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UN to question US over rights situation‎


Guards stand at the entrance of a renovated Abu Ghraib prison
The United States is to submit its human rights record to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time after coming under scrutiny over its lackluster rights situation.

The 47-member council is expected to blast the US over the use of torture in its so-called ‘war on terror’ and the country’s failure to dismantle the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

The 30-member US delegation will come to Geneva with a 20-page report that includes the input of civic and social organizations.

For most observers, seeing the US engage the summit is a huge milestone in itself.

The US will also face questions over religious freedom, the death penalty, immigration policy and the treatment of racial minorities.

Separately, Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have issued a 400-page report claiming that racial, ethnic and gender disparities persist in the US, Reuters reported.

The US Human Rights Network says, “Discrimination permeates all aspects of life in the US, and extends to all communities of color, and when coupled with discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, disability or other bases, can have a devastating impact.”

Last week Iran‘s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told IRIB that Washington’s unconditional support for Israel, the establishment of “hideous prisons” such as Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba, the invasion of other nations and desecration of divine religions “under the pretext of free speech” make the US the supreme violator of human rights.

Among Washington’s long list of human rights violations is the case of an Iranian woman illegally detained and tortured in the US.

Shahrzad Mir-Qolikhan was arrested in the US in December 2007. Her ex-husband, Mahmoud Seif, had allegedly tried to export night-vision goggles to Iran from Austria. She was sentenced to five years in prison by a Florida federal court in his absence.

Shahrzad has since been mentally and physically tortured and denied visits from her family members including her twin 14-year-old daughters, Melika and Melina. She is allowed only one hour and 25 minutes of telephone time a week.

This is while Florida Department of Corrections clearly states that “a visiting schedule shall be implemented to ensure a minimum of two hours a week for inmates to receive visits.”

MSD/HGH/MMN

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