The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Djibouti to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Djibouti's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
Supporting the country's nascent democratic institutions to improve transparency and broader political participation is a top U.S. Government priority. As the country prepares for key 2011 presidential and regional elections, the U.S. Government will assist by strengthening electoral institutions and processes, increasing voter participation, promoting voter education, and ensuring vigorous and diverse democratic debate. The U.S. Government also plans to support election-related programs that provide technical assistance and training for election commission officials; civil society members who are part of the Electoral Commissions and serve a role as domestic observers; political parties; party polling agents; and the media. The goal is to support a pluralistic, fair, broad-based, and representative environment. Support for international observers through the entire electoral process will allow the observers to impact quickly, directly and positively the success of the elections. Recognizing that the country's ongoing decentralization is a crucial step towards giving greater democratic voice to ordinary citizens, the United States seeks to encourage support for the country's fledgling regional governments as they take on increasing responsibility. The United States also supports a more vocal role for civil society.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
The U.S. Government uses programming to strengthen political and electoral processes. Current election assistance is built on an ongoing program of U.S. support for strengthened electoral processes, productive political competition, and consensus-building. Looking ahead to the 2011 elections, the United States provides programming that ensures credible election administration and effective oversight, encourages political party development, and promotes voter education. The U.S. Government works with a broad range of government and civil society actors, including civil servants, elected officials, political parties, community associations, and the media.
The U.S. Government continues to support local civic groups, parent-teacher associations, and local health committees that help oversee rural health clinics. These actions underscore the goal of helping civil society to become a more active participant at the community level, a stronger partner in the country's development, and a more robust source of oversight and support to social institutions. The U.S. Government is also enhancing public sector executive functions in the Ministry of Health in order to enable the ministry to operate more efficiently and to strengthen governance structures in the delivery of health care.
To ensure that core messages on democracy and human rights reach the widest possible audiences in the country, the U.S. Government works with Radio/Television Djibouti to air radio programming that addresses the themes of democratic values, good governance, equal opportunity, and human rights.