The United States is describing four other countries as “forces of instability” because of their record on human rights.
The four – China, Iran, North Korea and Russia -- are named in the State Department’s yearly human rights report.
The State Department accuses them of violating basic human rights, including freedom of expression and the protection of religious and ethnic minorities.
Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan wrote an introduction to the report. It said the four countries “violate the human rights of those within their borders on a daily basis.”
Sullivan denounced states that restrict freedoms of expression and permit violence against members of religious, ethnic, and other minority groups.
The new U.S. report says Russia does little to punish those who carry out human rights abuses. It also describes Russia’s government as an “authoritarian political system” controlled by President Vladimir Putin.
The report accuses China’s government of carrying out detentions, executions and forced disappearances without concern for what is fair or right. It also says the government sets “significant restrictions'' on freedoms of speech, religion and movement.
The report also condemns the campaign of violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
Sullivan told reporters last Friday that the United States is working with its partners to deal with the crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar after a government campaign against Rohingya militants. The United Nations accuses the government of organizing attacks against the population. UN officials have likened the action to “ethnic cleaning.”
“Those responsible for the violations, abuses, and attacks must be held accountable,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan also spoke about conditions in Syria. He said the “world is aware of the horrendous human rights abuses in Syria, including barrel bombing of civilians, attacks on hospitals, and widespread reports of rape and abuse by Syrian government personnel.”
Human rights groups were quick to criticize the State Department report. They noted that it no longer examines reproductive rights around the world. This is the first year the report does not examine such rights since 2012, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added the subject.
The group Amnesty International said that “reproductive rights are human rights. It said that failure to include the issue “signals the Trump Administration’s latest retreat from global leadership on human rights.”
The group also criticized the report for not being critical enough of the governments of U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
I’m Phil Dierking
VOANews.com report on this story. George Grow adapted its report for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
instability – n. the quality of being subject to change; a lack of security
basic – adj. related to the most important part of something
introduction – n. part of a book that leads up the main part
authoritarian – adj. of or related to a build-up of power in a single ruler
accountable – adj. answerable; required to be responsible for something
aware – adj. having or showing knowledge; watchful
barrel – adj. of or related to something loaded in a container
retreat – v. to withdraw from an area; to drop back
global – adj. related to or involving the world