The U.S. is alleging that too many governments around the world are tightening controls on free expression and using repressive laws to “deny citizens their universal human rights.”
He said the U.S. record on human rights, where slavery was legal in the 1800s, is not perfect, but that it stands for the advance of human dignity.
Kerry said that violent extremism and crime take root in countries where human rights are denied, which in turn contributes to instability, insecurity and economic deprivation.
The report said the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has engaged in “systematic and widespread use of torture,” carried out massacres and displaced and starved people during nearly three years of fighting in the Mideast country.
The State Department said Russia has “continued its crackdown on dissent that began after Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency.” It said Moscow also adopted anti-gay laws and used laws against extremism to prosecute religious minorities.
The human rights report alleged that in China’s repression against civil and political rights organizations are routine and that increasingly officials have harassed relatives and associates of rights advocates.
It said that Cuba has largely dropped travel restrictions that prevented people from leaving the island nation. But the report said Cuba denied the passport requests for some opposition figures or harassed them as they returned to Cuba.
The State Department said that in Egypt both the government of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and the interim military government have engaged in human rights violations.