The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Equatorial Guinea to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Equatorial Guinea's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at www.State.gov.
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
Key U.S. priorities for furthering democracy and human rights in the country are: strengthening government and civil institutions, including opposition parties and the nascent civil society; enhancing security forces' respect for human rights; supporting anticorruption efforts, including promoting greater transparency in the management of oil revenues and fiscal transparency in government ministries; continuing to promote greater political pluralism, good governance in the protection of natural resources and the environment; and improving the government’s performance in key social sectors such as health and education.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic GovernanceIn the aftermath of the November 2009 presidential elections, Embassy Malabo delivered a diplomatic note with a compilation of observed election irregularities to the government. Upon the U.S. ambassador's arrival in early 2010, he underlined the U.S. Government's support for democratic governance in each of his introductory meetings with cabinet ministers and the president. The ambassador continues to meet with security ministers on an array of issues, including the importance of good governance and democracy. The ambassador has also met with opposition party leaders and encouraged them to continue to work towards democracy after the presidential elections of 2009.
The U.S. Government directly engages top government officials, including the president, on the country's human rights record. To highlight reforms needed to address the country's human rights problems, U.S. officials have conducted occasional site visits to detention facilities and advocated for political prisoner releases. U.S. officials continue to urge the government to address serious problems in the penal and judicial systems highlighted in November 2008 by the UN rapporteur on torture, and to allow unfettered monitoring of all its detention facilities. The government has begun to address some of these problems and has restarted a productive dialogue with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to address related concerns. The United States has pressed senior officials, including the president, to conclude a formal agreement with ICRC, including a human rights training component, in 2010. In addition, the United States continues to advocate for the establishment of formal mechanisms to support victims of trafficking in persons and to encourage active measures against traffickers.
To further the development of independent media and press freedom, the United States continues to encourage networking with international journalists' associations, distributes supporting materials, hosts workshops, and utilizes public speaking opportunities to convey the importance of the media's role in building a democratic society. Members of the press are regularly invited to U.S.-sponsored events that stress the democratic process. To foster greater transparency, good governance, and the development of civil society, the United States continues to urge the government to adhere to the principles of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a multinational civil society initiative designed to foster accountability in extractive industries and promote the freedom and development of civil society organizations. In April 2010, following a two-year implementation period, the EITI Board denied the country an extension to meet compliance requirements; however, the country can reapply to regain candidate status once the government addresses obstacles to effective implementation of EITI principles. In addition, to assist the government’s efforts to improve its performance in key social sectors, the United States continues to provide technical assistance to the government to benefit a bilateral effort (funded by the government) to improve delivery of social services in sectors such as education, health, and women’s affairs.
The United States continues to promote democracy and human rights through public diplomacy. For example, in March 2010, the United States sponsored a film festival in honor of the U.S. civil rights movement highlighting the universal struggle for human dignity. The United States will continue to utilize event-driven opportunities such as press interviews, Martin Luther King Day, and the United States' Independence Day to underline the importance of and foster greater understanding of human rights and democracy.