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UNITED STATES SUPPORT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
JULY 7, 2004
Serial No. 108133
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrinted for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey,
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNICK SMITH, Michigan
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan
KATHERINE HARRIS, Florida
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
ADAM SMITH, Washington
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation
and Human Rights
ELTON GALLEGLY, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
NICK SMITH, Michigan
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMIKE PENCE, Indiana
BRAD SHERMAN, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
RICHARD MEREU, Subcommittee Staff Director
DONALD MACDONALD, Democratic Professional Staff Member
RENEE AUSTELL, Professional Staff Member
TOD HULL, Special Assistant
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Lorne W. Craner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State
The Honorable Roger P. Winter, Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development
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Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy
Ambassador Richard S. Williamson, Board Member, International Republican Institute
Kenneth Wollack, President, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Elton Gallegly, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, and Chairman, Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights: Prepared statement
The Honorable Lorne W. Craner: Prepared statement
The Honorable Roger P. Winter: Prepared statement
Carl Gershman: Prepared statement
Ambassador Richard S. Williamson: Prepared statement
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Kenneth Wollack: Prepared statement
Tom Malinowski: Prepared statement
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
UNITED STATES SUPPORT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2004,
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on International Terrorism,
Nonproliferation and Human Rights,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:38 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Elton Gallegly, (Chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. GALLEGLY. The Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation of Human Rights will now come to order.
Today the Subcommittee is holding an oversight hearing on the congressional mandated report: Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 20032004.
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This report mandated in 2002 and is a companion report to the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The report is intended to reflect the extent to which the United States Government has taken or will take action in encouraging countries to end the practice of extrajudicial killing, torture, or other serious human rights abuses.
We find ourselves in a unique point in history when we have an unprecedented opportunity to assist in supporting positive change for so many across the globe. And, in spite of the revelations of the detainee abuse, it is imperative that we press forward with our efforts to assist those who strive for freedom and democracy.
We continue to see the positive results of our efforts in the liberation of the Afghan and Iraqi people. We continue to assist and provide support to countries in transitions such as Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Throughout the Middle East, the Western Hemisphere, Africa, and Asia, we see bright spots in the movement toward greater respect for human rights and democratic values and we stand ready to support these efforts. And yet, there are corners of the world, such as North Korea, Burma, western Sudan where grievous human suffering continues and much work still needs to be done.
This is the 2nd annual release of this important report. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on specific strategy goals, as well as reviews on our success to date in promoting human rights and democratic values.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On our first panel, we will hear from Lorne Craner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Mr. Craner's office is tasked with the compilation and production of this report and his staff is to be commended for their efforts.
This year's reporting greatly surpasses their efforts of the previous year. I would also like to commend Mr. Craner for his commitment to the creation and vitality of a Democracy Caucus within the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.
It is my hope that this caucus will be the catalyst for a fundamental change within the Commission, particularly as it relates to Commission membership.
Also testifying on the first panel will be Roger Winter, USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Mr. Winter is responsible for managing a myriad of USAID programs, including democracy and government efforts. Mr. Winter is to be commended for his leadership in the ongoing humanitarian assistance programs in Sudan.
Last month it was announced that over $188 million will be dedicated to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which brings the total amount of U.S. assistance to $300 million since February of last year.
Panel two witnesses include Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy; Ambassador Richard Williamson, Board Member of the International Republican Institute, Kenneth Wollack, President of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At this point in the hearing, I will defer to my good friend and colleague and neighbor from California, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Congressman Brad Sherman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gallegly follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ELTON GALLEGLY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights will now come to order. Today, the Subcommittee is holding an oversight hearing on the Congressionally mandated report: Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 20032004.
This report was mandated in 2002 and is a companion report to the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The report is intended to reflect the extent to which the United States government has taken or will take action to encourage countries to end the practice of extrajudicial killings, torture, or other serious human rights abuses.
