Latin American countries slam U.S. human rights report

A series of Latin American nations has condemned the U.S. human rights report for 2006 which criticized the region's human rights record, with only Colombia saying it was pleased by the report, according to media reports on Thursday.

The annual report, released by the U.S. Department of State on Tuesday, was described as disrespectful, unilateral and out of line, and the U.S. government was also said to be not qualified to comment on human rights in other nations.

Brazil's Foreign Ministry said it "does not recognize the legitimacy of reports that are compiled unilaterally," while Mexico's Interior Minister Francisco Ramirez said that the United States itself does not score well in human rights.

The U.S. report said that Brazilian security forces had abused detainees, and described persistent "impunity and corruption" in Mexico.

Bolivian Deputy Justice Minister Renato Pardo said that Washington had made biased observations, and the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said the United States lacks an international mandate to rate other countries.

Bolivia was described as respecting rights in general, but security forces were abusive in conflict zones. The report also said that the Ecuadorian police committed abuses.

Colombian Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said he was satisfied that Washington had recognized the progress on human rights the nation had made.

Despite the progress, however, murder, kidnapping and impunity are rife in Colombia, the report said.

Venezuelan people's ombudsman, German Mundarain, said the United States used the report to attack countries that disagreed with U.S. policy, and the nation's Attorney General, Isais Rodriguez, said it was a bid to attack and discredit Venezuelan institutions.

The Venezuelan government was criticized by the U.S report for having biased judicial system and harassing both the opposition and the press.

Guatemalan President Oscar Berger did not slam the report, but said it was a shame that the police is linked to killing and kidnapping in his country.

The report said that discrimination against women, indigenous people and homosexuals was widespread in Guatemala, and that labor laws were poorly enforced.

A representative of Amnesty International in Uruguay said that the U.S. detention and torture of hundreds of people at Guantanamo military base in Cuba, showed the U.S. contempt for human rights.

Experts in Costa Rica said that Washington has neither the political nor moral jurisdiction to evaluate human rights in other countries.

The U.S. report came out just two days before a five-nation tour of Latin America by U.S. President George W. Bush, which is expected to spark strong protests across the region.

Source: Xinhua

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