Human Rights: US’ Double Standards, Hypocrisy


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The United States (US) government has once again accused government officials and 
security forces/services in countries like China, India, Russia, and even the 
Philippines, of committing human rights violations based on the recently released State 
Department’s 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. 

The report has once again accused China of "genocide and crimes against humanity” for 
its treatment of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and 
religious minority groups in Xinjiang while also saying that government officials and 
the security services often committed human rights abuses with impunity.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said recently that the US is monitoring what he 
describes as a “rise in human rights violations or cases in India by some government 
officials, police, and prison officials.” But Blinken did not give any evidence to 
support his claims.  

Moreover, the Philippines, a supposed treaty ally and friend of the US, was not spared 
from the condescending and stigmatizing remarks from no less than the US State 
Department, which claimed that it received “credible reports/information showing that 
significant human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, have been committed 
by members of the security forces, by and on behalf” of the Philippine government, and 
that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was “largely ineffective” in cleansing its 
ranks.

Reactions 

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded by saying that "the content 
related to China as stipulated in the said US annual human rights report of 2021 
misrepresent facts, confuse wrong with right, and are rife with political lies and 
ideological bias. China deplores and firmly opposes it.” 

Zhao further added, "the US should immediately cease making irresponsible remarks, 
attacking and slandering other countries' human rights situations.”

On Wednesday (12 April, 2022), Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that 
India also takes a view on other people's human rights situation, including that of the 
US. He added that India constantly raises such matters concerning the Indian community 
in the US.

“There is a rise in hate crimes against the Indian community in the US, and it 
increased by 200 percent in recent years".  Just last Tuesday (12 April 2022), two Sikh 
men were attacked in the New York borough of Queens, and a few days back, another Sikh 
man was assaulted in the same neighbourhood. 

The Philippines Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND), Delfin Lorenzana, 
challenged and questioned the baseless accusations of the US. 

“We question the US State Department’s report of abuses by security forces. We 
challenge it to provide us with details so our Commission on Human Rights, a 
constitutional and independent body, can verify them, and if proven accurate, the 
perpetrators will be punished. Absent these data, the accusations are nothing but 
innuendos and witch hunt. At worst, the State Department has become a gullible victim of 
black propaganda. And if I may add, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines was voted 
as one of the most trusted agencies of the government recently. Surely it did not earn 
this by abusing, torturing, and killing people,” Lorenzana said.  

On Saturday (16 April, 2022), Malacañang slammed the “baseless” report of the US State 
Department on the current human rights situation in the Philippines, calling them “old 
and recycled” issues hurled at President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Hindsight And Perspective

Unimaginably, the US is like a loose cannon with its double standards and hypocrisy in 
lecturing and pillorying other countries’ human rights shortcomings as if it has the 
moral and ethical superiority on this matter. It is as if the US is the world’s human 
rights judge and role model.   

Truth be told, the US hardly befits a nation that is a role model of human rights to be 
emulated by other countries. Relative to its size and power, the US, at the moment, is 
one, if not the most brazen and impertinent guilty party or delinquent in the 
international human rights community. 

Nevertheless, it is unashamed to castigate other countries across the world for their 
human rights deficiencies as if it has the moral ascendancy and credibility to do so, 
given that the US does not practice what it preaches more often than not.  

To note, the US is the only major world power that has failed to fully ratify or adhere 
to any of the significant human rights instruments introduced by the United Nations (UN) 
or other human rights bodies. 

Despite its claims of being the champion of international human rights, the US has 
failed to ratify crucial human rights documents, such as the Convention on the 
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the 
Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the International Covenant on Economic, 
Social, and Cultural Rights – part of the International Bill of Human Rights, and the 
American Convention on Human Rights. 

The US and Somalia are the only countries that have not ratified the Convention on the 
Rights of the Child (CRC). Also, the US has not ratified the first Optional Protocol of 
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

Likewise, the US did not sign the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 
(UNCLOS). It is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal 
Court (Rome Statute), which founded the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2022 as a 
permanent international criminal court to bring to justice perpetrators of the worst 
crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide when national courts 
are unable or unwilling to adjudicate these crimes.

While the US is hasty to denounce and rebuke human rights violations beyond its borders, 
its human rights record is definitely far from ideal and in some cases, beyond belief. 

For instance, the case of 25-year-old Patrick Lyoya who was shot in the head. The 
incident happened on 4 April in Michigan. Patrick was originally from the Democratic 
Republic of Congo. He was shot in the head while pinned down on the ground facing away 
from the police officer. The white police officer did not shoot the “black” man in 
self-defense. 

There are similar cases of police brutality against men and women of colour in the US. 
The likes of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, and Jacob Blake were all 
killed although they were unarmed and defenseless at the time. 

Between 2013 and May 2021, American police killed over 9,000 people; not counting the 
post-May 2022 incidents of police brutality in the US. In 2021 alone, at least 1,124 
people died from police brutality in the US. Most of the victims had committed non-
violent crimes or no crime at all. 

Undoubtedly, America is the country with the highest number of cases of police 
brutality.  

US gun violence-related crimes/incidents have also risen in recent years. In 2022 alone, 
America witnessed 21,000 people killed or injured due to gun violence, of which more 
than 14,000 were minor shootings while more than 130 were mass shootings. In 2021, there 
were 693 mass shootings, which is 10.1 percent higher than in 2020. More than 44,000 
people were killed in gun violence.

The public security situation in the US has gone downhill. No doubt, incidents like 
these happen in the US almost every day, and the human rights situation in the US is 
worsening by the day. Hence, it begs the question, when will the US talk about them?  

Furthermore, the atrocities against African Americans and Native Americans who are 
subjected to police abuse, including non-lethal force, arbitrary arrests, detentions, 
and harassment, at higher levels than Whites are on the rise daily. 

Also, thousands of people of Asian descent have reported attacks and racial 
discrimination after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, another human rights-related 
violation on the rise in America. Not necessarily a new occurrence, racial 
discrimination and atrocities in the US are taking a heavy levy on Asian-Americans since 
the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Moreover, in 2021, the US detained more than 1.7 million migrants at its southern 
border, including 45,000 children. Violent law enforcement claimed 557 lives, the 
highest number since 1998, which more than doubled the previous year. Also, the number 
of homeless Americans in the US is shocking. In San Francisco alone, as per a report in 
the New York Times on 19 December, 2021, one in every 100 residents was homeless.  

Externally, the war waged by America in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria 
alone have already caused more than 20 million people to become either refugees or 
migrants.  

During the US withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, a US drone killed 10 members of 
an Afghan family, including seven children, among which the youngest was only two years 
old. Also, to date, the US still holds 39 detainees at the Guantanamo high-security 
prison.

Hence, given all these, it is imperative to ask if the US, a title-holder in pointing 
fingers at the human rights shortcomings of other countries, will take responsibility 
and address its dismal human rights record within its borders and beyond? 

Conclusion

Indeed, “righteous indignation should be reserved for the truly righteous.” But 
America is far from being righteous given its blatant dismal human rights record within 
its borders and beyond. 

America lecturing the world on human rights is a farce, for it doesn’t have the moral 
ascendancy and integrity given its gloomy human rights record. 

Instead of schooling other countries on their human rights shortcomings, the US probably 
needs some self-introspection and should first address its human rights situation. 

Consequently, the US is in no position to criticize the Philippines for its human rights 
shortcomings, if there are any. When it comes to this matter, Filipinos are by far the 
best judge on the country’s human rights situation.
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