The brutal, persistent attacks by the Syrian regime against its own people – including the outrageous targeted killings of civilians, including women and children, at Qubeir and Houla in recent weeks – are disgusting and unacceptable. Perpetrators of these and other atrocities in Syria must be identified and held to account. The United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end.
The United States remains deeply disturbed by other ongoing human rights violations around the world.
Iran must uphold its international obligations to protect the human rights of all citizens, including the right to religious freedom and free expression. Iran must release all persons jailed for their religious or political beliefs, including the more than 100 Baha’is imprisoned, and those students, lawyers, and journalists currently detained.
The DPRK must immediately dismantle political prison camps, where it reportedly holds between 130,000 and 200,000 individuals, including children, without due process.
Sudan continues to target civilians, including by aerial bombardments in Darfur, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan. Government forces continue to commit extrajudicial killings, torture, and other gross human rights violations throughout the country, including against religious minorities.
Belarus restricts the freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement. The government should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, restore their political and civil rights, and permit regime critics to leave the country if they desire.
China silences dissent through arrests, convictions, forced disappearances, and extralegal detentions; has tightened controls on the Internet; persecutes human rights lawyers; intimidates activists’ families; impedes civil society; and limits religious freedom. Government policies undermine Tibetan and Uighur linguistic, religious, and cultural traditions.
Eritrea has still not accounted for those who have disappeared after arrest, including journalist Dawit Isaak. The government’s severe repression of fundamental freedoms, including religion and expression, has caused large numbers of people to flee the country.
Cuba routinely harasses, arrests, denies employment to, beats, and jails those who criticize the government. It intercepts, blocks, or diverts dissidents’ phone and Internet connections to prevent reporting on human rights abuses. We call for the immediate release of Alan Gross, who has been unjustly imprisoned for over two-and-a-half years.
Venezuela continues to consolidate power in the executive branch. It limits freedom of expression, criminalizes dissent, closes media outlets, and uses court cases to harass media owners and political opposition members.
Turkmenistan curtails the freedoms of religion, movement, expression, and association. It restricts civil society and arbitrarily imprisons citizens who openly express criticism. Torture is widespread in prison.
Thank you, Madame President.