WASHINGTON (BP)--The annual human rights report by the U.S. State Department has cited increased repression in countries around the world, including China and North Korea.
"There are several trends that we identify in the report. One is that increasingly, governments are becoming more restrictive in their tolerance of nongovernmental human rights organizations, in particular," said Michael Posner, assistant secretary from the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, at a news conference for the 2009 report's release.
The report, which is a requirement by Congress, is an annual evaluation of human rights in 194 countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also spoke at the news conference, described the report as an "essential tool" for activists who work to protect human rights.
According to the report, there were alarming accounts of imprisonment, attacks and killings in "countries of conflict," such as China and North Korea, as well as Iran and Russia.
"In many of these conflict zones, insurgents, terrorist organizations, paramilitary forces, and government security forces used murder, rape, and inhumane tactics to assert control over territory, silence opponents, and coerce the cooperation of civilian communities ...," the report said.
The report criticized China's government for its increased persecution of its citizens last year. The government's human rights record "remained poor and worsened in some areas." Chinese activists, journalists and public interest lawyers were harassed and imprisoned, and there were reports of religious abuse of ethnic minorities. Read More