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Chairman Menendez Statement on the Release of the Annual Country Report on Human Rights

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the Annual Country Report on Human Rights issued today by the State Department:

“The Annual Country Report on Human Rights documents a world replete with examples of the most vicious human rights violations.

In the regions where some of our most vital national security challenges exist, governments trample in the cruelest of ways on their citizens’ human rights. Public executions and hangings in Iran, mass starvations in North Korea, and the indiscriminate killings of Syrians shocks the consciousness profoundly.

Here in our own hemisphere, the Cuban government prohibits nearly every form of free expression and continues to harass, persecute, imprison and use violence against members of the country’s peaceful and democratic opposition. Venezuela and Ecuador also experienced setbacks to human rights, as their governments curtailed the activities of civil society organizations and placed increasing limitations on independent media outlets.

In Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, innocent civilians endured torture, murder and other abuses at the hands of both government and rebel forces. Restrictions on the activities of civil society organizations and media outlets in Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere demonstrate shrinking space for freedom of expression. 

The Report also pointed out the serious challenges that remain in China, Vietnam, Burma, and Cambodia, and the long road ahead in these countries to assuring that political and religious freedoms are respected, and ethnic groups and minorities are able to exercise their rights. In Sri Lanka, there is a lack of accountability following the end of that country’s civil war, with increasing impunity and attacks against journalists and members of religious minorities.

This report is both chilling and horrifying. It is a daily reminder that we must look injustice in the face and confront evil wherever it exists in our world.”