In the early 1970s the United States formalized its responsibility to speak out on behalf of international human rights standards. In 1976 Congress enacted legislation creating a Coordinator of Human Rights in the Department of State, a position later upgraded to Assistant Secretary. Legislation also requires that U.S. foreign and trade policy take into account countries' human rights and worker rights performance and that country reports be submitted to the Congress on an annual basis.
In 2009, governments across the globe continued to commit serious violations of human rights. As we survey the world, there still are an alarming number of reports of torture, extrajudicial killings, and other violations of universal human rights. Often these violations relating to the integrity of the person are in countries where conflicts are occurring. These violent attacks are a central concern wherever they take place. In a significant number of countries, governments have imposed new and often draconian restrictions on NGOs. In many countries, human rights defenders are singled out for particularly harsh treatment, and in the most egregious cases, they are imprisoned or even attacked or killed in reaction to their advocacy.
Human rights problems in Ukraine enlightened in the report included serious police abuse, beatings, and torture of detainees and prisoners; harsh conditions in prisons and detention facilities; arbitrary and lengthy pretrial detention; an inefficient and corrupt judicial system; and incidents of anti-Semitism. Corruption in the government and society was widespread. There was violence and discrimination against women, children, Roma, Crimean Tatars, and persons of non-Slavic appearance. Trafficking in persons continued to be a serious problem, and there were reports of police harassment of the gay community. Workers continued to face limitations to form and join unions, and to bargain collectively.
Read the full report on Ukraine here.
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