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  Wikipedia: Human rights in the United States

Wikipedia: Human rights in the United States
Human rights in the United States
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The United States has an established legal tradition of providing strong protection for civil rights and human rights. Its founding document, the United States Constitution and in particular the Bill of Rights, provides for a long list of guaranteed rights, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to trial, right to a jury, right against self-incrimination, right against unwarranted search and seizure, banning of cruel and unusual punishment, and so on.

Many view the United States as an exemplary human rights leader and consider these enumerated rights to be among the strongest in the world, while critics point to what they see as hypocrisy both in domestic and foreign policies of the United States government. To them, the rights formally guaranteed by the American constitution have been eroded in reality.

Such views are often described as "anti-Americanism", but are also held by many political liberals in the United States. At stake in the debate are controversial issues such as capital punishment, police brutality, the "War on Drugs" and sexual morality. Finer points which are sometimes debated are a perceived media concentration that might drown out voices of dissent, and the details of the justice system (minimum sentencing laws, coercion into plea bargains, inadequate public defenders, etc.).

After the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, pressure from the government of the United States for more surveillance of the general population has led to heightened criticism of the government's violation of citizens' privacy and of control measures that do not respect prisoner dignity.

Amnesty International assessment of the human rights record of the United States

Amnesty International states for the year 2000:

Police brutality, disputed shootings and ill-treatment in prisons and jails were reported. In May the U.N. Committee against Torture considered the initial report of the USA on implementation of the U.N. Convention against Torture. Eighty-five prisoners were executed in 14 states bringing to 683 the total number of people executed since 1976. Those executed included individuals who were children under 18 at the time of their crimes, and the mentally impaired.

Many people disagree with the UN and Amnesty International assessment. Some of the reasons given by those who disagree with various aspects: they do not consider execution to be torture (especially since it is usually administered via lethal injection), they do not accept low intelligence quotient as an excuse for capital crimes, and they feel that some older teenagers should be tried as adults due to the nature of the offense. Not all US citizens who support execution share all of these views.

China's assessment of the human rights record of the United States

On March 11 2002, the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China published a document entitled "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2001". On February 27, 2001, it had published a report for the year 2000. The reports are a scathing attack on the state of human rights in the United States and have been published subsequently to the "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" for China by the United States Department of State, which both reports cite in the first paragraph.

The documents attempt to blunt U.S. criticism of the PRC by pointing out both perceived violations of rights and social problems such as crime and poverty. The reports do not significantly criticize the United States for violating freedom of speech or freedom of the press. They do charge that the United States political system is undemocratic (citing the 2000 US presidential election as an example), that the justice system is racially biased and excessive, that workers have little protection against corporate abuse, and that the US "sabotage the world's peace and stability" through international military actions. They further detail the economic and social situation of the US and describe it as a human rights violation, thereby using an expanded definition of human rights.

See also: Human rights in China

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona