Human Rights Reports, U.S. State Department, On-Line

Human Rights Reports, U.S. State Department, On-Line

HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTS are available via All files can be retrieved from directory: /pub/documents/human_rights_94

The VOA and Worldnet ftp site contains the 1994 Annual Report on Human Rights by the U.S. State Department for the following African countries:

Algeria Libya Angola Madagascar Benin Malawi Botswana Mali Burkina Faso Mauritania Burundi Mauritius Cameroon Morocco Cape Verde Mozambique Central African Republic Namibia Chad Niger Comoros Nigeria Congo Rwanda Cote D'Ivoire Sahara, Western Djibouti Sao Tome and Principe Egypt Senegal Equatorial Guinea Seychelles Eritrea Sierra Leone Ethiopia Somalia Gabon South Africa Gambia Sudan Ghana Swaziland Guinea Tanzania Guinea Bissau Togo Kenya Tunisia Lesotho Uganda Liberia Zambia Zaire Zimbabwe



Why the Reports are Prepared

This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with sections 116(d)(1) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, and Section 505 (c) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended. As stated in Section 116(d)(1) of the FAA: "The Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, by January 31 of each year, a full and complete report regarding the status of internationally recognized human rights, within the meaning of subsection (A) in countries that received assistance under this part, and (B) in all other foreign countries which are members of the United Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of a human rights report under this Act." We have also included reports on the few countries which do not fall into the categories established by these statutes and which thus are not covered by the Congressional requirement.

The idea that the United States has a responsibility to speak out on behalf of internationally recognized human rights standards was formalized in the 1970's. In 1976 Congress enacted legislation creating a Coordinator of Human Rights in the U.S. Department of State, a position later upgraded to Assistant Secretary. Congress also wrote into law formal requirements that U.S. foreign and trade policy take into account countries' human rights and worker rights performance and that country reports be submitted to Congress annually. When the reports were first produced in 1977, which at the time covered only countries receiving U.S. aid, 82 were compiled and published; this year, there are 193 reports.

How the Reports are Prepared

The human rights reports reflect a year of dedicated effort by hundreds of State Department and other U.S. Government employees. In August 1993, the Secretary of State issued a directive which further strengthened the human rights structure in our embassies. All sections in each embassy were asked to contribute information and to corroborate reports of violations. New efforts were made to link mission programming to the advancement of human rights and democracy.

Our embassies, which prepared the initial drafts of the reports, gathered information throughout the year from a variety of sources, including contacts across the political spectrum, government officials, jurists, military sources, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, and labor union members. Gathering information can be hazardous. Foreign Service Officers often go to great lengths, under trying and sometimes dangerous conditions, to investigate reported human rights violations, stand up for individuals, and monitor elections.

The draft reports were then sent from each embassy to Washington, where they were carefully reviewed by the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, in cooperation with other relevant offices in the State Department. As they corroborated, analyzed, and edited the reports, Department officers drew on their own additional sources of information. These included reports by and consultations with U.S. and other human rights groups, foreign government officials, representatives from the United Nations and other international and regional organizations and institutions, and experts from academia and the media. Officers also consulted with experts on worker rights issues, refugee issues, military and police issues, exile issues, women's rights issues, and legal matters. The goal was to ensure that all relevant information was included and that assessments were as objective, thorough, and fair as possible. The report will be used as a resource in making decisions on U.S. foreign policy, training, and aid allocations. It also will serve as a basis for valuable dialog and program planning on ways in which the United States can work with foreign governments and private groups to improve human rights observance worldwide.

The Country Reports on Human Rights cover internationally recognized individual, political, civil, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights include freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; from prolonged detention without charges; from disappearance due to abduction or clandestine detention; and from other flagrant violations concerning life, liberty, and the security of the person. Individuals have the inalienable right to change their government by peaceful means and to enjoy such civil liberties as freedom of expression, assembly, religion, and movement, without discrimination based on race, national origin, or sex. Free societies also require free trade unions. The reports assess key internationally recognized worker rights, including the right of association; the right to organize and bargain collectively; prohibition of forced or compulsory labor; mimimum age for employment of children; and acceptable condi tions of work.

-- John Shattuck Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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