U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the fourth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue at the State Department in Washington, Monday, April 11, 2022. (Michael A. McCoy/Pool via AP)
UPDATED 10:35 AM PT – Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Secretary of State Antony Blinken says democratic principles are on the decline around the world while human rights abuses are on the rise. The US State Department issued a dire warning about the state of democracy in several countries.
While speaking about the department’s 46th Annual Report on Human Rights Practices in nearly 200 countries around the world, Secretary Blinken said there was a trend in backsliding in 2021.
“For many years running, we have seen an alarming recession of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights in many parts of the world,” he stated. “In the time since releasing our previous report, that backsliding has unfortunately continued.”
The report detailed the humanitarian crisis that happened during and after the Biden administration withdrew from Afghanistan. Since American troops left the Central Asian country, the Taliban has increased its arbitrary killings, detention and forced disappearances of political dissidents. Additionally, antigovernmental groups, including the Taliban and ISIS-K, punished civilians through beatings, amputations and executions.
Department of State researchers also pointed out the ruling Taliban has rolled back efforts to educate the Afghan people, lamenting access to education was bolstered prior to the surrender.
“We invest so much effort into documenting these and other abuses year after year, not only because it aligns our most sacred values, but also because respect for human rights is fundamental part of upholding the international rules based order,” he stated.
Secretary Blinken also noted under President Biden’s watch, authoritarian regimes are taking their human rights abuses beyond their borders. He touched on the Iranian plot to kidnap a US-based journalist who was critical of the Ayatollah regime from her home in New York.
Also, Belarusian-Russian officials ordered a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania to land in its capital, so they could arrest a 26-year-old exile who had orchestrated protests against Lukashenko regime.
Additionally, the report warned China is continuing its human rights abuses that the US has been sounding the alarm on for years. The Chinese Communist Party is still perpetrating genocidal actions against Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang province.
According to the report, CCP officials have also launched a censorship campaign against dissident areas, including shutting down news papers promoting democracy in Hong Kong and sending military planes to Taiwan to thwart independence claims.
“And we know that the way to do it matters, together with citizens and communities out in the open transparently, not trying to pretend problems don’t exist or sweeping them under a rug,” Blinken continued, “And in fact, that’s what distinguishes democracies: our willingness, our commitment to pursue that more perfect union. In practicing what we preach at home, gives us greater legitimacy when we encourage governments abroad to do the same thing.”
In the meantime, the US Secretary of State said he will work to bolster America’s human rights practices, so it can better lead by example. He vowed to continue meeting with human rights activists and journalists abroad as well as continue to sanction countries that continue to violate their citizens’ human rights.