We find ourselves at a unique point in history when we have an unprecedented opportunity to assist in supporting positive change for so many across the globe. And in spite of the recent revelations of detainee abuse, it is imperative that we press forward with our efforts to assist those who strive for freedom and democracy. We continue to see the positive results of our efforts in the liberation of the Afghan and Iraqi people. We continue to assist and provide support for countries in transition such as Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Throughout the Middle East, the Western Hemisphere, Africa and Asia we see bright spots in the movement toward greater respect for human rights and democratic values, and we stand ready to support these efforts. And yet, there are corners of the world, such as North Korea, Burma and western Sudan, where grievous human suffering continues and much work must be done.
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This is the second annual release of this important report, and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on specific strategies, goals, as well as their view on our success to date in promoting human rights and democratic values. On our first panel we will hear from Lorne Craner, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Mr. Craner's office is tasked with the compilation and production of this report, and his staff is to be commended for their efforts. This year's reporting greatly surpasses their efforts of the previous year. I would also like to commend Mr. Craner for his commitment to the creation and vitality of a Democracy Caucus within the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. It is my hope, that this caucus will be the catalyst for fundamental change within the Commission, particularly as it relates to Commission Membership.
Also testifying on the first panel will be Roger Winter, USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. Mr. Winter is responsible for managing a myriad of USAID programs, including democracy and governance efforts. Mr. Winter is to be commended for his leadership in the on-going humanitarian assistance programs in Sudan. Last month it was announced that over $188 million will be dedicated to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, which brings the total amount of US assistance to $300 million dollars since February of last year.
Panel two witnesses include Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy; Ambassador Richard Williamson, Board Member of the International Republican Institute; Kenneth Wollack, President of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; and Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will now turn to Mr. Sherman, the Ranking Member of the subcommittee for any statements he may wish to make.
Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding these important hearings, which were delayed last month due to the death and memorial service for President Reagan.
I am glad you were able to reschedule these hearings and I should commend staff for putting the hearings back together.
This hearing marks one of several hearings on the human rights part of this Subcommittee's jurisdiction. I look forward to working with you to provide additional hearings dealing with the other parts of our jurisdiction, especially I would like to work with you toward hearings on proliferation, especially the nuclear programs of Iran, which I know we have discussed and the nuclear program in North Korea.
I want to thank Assistant Secretary Craner for again speaking before our panel. He is one of our most frequent visitors from the government.
I also want to thank the Assistant Administrator for being our USAID witness and I believe our witness from Human Rights Watch is our most frequent private sector witness, reflecting the number of hearings this Subcommittee has had on the human rights part of its portfolio and also reflecting their expertise.
The topic of our hearing today is U.S. efforts at promotion of human rights and democracy abroad. The main document before us is the State Department's report titled Supporting Human Rights and Democracy, the U.S. Record 20032004.
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This is a relatively new document Congress required as a follow-up to the widely known and generally praised State Department Report on Country Practices, more commonly known simply as the Human Rights Report.
This 2nd annual strategy report, as today's subject is commonly known, seeks to show what the U.S. Government is actually doing about human rights abuses around the world.
There are many ways this document can be improved and therefore ways in which the accountability of the Executive Branch to Congress and to the public can be improved.
However, I want to note prior to getting into this report that we have lost frankly some of our leadership and credibility on these issues as a nation, sometimes deservedly, sometimes not.
Revelations regarding the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib have hurt our credibility as a nation. Memoranda circulated in the Administration to justify the practice of torture. That hurts our credibility.
Finally, the doctrine proposed by the Administration to apprehend and detain for an unlimited amount of time U.S. citizens, even those apprehended not on some foreign battlefield but here in the United States, this enemy combatant doctrine has not only no basis in our own Constitution, but flies in the face of everything we tell others about human rights, the rights of the accused and this is a doctrine which, if in the hands of any of the dictators that we criticize, could be used to incarcerate anyone who seeks to challenge the existing order.
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One could only imagine what Joe McCarthy would have done, as Attorney General, if the doctrine of enemy combatants had been available to him.
One of the best ways we can improve our efforts to improve human rights abroad is to ensure that we are above reproach or at least are doing as well as we possibly can. Improving our record and our image abroad will have to be part of an effort to address human rights efforts around the world.
