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Full text: The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-03-28 13:46

I. Dysfunctional Civil Rights Protection System

The United States is a country defined by extreme violence, where people are threatened by both violent crime and violent law enforcement, and their safety is far from being guaranteed. Prisons are overcrowded and have become a modern slavery establishment where forced labor and sexual exploitation are commonplace. America's self-proclaimed civil rights and freedoms have become empty talk.

Collusion between politicians and businesses paralyzes the gun control agenda. U.S. gun interest groups have mounted powerful political lobbying for their own interests. In defiance of public opinion, the government has drastically relaxed gun controls, allowing guns to be carried in crowded public places such as hospitals, schools, bars and stadiums. On July 3, 2022, Bloomberg News reported that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the "Bruen case" on June 23 overturned half a century's gun control legislation in New York and six other states. Residents of these states were allowed to make concealed carry, a landmark backward step in the field of gun control in the United States. The New York Times reported on Oct 28, 2022 that a federal court in Texas ruled that a state law banning adults under 21 from carrying handguns was unconstitutional. Nearly half of U.S. states have now relaxed gun restrictions. "The country has been moving as a whole, in the past two or three decades, very clearly and dramatically toward loosening gun-carrying laws," said Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, a professor at the University of Washington. American scholar Pamela Haag's book "The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture" points out that guns in the United States are an industrial chain that "begins with production line and ends with the death of victims." "The tragedy of gun violence in America has its roots in the secular gun trade."

Gun violence rises in tandem with gun ownership. A study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that the relaxation of gun control in the United States has led to a simultaneous rise in gun ownership and mass shootings. With less than 5 percent of the world's population, the United States owns 46 percent of the world's civilian guns. The United States leads the world in gun ownership, gun homicide, and mass shootings. According to the Gun Violence Archive website, the number of mass shootings in the United States has increased significantly in recent years. In 2022, gun violence killed 43,341 people, and injured 37,763 people, and 636 mass shootings occurred in the United States, an average of two a day. America's firearm homicide rate is eight times higher than Canada's, 13 times higher than France's, and 23 times higher than Australia's. In an opinion piece published on June 25, 2022, The Australian said that the United States "is a country all but defined by ultra-violence, in its media and on its streets." Gun violence has become an "American disease."

Major crimes such as murder and robbery continue to rise. The USA Today reported on Sept. 11, 2022, that in the first half of 2022, homicides in member cities of the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) increased by 50 percent and aggravated assaults by about 36 percent compared to the same period in 2019. The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 6, 2022 that as of September 2022, the homicide rate in New Orleans was up 141 percent, shootings up 100 percent, carjackings up 210 percent, and armed robberies up 25 percent, compared with the same period in 2019. According to a Council On Criminal Justice report on July 28, 2022, in the first half of 2022, robberies rose 19 percent and larcenies rose 20 percent in major U.S. cities. Fox News reported on July 7, 2022 that since June 2021, the overall crime in New York City increased by 31 percent, grand larceny by 41 percent, robberies by 36 percent, burglaries by nearly 34 percent, and felony assault victims increased by about 1,000 per quarter. According to a CNN report on June 8, 2022, 72 percent of Americans were dissatisfied with the country's policies on reducing or controlling crime, and more Americans said they worried a great or fair deal about crime and violence (80 percent) than at any point in well over a decade.

Police violence gets worse. In 2022, a record 1,239 people died as a result of police violence in the United States, according to the website Mapping Police Violence. During the year, there were only 10 days when no police killing happened. Most police killings occur during routine law enforcement such as stop checks or when dealing with nonviolent crimes. Police are rarely accused of using excessive force. In police killings between 2013 and 2022, 98.1 percent of the officers involved were not charged with a crime. On June 27, 2022, police in Akron, Ohio fatally shot Jayland Walker, an unarmed 25-year-old African American, more than 90 times. According to a preliminary medical report, Walker had more than 60 wounds on his body. This was the third police shooting in Akron between December 2021 and June 2022.

The life and health of prisoners are threatened. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and prison conditions are terrible. According to a report in the Guardian on Oct. 1, 2022, nearly 500 people per 100,000 were incarcerated in the United States, which is about five times that of Britain, six times that of Canada, and nine times that of Germany. According to an article published by The Fair Justice Initiative organization on April 25, 2022, inmates in Mississippi prisons were kept in dark cells without lights or clean water, and the room temperature was often extremely hot. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on Feb. 19, 2022, that cells at the Joliet prison in Illinois were infested with rats, and rotten food and raw sewage overflowed into common areas. Prisoners' lives are not guaranteed. According to a study published in October 2022 in Prison Legal News, a publication on inmates' rights, a shortage of guards and inadequate infrastructure in Alabama's prison system led to high rates of violence and deaths among inmates. There were 39 deaths in the first eight months of 2022, 30 of which were unnatural ones.

Prisons became places of modern slavery. According to a report jointly released by the University of Chicago Law School and the American Civil Liberties Union on June 16, 2022, the United States incarcerates more than 1.2 million people in state and federal prisons, about 800,000 were engaged in forced labor, accounting for 65 percent of the total number of prisoners. Over 76 percent of the prisoners surveyed said they would be punished with solitary confinement, no mitigation and loss of family visitation rights if they refused to work. Incarcerated workers were forced to provide food service, laundry, and other operations but they have few rights and protections, said a report by the Prison Policy Initiative on March 14, 2022. Besides, incarcerated workers typically earn little to no pay at all, according to a research by American Civil Liberties Union on June 15, 2022. American prisons have become veritable modern-day slavery factories.

Religious intolerance intensifies. According to the Hate Crime Statistics for 2021 released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Dec. 15, 2022, a total of 1,005 religious hate crimes were reported in the United States in 2021, of which 31.9 percent were anti-Semitic incidents, 21.3 percent were anti-Sikh incidents, and 9.5 percent were anti-Islamic incidents, 6.1 percent were anti-Catholic incidents and 6.5 percent were anti-Orthodox incidents. Intolerance of Islam in the United States has intensified, and Muslims are severely discriminated against, said a report released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in 2022. In 2021, the Council on American-Islamic Relations received 6,720 complaints, including 308 hate and bias incidents related complaints, an increase of 28 percent over 2020; 679 law enforcement and government overreach complaints, an increase of 35 percent over 2020; 1,298 incidents of discrimination in workplaces and public places, an increase of 13 percent over 2020. The Middle East Eye reported on Aug. 23, 2022, that a study showed that Muslims are five times more likely to experience police harassment because of their religion compared to those of other faiths.

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