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Parochialism and arrogance of U.S. views of human rights

(People's Daily Online)

10:34, April 23, 2013

On April 19, U.S. State Department issued its 36th Country Reports on Human Rights, commenting human rights in 199 countries and regions. China’s Information Office of State Council has released the 2012 U.S. Human Rights Record which described U.S. human rights situation with detailed data and facts on April 21.

Comparing U.S. remarks on other countries’ human rights with its own human rights situation, it is easy to find out that it’s views about human rights are obviously parochial, which has generated profound negative effects.

First, the United State has excessively emphasized the supremacy of freedom but has ignored individual freedom’s impact on other rights of citizens. Rampant gun ownership has resulted in 100,000 people being shot every year. In 2012 alone, the casualties in the school shooting in Auckland and other incidents have shocked the world. But the United States has not made substantial progress in gun control issue. In two gun cases, the Supreme Court of the United States has made a ruling that the state and local governments’ gun-control laws had violated the Constitution.

Second, the United State has excessively emphasized citizen rights and political rights but has ignored the protection of economic, social and cultural rights. The U.S. government has not approved the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which has already been approved by 160 counties in the world. In the U.S., more than 46 million people are living under the poverty line, and as many as 9 million people are unemployed. The United States is one of the few developed countries which have not carried out universal health insurance.

Third, the United State has excessively emphasized the form of the protection of human rights but has ignored the actual differences. In the 2012 American presidential election, some Asian American voters encountered with vote obstacles and discrimination at polling booths. The unemployment rate of African Americans is two times higher than white Americans. Their incomes are less than 60 percent of the white, and they suffer high rate of poverty, three times higher than the rate for the white. U.S. women earn only 77 percent of what men earn; African American women earn only 62 percent, and Hispanic women only 54 percent. The population of Muslims only accounts for 1 percent of U.S. population, but 14 percent of religious discrimination cases in America are related to Muslims.

Fourth, the United States has exercised double standards about human rights to trample other countries’ human rights issue. The United States is the country that waged the most wars after the Cold War. A large number of innocent civilians have been killed in American military actions in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.

Last, the Unites State takes its own concept of human rights as the only standard. The country believes that its system is the only mode for the protection of human rights, ignoring other countries’ differences in economy, politics, society and culture and disrespecting other countries’ rights to independently choose the mode for human rights guarantee and development.

Relying on its hegemony position in the international community, the United States unscrupulously blames other countries’ human rights situation but refuses to join the core U.N. human rights conventions, such as Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, etc.

U.S. government’s parochialism of views about human rights not only makes the country blind to see its own problems in protection of human rights but also results in the country’s arrogance to blame other country’s human rights situation, which brings many disastrous consequences for the international human rights development.

The author is the vice director of Human Rights Research Center under Nankai University

Edited and translated by Ma Xi, People's Daily Online
Read the Chinese version: 美国人权观的偏狭与傲慢(望海楼)

Source: People's Daily Overseas Edition

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