Pompeo Calls Out Iran, Nicaragua, China, South Sudan in Annual Human Rights Report

By Bowen Xiao
Bowen Xiao
Bowen Xiao
Bowen Xiao was a New York-based reporter at The Epoch Times. He covers national security, human trafficking and U.S. politics.
March 13, 2019Updated: March 14, 2019

The United States on March 13 released its annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” documenting violations in nearly 200 countries and territories, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo singling out by name Iran, South Sudan, Nicaragua, and China in his preface.

The 2018 global human rights report compiled by the State Department paints a dark picture of “appalling violations of human life, liberty, and dignity” that happen every day in many parts of the world. The department has exposed such occurrences every year since 1977.

In his opening remarks, Pompeo said he wished the countries evaluated in this year’s report had spotless or even improved records, but he noted that it was “simply not the case.”

“Even some of our friends, allies, and partners around the world have human rights violations. We document those reports with equal force,” Pompeo told reporters. “Our aim is always to identify human rights challenges and use American influence and power to move every nation toward better, more consistent human rights practices.”

Pompeo called out Iran’s Islamic regime for killing more than 20 people last year and arresting thousands of protesters, adding that it “continues the pattern of cruelty that the regime has inflicted upon the Iranian people for the last four decades.”

He then mentioned South Sudan, whose military forces have used sexual violence against civilians based on their political allegiances and ethnicity, and Nicaragua, where civilians were met with sniper fire for peacefully protesting over social security benefits, and critics of the government “faced a policy of exile, jail, or death.”

But Pompeo said China was in “a league of its own” when it came to human rights violations.

“Today, more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims are interned in reeducation camps designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities,” he said. “The government also is increasing its persecution against Christians, Tibetans, and anyone who espouses different views from those or advocates those of government—or advocates change in government.”

Michael Kozak, head of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, told the same briefing that abuses like those currently being committed against China’s Muslim minority had not been seen “since the 1930s.”

The report also detailed how practitioners of Falun Dafa have been victims of “systematic torture in custody” by the Chinese Communist Party. Additionally, “some activists and organizations continue to accuse the government of involuntarily harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, especially members of Falun Gong,” the report stated.

Falun Dafa is a meditation practice which includes gentle exercises and moral guidance based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance. The communist regime banned the practice in 1999 and orchestrated a nationwide crackdown on practitioners which continues to this day.

Venezuela’s illegitimate dictator, Nicolás Maduro, was reelected through a “deeply flawed political process,” the report noted, detailing human rights issues in the country, including extrajudicial killings and torture by security forces and deplorable prison conditions.