A look at some significant human rights...
Although the United States has always tried to present itself as a forerunner and support of human rights in the international community, but in reality is one of the countries with one of the weakest human rights records. The five focul points indicate the reality of this meaning and application of human rights by US authorities.
1 – Prisoners and arbitrary detention
The United States has the highest prisoner population the world. Nearly 2 million people are incarcerated in State and Federal prisoners. With astonishing figures, the United States incarcerates 573 out of 100,000 people. Numbering 61,064 individuals (38.5 percent) African Americans make up the largest prisoner population. In February 2022 alone, more than 9400 unaccompanied migrant minors were detained by ICE and approximately 4,000 of them have spent more than 72 hours in border detention centres. More than 600,000 prisoners in the United States have been infected by Coronavirus and more than 2,900 have lost their lives to the virus. In spite of the Arbitrary Detention Working Group’s recommendation in the report of its trip to the United States (11-24 October 2016), according to Executive Order No. 13492 for the closure of Guantanamo detention centre without delay, according to Amnesty International report 35 Muslims are still arbitrarily and indefinitely in this detention in violation of international law.
2 – Sale of weapons to human rights violating countries
Through the sale of 100 billion dollars in weapons, services and training every year, the United States is the biggest arms trader in the world. Just in 2020, America’s arms sales reached 175 billion dollars. The United States sales of arms and providing security assistance to countries with poor human rights records that include Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia. In 2021, the Biden Administration sold 735 million dollars worth of precision guided weapons to Israel. According to HRW, Egypt receives 1.3 billion dollars each year. Also the United States provides more weapons to Saudi Arabia than any other country, and in spite of documented human rights abuses, the Philippines receives the most aid and military loans in Asia. In spite of its security forces committing grave human rights violations, Nigeria also receives notable military aid from the United States.
3 – Poverty and inequality
The United States has a large degree of economic inequality. Twenty percent of low-income families get only 3.8 percent of the country’s income and one fifth or 20 percent of families with the richest families get 53.2 percent of the country’s income. To explain this it can be said that 20 percent of the richest population has an income equal to the other 80 percent of the population. In view of age, approximately 21 percent of children under 18 are poor (more than 15 million children). The poverty rate for America’s children is the highest in the western world and 1.5 to 9 times that of Canada and Western Europe. Also 8.9 percent of people 65 or over are poor (approximately 3.4 million senior citizens). In view of these figures approximately 36 percent of the total number of poor people in the United States are children, and approximately 8 percent of poor people are 65 or over. Therefore 44 percent of Americans that live in poverty are either children or senior citizens. although social costs related to COVID-19 have helped in the reduction of poverty during the pandemic, but this reduction is on the reverse. Most aid programmes have been temporary and they have now ended, and the US government has not managed to apply more permanent structural reforms.
For example the government’s failure to renew the tax credit of children which had ran out in December 2021, has put 3.7 million children in poverty. This is while in the beginning of 2022, the accumulation of wealth in the United States had reached its highest levels in more than forty years, because more than 1 percent of households approximately had one third of personal wealth. Also the poverty rate among African-American, Hispanic and Native American families is twice as much as white families.
4 – Gender-based Violence
Native American women still experience the highest rates of rape and physical abuse, and do not have access to basic care following rape. This is while they also experience higher rates of disappearances and murder too. Furthermore, the exact number of Native American women victims of violence or disappearances remains unknown, because the US government has not collected the data or not coordinated enough with tribal governments. According to Amnesty International in spite of 96 percent of victims have experienced sexual abuse from their non-Native partners, but the current American law and also local tribal governmental laws prohibit criminal prosecution of these individuals and in practice have created a system where non-Native perpetrators of sexual abuse are never prosecuted. It must be said that this crisis also exists in universities. In fact the extent of sexual abuse among students (19 percent) is similar to women among the general public (18.2).
5 – Health and human rights
From 3 January 2023 till 14 June 2023, in the United States there were 103,436,829 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,127,152 deaths reported to the World Health Organization. Throughout 2022, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), changed the COVID-19 warning levels, and at the same time suspended its protective measures and reassured that the protection of marginalized groups against the disease and death is not in top priority. Also the astronomical prices and inadequate medical insurance, shortages and lack of access to drugs, has created a crisis in the United States which undermines the right to health and caused people financial and debt problems. This has disproportionately had an impact on marginalized people both socially and economically. It must be said that until September 2022, out of the total of 1,045,904 Covid-19 deaths, 157,898 senior citizens kept in long-term care centres has also been recorded.