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REPORTS: US Department of State Reports on Human Rights (FGC Sections)

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. The law provides that the secretary of state, with the assistance of the ambassador at large for international religious freedom, shall transmit to Congress "an Annual Report on International Religious Freedom supplementing the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom."
Burkina faso

On November 13, President Blaise Compaore was elected to a third five-year term in elections characterized by observers as generally free but not entirely fair due to the resource advantages held by the President. The country’s human rights record remained poor, but there were improvements in some areas, including significant efforts to combat female genital mutilation and trafficking in persons (TIP). The judiciary is subject to executive influence, and individual members of security forces continue to commit human rights abuses.

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (CAR) held elections in 2005 that international and domestic election observers judged free and fair, despite irregularities and accusations of fraud by opposition parties. Francois Bozize was elected President in a May 2005 run-off
election. In 2005, the country adopted some key legal reforms, including the abolition of prison sentences for libel or slander. Despite marked political progress, the Government’s human rights record remained poor. Security forces continued to commit extrajudicial and other unlawful killings, including government-tolerated executions of suspected bandits, and impunity remained a problem. Other abuses
included harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention without trial, and infringements on privacy. The security situation in northern CAR caused 15,000 refugees to flee into Chad during 2005.
Although freedom of the press improved in some areas, the Government attempted to impose restrictions.
Corruption remained a widespread problem.
Violence and discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), prostitution, trafficking in persons, discrimination against Pygmies, and child labor continued to be problems.

The United States funded a series of activities sponsored by civil society and judicial institutions. The major activities included a campaign against FGM. The Embassy supported a women’s organization that sponsored the project and developed an awareness
campaign on the consequences of genital mutilation in targeted regions.

Chad

Corruption was a serious problem. Violence and societal discrimination against women, including female genital mutilation (FGM), was common. Lack of respect for women’s rights and trafficking in persons (TIP), in particular of children, were serious concerns.

Cote D'Ivoire

The Embassy worked with four local NGOs in 2005 to create a counseling center for victims who were raped since the outbreak of the crisis in September 2002. The Embassy also supported a sensitization
and training program for community educators to combat female genital mutilation, provide training and education for young girls in Bouake who were forced to drop out of school because of the war and a leadership development program for women who are seeking electoral office.

Eritrea

The United States funded a program to train workers to fight the stigma of HIV/AIDS in society. The Embassy also addressed Eritrea’s high rate of female genital mutilation by funding high school clubs to educate and build awareness on the issue among youth through the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students.

The Gambia

Violence and discrimination against women continued. The practice of female genital mutilation remained widespread, although the Government did not endorse the practice. Child labor persisted, mainly
on family farms, as did trafficking in persons (TIP). The Government took positive steps to eradicate the problems of TIP and child labor,  including passage of a Children’s Act designed to promote the welfare
of children.

Guinea

The United States funded projects targeting the promotion of the rights of women, students and teachers, and victims of HIV/AIDS; combating female genital mutilation (FGM); and providing training in
conflict resolution and responsible media. This year, the Embassy funded an innovative radio drama series to increase awareness and promote dialogue on human rights and protection for women and girls. The United States financed the creation of a center for conflict resolution in Macenta with a focus on the historically volatile Forest Region. To combat torture and other human rights abuses in prisons, the United States funded several workshops bringing together
penitentiary security and administrative staff with selected prisoners in two of the largest prisons in the country.

Guinea-Bissau

Violence and discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), child labor, and child trafficking occurred, but no data existed on the extent of these problems. Reportedly, traffickers convinced parents to send their children to other countries, notably Senegal, for a Muslim education, but some schools forced the children into the streets
to beg and remit their meager earnings to their teachers (marabouts). The other major obstacles to human rights and democracy in the country are a weak economy and fragile democratic institutions.

Kenya

While the Government made improvements in some areas, such as prison conditions, serious human rights problems remained. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.
Police forces, however, acted independently of Government authority in some instances resulting in abuse and unlawful killings. Female genital mutilation (FGM), child labor, and trafficking in persons (TIP)
continued to be problems. Apart from establishing free primary education, the Government made only modest progress on its goals of combating corruption and improving human rights.

Liberia

The United States continued publicly and privately to encourage the legislature and other government agencies to prioritize issues that primarily affect women, such as rape and female genital mutilation.

Mauritania

Discrimination against women continued. Female genital mutilation remained a widespread problem. Despite efforts of the former and transitional Governments, reports persist of slavery in the form of involuntary servitude, and in some areas slaves continued to work for former masters. Child labor in the informal sector was common. In a positive move, both the former and transitional Governments trained police and judicial officials on the application of the recently strengthened labor code prohibiting forced labor and related practices.

Nigeria

The United States sponsors small-scale projects at the community level. Such projects in 2005 included a program in Kano to sensitize women on purdah (a cultural practice of keeping women segregated from men who are not their relatives), a two-day informational workshop on anti-corruption laws in Abeokuta, and a publicity campaign against female genital mutilation in Abia State.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with continuing challenges that resulted in part from the 11-year civil war that ended in 2002. The Government generally respected the rights of its citizens; however,
widespread poverty, a destroyed infrastructure, and decades of bad governance contributed to numerous human rights problems. Security force abuses, police corruption, official impunity, poor conditions in
prisons and detention centers, prolonged detention, restrictions on freedom of the press, societal discrimination and violence against women, female genital mutilation, trafficking in persons (TIP), and child labor were problems.

Tanzania

Discrimination against women and girls, child labor, trafficking in persons (TIP), and female genital mutilation remained problems.

Togo

The Embassy supported NGOs in their work to educate women about their rights and potential for leadership roles, to instruct teachers, administrators, and students about human rights and civic education, and to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation. The United States promoted good governance by financing periodicals publicizing legal information and civil society projects on ways to combat corruption.

View the Entire Report (.pdf): http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/64057.pdf
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