WASHINGTON – The Obama administration tagged Iran and Cuba among serial human-rights abusers in its annual report on government mistreatment of its citizens, even as it works toward some sort of rapprochement with both. It also listed numerous other countries where similar behavior occurs. Here's a look at those countries and what the State Department says they did:
— Syria: massacres by government and allied militias, civilian neighborhoods bombarded, prisoner abuse, rape as a weapon of war; attacks on residential areas; creating some 3.2 million refugees and another 7.6 million internally displaced; widespread torture, forced displacement and starvation; increased human trafficking, child soldiers,; similar abuses by terror groups; 900 members of a single tribe executed by Islamic State; group also stoned women and men accused of adultery, crucified civilians, forced people into marriages, raped kidnapped girls, kept women in sexual slavery, beheaded foreign journalists and aid workers, and circulated videos of their crimes on social media.
— Iraq: The Islamic State killed, raped and recruited child soldiers and targeted Shiites; abuses by Shiite militias operating outside government control, including kidnappings, extortion, killings; limits on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly; violence against journalists; restrictions on religious freedom; widespread corruption. More than 2 million displaced during the year.
— Saudi Arabia: human rights activists tried as terrorist suspects; individual executed for "sorcery;" limited religious freedom; restricted women's rights; activists sentenced to lashes.
— Egypt: excessive force by security and suppression of liberties; little government investigation of abuses; mass trials; expanded jurisdiction of military courts to try civilians; lengthy pre-trial detentions; thousands of protesters arrested, including secular and Islamist activists.
— Israel: Civilians targeted by terrorists; religious motivated "societal violence"; institutional discrimination against Arabs, including self-identified Palestinians and Bedouins; unequal access to education, employment; treatment of refugees and migrants; discrimination against non-Orthodox Jews, minority religions, intermarried families.
— Bahrain: protesters arrested on vague charges, tortured; trials of political and human rights activists, students and journalists without due process, resulting in harsh sentences; discrimination against Shiites.
— China: Routine repression of rights advocates, minorities and law firms taking sensitive cases; censorship and tight control of Internet; restrictions on freedom of religion; tens of thousands of political prisoners; prosecution of individuals trying to fight corruption and abuses of power; poor labor standards.
— North Korea: a human rights record "among the worst in the world"; systematic violations by government, institutions and officials, including crimes against humanity; public executions, disappearances, arbitrary arrests, torture and severe punishment for refugees returning home; "inhuman" prison camps and forced labor.
— Myanmar: violence and discrimination against Rohingya Muslims; unfair citizenship rules; Muslims displaced by violence, restricted in movements, receiving little help to return to homes; killings, arbitrary detentions and torture by security forces; lack of rule and widespread rape in conflict areas.
— Pakistan: extrajudicial killings; harassment of journalists and high-profile attacks on them; limited freedom of religion for minorities; disappearances, torture and frequent mob and sectarian violence; corruption within police; rape, domestic violence, "honor crimes," discrimination against women and girls; "widespread" human trafficking, child abuse, sexual exploitation; most of nation not covered by labor rules; human rights abuses go unpunished.
— Afghanistan: widespread atrocities by insurgents, including torture, targeted violence against women and girls; extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and prisoner abuse by security forces; women detained for "moral" crimes, subjected to underage and forced marriages; abuses by officials unprosecuted.
— Nigeria: More than 4,000 civilians and tens of thousands displaced by Boko Haram attacks; response hampered by high levels of corruption in Nigeria's military; impunity for abuses, corruption throughout government; violence against women, sexual exploitation of children; discrimination against women and homosexuals based on ethnicity, religion, region, disabilities; forced and bonded labor.
— Sudan: Indiscriminate and deliberate bombing of civilian areas in Darfur; attacks on humanitarian facilities; clashes between government forces, militias, rebels resulting in deaths on all sides; civilian areas shelled by armed opposition, too; opposition, civil society members arrested.
— South Sudan: 10,000 children used as fighters in civil war; more than 1.5 people displaced in "one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters"; ethnically targeted killings, rapes by both sides; journalists, political opponents intimidated; U.N. staff and NGOs restricted in movements, harassed; widespread violence against women and children; pervasive corruption, impunity.
— Russia: increasingly authoritarian system; new repressive laws to stop dissent and harass activists, media and other independent voices; in Crimea, members of Tatar community and other religious minorities opposing occupation persecuted; in eastern Ukraine, Russian forces and allied separatists shelled urban areas and committed abductions; widespread corruption throughout all levels of government.
— Turkey: Weak justice system, politicized law enforcement, prosecutors suspended for investigating corruption of government officials, evidence destroyed; few prosecutions for excessive force leading to deaths of demonstrators; journalists jailed; individuals vilified for political, religious, cultural views; discrimination against Kurds, Roma, women, children, homosexuals; honor killings, child marriage; poor prison conditions; rise in anti-Semitism among political leaders and pro-government media.
— Venezuela: crackdown on protesters, including detentions, torture, imprisonment; opposition figures jailed, media blocked, journalists harassed and intimidated through fines, property seizures, criminal investigations; political opponents prosecuted, harassed, intimidated, imprisoned.