Overview and Acknowledgements

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
April 8, 2011

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Why the Reports Are Prepared

This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended. The law provides that the Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate by February 25 "a full and complete report regarding the status of internationally recognized human rights, within the meaning of subsection (A) in countries that receive 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 several countries that do not fall into the categories established by these statutes and thus are not covered by the congressional requirement.

In the early 1970s the United States formalized its responsibility to speak out on behalf of international human rights standards. In 1976 Congress enacted legislation creating a Coordinator of Human Rights in the Department of State, a position later upgraded to Assistant Secretary. Legislation also requires that U.S. foreign and trade policy take into account countries' human rights and worker rights performance and that country reports be submitted to the Congress on an annual basis.

How the Reports Are Prepared

The Department of State prepared this report using information from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, foreign government officials, nongovernmental and international organizations, and published reports. The initial drafts of the individual country reports were prepared by U.S. diplomatic missions abroad, drawing on information they gathered throughout the year from a variety of sources, including government officials, jurists, the armed forces, journalists, human rights monitors, academics, and labor activists. This information gathering can be hazardous, and U.S. Foreign Service personnel regularly go to great lengths, under trying and sometimes dangerous conditions, to investigate reports of human rights abuse, monitor elections, and come to the aid of individuals at risk, such as political dissidents and human rights defenders whose rights are threatened by their governments.

Once the initial drafts of the individual country reports were completed, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in cooperation with other Department of State offices, worked to corroborate, analyze, and edit the reports, drawing on their own sources of information. These sources included reports provided by U.S. and other human rights groups, foreign government officials, representatives from the United Nations and other international and regional organizations and institutions, experts from academia, and the media. Bureau officers also consulted experts on worker rights, refugee issues, military and police topics, women's issues, and legal matters, among may others. The guiding principle was to ensure that all information was assessed objectively, thoroughly, and fairly.

As has proven the case in the past, we anticipate that the reports will be used as a resource for shaping policy, conducting diplomacy, and making assistance, training, and other resource allocations. They will serve also as a basis for the U.S. Government's cooperation with private groups to promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices cover internationally recognized civil, political 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 or clandestine detention, and from other flagrant violations of the right to life, liberty and the security of the person.

Universal human rights seek to incorporate respect for human dignity into the processes of government and law. All persons have the right to nationality, the inalienable right to change their government by peaceful means and to enjoy basic freedoms, such as freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement, and religion, without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sex. The right to join a free trade union is a necessary condition of a free society and economy. Thus the reports assess key internationally recognized worker rights, including the right of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, the prohibition of forced or compulsory labor, the status of child labor practices, the minimum age for employment of children, and acceptable work conditions.

With this 2010 edition of the country reports, DRL expanded the use of hyperlinks from these reports to other key human rights documents produced by the Department of State. Specifically, readers are asked to follow hyperlinks for complete information on religious freedom issues by consulting the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report, if applicable, and the several current publications produced by the Department’s Consular Affairs Bureau on international child abductions, if applicable to the country in question.

Within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the editorial staff of the Country Reports Team consists of: Editor in Chief Stephen Eisenbraun; Office Directors: Eric Falls, Robert Boehme, Jeffrey Hawkins, Douglas Kramer, Jessica Lieberman, Mark Mittelhauser, Susan O’Sullivan; Senior Editors: Jonathan Bemis, Douglas B. Dearborn, Daniel Dolan, Jerome L. Hoganson, Patricia Meeks Schnell, Marc J. Susser, and Julie Turner; Editors: Naim Ahmed, Cory Andrews, Sarah Buckley-Moore, Laura Carey, Elise Carlson-Rainer, Della Cavey, Eric Concha, Sharon Cooke, Susan Corke, Stuart Crampton, Kathleen Crowley, Frank Crump, Bonnie Daley, Tu Dang, Mollie Davis, Mort Dworken, Sindbad Fennimore, Karen Gilbride, Joan Garner, Carrie George, Safiya Ghori-Ahmad, Patrick Harvey, Caitlin Helfrich, Matthew Hicks, Alexandra Hoey, Kimberly Holbrook, Victor Huser, Jill Hutchings, Stan Ifshin, Dianna James, Sarah Johnston-Gardner, David T. Jones, Simone Joseph, Malac Kabir, Yelda Kazimi, Mancharee Junk, Min Kang, Katharine Kendrick, Orly Keiner, Stephen Kopanos, Alyson Kozma, Douglas Kramer, Sarah Labowitz, Gregory Maggio, Stacey May, Stephen Moody, Sarah Morgan, Perlita Muiruri, Sandra Murphy, Daniel L. Nadel, Genevieve Parente, Blake Peterson, Meredith Ryder-Rude, Peter Sawchyn, Robert Schlicht, Monica Sendor, Wendy Silverman, Marissa Smith, Rachel Spring, Jason Starr, Leslie Taylor, Jennifer Terry, James C.Todd, David Wagner, Micah Watson, Chanan Weissman, Mareham Youssef, Sarah Yun, Rachel Waldstein, Bernadette Zielinski; Editorial Assistants: Carol Finerty, Stephanie Martone, James McDonald, and Regina Waugh.