This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The United States has singled out Iran, China, Venezuela, and Cuba for their gross abuses in its yearly report on human rights practices that covers 199 countries and territories.
Iran was chastised for its November crackdown on protesters following a government decision to raise fuel prices, according to the report, which covers global rights developments during 2019.
Security forces used lethal force to quash the protests, “killing approximately 1,500 persons and detaining 8,600, according to international media reports,” the report stated.
Rights watchdog Amnesty International has provided a different estimate, saying that at least 304 people were killed and thousands injured.
During the unrest, the authorities “arbitrarily” detained thousands of people and subjected some to torture and other ill-treatment, the rights group has said.
“I want to let great Iranians…know America remembers those [lives] lost and stands for their freedom,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in opening remarks as he presented the report on March 11.
The report stated there was no indication “government entities were pursuing independent or impartial investigations into protester deaths.”
Pompeo also highlighted the use of high-tech surveillance systems by China’s Communist Party to monitor dissidents. He said Beijing imprisoned “religious minorities in internment camps [as] part of its historic antipathy toward religious believers,” especially in the western Xinjiang Province.
Beijing’s human rights record in the predominantly Muslim province “is the stain of the century,” Pompeo said.
It was the State Department’s 44th report and covers “internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.”
“Nothing is more fundamental to our identity than our belief in the rights and dignity of every single human being,” Pompeo said.
“It’s in our Declaration of Independence. On this issue all Americans have a common cause with freedom-loving people all around the world.”