Anthony Blinken has condemned the “alarming recession of democracy” and respect for human rights in many parts of the world over the past year, with governments becoming what he called “support” in cross-border threats and attacks on critics. “In several places the human consequences of this decline have been as severe as in the Russian government’s brutal war against Ukraine,” Blinken said in remarks following the release of the US State Department’s 2021 global human rights report. “Governments are shutting down more critics at home. “We have also seen an increase in governments arbitrarily detaining individuals to try to gain support in bilateral relations, to use them as human pawns.”
Blinken also denounced human rights abuses in China, which he accused of committing “genocide” against Uighur Muslims, and in Afghanistan, where he said the Taliban were stepping up “arbitrary detentions of women, protesters and journalists” since returning to power. in August 2021. As the report looks at nearly 200 countries around the world, Blinken also noted that the United States faces “challenges” to human rights as well. But he dismissed criticism from human rights groups that President Joe Biden’s administration had not put enough pressure on some US allies. “Whether the country is a friend or a country with which we have real differences, the criteria we apply are the same,” he said. “It reflects the basic principle of human rights: they are universal,” Blinken added.