President Joe Biden’s vision of America is at least a continent removed from President Ronald Reagan’s ''bright shining city on a hill,'' a land founded on systemic racism dominated by the greatest threat of all, white supremacy.
This oppressive condition is so bad, in fact, that his administration’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken sat impotently through a rebuke by China’s counterpart regarding self-admitted U.S. civil rights violations. Blinken later invited a U.N. Civil Rights Council inquiry into America’s self-acknowledged abuses.
Who are those role model countries that can point out our sins and guide our more noble and just path forward?
The U.N. General Assembly has elected 15 members: Bolivia, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, France, Gabon, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.
So that would include China, whose well documented human rights abuses include: coercive population control through forced abortion, sterilization and involuntary birth control; detention and forced labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslim minority groups in internment camps; destruction and closure of mosques and other religious sites; and forced political ''re-education.''
And Cuba ...another communist country notorious for government-sponsored killings, forced disappearances, torture, and cruel imprisonment and treatment of political dissidents by security forces.
Then there’s Russia, where international human rights organizations have reported commonplace and widespread systematic torture of persons in police custody; hazing in the Russian Army; neglect and cruelty in Russian orphanages, along with other violations of children’s rights; and extrajudicial killings of journalists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons in Chechnya by local government authorities.
In Ukraine, human rights violations include: restrictions of free expression; fierce antisemitism; violence against ethnic and bisexual and transgender minority groups; the worst forms of child labor; harassment of Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists in its Russia-led conflict in the eastern Donbas region and Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula; corruption of judiciary independence; and killing, torture and life-threatening treatment of government detainees.
Human rights violations next door to our southern border in Mexico include: torture; enforced disappearances; abuses against migrants; extrajudicial killings; and attacks on independent journalists and human rights defenders. These abuses have continued with impunity under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December 2018.
The U.S. State Department adds to this list: violence against women; violence targeting persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons; and the existence of the worst forms of child labor.
According to the U.S. State Department, former President Evo Morales’ Bolivian administration’s human rights violations include: ''killings and torture by security forces; harsh prison conditions; allegations of arbitrary arrest and detention; an ineffective, overburdened, and corrupt judiciary; a 'partly free' media; corruption and a lack of transparency in the government; trafficking in persons; child labor; forced or coerced labor; and harsh working conditions in the mining sector.''
As for U.N. Human Rights Council investigations regarding America’s ''systemic foundation on slavery,'' let’s be reminded that France was the third largest African transatlantic slave trade country during 17th and 18th centuries following the Portuguese and British.
Also consider that the vast majority of these slaves were taken to sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) — France’s crown jewel, and the New World’s most profitable colony.
Slavery conditions in Saint-Domingue continued until the beginning of the Haitian Revolution in 1791 when enslaved and free people of color fought successfully to defeat the French, Spanish and British to end this terrible practice in the region.
Located in west Africa, Senegal’s ''Significant human rights issues include: unlawful or arbitrary killing by the government; torture and arbitrary arrests by security forces; harsh and potentially life-threatening prison conditions; lack of judicial independence; criminal corruption, particularly in the judiciary, police, and elsewhere in the executive branch; trafficking in persons; criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and forced child labor.''
In Côte d'Ivoire, also in western Africa, Human Rights Watch reported in 2020 that dozens of people were killed, hundreds were injured, and many journalists and other dissenters were arrested in clashes over President Alassane Ouattara’s contested third-term election.
Violence also ensued during a hotly disputed 2009 election of central African Gabonese President Ali Ben Bongo, where security forces routinely harass, threaten, and extort money from noncitizen Africans working legally as market merchants, manual laborers, and domestic servants; arbitrary arrests without warrants are common; torture is routinely inflicted to obtain confessions; and the government was ranked 102 out of 169 countries on the 2007 World Press Freedom Index.
Human Rights Watch observes that Malawi, in southeastern Africa, faces a wide array of human rights challenges, including severe economic inequalities; recurrent food insecurity; and commonplace violence and discrimination, including forced marriages of women and young girls.
Women and girls from Nepal’s Dalit community in southern Asia are frequently targeted with sexual violence as well. Under the government of Prime Minister K.P. Oli, authorities of the ruling Nepal Communist Party fail to investigate these offenses along with ongoing cases of alleged extrajudicial killings by security forces and deaths resulting from torture while in custody.
In Pakistan, despite a 2018 pledge by Prime Minister Imran Khan to make social justice a priority, authorities have often failed to protect religious groups, women, and transgender people from discrimination and violence ... or to hold perpetrators accountable.
In addition, scores of civilians have been killed in attacks by the Pakistan Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other armed groups as the government has cracked down on supporters of opposition parties including media networks and journalists.
According to the U.S. State Department, Senegal’s ''Significant human rights issues include: unlawful or arbitrary killing by the government; torture and arbitrary arrests by security forces; harsh and potentially life-threatening prison conditions; lack of judicial independence; criminal libel; corruption, particularly in the judiciary, police, and elsewhere in the executive branch; trafficking in persons; criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and forced child labor.''
Human Rights Watch has charged that Uzbekistan's record of cooperation with U.N. human rights mechanisms is arguably among the worst in the world. Violations include: wide-scale torture; arbitrary arrests; and restrictions on freedoms of religion, speech and press, and assembly.
Uzbekistan was also included into Freedom House's "The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies."
So these, after all, are the countries that President Biden and his State Department would invite to critique America’s human rights record.
Let me suggest that instead of doing so, why not establish a foreign exchange program whereby one person attempting to enter the U.S. southern border to escape each of these countries is voluntarily traded for one who prefers to ''take a knee'' or turn away in disrespect for our nation’s sacred flag during the playing of America’s national anthem?
Who could possibly argue with the human rights equity in that?
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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