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How US unleashed global rights disaster

By ZHAO RUINAN | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-21 09:51
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Friends and family of brothers Severiano Buck and Bace Wallace, who both died from complications of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), sit during their memorial service at Cape Memorial Chapel in Kirtland, New Mexico, US, Dec 16, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Reports: Botched pandemic response brings suffering at home and abroad

The United States' botched handling of the coronavirus pandemic has spelled disaster not only for its people but also for those outside the country as a result of its lax border controls, recent reports show.

The US has recorded the most COVID-19 infections and deaths. According to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the country had logged more than 50.8 million confirmed cases and more than 806,000 deaths as of Monday.

The stark numbers show that the US has failed to protect people's right to life, one of the inherent and natural rights of mankind, said a report released by the Institute for Human Rights Law of Huazhong University of Science and Technology on Monday.

The report, The Human Rights Disaster of The US Incompetent Pandemic Containment, points out that Washington's self-interested, shortsighted, inefficient, and irresponsible response to the pandemic has led its people into human rights disasters.

The response has also exposed the long-standing problems in the country, such as a divided society, the polarization between the rich and poor, racial discrimination, and the inadequate protection of the rights and interests of vulnerable groups, according to the report, which notes these problems are getting worse.

Children are bearing the brunt of the pandemic in the US. According to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association, nearly 7.2 million children in the US had tested positive for COVID-19 by Dec 9, accounting for more than 17 percent of all confirmed cases.

Zeynep Tufekci, a US columnist, said in an article in The New York Times that the pandemic has proved to be "a nearly two-year test" that the US "flunked", "with an already distrustful populace exposed to a level of institutional failure that added fuel to the angry battles over how to respond".

A poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in October found that 78 percent of US people believe that their government's policies caused the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

Military interference

According to Monday's report, the US government was stated as failing to curb the pandemic within borders, hastening the spread of COVID-19 across the globe because of poor border controls and practices such as vaccine hoarding.

The US' disregard for human rights, as revealed by its mishandling of the pandemic, has many dimensions.

Another report published last week by the Jilin University Human Rights Center shows that the country is one of the worst offenders when it comes to interfering in the internal affairs of other countries-a practice that worsens human rights in those countries.

The report, titled Global Human Rights Dilemma Under the Cloud of US Interference, said the US was involved in 188 foreign military interventions from 1992 to 2017.

The interventions, carried out in the name of protecting human rights and combating terrorism, have brought more severe humanitarian crises instead of improving people's livelihoods, said the report.

Twenty years ago, the US began waging a war in Afghanistan. The long-lasting conflict, killing about 47,600 civilians, plunged Afghans into greater suffering and misery.

The casualties from US air raids in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are larger than official figures.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that hidden Pentagon documents show that the US air wars in the Middle East have been marked by "deeply flawed intelligence" and resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Its investigation showed that the number of civilian deaths had been "drastically undercounted" by at least several hundred, the newspaper said.

The US interference in other countries' internal affairs-by military actions or unilateral financial sanctions-shows that the world's biggest economy only cares about its hegemony, not about human rights, said the report by Jilin University.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday that the US military should be held accountable for its war crimes of killing innocent civilians worldwide, after the Pentagon decided not to punish any military personnel involved in a drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians in Kabul.

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