2022 witnessed landmark setback for U.S. human rights: report
Updated 17:41, 28-Mar-2023

The year of 2022 witnessed a landmark setback for U.S. human rights, a report on human rights violations in the United States issued by China said on Tuesday.

The report, titled "The Record on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022," was released by the State Council Information Office and is based on research, published data and media reports about the human rights record in the U.S.

The report notes that chronic diseases, such as money politics, racial discrimination, gun and police violence, as well as wealth polarization, are rampant in the U.S., a country that labels itself a "human rights defender."

It adds that human rights legislation and justice have seen extreme retrogression, further undermining the basic rights and freedoms of the American people.

American democracy loses public support

Political donations have made American elections a game for the rich, alienation of two-party politics has turned into polarized politics, and American democracy is losing its foundation in public support, said the report.

According to an analysis published by OpenSecrets, the total cost of the 2022 state and federal midterm elections was nearly $17 billion, the most expensive election in history.

Among them, federal candidates and political committees spent $8.9 billion, while state candidates, party committees and ballot measure committees spent $7.8 billion, both of which set all-time records.

2022 witnessed landmark setback for U.S. human rights: report

With plutocrats using their money to control the outcome of elections, U.S. elections are increasingly out of line with the nature of democracy.

Billionaires made up 15 percent of all federal political itemized donations from January 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022, up from 11 percent in the 2020 election cycle, Reuters reported in November 2022, adding that Financier George Soros was the top individual donor, doling out over $128 million to support Democratic campaigns.

Besides, political polarization, especially the polarization of two-party politics, has been one of the most striking features of American politics in the past three decades.

Around 28 percent of Americans named "political extremism or polarization" as one of the most important issues facing the country, according to a survey by the U.S. poll tracker FiveThirtyEight on June 14, 2022.

Political polarization and social rifts have made it difficult to reach a democratic consensus, and election farce and post-election chaos have become prominent features of U.S. politics.

"It seems like voters are no longer looking for a 'Contract with America.' They want a divorce," said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates.

Civil rights not guaranteed

Civil rights cannot be aptly guaranteed in the U.S. due to surging gun violence, growing racial discrimination and inequality, and historic retrogression in women's and children's rights, according to the report.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Bruen case in 2022 became a landmark regression in the field of gun control in the U.S. Nearly half of U.S. states have relaxed gun restrictions. 

In 2022, it led the world in gun ownership, gun homicide and mass shootings. It was the third consecutive year on record that the U.S. experienced more than 600 mass shootings. 

Gun violence has become an "American disease," said the report.

2022 witnessed landmark setback for U.S. human rights: report

Hate crimes and hate speech incidents in the U.S. have also increased significantly. The number of race-related gun injuries and deaths has jumped substantially, and people of color and ethnic minorities continue to face systematic discrimination in medical care, education, housing and other fields, according to UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

On May 14, 2022, Payton Gendron, a 19-year-old White gunman, killed 10 African Americans and wounded three others in a racist massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. 

On March 14, 2022, a 28-year-old man was charged with hate crimes in connection with a two-hour spree of attacks on seven women of Asian descent in Manhattan, and four Asian New Yorkers had died in recent months after being attacked.

The Anti-Defamation League based in the U.S. revealed that all extremist killings identified in 2022 were linked to right-wing extremism, with an especially high number linked to white supremacy.

2022 witnessed landmark setback for U.S. human rights: report

Women have lost constitutional protections for abortion, and children's living environment is worrying, said the report.

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022 ended women's right to abortion protected by the U.S. Constitution for nearly 50 years, which, according to Michelle Bachelet, is "a huge blow to women's human rights and gender equality," and "represents a major setback after five decades of protection for sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S."

In 2022, more than 5,800 children under the age of 18 got injured or killed by shooting in the U.S., and the number of school shootings amounted to 302, the highest since 1970, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database.

Research by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University points out that child poverty in the U.S. increased from 12.1 percent in December 2021 to 16.6 percent in May 2022, with 3.3 million more children living in poverty. 

Besides, the U.S. saw a nearly 70-percent increase in child labor violations since 2018 and registered a 26-percent increase in minors employed in hazardous occupations in fiscal year 2022, Reuters reported in February.

Human rights violations

Abuse of force and unilateral sanctions by the U.S. have created humanitarian disasters, the report notes.

According to data released by the Costs of War project at Brown University, since the beginning of the 21st century, the U.S. has carried out military operations in 85 countries in the name of "anti-terrorism," which directly claimed at least 929,000 civilian lives and displaced 38 million people.

Colm Quinn, a staff writer at Foreign Policy, published an article on July 14, 2022, saying the U.S. operations are no longer confined to the Middle East, but have broadened in geographic scope, only more covertly.

2022 witnessed landmark setback for U.S. human rights: report

The U.S. has imposed more unilateral sanctions than any other country in the world, and it still has sanctions in place against more than 20 countries, resulting in the inability of those targeted to provide basic food and medicine for their people, according to the report.

On December 20, 2022, several independent experts of the UN Human Rights Council issued a joint statement that the U.S. sanctions against Iran contribute to environmental harm in Iran, prevent all people in Iran from fully enjoying their rights to health and life and violate Iranian people's rights to clean environment. 

Alena Douhan, UN special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, stated in November 2022 that unilateral sanctions have exacerbated the suffering of the Syrian people and constitute a grave violation of human rights.

The UN General Assembly on November 3, 2022 voted for the 30th consecutive time to condemn the American economic, commercial and financial embargo of Cuba, with 185 out of the 193 members of the General Assembly supporting the condemnation.

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