US criticises Iran, Cuba in human rights report

United States releases human rights report, criticising countries such as Iran, Cuba, Myanmar and Vietnam, despite its effort to develop relations with them

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

In an annual human rights report, the United States sharply criticised countries such as Iran, Myanmar, Cuba and Vietnam, accusing them as serial human rights abusers.

The report was released on Thursday, a short time before Washington’s nuclear talks with Iran.

The State Department report used harsh words regarding Tehran claiming the Iranian government practices “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Tehran was also blamed for having the second-highest execution rate in the world and saying the treatments did not suit with constitutional protections.

The report said the most substantial human rights violations in Iran were restrictions on freedom of expression, religion and media, adding that people were also illicitly arrested, tortured and sometimes even killed.

Regarding Cuba,  the report stated that even though Havana, the capital, had facilitated travel restrictions, the government still denied passport requests for some opposition figures.

The US eased restrictions as part of an agreement in December between President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro to normalise ties between the two past Cold War rivals.

The report added that Cuba restricted internet access and dominated  some media organisations.

"We couldn’t help but have humility when we have seen what we have seen in the last year in terms of racial discord and unrest,” said the US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“So we approach this with great self-awareness," he said.

The report said the Russian political system was becoming "increasingly authoritarian" as Moscow had passed new precautions supposedly to suppress opposing views in the country.

Myanmar and Vietnam were also criticised despite the effort the US has been taking to develop relations, and Thailand, where a military coup took place in May last year also had its share of the criticisms.

The report indicated that there were "severe" limitations on freedom of expression, assembly and media in Thailand.

Harassment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was also put in the report, the state department said the abuses still remained and they were "severely troubling.”

John Kerry added that the reason of the release of the report was not to be "sanctimonious," saying that all countries including the United States have to improve themselves.


TRTWorld and agencies