 10 to 12 percent of the total US population. However, out of the 5,709 people sentenced to death, 41 percent were black.
A report from the Department of Justice issued on September 12, 2000, acknowledged that in the past five years, lawyers proposed to sentence 183 offenders to death, 20 percent of them were whites, nearly half of them were blacks, around 30 percent were Latin Americans and the rest of were other minorities.
Of all death penalty sentences upheld by the US federal courts since 1995, the number of colored people accounts for 74 percent. The ratio of African American and white murder victims was almost the same; however, since 1997, 82 percent of the total number executed were African Americans who had murdered white people.
VI. Waging War Frequently and Rampantly Infringing Upon Human Rights of Other CountriesThe United States, assuming an air of self-importance and practicing power politics in the world, has done a great deal of damage by encroaching on human rights in other countries.
The United States has, over a long period of time, built many military bases over the world. Hundreds of thousands of US troops stationed in these bases have committed a series of crimes that violated the human rights of local residents. Such acts by the US troops have occurred frequently since 2000 and numerous scandals have been exposed.
In 1995 a Japanese schoolgirl was raped by three American soldiers stationed at Okinawa, sparking a massive protest by the Japanese people. Following this incident, a serviceman with the US Marine Aircraft Group at Futemma Air Station was imprisoned for allegedly attempting to rape a Japanese woman in the city of Okinawa on January 14, 2000. That same month, three servicemen of the US Navy in southern Nagasaki sexually harassed two 15-year- old Japanese girls; on January 9 this year, a seaman of the US Navy sexually assaulted a 16-year-old Japanese girl in Okinawa.
On January 13, 2000, a US soldier on peacekeeping duty in Kosovo raped and killed an Albanian girl. The incident aroused strong indignation from Albanians in Kosovo. In July last year, Green Korea United, an environmental protection group of the Republic of Korea (ROK), revealed that the American military base in Seoul discharged embalming fluid used for its servicemen into the Han River. The group reported that since 1991 another US military base in ROK has discharged waste oil into a local river, which is the source of drinking water for 210,000 local people. The actions of the American troops seriously polluted the local environment and endangered the health of local people.
A Cuban newspaper reported on November 6, 2000, that an environmental group found more than 50 areas in some island countries such as Fiji and Kiribati that had been seriously polluted by dangerous refuse. All of the material has been traced back to US military interests or other interests of the US
The acting vice-minister of foreign affairs of Panama revealed on July 24, 2000, that during its nearly 100-year occupation of the Panama Canal, the US has stationed troops in the area, and numerous Panamanian women were used and cast away by American soldiers, leaving hundreds of thousands of fatherless children. When the US troops withdrew from the Panama Canal area at the end of 1999, they left behind 700 pregnant women in Panama and Colon provinces alone.
The United States butts into the internal affairs of other countries and cultivates its influence in secrecy, infringing upon human rights in other countries. The US Department of Defense launched a research institute for safety cooperation in the western hemisphere, while the predecessor of the institution is Escola Das Americas affiliated with the US Army Forces, which is famous for training Latin American and Caribbean troops to torture suspects, carry out secret executions and mail threatening letters to political dissidents. The school, described by international human rights organizations as a training base for "dictators, hangmen and assassins," trained 56,000 people during the period between 1946 when it was first established, and December of 2000 when it was closed.
The school also trained numerous personnel for various purposes. Many notorious human rights violators and ringleaders of criminal gangs are graduates of this school, and nearly all of the major massacre cases in the Latin America and Caribbean areas have connections with these graduates.
A terrorist organization formed by graduates of the Escola Das Americas slaughtered 767 innocent villagers in a remote area of Columbia in 1981. Among those murdered were people over age 90 and less than two months old.
Nearly 10 years have passed since the end of the Cold War. Peace and development are now the common aspirations of people the world over.
However, the United States, as the only remaining superpower, has yet to relinquish its Cold War mentality. It stations troops abroad, boosts military spending, sells ammunition to other countries and regions, and rattles its sabers around the world. The US has become a major threat to world peace and stability, and infringes upon the sovereignty and human rights of other countries.
