The United States does not have a good record in safeguarding rights of women and children, according to a report released by the Information Office of the Chinese State Council here Thursday.
The report, titled Human Rights Record of the United States in 2005, lists a multitude of facts and figures to show serious violations of human rights existing on the homeland of the United States.
The report says women in the United States do not share equal rights and opportunities with men in politics. Despite the fact that women account for 51.1 percent of the U.S. population, they hold only 81 of the 535 seats in the 109th U.S. Congress. A research by the Inter-Parliamentary Union showed the United States ranked 61st in terms of women's representation in national legislature or parliaments among 180 countries in November 2005, down from the 58th in December 2003.
The report indicates that women in the United States have a higher unemployment rate than men and lower pay for the same work. A survey by the U.S. Census Bureau said the median earnings of women and men in 2004 were 31,223 and 40,798 U.S. dollars, respectively. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 77 percent. Yearly earnings of women business owners were only 49 percent of men counterparts.
Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, the report says. In 2004, 28.4 percent of households headed by single women were in poverty. Statistics from the American Institute on Domestic Violence showed each year in the United States 5.3 million women are abused, and 1,232 women are killed by an intimate partner. A news report said one out of every three American women fell under the influence of domestic violence in her life.
The report says the American women face a high risk of sexual offense. The FBI reported in October 2005 that during 2004, approximately 94,635 females nationwide were victims of forcible rape, which means that 63.5 out of every 100,000 women suffered from forcible rape. This figure also represents an increase of 0.8 percent from 2003.
The U.S. prisons saw a surging number of female prisoners who had received bad treatment. A report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics on April 24, 2005 said by the end of June 30, 2004, the number of female prisoners reached 103,310, increasing by 2.9 percent from a year earlier. Nearly 50 percent of female prisoners said they were sexually assaulted.
The report stresses the United States ranked next to the last among 22 developed nations in the world in terms of the child poverty index. Statistics released by U.S. Census Bureau on Aug. 30, 2005 showed children accounted for nearly one third of the 37 million poverty population in the country. And 1.35 million U.S. children had experienced homelessness.
The report says the American children's health has seen a decline, and death rates of infants and juveniles are increasing. Nationally, 29 percent of children had no health insurance at some point in the last 12 months, and many get neither checkups nor vaccinations. One third of children in the United States were born out of wedlock, and half of the children live in single-parent families. At present, 4 million U.S. children live with jobless parents, facing such problems as domestic violence, melancholia, and drug and alcoholic addiction.
Frequent on-campus violence incidents threatened the safety of 26.4 million U.S. students aged between 12 and 16, says the report. Statistics showed 12 juveniles died of gun-related crime everyday in the United States.
The United States is one of the few countries where a crime committed by a juvenile results in a life sentence without any possibility of parole. According to a Human Rights Watch report, 93 percent of youth offenders serving life imprisonment without parole were convicted of murder. Child offenders often experienced abuse in prisons, and staff-on-inmate sexual assaults at correctional institutions for juveniles were almost 10 times more than in jails for adult offenders.
The report stresses that the United States is one of the few countries that sentence child offenders to death. To date, six states in the United States still have no minimum age for death sentence. In 2004, a total of 63 juveniles aged 17 or under were sentenced to death.