(Washington D.C., April 12, 2022) – Earlier today the U.S. Department of State published its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which tracks how foreign governments meet their human rights obligations set forth in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments.
Under U.S. law, the State Department must submit human rights reports to Congress for all countries receiving U.S. assistance and all UN member states.
Today's report documenting systematic and widespread violations of human rights, including unlawful, arbitrary, and extrajudicial killings; forced disappearances; torture, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and arbitrary detention by Middle East governments should trigger a complete suspension of U.S. military aid pursuant to U.S. law, said Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).
"In his remarks accompanying the report, Secretary Blinken said that the 'United States will continue to support those around the world struggling for human dignity and liberty.' It is hard to square this statement with the U.S. government aiding and arming some of the worst human rights abusing governments in the world," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN. "The real question we should be asking is why is the U.S. government ignoring its own evidence and laws to continue supporting some of the most abusive governments in the world."
Regarding the Country Report on Egypt:
"Unlawful, arbitrary, and extrajudicial killings. Forced disappearances, torture, and life-threatening prison conditions. Congress should remember these findings from the State Department when the Egyptian government asks for another $1.3 billion in military support from U.S. taxpayers," said John Hursh, Program Director at DAWN. "U.S. hypocrisy ignoring Egypt's record is exactly what autocrats such as Russian President Vladimir Putin point to and use to dampen international support for the United States in its stand against Russia over its aggression and invasion of Ukraine."
Regarding the Country Report on Israel and Palestine:
"The State Department failed to address the findings of the crimes of apartheid and persecution by Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGOs, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Palestine, even as it noted apartheid conditions, such as prosecuting Palestinians held in Israel who are not Israeli citizens under Israeli military law. In stark contrast, the State Department concluded that Israel does not prosecute Israeli citizens that commit similar crimes in the West Bank under Israeli law," said Whitson.
Regarding the Country Report on Saudi Arabia:
"In Saudi Arabia, executions for nonviolent offenders, such as many if not most of the 81 men killed in a mass execution last month, or government-ordered forced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detainment, does not stop the U.S. government from supplying the country with millions in U.S. weapons and military equipment," said Hursh. "The harassment and intimidation of Saudi dissidents living abroad—just one example of the magnitude of repression from the Saudi government—is incompatible with the American values that State Department officials champion as a key part of U.S. foreign policy," added Hursh.
Regarding the Country Report on the United Arab Emirates:
"In the UAE, the State Department found credible reports of arbitrary detention, torture in detention, and holding detainees incommunicado, in addition to a vast array of laws and practices stifling civil and political rights. At the same time, the U.S. and UAE governments are trying to work out a massive $23 billion weapons sale," said Hursh.