I know that whatever flaws in our own record pale in comparison to the horrors we see around the world, but we can and must do better domestically.
I want to note that the State Department prepares a number of reports dealing with topics as diverse as religious freedom and terrorism. The State Department has already been caught once this year intentionally or through what we are told is gross negligence painting a much rosier picture than the facts warranted.
In that case, that report was one of numbers and so we could identify the numerical deficiencies and exaggerations or I guess in the terms of here we would be talking about understatements rather and an exaggeration of the allegation that things had been getting better in the terrorist situation.
The report we have before us today is not so susceptible to verification, because it is not one of enumeration. We are not just counting up the number of incidences, the way the terrorist report did.
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It is, however, just as susceptible to glowing praise and hyperbole about purported success of our argument in addressing continued human rights problems around the world.
I do not see such glaring problems in this current report, as we found in the terrorism report. I do believe, however, that there is a tendency in this report to report positively on our efforts, while failing to mention what we are not doing, notwithstanding the tools given to the Administration by this Congress.
Last year's initial report was criticized by several human rights groups for focusing on U.S. human rights assistance programs and neglecting sanctions available to the U.S. Government to promote human rights and democracy.
This year's report appears unresponsive to that critique. The report does not describe how the U.S. Government has applied many provisions of U.S. law that condition or restrict foreign aid, trade, preferences and other benefits from foreign governments that violate human rights in one way or another.
I would note especially the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act has been deliberately ignored by this Administration, particularly with the investment of some $2.6 billion in the Iranian oil fields by a consortium of Japanese companies.
Apparently the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act has an unwritten provision that it doesn't apply, as long as the Administration chooses not to notice the $2.6 billion, which has been widely reported in all the financial press.
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Such provisions also that are tools for the Administration in addition to the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act, are found in the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for both fiscal 2003 and 2004 and dozens more are scattered throughout the U.S. code.
However, the State Department report generally does not indicate how these provisions were applied to countries in which serious violations of human rights reportedly occur and accordingly does not tell us when these various tools were not employed or ignored.
It is not enough to simply issue a report criticizing the greatest human rights abusers. The Administration has to use all the tools or tell us why they are not using them.
I hope that the Administration witnesses will address these omissions and will work to ensure that future reports include comprehensive information detailing human rights statutory mandates and authorities applicable to various countries and how they have been implemented or not implemented and if they have been waived, why they have been waived.
I want to note finally that the world is allowing what amounts in my estimation to be ethnic cleansing, perhaps genocide, in Darfur region of Sudan. We have been too slow to mobilize effective aid to this region, too slow to bring enough pressure to bear on the Sudanese regime to reign in the Arab militias, which have terrorized those residents of the District of Darfur.
I have long called for sanctions against the Sudanese government and have supported secondary sanctions against those companies who profit on the energy resources of that country.
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Strong action to ensure at a minimum access for aid workers willing to risk their lives is long overdue.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your patience.
Mr. GALLEGLY. I thank the gentleman from California.
I will ask unanimous consent that any other Member that might have an opening statement, submit it, and it will be made a part of the record of this hearing in its entirety. We have six witnesses today and we will waive verbal opening statements and make them part of the record of the hearing.
I would like to welcome all of our witnesses and I truly look forward to your testimony today. Our first witness is Assistant Secretary Lorne Craner, who was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in 2001. Mr. Craner coordinates U.S. foreign policy and programs that support the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy around the entire world.
Prior to this appointment, he served as the President of International Republican Institute from 1995 until assuming his current appointment. I recently learned that Mr. Craner will be leaving the State Department to resume his position as President of IRI.
We thank him for his outstanding service as Assistant Secretary of State and certainly want to wish him the very best in the years to come.
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I also understand, Mr. Craner, that since this is going to be your last hearing, that you have with us today your wife and one of your children and I would like to welcome them to the Committee as well.
Mr. CRANER. Thank you very much, sir.
Mr. GALLEGLY. You should both be very proud of the selfless service that your husband and father has given to our nation.
Our second witness on panel one is Assistant Administrator Roger Winter. Mr. Winter was sworn in as Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance for the U.S. Agency for International Development in January 2002.
