US slammed for biased rights agenda

Original source: Venezuela, Bolivia and Russia condemned the latest politically motivated US criticisms of their human rights record on Thursday.

The three nations were scathing in their rejection of the US State Department's latest report on human rights around the world, which hypocritically charged their governments with many of Washington's own crimes.

The State Department accused Venezuela of politicising the judiciary and harassing the political opposition and the news media, among other problems.

But Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said that the report was 'plagued with lies.'

He added: 'No government in the world has the right to use a report to meddle in, judge or qualify the situation in other nations.

'We've called for the current US administration to halt the attacks. What they do is batter and push back the possibilities of establishing new political relations.'

Bolivia also took issue with the US report which, while admitting that the Bolivian government generally respected human rights, alleged abuses by security forces, harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrests and threats to legal rights and press freedoms.

'It's a gross simplification of the national reality that is politically motivated,' said Sacha Llorenti, a vice-minister and government liaison to Bolivian social movements.

The minister pointed out that the US, which stands accused of a catalogue of abuses in the name of its 'war on terror,' lacked the moral authority to raise human rights criticisms.

'It's important to have sufficient moral principles to be able to talk about the subject of human rights,' he said.

The State Department also alleged human rights abuses in Russia's North Caucasus region, where separatist guerillas are still active, and decried the deaths of five journalists.

The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the 'biased' report's conclusions about the war last summer between Russia and US-ally Georgia as 'odious' and unable to 'stand any criticism.'

It accused the US of using double standards 'depending on the loyalty of a certain state to Washington's foreign policy course.'