OPINION: The USA Is the World’s Leading Violator of Human Rights

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On April 22, 2024, the United States Department of State released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2023, and the Ugandan government was accused of significant human rights violations.

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour Department examined seven major areas, which included respect for the integrity of persons, respect for civil liberties, freedom to participate in the political process, corruption in government, governmental posture towards international and nongovernmental monitoring and investigation of alleged abuses of human rights, and lastly, workers’ rights.

The report accuses the Ugandan government of significant violations like the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which expressly criminalised consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, proscribing the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and life imprisonment for “homosexuality, arbitrary or unlawful killings, serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, serious government corruption, serious government restrictions on or harassment of domestic and international human rights organisations, and extensive gender-based violence.

The report also accuses the Ugandan government of not taking credible steps to identify and punish officials who may have committed human rights abuses.

However, the United States government is the leading violator of human rights both in its domestic policies and across the world, which has resulted in millions of deaths and unmatched human suffering. These acts and atrocities have not been competed with by any other country in recent human civilisation history.

Unlawful killings are a daily meal for the US government. The USA has continued to use lethal force in countries around the world and withheld information regarding the legal and policy standards and criteria applied by US forces to the use of lethal force. The administration persisted in its denial of well-documented cases of civilian deaths and harm and failed to provide truth, justice, and reparation for civilian killings in the past. All the US government knows is the killing of more and more human beings across the world.

On December 14, 2008, Muntader al-Zaidi, a 28-year-old Iraqi correspondent for al-Baghdadia, threw his shoes at then-US President George W. Bush during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq.

“This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog,” he shouted. “This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq,” Zaidi lamented while throwing the shoes to President Bush. The whole world is tired of US atrocities around the world.

According to Amnesty International, the US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions were used by the Israeli military in two deadly, unlawful air strikes on homes full of civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip in October 2023. This is one of the several thousands of US mass killings across the world. Several other mass killings were committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Mogadishu-Somalia. The worst atrocities.

By the way, the US has the worst record of unlawful human killings and suffering that mankind has ever experienced. The two atomic bombs (Little Boy and Fat Man) dropped on Japan in 1945 killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, and their effects are still being felt today.

By the end of 1945, the bombing had killed an estimated 140,000 people in Hiroshima and a further 74,000 in Nagasaki. In the years that followed, many of the survivors would face leukaemia, cancer, or other terrible side effects from the radiation.

Freedom of assembly has been limited in the USA. Sixteen states introduced 23 bills restricting the right to protest, with five bills enacted in four states. The bills criminalise specific forms of protest, such as protests near fossil fuel pipelines, or increase penalties for existing crimes, such as “riots” or blocking roadways. In Mississippi, organisers were required to obtain written permission from state law enforcement before holding a protest near the Mississippi statehouse or other government buildings, enabling state officials to approve or disallow protests, including those against the actions of state officials. North Carolina heightened penalties for existing “riot” offences and for protests near pipelines.

Excessive use of force has been tasted by both US citizens and residents. According to media sources, police shot and killed 1,153 people in 2023. Black people were disproportionately impacted by the use of lethal force, comprising nearly 18.5% of deaths from police use of firearms, despite representing approximately 13% of the population.

Arbitrary detention has been very evident in the administration of justice in the USA. Thirty Muslim men remained arbitrarily and indefinitely detained in the US detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, in violation of international law. Four individuals were transferred to third-world countries in 2023. Sixteen of the remaining detainees have been cleared for transfer, some for over a decade, without progress.

More so, there has continued to be no accountability, redress, or adequate medical treatment for the many detainees who have been subjected to torture, other ill treatment, and/or enforced disappearance. Such inhumane treatment is being done by a country that goes around blaming states across the world for human rights violations.

The US government has continued to disrespect the right to habeas corpus. Despite the US Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that Guantánamo detainees have a right to habeas corpus, detainees continued to be denied hearings. The US government’s “global war on terror” framework, which continued to defy international law, hampered the ability of federal courts to order the release of detainees. Wow, it’s a wonder that the USA talks about human rights in other countries.

There is no right to life or security in the USA. At least 48,000 people were killed by gun violence in 2022, the most recent year for which data exists. Approximately 132 people died each day in 2022 from a firearm-related injury. Americans are dying like cockroaches, and the US has the audacity to talk about human rights violations in other sovereign states.

In 2023, there were more than 650 incidents where four or more people were shot. In January, a man in Monterey Park, California, opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring nine at a Lunar New Year celebration. In March, a man killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee.

In April 2023, a man in Cleveland, Texas, killed five people, including a nine-year-old boy, in a neighbour’s house after they complained about noise from him firing guns on his property. In May, a man killed eight people and wounded seven at a shopping mall in Dallas. These examples demonstrated the US government’s continued failure to enact evidence-based firearm regulations, undermining human rights across the country.

The US government should feel ashamed of lecturing other states about human rights. They should first lecture themselves. In fact, the US government is the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of All Times) in violating human rights both at home and globally.

Moreover, the US Human Rights Report about Uganda is totally unfounded due to various misconceived human rights accusations and non-acknowledgement of the increased state compliance with international human rights standards and principles in the areas of human rights and development, in combating impunity, in the rule of law, and in engagement with international human rights mechanisms.

Non-government organisations (NGOs) are playing a critical role in the promotion of human rights by strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights, cultivating a human rights culture through human rights education, encouraging public interest litigation, agitating for humane and democratic governments based on the rule of law, and promoting values of peace.

According to the International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) 2024, approximately 14,000 registered NGOs engage on a range of issues, including providing services to citizens and advocating to improve democratic governance and human rights. Several civil society and civil rights activists have gained a platform as vocal critics of the regime, for example, Mr. Godber Tumusabe of the Great Lake Institute of Democracy and Governance, Hon. Miria Matembe, and Sarah Birete, amongst others.

On the allegations of anti-homosexuality, on April 3, 2024, the Constitutional Court delivered its decision in the Consolidated Petitions No. 14, 15, 16, and 85 of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 and declared that it complies with the Constitution of Uganda except in only four aspects, and this was received with a lot of excitement by the citizens. The USA needs to respect other states in pursuit of their cultural and moral values.

The writer is a patriot with knowledge about human rights and legal affairs.

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