It has a chapter on every other country in the world, but a State Department report on global human rights doesn’t address the U.S. role in atrocities overseas.
Globalpost: Alex Pearlman
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the State Department’s annual report card on human rights in most of the countries in the world, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011, is detailed and thorough, except for one thing – the United States’ actions seem to be missing.
Besides the obvious lack of self-reflection, the Atlantic called the report “a must-read for its reporting and candor.” It’s well organized, easy to navigate, uses a universally applied template, and often cites information from NGOs and human rights organizations.
However, reading through the report, it became obvious that the State Department cannot accurately issue a report on abuses around the world if it’s not willing to admit to its own abuses, or even controversial actions it has come under fire for.
Here are some of the confusing holes we found in the annual report.
Israel and the occupied territories
In the subsection titled, “Political Prisoners and Detainees,” a simple paragraph says: “There were no reports of citizen political prisoners or detainees. NGOs alleged there were noncitizen political detainees, but the government maintained that it only held prisoners on criminal and security grounds.”
According to Human Rights Watch’s annual report covering the same time period, “As of September 31 Israel detained 164 Palestinian children under 18-years-old, and also held 272 Palestinians in administrative detention without charge.”