US human rights violations exposed

Updated: 2008-03-13 10:12

The "financial threshold" for participating in the US presidential election is becoming higher and higher. At least 10 of the 20-strong major party candidates who are seeking the US presidency in general elections in 2008 are millionaires, according to a report by Spanish news agency EFE on May 18, 2007.

The French news agency AFP reported on January 15, 2007 that the 2008 presidential election will be the most expensive race in history. The cost of the last presidential campaign in 2004, considered a peak for its time, was 693 million US dollars. Common estimates of this year's total outlay have tended to come in at around 1 billion US dollars, and Fortune magazine recently upped its overall cost projection to 3 billion US dollars.

The US administration manipulated the press. On October 23, 2007, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staged a news conference on California wildfires.

A half-dozen questions were asked within 15 minutes at the event by FEMA staff members posing as reporters.

The news was aired by US-based television stations. After the Washington Post disclosed the farce, FEMA tried to defend itself for staging the fake briefing.

The report says that the deserved economic, social and cultural rights of US citizens have not been properly protected.

Poor population in the United States is constantly increasing.

According to statistics released by the US Census Bureau in August 2007, the official poverty rate in 2006 was 12.3 percent.

There were 36.5 million people, or 7.7 million families living in poverty in 2006. In another word, almost one out of eight US citizens lives in poverty.

The wealth of the richest group in the United States has rapidly expanded in recent years, widening the earning gap between the rich and poor. The earnings of the highest one percent of the population accounted for 21.2 percent of US total national income in 2005, compared with 19 percent in 2004.

The earnings of the lowest 50 percent of the population accounted for 12.8 percent of the total national income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent in 2004, according to Reuters.

Hungry and homeless people have increased significantly in US cities. The US Department of Agriculture said in a report released on November 14, 2007 that at least 35.5 million people in the United States, including 12.63 million children, went hungry in 2006, an increase of 390,000 from 2005.

About 11 million people lived in "very low food security", according to Reuters.

People without health insurance have been increasing in the United States. A Reuters report on September 20, 2007 quoted the US Census Bureau as saying that 47 million people in the United States were not covered by health insurance.

Racial discrimination is a deep-rooted social illness in the United States, the report says.

Black people and other minor ethnic groups live in the bottom of the US society.

According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August 2007, median income of black households was 31,969 US dollars in 2006, or 61 percent of that for non-Hispanic white households. Median income for Hispanic households stood at 37,781 US dollars, 72 percent of that for non-Hispanic white households.

The rates of blacks and Hispanics living in poverty and without health insurance are much higher than non-Hispanic whites, according to Washington Observer Weekly.

Ethnic minorities have been subject to racial discrimination in employment and workplace. According to the US Department of Labor, in November 2007, the unemployment rate for Black Americans was 8.4 percent, twice that of non-Hispanic Whites (4.2 percent).

The unemployment rate for Hispanics was 5.7 percent. The jobless rates among blacks and Hispanics were much higher than that for non-Hispanic Whites.

Racial discrimination in the US judicial system is shocking. According to the 2007 annual report on the state of black Americans issued by the National Urban League (NUL), African Americans (especially males) are more likely than whites to be convicted and sentenced to longer terms. Blacks are seven times more likely than Whites to be incarcerated.

The report says the conditions of women and children in the United States are worrisome.

Women account for 51 percent of the US population, but there are only 86 women serving in the 110th US Congress. Women hold 16, or 16.0 percent of the 100 seats in the Senate and 70, or 16.1percent of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

In December 2007, there were 76 women serving in statewide elective executive offices, accounting for 24.1 percent of the total. The proportion of women in state legislature is 23.5 percent.

Discrimination against women is pervasive in US job market and workplaces. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it received 23,247 charges on sex-based discrimination in 2006, accounting for 30.7 percent of the total discrimination charges.

The living conditions of US children are of great concern. Houston Chronicle reported that a survey by the United Nations on 21 rich countries showed that though the United States was among the world's richest nations, its ranked only the 20th in the overall well-being of children.

US juveniles often fall victims of abuses and crimes. According to a report on school crimes in the United States released by the Department of Justice in December 2007, 57 out of one thousand US students above the age of 12 were victims of violence and property crimes in 2005.

Millions of underage girls become sex slaves in the United States. Statistics from the Department of Justice show some 100,000 to three million US children under the age of 18 are involved in prostitution. A FBI report says as high as 40 percent of forced prostitutes are minors.

The report says the United States has a notorious record of trampling on the sovereignty of and violating human rights in other countries.

The invasion of Iraq by US troops has produced the biggest human rights tragedy and the greatest humanitarian disaster in modern world. It was reported that since the invasion in 2003, 660,000 Iraqis have died, of which 99 percent were civilians. That translates into a daily toll of 450.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of civilian deaths in Iraq has exceeded one million. A report from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) revealed that about one million Iraqis were homeless, half of whom were children.

US troops have killed many innocent civilians in the anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan. The Washington Post reported on May 3, 2007 that as many as 51 civilians were killed by US soldiers in one week (Karzai Says Civilian Toll is No Longer Acceptable, The Washington Post, May 3, 2007).

An Afghan human rights group said in a report that US marine unit fired indiscriminately at pedestrians, people in cars, buses and taxis along a 10-mile stretch of road in Nangahar province on March 4, 2007, killing 12 civilians, including one infant and three elders (New York Times, April 15, 2007).

It is high time for the US government to face its own human rights problems with courage and give up the unwise practices of applying double standards on human rights issues, according to the report.

This is the ninth consecutive year that the Information Office of the State Council has issued human rights record of the United States to answer the US State Department annual report.

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