The United States State Department has released the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014
In the report, countries were called out for their punishment to people speaking freely. Countries mentioned include China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Persecuted groups that were specifically mentioned include journalists, bloggers, and non-violent critics.
Cuba and Iran were both criticized even as the Obama Administration undergoes fragile negotiations with the respective countries. The report was released days before talks regarding the Iranian nuclear program resume. However, Iran is criticized for having the second-highest execution rate. Cuba was criticized for denying passports to dissidents. The Obama Administration has been working to normalize relations with the Latin American country.
Afghanistan’s election was also touched upon. “In Afghanistan, millions of people defied threats of violence to choose a new President representing the country’s first peaceful transfer of power from one elected government to another,” the document read.
Other elections referenced include India, Tunisia, and Indonesia.
The report also payed homage to those who were caused ill in Russia and Venezuela for protesting the countries’ laws.
President Obama was also quoted in the document from his speech to the 2014 United Nations General Assembly:
“All of us – big nations and small – must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms. We are here because others realized that we gain more from cooperation than from conquest. We call upon others to join us on the right side of history – for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions… [We] will not shy away from the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…We choose to work for the world as it should be.”
In a press release John Kerry had made mention of various terrorist organizations, including ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab.
The document talked more about some groups. “In parts of the Middle East and Africa, violent extremists have made it clear that not only do they have zero regard for human rights; they have zero regard for human life, period. We’ve seen groups like ISIL burn human beings alive, barbarically behead prisoners, sell girls into slavery, and execute innocents widely and indiscriminately.”