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State Dept: Human Rights Abuses Span Middle East, Pakistan

The U.S. State Department cited countries across the Middle East and elsewhere in a report that said governments are suppressing human rights.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 4/10/2011, 3:51 PM / Last Update: 4/10/2011, 3:47 PM

The U.S. State Department reports countries in the entire Middle East, and some countries elsewhere, are riddled with human rights abuses.

In its annual government-mandated report, the State Department said that government repressions of political freedoms were rampant. The report, which has been submitted each year for the past 35 years, cited actions by police and security forces against dissenters, even in countries that are considered allies of the United States.

Abuse of political and social rights has continued, and is worsening in some cases, in countries important to American security, the State Department said Friday. Among those cited were Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Pakistan.

Among the cases cited was a rise in extrajudicial murders, torture and rape by security forces in Pakistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out in releasing the report that in Pakistan, “blasphemy remains a crime punishable by death. And the blasphemy law has been enforced against Muslims who do not share the beliefs of other Muslims, and also against non-Muslims, who worship differently.”

Interference with access to the Internet was a particular concern in the report. More than 40 countries currently limit access to the Internet to one degree or another, according to the report.

Rights abuses are rated for 194 countries, both friendly and unfriendly to the United States, in the report. If printed, the document would include more than two million words and would require more than 7,000 pages.