For nearly 50 years, the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices have served as a vital resource for governments, researchers, advocacy groups, journalists, and voices of conscience worldwide that work to promote respect for human rights and accountability for injustice. The individual reports cover 198 countries and territories, providing factual, objective information based on credible reports of the events that occurred throughout 2022. These reports are meticulously compiled by U.S. Department of State employees in Washington, D.C., and at our overseas missions throughout the world, who collectively spend thousands of hours preparing the reports using credible information from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, foreign government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, jurists and legal experts, journalists, academics, human rights defenders, labor activists, and published reports. We take seriously our responsibility to ensure their accuracy.
Each country report speaks for itself, describing reports of practices in calendar year 2022 in light of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some of the reports highlight record violations and abuses that are appalling in their scale and severity. Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine beginning in February 2022 has resulted in massive death and destruction, with reports of members of Russia’s forces committing war crimes and other atrocities, including summary executions of civilians and horrific accounts of gender-based violence, including sexual violence against women and children. In Iran, the regime responded with brutality and violence to peaceful protests across the country following the tragic death of Mahsa Jina Amini while in the custody of the so-called “morality police.” This year’s country report documents in detail the Iranian regime’s violent crackdown and its continued denial of the Iranian people’s universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and religion or belief.
In Xinjiang, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the country report describes how genocide and crimes against humanity continued to occur against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups. In Burma, the report relays how the military regime continues to use violence to brutalize civilians and consolidate its control, reportedly killing more than 2,900 people and detaining more than 17,000 since the February 2021 military coup. As part of our efforts to ensure accountability in Burma, I made the important determination in March 2022 that the military had committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya, most of whom are Muslim, repledging U.S. efforts to promote justice and accountability for abuses faced by Rohingya and other ethnic and religious minority groups across Burma. As reflected in the report on Afghanistan, the Taliban’s oppressive and discriminatory measures against women and girls have been relentless. No other country in the world bars women and girls from getting an education, which is an internationally recognized human right. The Taliban’s edict barring female employees of non-governmental organizations from the workplace imperils tens of millions of Afghans who depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival. No country can achieve peace and prosperity when half its population is cut off from society and the economy.
Protracted human rights crises, as in South Sudan where a constant stream of subnational violence, combined with the transitional government’s lack of progress in implementing long overdue commitments, have continued to cause misery and death. The report on Syria describes how the regime continues to jail, torture, and kill political opponents, human rights defenders, and journalists. Over 154,000 persons remain disappeared or unjustly detained by the regime, ISIS, and other parties to the conflict. Authoritarian governments – like those in Cuba, Belarus, and Venezuela, among others – have condemned hundreds or thousands of peaceful protestors to lengthy and unjust prison sentences. In Cambodia, brave trade union activists who have led hundreds in a peaceful strike for over a year, have been reportedly met with arrest, detention, and other efforts to demoralize workers and silence their voices.
Still, we see people of courage and conscience standing up, at great personal risk, for universal human rights, to protect the wellbeing of their communities and for the future of their countries. These human rights defenders work tirelessly to expose injustice, corruption, and abuse and to press for transparency and accountability.
The 2022 country reports also illuminate the compounding impacts of human rights violations and abuses on persons in marginalized communities who also suffer disproportionately from the negative effects of economic inequality, climate change, migration, food insecurity, and other global challenges. In line with President Biden’s June 15, 2022, Executive Order, the 2022 country reports specifically include enhanced reporting on so-called conversion “therapy” practices, which are forced or involuntary efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, as well as additional reporting on the performance of unnecessary surgeries on intersex persons.
Democracy, human rights, and labor rights are mutually reinforcing, and support for democratic renewal is essential to promoting these rights. President Biden will co-host the second Summit for Democracy with the Governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Zambia on March 29-30, 2023. Together, we will showcase the great progress made by Summit partners and the importance of working together to meet the many challenges to democracy.
As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We submit these country reports in service to our common humanity.
Antony J. BlinkenSecretary of State