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Full Text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011

English.news.cn   2012-05-25 20:03:53

Native Americans are denied their due rights. From January to February 2011, UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya lodged two accusations against the United States, including accusing the Arizona State government of approving the use of recycled wastewater for commercial ski operations on the San Francisco Peaks, a site considered sacred by several Native American tribes (www.forgottennavajopeople.org), as well as the case of imprisoned indigenous activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 for alleged murder of two FBI agents. However Peltier has been claiming he is innocent and persecuted by the U.S. government for participating in the American Indian Movement (www.ohchr.org). On April 26, 2011, Ms. Farida Shaheed, independent expert in the field of cultural rights, Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and Mr. James Anaya, special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, of the UN Human Rights Council, jointly lodged accusations against the U.S, claiming that the city of Vallejo, California, is planning to level and pave over the Sogorea Te, held sacred to indigenous people in northern California, in order to construct a parking lot and public restrooms (www.treatycouncil.org).

Race-motivated hate crimes occur frequently. According to an FBI report, 6,628 hate crime incidents were reported in 2010, 2,201 of which were against African Americans, 534 against Hispanics, and 575 against whites. And 47.3 percent of all were motivated by racial bias, 20 percent by religion, and 12.8 percent by an ethnicity/national origin bias (ww.fbi.gov). According to a report released by the Center for American Progress in August 2011, seven American charitable groups, over the past decade, had spent 42.6 million U.S. dollars on inciting hatred against Islam communities (The New York Times, November 13, 2011). There are three active white supremacy groups in the city of San Francisco, which focus on attacking ethnic minorities and immigrants (www.abclocal.go.com). On November 10, 2010, two Mexican Nationals were beaten by a group of whites who were members of these organizations (www.sfappeal.com). According to investigation, black men aged 15 to 29 years old were most likely to be victims of murders. In New York City, they make up less than 3 percent of the city's population but in 2010 represented 33 percent of all homicide victims (The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2011).

The sufferings of civil rights activists who oppose racial discriminations arouse attention. The Huffington Post reported on May 31, 2011, Catrina Wallace, a civil rights activist in Jena, Louisiana, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by authorities only based on a drug dealer's accusation. Previously, Wallace had taken part in organizing a 50,000-people protest against racial discrimination that won freedom for six Black high school students. The article deemed the sentence was revenge taken by authorities on Wallace's human rights activism. "I am a freedom fighter," she says. "I fight for people's rights."

V. On the rights of women and children

To date, the United States has ratified neither the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, nor the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As the United States neglects the rights of women and children, their situation deteriorates.

Gender discrimination against women widely exists in the United States. According to statistics, women are not fully represented in governments at all levels in the United States, as women hold only 17 percent of the seats in Congress (www.wcffoundation.org). Women doing the same work as men often get less payment in the United States, and the wage gap has narrowed by only 18 cents in the past half century (www.thedailybeast.com). According to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2009, women working full-time, year-round were paid 77 cents on average for every dollar paid to men (www.aclu.org). Women in the United States widely suffer discrimination in terms of employment, promotion and work. A new study confirms that American tech companies are woefully behind in including women among their board members and highest-paid executives. On average, fewer than one in 28 of the highest-paid tech executives is woman. At California's biggest public companies, only about 10 percent of the board members and top executives are women (The New York Times, December 9, 2011).

Poverty rate among American women reached new record high. According to data from the United States Census Bureau, over 17 million women lived in poverty in 2010, including more than 7.5 million in extreme poverty and 4.7 million single mothers in poverty. The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years; the extreme poverty rate among women climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009, the highest rate ever recorded (www.merchantcircle.com). According to a report of the Associated Press on April 12, 2011, a single mother named Lashanda Armstrong drove her four kids in a minivan into the Hudson river in Newburgh, New York due to the unbearable burden of raising the kids. Only her 10-year-old boy survived.

Women in the United States often experience discrimination, violence and sexual assault. Ethnic minority women face discrimination during pregnancy. According to a report provided by the LAMB (The Los Angeles Mommy and Baby Project), 32.4 percent of Asian-American mothers felt discriminated against during pregnancy, second only to African-American mothers among whom the ratio amounts to 47.9 percent, while the ratio among Latin American mothers is 31.1 percent (The China Press, June 1, 2011). According to statistics from the website of the Los Angeles Police Department, more than 2 million American women are victims of domestic violence annually. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey shows nearly one in five women has been raped in her lifetime, and one in four has experienced serious physical violence from an intimate partner at some point in her life (Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2011). Throughout the military, sexual assault affects about 19 percent of female troops but most of them choose to keep silent, according to a survey of sexual assault conducted by the US military (www.csmonitor.com). From March to October in 2011, a string of 20 sexual assaults happened in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park and Park Slope and the victims were all young women (The New York Times, October 19, 2011). Reports say many of the 1 million women in prison in the United States experienced harsh treatment and even had their arms and legs chained when they were giving birth (www.globalissues.org).

Poverty rate for children in the United States reached record high. According to the report released by the US Census Bureau, more than 1 million children were added to the poverty population between 2009 and 2010, making the total number of children living below the poverty line reach more than 15 million, the greatest since 2001. The poverty rate for children in 2010 climbed to 21.6 percent in 2010 from 20 percent in 2009, with 653 counties seeing a significant increase in poverty rate for children aging 5 to 17 and about one third of counties having school-age poverty rates above the national poverty rate (www.census.gov). The Daily Mail reported on August 17, 2011, that child poverty increased in 38 states from 2000 to 2009 and Mississippi is the state with the highest level of 31 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau said that children living in poverty, especially small children, are more likely to develop cognitive and behavioral difficulties and may have a shorter education time and a longer time being unemployed when they grow up (The China Press, November 21, 2011).

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Editor: Lu Hui
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