Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | March 31, 2003

State Department raps "freedom loving" allies

To you yahoos who still think the Iraq war is about freedom and democracy and human rights and all that jazz, how do you explain this report?


Citizens could not exercise the right to change their government peacefully. The Government permitted the existence of opposition political parties but harassed their members and refused either to register the parties or to allow them to participate in elections. Security force mistreatment resulted in the deaths of several citizens in custody. Police and NSS forces tortured, beat, and harassed persons ... Police and NSS arbitrarily arrested persons, particularly Muslims suspected of extremist sympathies. They also planted evidence on persons ... The judiciary did not ensure due process. Police and NSS forces infringed on citizens' privacy. Those responsible for documented abuses rarely were punished ...

The Government severely restricted freedom of speech and the press, and an atmosphere of repression stifled public criticism of the Government ... The Government restricted freedom of religion and harassed and arrested hundreds of Muslims it suspected of extremism ... The Government restricted freedom of movement. Internal passports were required for movement within the country and permission was required to move from one city or district to another. Exit visas were required to travel abroad.

Security forces committed a number of unlawful killings and at times beat and mistreated detainees. Prison conditions remained poor. The Government continued to arrest and detain persons arbitrarily, particularly those suspected of sympathizing with or being members of the OLF ... Thousands of suspects remained in detention without charge, and lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. The judiciary remained weak and overburdened. The Government infringed on citizen's privacy rights, and the law regarding search warrants was ignored widely. The Government restricted freedom of the press and continued to detain or imprison members of the press. Journalists continued to practice self-censorship. The Government at times restricted freedom of assembly; security forces used excessive force to disperse demonstrations. The Government limited freedom of association ... The Government restricted freedom of movement. Numerous internally displaced persons (IDPs) from internal ethnic conflicts remained in the country ... Violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children remained problems. Female genital mutilation (FGM) was widespread ... The exploitation of children for economic and sexual purposes remained a problem. Societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities continued. Forced labor, including forced child labor, and child labor, particularly in the informal sector, continued to be a problem. There were reports of trafficking in persons.
The Government's poor human rights record worsened, and it continued to commit serious abuses. Citizens did not have the ability to change their government ... There were some reports, difficult to confirm, that the police occasionally resorted to torture and physical beatings of prisoners, particularly during interrogations, and police severely mistreated army deserters and draft evaders ... Arbitrary arrests and detentions continued to be problems; an unknown number of persons were detained without charge, some incommunicado, because of political opinion, suspected association with the Ethiopian Mengistu regime, radical Islamic elements, or terrorist organizations. The judiciary was weak and subject to executive influence and lacked the resources to provide speedy trials. The use of a special court system limited due process. The Government infringed on the right to privacy. The Government severely restricted freedom of speech and press, including the rights of the religious media. There were limits on freedom of assembly. The Government restricted the freedom of religion. The Government restricted freedom of movement. Violence and societal discrimination against women continued to be problems, and female genital mutilation (FGM) remained widespread ... The Government restricted workers' rights. There were unconfirmed reports of forced labor. Child labor occurred.

he Government's human rights record remained poor ... Numerous serious irregularities in the 1999, 2000, and June elections limited citizens' right to change their government. Numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reported that police brutality continued. Security forces continued to torture, beat, and otherwise abuse detainees. Corruption in law enforcement agencies was pervasive. NGOs also blamed several deaths in custody on physical abuse, torture, or inhumane and life-threatening prison conditions. Arbitrary arrest and detention remained a problem during the year. The Government took no concrete steps to address these problems, and lack of accountability remained a problem. The judiciary was subject to pressure and corruption and did not ensure due process ... There were lengthy delays in trials and prolonged pretrial detention remained a problem. Law enforcement agencies and other government bodies occasionally interfered with citizens' right to privacy. The press generally was free; however, occasionally security forces and other authorities intimidated and used violence against journalists. Journalists practiced self-censorship. Government officials infringed upon freedom of religion. The Government continued to tolerate discrimination and harassment of some religious minorities. Violence and discrimination against women were problems. Trafficking for the purpose of forced labor and prostitution was a problem.

The Government's human rights record remained poor. The Government continued to restrict citizens' ability to change their government peacefully. Police tortured and beat persons in custody and used excessive force to extract confessions. Arbitrary arrest and detention continued to be a problem. In most instances, the Government took no action to punish abusers, although perpetrators were prosecuted in a few cases. Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening, and some prisoners died as a result of these conditions. Lengthy pretrial detention was a problem. The Government continued to hold a number of political prisoners. The Government infringed on citizens' privacy rights.

The Government continued to restrict freedom of speech and of the press, and the press faced continued harassment during the year ... The Government largely controlled radio and television, the primary source of information for most of the population. The Government restricted freedom of assembly and forcibly dispersed some demonstrations held without a permit; police shot and killed one protestor. The Government continued to restrict freedom of association by refusing to register some political parties and harassing domestic human rights activists and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). There were restrictions and abuses of religious freedom ... Violence against women remained a problem. Discrimination against women and certain ethnic minorities were problems. The Government limited some worker rights. Trafficking in persons was a problem.

Now I'm not saying we should invade these countries. But if you're claiming to fight a war for freedom, why would you "ally" yourself with countries that don't, er, practice freedom?

Talk about padding your resume.

Posted March 31, 2003 06:09 PM | Comments (34)


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