US getting a reputation -- Human rights in the United States

30 May 2001

Joe's Garage <swatron@xenu.net>

People are beginning to say the emporer has no clothes when it comes to human rights. This is in spite of the fact that the US State Department has been reporting Europe's resistance to Scientology as a human rights violation. How could that be?

Top Stories - Associated Press - updated 6:25 PM ET May 30

Wednesday May 30 4:24 PM ET

Amnesty: US Not Leader in Human Rights
Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP)

- The United States no longer leads on international human rights issues and often sacrifices its concerns for political expediency, the U.S. branch of Amnesty International said Wednesday as it marked its 40th anniversary.

``We have no prominent leaders in government sounding the clarion call for human rights,'' said William Schulz, the executive director of Amnesty International USA. ``Instead, we have a U.S. government that has abdicated its duty to lead.'' Presenting the organization's annual report, Schulz said the group's greatest disappointment was the decline of U.S. leadership on human rights. As examples he cited the U.S. failure to ratify a convention to ban anti-personnel land mines and opposition to establishment of an international criminal court.

``It is no wonder that the U.S. was ousted from the United Nations Human Rights Commission,'' Schulz said. ``That defea t was precipitated by waning U.S. influence and double standards practiced by various administrations and Congresses.'' State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said he disagreed with Schulz's criticism of the U.S. human rights record.

``Anybody who has followed the cause of human rights around the world over the years will realize the United States has been and will remain the leading advocate of human rights,'' Reeker said. He said the U.S. record ``speaks for itself,'' as do the annual reports the d epartment issues that ``painstakingly document the human rights situation in countries around the world.''

Amnesty International provided a platform for the husband of an American University researcher detained in China. He urged the Bush administration to step up efforts to get her released now that a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane is being returned. Xue Donghua said he had written President Bush to tell him ``human beings are more important than expensive airplanes.'' His wife, Gao Zahn, has been hel d in China since Feb. 11.

China has accused Gao of ``activities that undermine state security.'' Xue said the case of his wife and at least four other detained academics is ``just the tip of an iceberg. A lot of other people who are detained and released choose to keep silent.'' Xue said when he asked the State Department for an update on efforts to get Gao freed, he was told the return of the aircraft from China was a diplomatic and military priority.

The Pentagon said Tuesday the plane will be returned home aboard a cargo plane and then repaired so it can resume surveillance flights. It has been stranded in China for nearly two months after it collided with a Chinese fighter jet and made an emergency landing on China's Hainan island. Schulz said th e group was doing everything it could to obtain the release of Gao and the other detained academics in China.

Reeker said the State Department most recently raised Gao's case with the Chinese in a meeting May 23. Reeker didn't offer details. Amnesty International was born on May 28, 1961, when The Observer newspaper in London published a piece by London lawyer Peter Benenson calling for the release of ``prisoners of conscience'' incarcerated because of their beliefs or origins.

Forty years later, the g roup employs more than 350 staff and has an annual budget of almost $28 million. It says it has so far dealt with the cases of 47,000 prisoners of conscience. This year's annual report documents executions outside the bounds of judicial process in 61 cou ntries, prisoners of conscience in at least 63 countries and cases of torture and ill treatment in 125 countries.


Joe Cisar: http://cisar.org/rfs0100.htm
Appreciate the finer things in life: http://www.leipzig-award.org
Save a Scientologist - http://mp3.cafepress.com/barbz
On-line book: http://members.tripod.com/German_Scn_News/has00.htm


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