The Wandering Medium

Last Thursday was Human Rights Day and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, held a hearing to highlight abuses in China, Cuba, Sudan, Vietnam and various other countries. 

Vietnam, for example, has gone “from bad to worse”:

“Hanoi has unleashed a torrent of repression upon courageous citizens fighting for basic rights. These victims have been imprisoned by the regime for practicing their faith and standing up for what they believe in,” he charged.

Smith has introduced to the U.S. House the Vietnam Human Rights Act for the purpose of holding the Vietnamese government accountable for its mistreatment and incarceration of democracy activists, people of faith and labor rights activists.

Rep. Smith, who is the ranking member on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, also voiced concern about human rights in China.

“The United States has been sending a message that profits and money-making and climate change issues trump human rights,” he claimed.

China has an oppressive one-child policy and its women reportedly have the highest suicide rate in the world.

Smith also voiced concern about peace in Sudan, which has suffered massacres, sexual violence and the destruction of entire villages.

Human Rights Day was established in 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations.

 

Joseph Susanka

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Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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