Preface

Promoting human rights and democratic governance is a core element of U.S. foreign policy. These values form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies. Standing up for human rights and democracy is not just a moral imperative but is in the best interests of the United States in making the world more stable and secure. The 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (The Human Rights Reports) demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to advancing liberty, human dignity, and global prosperity.

This year marks the 41st year the Department of State has produced annual Human Rights Reports. The United States Congress mandated these reports to provide policymakers with a holistic and accurate accounting of human rights conditions in nearly 200 countries and territories worldwide, including all member states of the United Nations and any country receiving U.S. foreign assistance. The reports cover internationally recognized individual civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.

The Human Rights Reports reflect the concerted efforts of our embassies and consulates to gather the most accurate information possible. They are prepared by human rights officers at U.S. missions around the world who review information available from a wide variety of civil society, government, and other sources. These reports represent thousands of work-hours as each country team collects and analyzes information. The Department of State strives to make the reports objective and uniform in scope and quality.

The Human Rights Reports are used by the U.S. Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches as a resource for shaping policy and guiding decisions, informing diplomatic engagements, and determining the allocation of foreign aid and security sector assistance. The Human Rights Reports are also used throughout the world to inform the work of human rights advocates, lawmakers, academics, businesses, multilateral institutions, and NGOs.

The Department of State hopes these reports will help other governments, civil society leaders, activists, and individuals reflect on the situation of human rights in their respective countries and work to promote accountability for violations and abuses.

Our values are our interests when it comes to human rights. The production of these reports underscores our commitment to freedom, democracy, and the human rights guaranteed to all individuals around the world.

I hereby transmit the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016 to the United States Congress.

Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State

Overview and Acknowledgements

WHY THE REPORTS ARE PREPARED

This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State pursuant to Sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA). 19 U.S.C. § 2464, 2467 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.

This report includes reports on several countries that do not fall into the categories established by these statutes and thus are not covered by the congressional requirement.

The report represents events for the calendar year 2016 only.

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, jurists and legal experts, journalists, academics, labor activists, and published reports. U.S. diplomatic missions abroad prepared the initial drafts of the individual country reports.

Once the initial drafts of the individual country reports were completed, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), in cooperation with other Department of State offices, reviewed and edited the reports, drawing on its own sources of information. Bureau officers also consulted experts on worker rights, refugee issues, military and police topics, women’s issues, and legal matters, among many others. The guiding principle was that all information be reported objectively, thoroughly, and fairly. DRL also ensured that all reports followed the same methodology and conformed to standard format and structure.

DRL uses hyperlinks 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 International Religious Freedom Report, on trafficking by consulting the Trafficking in Persons Report, and on child abductions by consulting the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction. Additionally linked are the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.

The DRL Editorial Team

Senior Advisor: Marc Susser

Coordinator of Human Rights Reports: Stephen Eisenbraun

Office Directors and Deputy Directors:

Directors: Carmela Conroy, Christine Lawson, Steve Moody, Jon Piechowski, J. Andrew Plowman, Susan O’Sullivan, Rolf Olson

Deputies: Jaroslaw Z. Anders, Mary Angelini, Matthew Hickey, Peter Higgins, Yelda Kazimi, Catherine Newling, Jennifer Neidhart de Ortiz

Senior Editors: Jonathan Bemis, Jillian Burns, Douglas Dearborn, Daniel Dolan, Stephen Eisenbraun, Jerome L. Hoganson, Victor J. Huser, David T. Jones, Lawrence Lesser, Sandra Murphy, Gary Price, Julie Turner

Editors: Muzna Abbas, Naim Ahmed, Paula Albertson, Asim Ali, Jaroslaw Z. Anders, Cory Andrews, Mary Angelini, Nasreen Badat, Danielle Bayar, Ian Brown, Michael Cocciolone, Christy Doherty, Kevin Dolliver, Christina Droggitis, Mort Dworken, Niloofar Farrokhpay, Joshua Fellman, Alix Fraser, Matt Gang, Reva Gupta, David Guinn, Charles Gurney, Patrick Hamilton, Janice Hartleroad, Patrick Harvey, Sydney Helton, Peter Higgins, Kegan Johnson, Joseph Katz, Orly Keiner, Justine Kimmons-Gilbert, Amy McGann, Kerry McIntosh, Andrew Masloski, Hannah Meropol, David K. Meyer, Sarah Morgan, Bintou Njie, Stephanie Orgorzalek, Molly O’Neal, Thomas Opstal, Susan Notar, Toy Reid, Jess Rodgers, Ereni Roess, Christopher Russell, Daniel Schneider, Corena Sharp, Lisa Sherman, Wendy Silverman, Rachel Simon, Rachel Spring, Anne Stotler, Dennis Dean Tidwell, Nadia Tongour, Dan Vernon, Pilar Velasquez, David G. Wagner, Rachel Waldstein, Natasha Wheatley, Megan Wong, Joseph Dean Yap, Jeff Zavadil

Contributing Editors: Robert P. Sanders, Kerri Spindler-Ranta, Jonathan Collett

Technical Editor: Janine Czarnecki

2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
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