The State Department’s “Human Rights Reports” Reek of  Imperialism


Every year the US State Department releases reports on human rights but the Western media ignores their real purpose: to promote capitalism globally and reinforce US imperialist dominance of the world.

Every year since 1975, as mandated by law, the US State Department has submitted Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, called “Human Rights Reports” for short, compiled by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, to the US Congress. These reports are nothing new. Originally, Henry Kissinger tried to prevent the reports from being published because they were unflattering but partially got what he wanted: the State Department vigorously criticized “human rights” in communist countries but downplayed similar offenses in “pro-American regimes” as Clair Apodaca writes in Understanding U.S. Human Rights Policy.

This year, however, there was condemnation of the “reports” by countries, mainly across the global periphery. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which has been under imperialist attack since 1999, described the report as a violation of “legal equality and sovereign respect among States” and noted that “the violation of human rights in the United States is serious and massive.” The Islamic Republic of Iran, which has faced increasing scorn and hostility from the Trump Administration, said something similar. They rightly argued that US claims have “no value” and that US government, “due to its very bad and dark record of human rights…is not in a position to comment on the human rights situation in other countries.” Other countries, even those that are traditionally US allies, condemned the “report,” such as Egypt and Turkey. Beyond this, India and Bangladesh, Ecuador, the Bahamas, China, and Zimbabwe were also outraged at such “reports.” While some may say this “shows” these countries have committed abuses but are trying to hide something, the reality is different. Such resistance shows that US government efforts to promote “human rights” imperialism, so that Western capitalism can be forced down the throats of the global proletariat, is failing.

While the Western media has focused on ExxonMobil oil man Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, because he didn’t have a “ceremony” to release the “human rights reports,” like it is an “issue,” they have ignored the reason for these “reports.” China clearly recognizes it, with their Information Office of the State Council releasing the Human Rights Record of the United States annually, since 1998, showing human rights abuses within the United States. In the recent edition of their report, they write that the US “pointed fingers and cast blame on the human rights situation in many countries while paying no attention to its own terrible human rights problems” and noting that the US “continued deterioration in…key aspects of its existent human rights issues.”

The entities the US “reports” help are clear. When Tillerson refused to go along past “tradition,” in which the “reports” were announced publicly, people like right-wing reactionary Marco Rubio and Ken Roth, the executive of Human Rights Watch (HRW), effectively an arm of the State Department and CIA, were angry at his actions. Apart from their interests, the “reports” are part of the “happy” sheen of the murderous US empire, displayed by their promotion in white propaganda outlets such as VOA (Voice for America) and RFE/RL (“Radio Free” Europe/Radio Liberty), the Western media, and anti-Chinese Tibetan media. It is also evident that these “reports” reinforce the propaganda pumped out by “human rights” organizations like Amnesty, HRW, and Human Rights First, while strengthening existing imperial inter-relationships and supporting the idea of “democracy promotion,” as noted by Gardner Bovingdon in The Uyghurs, a 1996 State Department Report on “Options for Addressing Possible Budget Reductions,” and Nicolas Guilhot in The Democracy Makers. The latter idea of “democracy promotion,” promotion of Western bourgeois democracy, is central to NED (National Endowment for Democracy), with its tentacles of worldwide imperialist subversion manifested in its four core institutes (the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, and the Center for International Private Enterprise or CIPE, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute (IRI)), and its four initiatives (International Forum for Democratic Studies, World Movement for Democracy, Journal of Democracy, and Center for International Media Assistance).

In the end, we should condemn the US State Department’s “reports” by refusing to share content of such “reports” in the future and stand in strong international solidarity with the peoples of the world, especially those who are resisting the march of death by the tentacles of Western imperialism, squeezing the world of its life force, whether it comes in the forms of the Cuban, DPRK, Zimbabwean, Chinese, and Russian governments or other creative, radical leftist ways of resistance.

Leftist Critic is an independent radical, writer, and angry citizen who can be reached at or on twitter, @leftistcritic, where they tweet frequently about issues of importance relating to American empire, the environment, people of color, and criticism of the “left,” whether radical or non-radical, which they expand on their weblog.



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