Preface

We are a nation founded on the belief that every person is endowed with inalienable rights. Promoting and defending these rights is central to who we are as a country.

The 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (The Human Rights Reports) document the status of human rights and worker rights in nearly 200 countries and territories. These reports are required by U.S. law and are used by a variety of actors, including the U.S. Congress, the Executive branch, and the Judicial branch as a factual resource for decision making in matters ranging from assistance to asylum.

The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy recognizes that corrupt and weak governance threatens global stability and U.S. interests. Some governments are unable to maintain security and meet the basic needs of their people, while others are simply unwilling. States that restrict freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly; that allow and commit violence against members of religious, ethnic, and other minority groups; or that undermine the fundamental dignity of persons are morally reprehensible and undermine our interests. The Governments of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, for example, violate the human rights of those within their borders on a daily basis and are forces of instability as a result.

Our foreign policy reflects who we are and promotes freedom as a matter of principle and interest. We seek to lead other nations by example in promoting just and effective governance based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. The United States will continue to support those around the world struggling for human dignity and liberty.

I am pleased to release the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017 on behalf of the Department of State.

John J. Sullivan

Acting 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. 19 U.S.C. § 2464, 2467 also require 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 addresses situations and events in calendar year 2017 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 and the Department of Labor. 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 principles were 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 and the Department of Labor. Specifically, readers are asked to follow hyperlinks for complete information on religious freedom issues by consulting the International Religious Freedom Report, on human trafficking by consulting the Trafficking in Persons Report, and on child abductions by consulting the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction. Additionally linked is 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: Mark Dieker, Michael Kelleher, Christine Lawson, Stephen Moody, Jon Piechowski, J. Andrew Plowman, Susan O’Sullivan.

Deputies: Jaroslaw Z. Anders, Mary Angelini, Matthew Hickey, Catherine Newling, Jennifer Nichols, Jason Vorderstrasse, Yelda Kazimi.

Senior Editors: Jonathan Bemis, Jillian Burns, Douglas Dearborn, Stephen Eisenbraun, Jerome L. Hoganson, Victor J. Huser, David T. Jones, Lawrence Lesser, Dennis Dean Tidwell, Julie Turner, Joseph Dean Yap.

Editors: Muzna Abbas, Naim Ahmed, Paula Albertson, Wendall Albright, Asim Ali, Jaroslaw Anders, Mary Angelini, Nasreen Badat, Ian Brown, Ann Cody, Sarah Creedon, Alyssia Dobrescu, Kevin Dolliver, Samuel Downing, Christina Droggitis, Mort Dworken, Luke Falcon-Sapp, Joshua Fellman, Richard Figueroa, David Frost, Sheridan Gardner, David Guinn, Charles Gurney, Peter Higgins, Victor Huser, Stephen Kaufman, Orly Keiner, Charles Kellett, Justin Keyes, Esther Kim, Lawrence Lesser, Henrietta Levin, Amy McGann, Andrew Masloski, Hannah Meropol, David K. Meyer, Leslie Moorman, Daniel J. Murphy, Catherine Newling, Bintou Njie, Stephanie Ogorzalek, Molly O’Neal, Thomas Opstal, Jon Piechowski, Steven Pierce, Jessica Rodgers, Ereni Roess, Emily Rose, Christopher Russell, James Sayre, Stephanie Schmid, Daniel Schneider, Corena Sharp, Lisa Sherman, Wendy Silverman, Rachel Spring, Greg Staff, Jennifer Stein, Anne Stotler, Denise Taylor, Leslie Taylor, Dennis Dean Tidwell, Ambar Valles, Dan Vernon, Pilar Velasquez, David G. Wagner, Rachel Waldstein, Meir Walters, Madeleine Wells, Alexander Werman, Lindsey Whitehead, Joseph Dean Yap, Zainab Zaid.

Contributing Editors: Cory Andrews, Kerri Spindler-Ranta, Jonathan Collett

Technical Editor: Janine Czarnecki

Technical Coordinator: Geoffrey Palcher

U.S. Department of State

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