He also served as USAID's Director of the Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance. For 10 years prior to joining USAID, Mr. Winter served as Executive Director to the U.S. Committee for Refugees.
Gentlemen, we welcome you and I appeal to you, because we have several witnesses and I know we are going to have a lot of questions, that you would restrict your opening statement to 5 minutes.
Anything that you have beyond that we will make a part of the record of the hearing in its entirety.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Welcome, Mr. Craner.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE LORNE W. CRANER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. CRANER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to introduce the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 20032004.
I was here a few months ago to submit the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. The basis for that report is the government should be held to internationally accepted standards and norms. Some have called that ''the name it and shame it strategy.''
We don't just name and shame. We provide diplomatic support, training and assistance around the world to promote freedom and human rights and that is the story that is supporting human rights and democracy, the report we are laying out today details.
In the 3 months since the release of the most recent Country Reports much has happened and I would like to begin with the abuses at Abu Ghraib.
As an individual and as the State Department's Assistant Secretary charged with advancing human rights, I have been particularly appalled by the abuses that occurred there.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They are unworthy of America. I have been pleased to see the Department of Defense pledge to take action against those involved in such atrocious behavior and pleased to see steps to ensure that similar acts do not occur again. Already criminal sanctions are underway, in addition to several administrative investigations.
I have been asked if Abu Ghraib robs us of our ability to talk about human rights abroad and it is a reasonable question. How can we talk about human rights if we fail to uphold the highest standards?
We will indeed find and expose the truth and we will hold all who bear responsibility fully accountable and we will do everything in our power to ensure that it does not happen again.
This is all we ask other countries to do. In doing so, we are showing the world that we hold ourselves to the same standards to which we hold them.
To those who wonder if we still possess the will or the authority to press for internationally accepted human rights standards, I would point to our actions in Darfur.
We have taken strong and decisive action to end the violence there. It is the United States that is leading action to end killing, rape and torture in Darfur.
Secretary Powell's recent visit to Sudan gave him the opportunity to directly convey a message to the government about our concern. The immediate priority of the U.S. Government is to stop the violence and allow the refugees to return home safely.
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Also as you are aware, we have begun to identify publicly Janjaweed commanders responsible for the violence in Darfur. Already one of them, Musa Hilal, has given an interview in which he tried to distance himself from the atrocities and deny any links to the Janjaweed.
This is why we continue to construct a legacy that promotes democracy and human rights overseas. In places like Darfur and Burma and Zimbabwe and Belarus and elsewhere, who would benefit and who would pay the price if we self consciously turned inward and ignored human rights abuses outside of our country?
I am, therefore, very pleased today to formally present to Congress our report on supporting human rights and democracy. It provides examples of how we are engaged worldwide with people and institutions dedicated to answering the question: What are we doing about all those abuses in the Country Reports?
Unlike the Country Reports, this report highlights U.S. efforts to promote human rights and democracy in 101 countries with the most serious abuses. We take care to include places of concern for extrajudicial killings, torture or other serious violations of human rights, as called for in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003.
As the report details, we employ a wide range of strategies to promote human rights and democracy. Many who follow these issues closely will recognize strategies that are tried and true, that are part of our standard tool kit, but we have also, over these last 2 or 3 years, tried to provide new strategies.
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We have highlighted some in this report: A school to enhance the leadership schools of East African women so they can run for political office; the first independent printing press in Kyrgyzstan to advance media freedom; halfway houses for former child soldiers in Colombia, so that they can get off the battlefield; and a training academy for NGO's and others in Yemen.
Our ability to develop a mix of programs unique to each country where we are active is the result of a careful study of the human rights situation and the ideas generated by our collaboration with local activists and NGO's.
Some ask: ''Does it all work?'' The answer, it seems to me, is obvious. The support we have given for the past quarter century all over the world has helped usher in some of the most dramatic political changes in history.
Twenty-five years ago there were around 40 democracies in the world. Today, there are over 120. Many challenges remain and we in this Administration have not shrunk from taking them on.
