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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Rights Group Hits Policies of US, China

June 1, 2008

By Meera Selva
The Boston Globe/AP
May 29, 2008

LONDON - The United States is shirking its duty to provide the world
with moral leadership and China is letting its business interests
trump human rights concerns in Burma and Sudan, a human rights group
said yesterday.

Amnesty International's annual report on the state of the world's
human rights accused the United States of failing to provide a moral
compass for its international peers, a longstanding complaint the
London-based group has against the North American superpower.

This year it also criticized the nation for supporting President
Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan last November when he imposed a state of
emergency, clamped down on the media, and sacked judges.

"As the world's most powerful state, the USA sets the standard for
government behavior globally," the report said.

It charged that the United States "had distinguished itself in recent
years through its defiance of international law."

As in the past, the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay came in for
criticism. Irene Khan, Amnesty's secretary general, appealed for the
president elected in November to shut the jail down.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey said the United States remains
at the forefront of promoting human rights and has made extensive
efforts to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to their home
countries, having done so in several hundred cases already.

But more than 100 countries have refused to take back certain
detainees, Casey said.

"Many countries that we would want to transfer people back to, I
think if you asked an organization like Amnesty International whether
they want us to transfer them back to those countries, would have
some serious concerns about that," he said.

Casey said there is no perfect solution, but said those who think
closing Guantanamo Bay is the answer should work with the United
States to resolve these problems.

Emerging power China was also criticized. The report said China had
continued shipping weapons to Sudan in defiance of a UN arms embargo
and had traded with abusive governments like Burma and Zimbabwe.

It said that China's media censorship remains in place and that the
government continues to persecute rights activists.

The report also accused China of expanding its "reeducation through
labor" program, which allows the government to arrest people and
sentence them to manual labor without trial.
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