A report released by the US Department of State and the US Congressional Research and Service Bureau said that the US military spending and ammunition exports rank first in the world: Its military expenses account for one-third of the world's total and exports of ammunitions amount to 36 percent of the global total. Its military spending budget for 2001 increased by 12.6 billion US dollars compared with the 200 billion US dollars for 2000.
Incomplete statistics show that the United States has waged wars in foreign countries and regions more than 40 times in the 1990s. The country uses cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells, which are banned by international law, and new weapons of mass destruction in foreign countries, killing and injuring local people and also wreaking havoc on the eco-environment in these places.
Reports say that US troops tested depleted uranium (DU) weapons in shooting ranges in Panama 30 years ago. The US army dropped 940,000 DU bombs in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. About 10,000 DU bombs were dropped by the US army during the 1994-1995 Bosnia-Herzegovina war. The US army also tested DU weapons in military maneuvers in Japan's Okinawa in 1995 and 1996. In 1999, the US army used more than 31,000 DU bombs in 112 locations in Yugoslavia. The number of cancer patients has increased by 30 percent in Yugoslavia due to DU radiation, and at least 10,000 civilians have died of radiation. About 40 out of some 80 babies born in two months in a Bulgarian town adjacent to Yugoslavia have suffered from physical deformities. A number of European soldiers and civilians once served in Bosnia, Croatia and Yugoslavia including Kosovo have contracted "Balkan Syndrome," and at least 27 of them have died.
The U.N. Environmental Program has analyzed samples collected in Yugoslavia and confirmed that they contain radioactive substances, according to a spokesman for the U.N. secretary- general. Although it is well known that uranium is a sort of radioactive heavy metal, the United States refuses to admit that DU is harmful to human health, and prevents other countries and international organizations from investigating the matter. It even refuses to stop using DU bombs. Currently, the US troops stationed in Kosovo are still equipped with DU weapons.
In fact, the United States has long since had full knowledge of the harm brought by DU weapons. Before the breakout of the Gulf War in July 1990, a test panel affiliated with the US army pointed out in a report that the explosion of DU bombs would produce strong Alfa radiation that is cancer-inducing, and soldiers carrying out tasks in DU weapon-stricken areas must take preventive measures. However, in the same area, the local residents had not received any notice from the US army and they thus became victims of DU bombs.
The United States has always adopted a passive attitude towards international human rights conventions. Although the United States was a founding member of the U.N., it did not accede to any key international human rights convention until 1988 when it joined the convention the Convention on The Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. That is to say, the United States did not ratify the treaty until 40 years after it was signed. In addition, it did not ratified the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for 28 years and 15 years respectively after it signed them. The United States still has not ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, although it signed it 24 years ago. The United States is one of the only two countries in the world that have not acceded to the International Convention on Children's Rights, and one of several countries that have not joined the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The United States has always opposed the right to development as a human right, and it is the only western country that has voted against the Declaration on the Right to Development. Although it is a founding member of the Organization of American States, it refuses to accede to the Human Rights Convention of America and other human rights conventions approved by the organization. As for the international conventions it has already signed, the United States has always ensured that the enforcement of the conventions is strictly limited to within the scope of the US constitution and laws, or let them only apply to the federation instead of states, by making reservations, declarations and allowances for them. In this way, the United States has reduced the international conventions into nothing but empty rhetoric.
Actions speak louder than words, and the public champions justice. The promotion of human rights is the common task of all nations in the world. The United States not only closes its eyes to its own serious human rights problems, but also releases the " Human Rights Report" annually to condemn other countries' human rights records. All these realities have exposed the true face of the United States, showing it to be a defender of power politics rather than human rights.
China would like to offer this advice to the US government: abandon your old ways and make a new start, take effective measures to improve the human rights record in your own country, take steps to promote international cooperation in human rights, and stop ordering other countries on the pretext of safeguarding human rights.
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