We do not have unlimited funds so we use a framework to direct our efforts. We determine whether the conditions exist to obtain the changes we seek. We use human rights reporting to tailor assistance programs. One example of this is the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative, another is the Millennium Challenge Account.
In the last portion of this report, let me mention briefly, the recent recipients of our annual human rights and democracy achievement award, foreign service officers are listed.
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I also want to thank for their hard work in compiling the report the officers in my bureau, DRL and the efforts of hundreds around the State Department AID and other government agencies who are actually advancing human rights.
Last but not least, I want to thank all of you for the important role you played in the creation of this report.
As I said earlier and as I am leaving, I also want to express to you my personal appreciation for the bipartisan support that you have given to human rights and democracy all of these years.
As we meet here today, extraordinary men and women around the world are taking great personal risk to shed light on human rights abuses and press for democratic changepeople like Oswaldo Paya in Cuba, Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma.
This report demonstrates our efforts to stand in solidarity with these brave souls.
Again this year, Mr. Chairman, we have tried to provide a report that is true to the language and spirit of the mandating legislation that came out of this Committee.
We are crafting programs to promote freedom and liberty and we are making the connection from reporting to policy. Much work remains and we look forward to working with this Committee to find more and better ways to promote human rights and democracy.
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We continue to welcome ideas and suggestions, both for our diplomacy and our programs, but also for this report. Again, I would be happy to answer your questions. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Craner follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE LORNE W. CRANER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Chairman Gallegly and Members of the Subcommittee, earlier this year I was here to introduce the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003. The basis for that report is that governments should be held to internationally accepted human rights standards and norms. For more than 25 years, the United States has been willingbecause we believe in the power of informationto publish the Country Reports, which some have called a ''name it and shame it strategy.'' But what many people around the world do not realize is that we don't just ''name and shame,'' we provide diplomatic support, training and assistance around the world to aid people and strengthen institutions that promote freedom and human rights. That is the story that ''Supporting Human Rights and Democracy Report'' lays out.
In the three months since the release of the most recent Country Reports, much has happened. I would like to begin with the abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison. As an individual, and as the State Department's Assistant Secretary charged with advancing human rights abroad, I have been particularly appalled by the abuses that occurred there. They are unworthy of America. I've been pleased to see the Department of Defense pledge to take action against those individuals involved in such atrocious behavior, and take steps to ensure that similar acts do not occur again Already, criminal prosecutions are underway, in addition to several different administrative investigations, and positive changes have been announced at Abu Ghraib.
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I've been asked if Abu Ghraib robs us of our ability to talk about human rights abroad. It's a reasonable question. How can we talk about human rights if we fail to uphold the highest standards? On May 17th when Deputy Secretary Armitage first released this new report, he noted that when President Bush expressed his deep disgust and regret about events at Abu Ghraib, it wasn't just his personal reaction as a man of principle. It was also his reaction as the head of state of a country that holds itself to a higher standard, both at home and in our conduct in the world. We will indeed find and expose the truth, and will hold all who bear responsibility for these shameful episodes fully accountable. And we will do everything in our power to ensure that such actions do not occur again. This is all that we ask other countries to do. In doing so, we are showing the world that we hold ourselves to the same standards of accountability for human rights abuses to which we hold them.
To those who wonder if we still possess the will to press for internationally accepted human rights standards and norms I would point to our actions on Darfur. We have taken strong and decisive action to end the violence there. It is President Bush, Secretary Powell and the United States Government that are leading actions to end killing, torture and rape in Darfur. Once again, the United States is taking a leadership role. Secretary Powell's recent visit to Sudan gave him the opportunity to directly convey a message to the Government about our concern over the continued human rights abuses taking place in Darfur. We continue to share our concern with the Government of Sudan at the highest levels.
As we are all aware, grave violations of international human rights continue in Darfur. There are credible reports of torture, widespread and systematic rape targeting of innocent civilians in villages and IDP camps by the Government-supported Jinjaweed militia groups. The immediate priority of the U.S. Government is to take action to immediately stop the violence and allow refugees to return to their homes safely. DRL, with vital input from several NGOs, has developed an effort to document human rights atrocities in Darfur. The Department is scheduled to deploy a State/NGO team by the first week of July to the Chad border to interview refugees and conduct investigations.
