Human Rights Record of the United States

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The Human Rights Record of the United States is a publication on the annual human rights record in the United States, published by the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. The report was first issued in 1998 as a response to the United States' practice of criticizing China in its own annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which each of the Chinese reports cites in the first paragraph. It has since been published annually since 2000.

The conception and practices of human rights differs in various cultures.[1][2] At least 15 military interventions have been justified using references to the country's human rights record.[3] As a result, human rights have become an element of foreign policies in addition to domestic policies.

Not only does this report use statistics to measure human rights but it broadens the concept of human right beyond legal rights to other areas. Crime, hunger, privacy, incarceration, employment, access to the internet, poverty, health care, sexual discrimination and war are noted in this report.

2010 Report

Here are the highlights of the extensive report via Xinhua News Agency.[4][5]

  • In 2009, the U.S. Dept. of Justice estimated 4.3 million violent crimes, 15.6 million property crimes and 133,000 personal thefts were committed against U.S. residents aged 12 or older, and the violent crime rate was 17.1 victims per 1,000 persons.[6] Separately the U.N. reports that the U.S. is 6th among developed countries in property crime victims statistics.[7]
  • Also 2009, the U.S. Dept. of Justice found that weapons were used in 22 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, and about 47 percent of robberies were committed with arms.[8] Separately the U.N. reports that the U.S. has the second highest rate of homicides among developed countries behind Mexico.[9]
  • The ACLU learn that more than 6,600 travelers had been subject to electronic device searches between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, nearly half of them American citizens.[10]
  • The report states that by 2011, America will have more than 1.7 million men and women in prison, an increase of 13 percent over that of 2006. In fact, federal, state and local adult prisoners at the beginning of 2008 was 2,319,258.[11] The growth of state, federal and regional prison populations from Dec. 31, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2008 was 1.6%.[12] Separately the International Centre for Prison Studies reports that the U.S. has the highest rate of prisoners per capita in the world.[13]
  • The report states that on June 24, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which will give the federal government "absolute power" to shut down the Internet under a declared national emergency. However the current status of this bill is that it died in committee and never became law.[14]
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent in November 2010, and the number of unemployed persons was 15 million in November, among whom, 41.9 percent were jobless for 27 weeks and more.[15]
  • The United States Census Bureau found than a total of 44 million Americans were poor in 2009, four million more than that of 2008. The share of residents in poverty climbed to 14.3 percent in 2009, the highest level recorded since 1994.[16]
  • The USDA calculate that 14.7 percent of U.S. households were food insecure in 2009, an increase of almost 30 percent since 2006.[17][18]
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of Americans without health insurance increased from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009, the ninth consecutive annual rise, which accounted for 16.7 percent of the total U.S. population.[20] Separately the OECD reports that the U.S. has the highest spending on health care per capita.[21]
  • The U.S. FBI states that out of 6,604 hate crimes committed in the United States in 2009, some 4,000 were racially motivated and nearly 1,600 were driven by hatred for a particular religion.[22]
  • A study at University of Michigan found that 90 percent of U.S. women have suffered some form of sexual discrimination in the workplace.[23] The report claims some 20 million women are rape victims in the country but has not been documented. However, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 17.7 million American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.[24]. They also found that one in four women is a victim of domestic violence.[25] Separately the U.N. reports that among the developed countries, the U.S. is 12th in the number of reported rapes.[26]
  • USDA found that nearly one in four U.S. children struggles with hunger.[27] Reports show that every year over 3 million children are victims of violence and neglect but the actual number could be three times greater.[28]
  • The Justice Policy Institute reports that more than 93,000 children are currently incarcerated in the United States. They also report that between 75 and 93 percent of children have experienced at least one traumatic experience, including sexual abuse and neglect.[29]
  • The report claims at least 109,000 people were killed in the Iraq war, and 63 percent of them were civilians from March 2003 through the end of 2009. At least six studies of Iraq war deaths have been made. Their estimates of deaths range from 90,170 to 1,033,000 and cover various time periods from over 3 years to over 7 years. It is beyond the scope of this article to verify the accuracy of these claims.[30]
  • The report claims that U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops had caused 535 Afghan civilian deaths and injuries in 2009. According to UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 596 civilian deaths were due to actions by the U.S. led military forces.[31]
  • The report claims that during the U.N. Universal Periodic Review of the record on November 5, 2010, the United States received a record 228 recommendations by about 60 country delegations for improving its human rights situation. The U.N. report verifies this summary with the exception that 56 countries participated in efforts to improve the U.S. human rights.[32]

Related Sourcewatch


  1. List of human rights articles by country
  2. The Challenge of Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, by Diana Ayton-Shenker, United Nations Background Note
  3. Examples of humanitarian intervention
  4. Full Text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010, Xinhua News Agency, 2011-04-10
  5. Facts and Figures: U.S. human rights situation, Xinhua News Agency, 2011-04-10
  6. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
  7. Property crime victims (most recent) by country
  8. National Institute of Justice, Gun Violence
  9. Overall homicide rate per 100,000 pop. (most recent) by country
  10. Government Data Regarding Electronic Device Searches
  11. Pew Center on the States, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, pg. 5
  12. Pew Center on the States, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, pg. 29
  13. Prisoners per capita (most recent) by country
  14., S. 3480: Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010
  15. U.S. BLS, Employment Situation News Release
  16., Record number of Americans living in poverty, 9/16/2010
  17. USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Security in the United States
  18. Washington Post, 5 Myths about hunger in America, November 21, 2010
  19. USA Today, Families in homeless shelters increased 7% in '09, June 16, 2010
  20. USA Today, Number of uninsured Americans rises to 50.7 million, Sept. 17, 2010
  21. Health care funding total per capita (most recent) by country
  22. Latest Hate Crime Statistics, FBI, November 22, 2010
  23. Leskinen, Emily; Lilia M. Cortina (2010). "Gender Harassment: Broadening Our Understanding of Sex-Based Harassment at Work" (in English). Law and Human Behavior: 15. Springer. doi:10.1007/s10979-010-9241-5. Retrieved on 20 July 2011. 
  24. Who are the Victims?, The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
  25. [ DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FACTS] (English). The Public Policy Office of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Retrieved on 20 July 2011.
  26. Rape victims (most recent) by country
  27. 5 Myths about hunger in America, Washington Post, November 21, 2010
  28. Domestic violence statistics, Domestic Violence Resource Center
  29. HEALING INVISIBLE WOUNDS: Why Investing in Trauma-Informed Care for Children Makes Sense, July 2010
  30. Casualties of the Iraq War
  31. Civilian and overall casualties (2009)
  32. Report of the Working group, Friday 5 November 2010, 9:00 am - 12:00 am, Universal Periodic Review - United States of America