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Opinion\Op-Ed Contributors

Human rights record of the United States in 2016

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-10 07:36

VI. Gross Violations of Human Rights in Other Countries

Last year, the US continued to trample on human rights in other countries, causing tremendous civilian casualties. Its overseas monitoring projects infringed on the privacy of citizens of other countries and the US set up detention camp that illegally detained and tortured prisoners in many places on the globe.

Airstrikes caused a large number of civilian casualties. According to Airwars, a project aimed at tracking airstrikes in the Middle East, the US had repeatedly organized coalition forces to launch airstrikes against military forces in Iraq and Syria since Aug 8, 2014.

As of Dec 19 last year, the US had launched 7,258 airstrikes in Iraq and 5,828 in Syria, causing 733 incidents with an estimated number of civilian deaths between 4,568 and 6,127 (, Dec 19, 2016).

According to a report by the website of Los Angeles Times on Dec 2, a US airstrike killed at least 15 civilians in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province (, Dec 2, 2016).

Since 2009, the upper limit of the civilian death toll from US drones stood at more than 800 in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia (, July 1, 2016).

The issue of illegal detention and torturing prisoners of other countries remained unsolved. The US government promised to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2009, but as of Dec 4, there were 59 detainees at Guantanamo Bay (, Dec 4, 2016).

According to a report by The Washington Post on June 14, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency on violating "Freedom of Information" and forced the CIA to release 50 declassified documents.

A declassified report revealed in a CIA prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit, militant Gul Rahman was placed in an "extremely cold" cell, suffered from pouring water to his body, and was determined to have died of hypothermia while in detention (, June 16, 2016).

In a document titled Description of Physical Pressures, the CIA tortured detainees including a facial slap, use of diapers, "insects," and "mock burial".

In November, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said in a report that the US armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan (, Nov 15, 2016).

The US continued overseas monitoring projects in a large scale. The US intelligence agencies placed long-term monitoring of head and leaders of other states, diplomatic institutions and common people.

Since National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked the US surveillance programs to the new media in June 2013, the US continuously extended the scale to monitor leaders of other states, common people and related enterprises with updated technologies which draw sharp criticism.

Lat year, the CIA invested in firms to mine Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media (, April 15, 2016).

A windowless Manhattan skyscraper appeared to be a secret location used for NSA surveillance program that targeted not only domestic communication but also the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and at least 38 countries (, Nov 17, 2016).

A spy base named Titanpointe in NSA building used equipment with companies such as AT&T and spied on phone calls, fax messages and internet data, intercepting satellite data including emails, chats, Skype calls, passwords, and internet browsing histories. The US drew vast criticism from the international community.

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