WASHINGTON: The State Department called the human rights records of key Arab allies poor or problematic on Wednesday, citing flawed elections and torture of prisoners in Egypt, beatings, arbitrary arrests and a lack of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, and flogging as punishment for adultery or drug abuse in the United Arab Emirates.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited all three last month and called each a strategic partner or stalwart ally that wields regional influence or helps in such areas as anti-terror investigations.
The relationship between the United States and the UAE is at the center of a political fracas over a Dubai company s plans to take over operations at several U.S. ports.
On Iraq, the report said the government s performance was handicapped by insurgency and terrorism that has an impact on every aspect of life.
The ongoing insurgency, coupled with sectarian and criminal violence, seriously affected the government s human rights performance, the report said. It cited increased reports of killings that may have been politically motivated.
Additionally, common criminals, insurgents and terrorists undermined public confidence in the security apparatus by sometimes masking their identity in police and army uniforms, it said.
The study, which has been published each year since 1977, offers a comprehensive analysis of all countries in the world. It calls records in Saudi Arabia and Egypt poor and the UAE record problematic.
In Israel, the report said, the government generally respected the rights of its citizens, but it noted some problems.
Among them, the report said, were serious abuses by some members of the security forces against Palestinian detainees.
The report also said there was discrimination against the country s Arab citizens and against non-Orthodox Jews. AP