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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Western Hemisphere Programs


DRL currently supports over 33 democracy, human rights, and labor programs in the Western Hemisphere. Current funding for DRL programs in WHA exceeds $35 million. Program topics include forensic assistance, combating violence against women and children, increasing civic participation of indigenous groups, and supporting free press. The following are examples of the kinds of programs DRL funds in the Western Hemisphere region.

Improving Access to Justice
Partners for Democratic Change (PDC) is implementing a two-year program working through PDC’s local affiliate, Partners-Colombia (PC), and Regional Justice Houses to ensure that the Wayúu have improved access to justice through both their customary legal practices and the formal justice system. To this end, PDC and PC (the team) are working to establish local schools on indigenous rights to educate both formal justice operators and Wayúu leaders on an on-going basis. The team will also establish Victims Assistance Clinics (VAC) through the Regional Justice Houses in La Guajira to provide legal orientation and services as well as coordinate psychological and social services when necessary. The program’s scope reaches and impacts 20 fixed and legally-recognized, indigenous land reservations distributed throughout the eight rural municipalities where the Wayúu population is settled.

Bolstering Capacity of Independent media and Supporting free expression
A DRL program in Haiti, which was ongoing when the earthquake hit, focused on bolstering the capacity of independent media and supporting free expression. It worked with community radio stations and provided training for journalists who worked at the partner radio stations on topics such as journalistic ethics, media independence, civic participation, and human rights. It also trained community members and local authorities on the importance of independent journalism. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, at a period during which access to information and communication was very difficult, the project facilitated access to Internet to the network of radios stations so that they could inform the populations on the emergency response activities in the affected areas. Additionally, in concert with the partnering radios stations, the project developed and broadcasted radio spots to inform the populations on precautions to be taken in case of another earthquake.

Promoting Freedom of Association and Decent Work
In the CAFTA-DR region, a DRL program facilitated the creation of a new organization that promotes freedom of association and decent work. It will actively strive towards both goals within the context of the Central American economic integration process. The Joint Union Council of Central America and the Caribbean (CSU for its initials in Spanish) was officially presented in September 2010. It gathers over 30 organizations of 9 countries and represents more than 3 million workers in the region. It is the result of months of negotiations and the final merging of two entities: the Central American Workers’ Confederation (CCT) and the Central America and the Caribbean Trade Union Council (CSACC).

Select a countryfrom the map to read about specific programs: Map of Western Hemisphere

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