Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the State Department's 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released last Friday. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"This report serves as a grim reminder of the oppressive and violent nature of some of the Middle East's most oppressive regimes. This report paints a picture of the brutality of the Morsi regime and its wanton disregard for human rights and the rule of law that has only gotten worse in the last year. From his decree granting himself immunity from judicial oversight, to his snap referendum vote on a constitution hastily crafted without consent from secular or minority parties and the continued protests and clashes that rage on violently in the streets of Egypt, Morsi has proven that his and the Muslim Brotherhood's agenda is to establish an Islamist government in Egypt through intimidation and abuse.
"Egypt is still a country engulfed in political turmoil, as those who still wish to see the goals of the 2011 revolution face physical abuse, torture and indiscriminate killings by Morsi's security forces and supporters. Political dissidents, independent reporters and NGO workers continue to face arrests and prosecution for exercising fundamental human rights, while women and religious minorities find their rights being even further curtailed by the Muslim Brotherhood government.
"The report also highlights the gross and egregious human rights violations occurring in Syria under the Assad regime as the conflict continues to wreak havoc across the country. As the death tolls rise to over 70,000, the Assad regime continues its attacks on the populace and the rebels. Assad will use any tactic to remain in power, even going so far as to use strategic killings of citizens, and using innocent civilians and children as human shields. The sheer number of human rights violations perpetrated by the Assad regime are as innumerable as they are unspeakable.
"Meanwhile, the status quo continues in other nations in the region such as Iran, where the regime continues its brutal oppression of its people -- particularly the women and religious and ethnic minorities -- and Saudi Arabia's pervasive restrictions on fundamental rights for women, children, foreign workers and religious minorities continue to go unchallenged.
"This year's Country Reports only shows that the United States and all responsible nations must continue to stand and fight for the cause of freedom for all across the globe and continue to defend and promote human rights everywhere. We should also consider the findings in these reports as we consider our future foreign policy objectives. This latest report only further emphasizes the need for the U.S. to leverage our foreign assistance to countries like Egypt and Syria in order to promote democratic reforms. My bill, the Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act, is a step in that direction."