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Also, as you are aware, the Department publicly identified 7 Jinjaweed commanders/leaders responsible for the violence in Darfur. Our investigations continue and we plan to name others if the atrocities do not end immediately. I would also like to mention that members of the Jinjaweed are feeling the pressure. Two days after the names were made public, Jinjaweed commander Musa Hilal, gave an interview in the Arabic Press Review trying to distance himself from the atrocities taking place in Darfur and denying any links to the Jinjaweed.
Thiscoupled with the myriad human rights programs that the U.S. government provides all around the worldis why we continue to create a constructive legacy that promotes and protects human rights and democracy. In places like Darfurand Burma and Zimbabwe and Belarus and elsewherewho would benefit, and who would pay the price if we self-consciously turned inward and ignored human rights abuses outside of our country?
Today, I am very pleased to formally present to Congress our report on ''Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 20032004.'' This report provides examples of how we are engaged worldwide with people and institutions dedicated to advancing freedom, and how we are trying to help others around the world who want the same institutions we have: institutions that protect human rights and punish those who would violate them. The purpose of this report is to answer the question, ''What are we doing about all those abuses in the Country Reports?''
Unlike the 196 individual Country Reports, this report highlights U.S. efforts to promote human rights and democracy in (by legislative mandate) those 101 countries and entities with the most serious human rights abuses. We take care to include places of concern for ''extra judicial killings, torture, or other serious violations of human rights,'' as called for in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2003. To make this report consistent with the criteria in the legislation, this year's report also includes a number of additional countries and a few deletions from last year's edition.
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Each report typically begins with a summary of the human rights conditions in the country referred to. This snapshot is not a complete picture of everything we know about the human rights conditions in the country; that is the purpose of the mother Country Reports. Next, we provide a short narrative about our human rights strategy, followed by a sampling of the activities we are taking to defend and extend liberty. This report is an overview of our efforts, not an exhaustive account of all U.S. government efforts. It is a representative sample of our human rights activities. To get a truly comprehensive picture it would be necessary to consider other areas too: for example, this Administration's commitment to try to reform the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to make them more effective in improving the world's poor areas.
We employ a wide range of strategies to promote human rights and democracy. In societies that enjoy some measure of openness, we can and do employ a wider range of strategies to promote human rights and democracy. Many who follow these issues closely will recognize strategies that are ''tried and true,'' that are part of our standard tool kit. Other strategies described in the report are innovative and represent the cutting-edge of democracy and human rights promotion, and we've highlighted some in this report: a school to enhance the leadership skills of East African women so that they can run for political office; the first independent printing press in Kyrgyzstan so that journalists can advance media freedom; halfway houses for former child soldiers in Colombia so that they can get off the battlefield and begin normal lives; a training academy for NGOs and others in Yemen to help enhance their democratic process. Our ability to develop a mix of programs unique to each country where we are active is the result of careful study of the human rights situation and ideas generated by our collaboration with local activists and non-governmental organizations in these countries. By combining approaches that encompass the old and new, the tested and experimental, and top-down and bottom-up, we have the capability to address different situations more effectively.
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Even with these many challenges, we are fortunate to be living in a world where freedom is advancing, and where we can benefit from acting in combination with other countries that share our commitment to human rights. This volume necessarily focuses on the activities of the United States, but there are many countries around the world that increasingly are involved in the fight against tyranny and oppression. They are beginning to take on the same roles we seek to fulfill: contributing financial and technical support, strengthening the democracy focus of international institutions, and protesting and refusing to turn a blind eye to abuses in their regions and beyond. Using vehicles like the Community of Democracies, we can begin to depend on a synergy of effort, and so can the millions of people who dream of freedom.
