Security and Human Rights

Rights-respecting civilian and military security forces that protect human rights, and are held accountable for human rights violations, are essential to functioning democracies, successful conflict prevention, and peacebuilding. A principal goal of our security sector assistance is to promote the transparent and accountable oversight of security forces, rule of law, and respect for human rights. Implementing the Leahy law, the U.S. government vets its assistance to foreign security forces to ensure that recipients have not committed gross human rights abuses and engages with governments to promote accountability and measures to prevent future abuses.

Leahy Law

Leahy vetting is a process through which the U.S. government vets foreign security forces nominated to receive assistance with funds appropriated in the Foreign Assistance Act or to DoD to ensure they have not committed gross human rights abuses. When the vetting process uncovers credible evidence that an individual or unit has committed a gross violation of human rights, U.S. assistance is withheld, consistent with U.S. law and policy. This obligation to vet foreign security forces can be found in section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) and Section 362 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code.