Preface

From the time we declared our independence as a free nation, the United States has committed itself to the ideals of democracy, individual freedom, equal protection under the rule of law, and the protection of human rights.  Our nation was founded on the premise that all human beings are created equal in rights and in dignity. We are proud, 244 years later, to remain a leader in the effort to champion human rights and democratic ideals.

The U.S. government does not stand alone in this commitment to human rights for all individuals.  After the carnage of World War II, members of the global community sought to chart a new path by committing themselves to recognize and defend those rights that transcend all national boundaries because they are, by common understanding, rooted in our shared sense of humanity.  Enshrined in international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these rights include the freedoms of expression, religion and conscience, and peaceful assembly.  The global community knew then, and knows now, that recognizing human rights is only the starting point.  Defending them includes not only clarity in the words we use to describe them but also the actions we take to champion shared freedoms wherever, and by whomever, they are denied.  Defense of human rights includes our commitment to address the destructive effects that oppression causes across the world.

Experience teaches that government officials who oppress, abuse, and tolerate the denial of the human rights of their own people are also responsible for creating social environments that are ripe for both economic and humanitarian crises, and that encourage corruption, violent conflict, and terrorism.  The United States is committed to using its voice and position on the world stage to draw attention to these violations and abuses of human rights, and to promote accountability for human rights violators and abusers.

The 44th annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices provide carefully researched, factual, and objective information on actions foreign governments are taking – or not taking – to demonstrate observance of and respect for internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.  By publishing these reports, we reaffirm the United States’ longstanding commitment to advancing human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State

Overview and Acknowledgements

Country Report Preparation

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 documents 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 2019 only.

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 by U.S. missions abroad, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), in cooperation with other Department of State offices with the relevant country and regional expertise, reviewed and edited the reports, drawing on its own sources of information as well as of the Department of Labor.  Bureau officers also consulted experts in the Department of State and elsewhere on worker rights, refugee issues, police and security issues, women’s issues, and legal matters, among many others.  The guiding principles were that all information be reported objectively, thoroughly, and fairly.  DRL, working with other Department offices as necessary, also ensured that all reports followed the same methodology and conformed to standard format and structure.

The DRL Editorial Team

Coordinator of Human Rights Reports/Editor in Chief:  Stephen Eisenbraun

Senior Advisor:  Marc Susser

Senior Editors:  Jonathan Bemis, Jillian Burns, Douglas Dearborn, Stephen Eisenbraun, Jerome L. Hoganson, Victor J. Huser, Lawrence Lesser, Jason Vorderstrasse, Joseph Dean Yap

Editors:  Muzna Abbas, Naim Ahmed, Paula Albertson, Wendall Albright, Asim Ali, Jaroslaw Anders, Mary Angelini, Paul Baldwin, Jonathan Bemis, Chelsea Brint Tucker, Brian Campbell, Dana Castagna, Jessica Chesbro, Ann Cody, Mauricio Cortes, Stephen Dreyer, Christina Droggitis, Mort Dworken, Lelia Dusthimer, Sara Epstein, Janie Esteva, Luke Falcon-Sapp, Joshua Fellman, Gabriella Fernandes, Sheridan Gardner, Sarah Givens, John Gorkowski, David Guinn, Charles Gurney, Matt Hickey, Victor Huser, Christina James, Rachael-Therese Joubert-Lin, Stephen Kaufman, Orly Keiner, Charles Kellett, Esther Kim, Lawrence Lesser, Henrietta Levin, Kevin Lewis, Vidya Mani, Hannah Meropol, Stephen Moody, Greta Morris, Daniel J. Murphy, Catherine Newling, Brian Olinger, Molly O’Neal, Thomas Opstal, Kurt Pearson, Steven Pierce, Alan Purcell, Lauren Ravekes, Ereni Roess, Emily Rose, Hilary Rosenthal, Christopher Russell, Stephanie Sandbeck, James Sayre, Stephanie Schmid, Daniel Schneider, Austin Schott, Corena Sharp, Lisa Sherman, Wendy Silverman, Gregory Simkiss, Rachel Spring, Greg Staff, Jennifer Stein, Brandon Strassberg, Zackary Suhr, Denise Taylor, Leslie Taylor, Dennis Dean Tidwell, Dania Torres, Ambar Valles, Dan Vernon, Pilar Velasquez, David G. Wagner, Rachel Waldstein, Meir Walters, Alexander Werman, Lindsey Whitehead, Thomas Whitney, Megan Wong, Joseph Dean Yap

Technical Editors:  Cabell Willis, Mubashra Jamil

Technical Coordinator:  Geoffrey Palcher

Rollout Preparation:  Jessica Adams, Karlygash Faillace, Carol Finerty, Elizabeth Garrison, Patrick Harvey, Mubashra Jamil, Claudette Laprise, Stacy MacTaggert, Eunice Mooney, Cabell Willis

2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
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U.S. Department of State

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