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U.S. moves backward on human rights

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)    07:39, December 02, 2019

Two immigrants from Central America stand in front of a border checkpoint in El Paso. (Photo by Zhang Mengxu / People's Daily)

Under the current U.S. administration, immigration issue has been rapidly politicized, and tens of thousands of migrant children have been held in custody and forced to be separated from their parents.

Accused by all sides of the inhumane immigration policies, Washington, instead of changing the relevant policies, has repeatedly resisted the supervision and investigation of the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations. Its hypocrisy and arrogance on human rights issues is clearly revealed.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement in July of this year, saying she was appalled by the bad conditions at the U.S. detention facilities for illegal immigrants.

She particularly commented that the U.S. may risk breaching the UN convention against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by holding the migrant children in custody.

On June 2, 2018, an independent expert report on human rights and international solidarity, in accordance with the resolution 35/3 of the UN Human Rights Council, pointed out that the U.S., driven by populism, slandered and smeared the immigrants with racist and xenophobic expressions and forced apart the migrant children and their parents, seriously endangering the life, dignity, liberty and other human rights of immigrants.

The UN Human Rights Council has revealed the essence of the U.S. human rights crisis caused by the immigration policies and represented the popular opinion of the international community on this issue.

Even some of its long-time allies couldn't agree with the U.S. on such inhumane policy, such as Britain.

Separating children from their parents is cruel and distressing, and may cause lasting emotional damage to them, said Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England.

The U.S., which has always chanted human rights slogans and criticized other countries for violating human rights, has turned a deaf ear to the human rights tragedies it caused and the strong criticism from the international community.

As of March this year, the UN special rapporteurs on human rights had filed as many as 22 documents of formal inquiries into the various human rights issues in the U.S., according to the reports by the Guardian and other media. The U.S., however, has made no response.

Besides, the UN experts on human rights have made repeated requests to visit the U.S.-Mexico border after the inhumane treatment of immigrants there attracted worldwide attention, but such requests haven't been granted by the U.S., according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

It is nothing new for the U.S. to resist international scrutiny in the field of human rights.

The U.S. government has failed to submit its reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination or the UN Committee Against Torture in recent years.

In 2018, the U.S. announced that it would withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, which astounded the world.

Moreover, some U.S. senior officials such as the Secretary of State and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs have openly threatened the International Criminal Court by claiming that the U.S. would impose sanctions against the judges and prosecutors of the institution if it initiated an investigation into the war crimes the U.S. committed in Afghanistan.

Ironically, the U.S., rather than being ashamed of its poor human rights record, tries to force its ideas concerning human rights on other countries.

Dissatisfied with the existing global human rights governance mechanisms, the U.S. Department of State announced the establishment of a Commission on Unalienable Right earlier in July, trying to redefine human rights with American tradition.

Some commented that such practice aims to promote the human rights theories of the U.S., especially the conservatives in the U.S., to the world.

When the existing global human rights governance mechanisms collide with those of the U.S., the country will not hesitate to tear down the existing rules and arbitrarily monopolize the international say in the realm of human rights.

The international human rights cause is not a private property of the U.S., and the country, tarnished by frequent scandals related to human rights, has no right to stand on the high ground and interfere in the internal affairs of other countries under the guise of human rights.

Both the human rights crisis of immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border and the obstruction of international inspection have suggested that the U.S. is moving backward on human rights. The country has become a major obstacle to the development of international human rights cause.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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