In addition to all of the efforts I have already laid out, we also continue to engage and remain active at the UN Commission on Human Rights, including this spring. The U.S. delegation worked diligently to make that body a more effective instrument for advancing human rights worldwide. Members of your staffs joined us in Geneva in that effort, and I thank you for letting them participate. They were extremely helpful to us in demonstrating what I've said is one of the great assets of my job, that the Executive and Legislative Branches, Republicans and Democrats, speak with one voice about the importance of human rights and democracy. We look forward in the coming months to discussing with you ways in which we can intensify such collaboration at CHR61.
In some cases we achieved our objectives at the Commission, evidenced by the passage of resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Cuba, North Korea, Burma and Turkmenistan. In other cases, we met resistance from countries that would prefer to obscure their records, countries that claim that we have no right to raise concerns about human rights within their borders. But their protests did not, and do not, deter our effort to ensure that human rights are not swept under the rug.
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Some ask: ''Does it all work?'' The answer is obvious: the support we've given for the past quarter century all over the world has helped usher in some of the most dramatic political changes in history. Twenty-five years ago, there were around 40 democracies in the world. Today, there are more than 120. In the 1980s in Latin America and in Eastern Europe, the U.S. Government sought to ensure that democratic reformers were given the oxygen they needed to bring about changes in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Poland, Taiwan and Hungary.
In the 1990s, the United States supported South Africa's democracy movement, which helped produce a new era of freedom in a country that some believed would descend into chaos. And for the last decade, we've worked with opposition leaders and NGOs in places like Cuba and Burma and Zimbabwe, and also in places like Georgia, where last year, the time and the energy and the heart of our effort, and the effort of so many others, culminated in the peaceful Revolution of Roses.
Many challenges remain, and we in this Administration have not shrunk from taking them on. We do not have unlimited funds, so we use a framework to focus our efforts. We determine whether the conditions exist to obtain the changes we seek. We use human rights reporting to tailor assistance programs. One example of this approach is the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative; another is the Millennium Challenge Account, for projects in countries whose governments rule justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom.
Transitions to democratic government and the rule of law happen in numerous ways, sometimes relatively quickly and sometimes very gradually. Underlying this diversity of paths is the universal human aspiration for freedom. Our own experience as a nation and the unfolding of our history may be unique, but our striving for freedom and equality has been animated by values of human dignity shared by people around the world. As the Report notes, in places like Central Asia and the Middle Eastwhere doors were closed for so long to anyone wanting to talk about democracy and human rightswe're continuing to press on those issues.
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In the last portion of the report, the recent recipients of our annual Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award are listed, and it is worth mentioning the two winners. Phil Kaplan serves at our embassy in Ankara, where he not only reports on key political developments, but also works with private organizations, the Turkish Government and groups from across civil society, to advance the cause of Turkey's commitment to human rights. Until recently, Ted Burkhalter worked in Uzbekistan, where he analyzed developments in civil society, but he also saved lives by pushing for protections and justice for all detainees, and by supporting those who struggle to bring democracy and human dignity to that country. I applaud these officers and the other nominees for their efforts to advance internationally accepted human rights standards and norms, and note that there are many, many other officers in our embassies and posts working hard to advance human rights and democracy.
Before I discuss country specifics and take your questions, I want to acknowledge the important role of this Committee in the creation of this report and thank you for holding this hearing. As I said earlier, we appreciate the bipartisan support that human rights and democracy work has enjoyed for many years.
I also want to thank the officers in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for their hard work in compiling this report. The report also reflects the dedicated effort of hundreds of State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and other U.S. government employees, as well as the employees of numerous non-governmental organizations.
Now, to the specifics of this report: Time does not permit a full description of the regional sections of the report, but I would like to provide an overview of some of our activities in the various regions. Those interested in more detail should review the report, copies of which we have brought with us today, and which is also available on the State Department web site at www.state.gov.
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In Georgia, years of U.S. assistanceincluding a parallel vote tabulationswas instrumental in proving that the official parliamentary election results last November had been manipulated and did not reflect the will of the people. During the subsequent peaceful demonstrations, the Ambassador urged the Government and opposition to avoid violence. The demonstrations remained peaceful and eventually led to President Shevardnadze's resignation and new elections.
