DRL’s program in Algeria addresses the issue of in-country “disappearances.” The program implementer supports efforts of civil society organizations in studying, advocating, and reporting on credible alternatives for an inclusive, democratic and legitimate national reconciliation process.
Elections and Political Process Development Programs:
Two DRL elections and political process strengthening programs provide training to any interested Egyptian groups and coalitions including political parties in campaign management, media relations, and platform development. The projects also train women and youth how to engage effectively in the political process by learning about issue advocacy and how to vote. The programs also provide technical assistance to Egyptian poll observers and civil society groups to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and make sure all rules and regulations are followed. Participants in these programs are self-selected, and DRL does not fund direct support to political parties.
One DRL labor program helps to build the capacity of independent worker organizations. This project will also work to advocate for workers’ rights and promote freedom of expression and access to information about independent labor and trade unions. Another DRL labor program supports efforts to enhance freedom of association and improve collective bargaining at the local level. The project will assist in developing a campaign on worker’s rights as well as trainings on effective collective bargaining techniques, dispute resolution, and the enforcement of national legislation.
Independent Journalism and Media Program:
A DRL program works with interested local media outlets and reporters to provide multimedia journalism training, including electronic media. The program features specialized training for female and youth citizen journalists on election day coverage and integrating contributions of other citizen journalists into election reporting.
DRL supports programs in Iran that focus on democracy, human rights, and rule of law.
DRL has a robust Iraq program and is one of the lead bureaus in the promotion of democracy and human rights in-country.
DRL programs focus on democracy and governance, human rights, and women’s issues.
One DRL democracy and governance program seeks to train Iraqi activists who will eventually be able to serve as full-time in-house trainers for political parties and civil society organizations at the regional and local levels. In addition, the program works with the legislative and executive branches to improve governance capacity.
Another DRL program focuses on human rights issues. The program implementer provides specialized research and training intended to expand and deepen the general population’s understanding of the historical context, scope, legal underpinnings, and practical functions of the Human Rights Commission. In addition, the program provides community outreach and assists the National Human Rights Commission to establish popular legitimacy as well as constitutional legitimacy.
A successful DRL program focused on women’s issues trains women in the media and provides media access and outlets for, by and about women. Through the program implementer’s trainings and mentoring, the program seeks to stimulate political dialogue, enhance women’s issues media coverage, and to galvanize support for women’s human rights.
Current DRL programs in Jordan focus on independent media and the economic empowerment of women.
DRL’s partner implementer seeks to improve the reporting skills of broadcast media professionals, develop women’s radio production skills, develop a radio business news program, and provide accountability on issues ranging from human rights to rule of law.
Another DRL program in Jordan enhances the capacity of civil society and strengthens women’s civil society coalitions, especially at the grassroots levels. The program intends to increase mobilization and action on working women’s rights; develop women’s skills as educators and organizers; assist women to develop strategic alliances with local, national, and international NGOs; and increase public awareness and support for working women’s priorities.
The robust DRL programming in Lebanon focuses on such topics as electoral reform, independent media, the rule of law, and civic and political participation targeting youth and women.
One DRL program implementer provides technical assistance to improve the legal framework for elections in Lebanon and to increase the capacity of electoral authorities so that future elections can be managed in a professional manner, according to accepted international standards.
Another DRL partner seeks to stimulate a national dialogue on challenges facing the country, inform decision-makers of citizen priorities, and help political parties and other civil society organizations reach out to the Lebanese public across confessional lines. The development of issue-based policy is critical to supporting sustainable democratic practices and institutions in Lebanon.
In addition, DRL supports a clinical education program aimed at strengthening the rule of law in Lebanon. Young law students will gain public advocacy skills and provide pro bono consultations to communities that lack access to human rights representation.
DRL programming in Morocco supports the rule of law through human rights law education and prison monitoring.
A DRL partner works to open a law clinic focusing on human rights and public interest law on a pilot basis and in partnership with a Moroccan law school. The clinic will include a public education component for advanced students to conduct public legal education and outreach activities at local schools and in the community.
Another DRL initiative enhances the ability of a local partner NGO to process and monitor prisoner complaints, raise awareness of the treatment of prisoners, and conduct advocacy on behalf of prisoner rights.
DRL supports good governance initiatives in Saudi Arabia.
DRL’s partner organization seeks to address the strengthening of legislative projects and political leadership capacity-building; broaden the exposure of Saudi officials to democratic practices; and promote transparency, oversight, and anti-corruption in municipal councils. This program also works to improve the political environment and receptivity for future programs implemented within the Kingdom.
DRL’s Syria programs support democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
In the West Bank and Gaza, DRL supports anti-corruption and conflict resolution programs.
One DRL program provides Palestinian youth an understanding of corruption and how to combat it through transparency, accountability, and integrity.
Another DRL program is designed to build the capacity of Palestinian Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers and administrators to incorporate age-appropriate peace and conflict resolution curricula into ECD programs operated by NGOs throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
The values the United States embraces – the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – are grounded in a universal truth. They are not an American inheritance, but are the birthright of every woman, man, and child.
The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are an essential element of the U.S. effort to promote respect for human rights worldwide. They inform U.S. Government policymaking and serve as a reference for other governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders, and journalists.
The Country Reports aim to advance worldwide efforts to end abuses, to help strengthen the capacity of countries to protect the human rights of all, and to shine a spotlight on countries that fail to live up to international human rights commitments and obligations. The Country Reports assess each country’s situation independently against universal human rights precepts, during each calendar year, and each Country Report is intended to stand on its own. Countries are not compared to each other or placed in any order other than alphabetically by region.
Human Rights in the United States
America’s open, democratic system allows people here at home and around the world to comment on U.S. policies without fear. The American system of government is not infallible; it is accountable. The U.S. democratic system provides a variety of self-correcting mechanisms, such as a robust civil society, a vibrant free media, independent branches of government – including the courts – and a well established rule of law.
The focus of the Country Reports is on the human rights performance of other governments. However, the United States does examine its own human rights record against its international obligations and commitments in many other fora pursuant to our treaty obligations. For example, we file reports on our implementation of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention Against Torture.
The United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process evaluates the human rights records of each of the 192 UN member states once every four years. The U.S. UPR report was submitted in 2010, following a rigorous consultation process with civil society and Native American leaders around the country. Our UPR report discusses existing laws, policies, and other measures established to ensure respect for human rights in the United States. We participate in the UPR process because we believe human rights conditions in any country are a legitimate topic of discussion and concern in the international community.
Notable trends in the 2010 Country Reports:
• Governments continued to restrict the ability of members of civil society to organize and operate.
• Governments threatened freedoms of expression and association, both online and off.
• Specific populations, including women, children, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons remained at particular risk of human rights abuses.