UN Watch reveals top 10 human rights abusers of 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017. | (Photo: REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid)

Human rights group U.N. Watch announced its list of 2020’s worst human rights abusers and topping the list is China.

China “herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, jailed human rights activists, crushed Tibet, silenced courageous men and women who sounded the alarm on the coronavirus—like Dr. Li Wenliang and citizen journalist Zhang Zhan—and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong,” the nonprofit group, which is "dedicated to holding the United Nations accountable to its founding principles," said.

Ten nations were listed for torturing, imprisoning and starving their own citizens. They were also called out for killing political dissidents and persecuting people for religious reasons.

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Behind China, the list includes Iran, Cameroon, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Turkey, North Korea, and Russia, respectively.

The ideological motivations for human rights abuses in these countries differ. North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and China are Communist or socialist states. Zimbabwe, Russia, Turkey, and Cameroon are ruled by autocratic leaders who hold onto power using violence. Saudi Arabia and Iran are Islamic theocracies.

Despite the human rights abuses, all the countries are members of the U.N. Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Cameroon and China currently serve on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The U.N. has not passed resolutions in 2020 to condemn human rights abuses in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Vietnam and Algeria. It has, however, found time to pass resolutions against Israel 17 times in the same year, U.N. Watch has argued.

The U.N. Watch offered a list of reasons why the countries were human rights abusers:

  • Iran executed regime critics, funded mass murder in Syria, funded terrorism, bombed a passenger jet and murdered peaceful protesters.
  • Cameroon tortured journalist Samuel Abuwe to death, massacred schoolchildren, and threatened political opponents.
  • Venezuela assassinated government critics, held fake elections and ignored a humanitarian crisis that affected millions.
  • Saudi Arabia bombed thousands of innocent Yemenis, imprisoned human rights activists and silenced critics with travel restrictions.
  • Zimbabwe arrested investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, tortured protesters and beat people who criticized the government’s COVID-19 response.
  • Cuba denied all basic human freedoms to its people, crushed protesters and promoted drug trafficking even as it blocked food and medical aid.
  • Turkey jailed human rights activist Osman Kavala and reporters while cutting off the water supply to 460,000 Kurds.
  • North Korea allowed millions of its people to starve, detained 100,000 in camps where they are subject to forced labor and summary executions, and forced children to attend public executions.
  • Russia poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, held 362 political prisoners, persecuted 300 Jehovah’s Witnesses and bombed civilian targets in Syria.

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