Is US a beacon of human rights for the world?

An American flag flies in front of the dome of the United States Capitol in Washington, January 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Human rights for all are the common pursuit of humanity. While the global cause of human rights has seen rapid progress, the human rights situation in the United States has deteriorated, drawing criticism from the international community.

Racial discrimination in the United States has intensified. The “virus” of racism is deeply rooted and widespread in the United States, which prides itself on being a “White Anglo-Saxon Protestant” country. As a result, other ethnic groups such as African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans face severe discrimination and human rights violations.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans and people of Asian descent in the United States have become targets of xenophobia, stigma, hate speech, bigotry and crime of hatred. According to statistics from the New York Police Department, anti-Asian hate crimes in New York in 2021 increased by 361% compared to 2020.

Discrimination and attacks against Muslim Americans are also on the rise, as in the past Indigenous peoples have suffered bloody massacres, brutal evictions and cultural genocide.

Armed violence escalated. There were 693 mass shootings in 2021, up 10.1% from 2020, with more than 44,000 people killed in gun violence. According to the Gun Violence Archives, a non-profit organization, 19,841 people had been killed in gun violence in the United States as of June 15 of this year. And according to CNN, the number of mass shootings this year is expected to surpass last year, likely becoming the “worst year” on record.

People’s lives were ignored. Despite having the most advanced medical equipment, technology and medical facilities in the world, the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, with more than 88 million. confirmed cases and more than one million deaths. In fact, deaths from COVID-19 have reduced average life expectancy by 1.13 years, the biggest drop since World War II. However, the most affected are African Americans and Hispanics, as their life expectancy is estimated to be down by 2.10 years and 3.05 years, compared to 0.68 years for whites.

Moreover, pandemic prevention and control measures have been highly politicized in the United States, with politicians focusing on their political gains rather than people’s lives and health. The unscientific, unequal and irresponsible anti-pandemic measures and rules of the United States have seriously undermined the rights of Americans to life and health, resulting in the deterioration of people’s mental health and a staggering increase in the number of homeless.

Social injustice has been exacerbated. Economic inequality between the white population and minority ethnic groups in the United States is a long-term, systemic malaise, which has manifested itself in various ways and in areas such as employment and entrepreneurship, wages and financial loans. Not to mention the polarization between rich and poor, which is amazing.

The Policy Research Institute, an American think tank, claims that the overall wealth of American billionaires increased 19 times between 1990 and 2021, when the median increase in wealth was just 5.37%. According to data released by the US Census Bureau last year, the poverty rate among African Americans is 19.5%, making them the poorest and most vulnerable ethnic group in the United States.

Misunderstanding of human rights. Human rights take place in rich and extensive contexts, including not only civil and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development. However, the United States only recognizes individual rights such as civil and political rights, disregards economic, social and cultural rights, and does not recognize the right to development.

The United States is the only country in the world that has yet to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and refuses to ratify other fundamental human rights conventions, such as the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

For a long time, the United States has prided itself on being the greatest “defender of human rights”. But shamelessly, in using human rights as a political tool, the United States resorts to double standards. On the one hand, it holds the torch of human rights, pointing fingers at others, pressuring developing countries, starting wars and imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries. On the other hand, he turns a blind eye to his own human rights issues. The United States has always claimed to be a beacon of human rights for the world, but it has always been found struggling in the dark at home.

The author is a board member of the United Nations Chinese Association. Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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