The US Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2020 determines that “genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”

According to the US State Department report that was released to the public on Tuesday, these crimes were continuing and included the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of over one million civilians.

It also mentions forced sterilization, coerced abortions, and more restrictive application of China’s birth control policies; rape; torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained; forced labor; and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.

“Government officials and the security services often committed human rights abuses with impunity,” the report reads. “Authorities often announced investigations following cases of reported killings by police but did not announce results or findings of police malfeasance or disciplinary action.”

The annual County Reports on Human Rights Practices, the first one authored by the Biden administration, looked at human rights issues as part of its global analysis on almost 200 nations.

An ethnic Uighur boy wears a mask during a protest against China in Istanbul, Turkey December 14, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

On Iran, the report notes that government officials “materially contributed to human rights abuses not only against Iranians, but also in Syria, through their military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah forces.”

Iranian officials also contributed to abuses in Iraq, “through aid to pro-Iran Iraqi militia groups, and in Yemen, through support for Houthi rebels (see the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Syria, Iraq, and Yemen),” the report found.

“Significant human rights issues included: numerous reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, most commonly executions for crimes not meeting the international legal standard of “most serious crimes” and without fair trials of individuals, including juvenile offenders; forced disappearance and torture by government agents, as well as systematic use of arbitrary detention and imprisonment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; hundreds of political prisoners and detainees; serious problems with independence of the judiciary, particularly the revolutionary courts,” the report reads.

It also found that the Iranian government “effectively took no steps to investigate, prosecute, punish, or otherwise hold accountable officials who committed these abuses, many of which were perpetrated as a matter of government policy.”

“This included the killing of at least 304 persons during suppression of widespread protests in November 2019 and abuses and numerous suspicious deaths in custody from previous years. Impunity remained pervasive throughout all levels of the government and security forces,” the State Department said.

By Joseph Franklin

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