In Belarus over the last few years, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute have provided training focused on leadership and message development, political party strengthening, and coalition building, while the U.S. Embassy and the Government of Lithuania have supported and continue to support a series of skill-building workshops and roundtables in neighboring countries for Belarusian democratic leaders and activists. These efforts have begun to pay off. Six of the seven largest political parties, more than 200 NGOs, a number of independent trade unions, regional organizations, youth groups, and members of the business community and civil society have united into a democratic coalition called ''Five Plus.'' Five Plus is the largest Belarusian democratic coalition, and represents the most promising effort in recent years to reach the Belarusian electorate with a modern, responsive and hopeful democratic message.
In the Kyrgyz Republic I am pleased to note that our programs have succeeded in expanding freedom of expression and freedom of speech to the Kyrgyz people. The independent printing press that Freedom House established with U.S. funding is now printing 28 independent newspapers, enabling media outlets to publish without fear of being denied access to the state-run printing press or having to engage in self-censorship. The network of 24 Information Centers for Democracy created by the National Democratic Institute now cover the entire territory of the Kyrygz Republic, enabling local activists to host ''town-hall'' meetings to discuss current political issues. The information libraries are allowing citizens to have free access to newspapers and to use the Internet, some for the first time ever.
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Morocco has taken courageous steps to improve human rights and democracy, most recently through bold changes to the family status code, which significantly increased the rights of women and children in areas such as marriage, property rights and inheritance. Competitive elections, vibrant NGOs, and other legislative reforms are other milestones that make Morocco a leader in the region. The United States is active in its support, funding programs that train new parliamentarians, advice on legal reforms and implementation, nurture NGOs and campaign against child labor. We have true partners in our efforts in both the Moroccan government and its people.
In Saudi Arabia, the Ambassador and other senior U.S. officials routinely highlight the need to improve human rights conditions. For example, I visited Saudi Arabia in July 2003 and raised concerns about political reform and human rights, and Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom John Hanford visited Saudi Arabia in October 2003 and raised concerns about religious freedom issues with high-level officials. During 2003, we supported men and women journalists to study in the United States, organized in-country training workshops for women journalists, hosted roundtable discussions with journalists, and encouraged editors to expand their coverage of human rights.
Following more than two decades of conflict in Sri Lanka, President Kumaratunga has expressed an interest in re-initiating talks with the LTTE. The U.S. is providing $1.5 million to train and empower local civil society groups, media organizations, political parties and stakeholders in peace to participate in national dialogues of peace.
In Afghanistan, the adoption of a constitution on January 4, 2004 and on-going voter registration represents a victory for the central government and a major step along the road towards democracy and stability. In FY 2004, almost $400 million will go towards democracy and governance.
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With the turnover of power in Iraq on Monday, June 28, we are now witnessing the birth of a new Iraq. The Iraqi Interim Government, led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, has assumed sovereign authority over Iraq and the Coalition Provisional Authority has dissolved. Mr. Allawi's government will face enormous challenges, particularly in restoring stability and security and leading the nation to elections scheduled for January 2005.
The Iraqis, working closely with the UN, have already begun preparations for elections, putting in place an independent election commission and planning the administrative and security frameworks that will guide the process. The elected assembly will be responsible for drafting a permanent constitution, which we expect to be ratified by public referendum in the fall of 2005 and to govern the election of a new sovereign government by the end of that year.
In addition, a national conference will be convened this summer to select members of a consultative council. This council will have an important role to play in advising the interim government and bringing together a wide range of Iraqi communities.
Through the CPA, the USG has been very active in providing assistance to support a successful transition to a peaceful, lawful, democratic and sovereign Iraq. We have supported numerous initiatives to bring accountability for past atrocities and to put in place government and non-government institutions to safeguard human rights in the future. These initiatives have addressed mass graves, missing persons, documentation of crimes under the previous regime, and the establishment of an Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights and an independent Human Rights Commission and Ombudsman. We have supported the establishment of an Iraqi Special Tribunal that, in the months ahead, will begin to try key perpetrators of the human rights atrocities and war crimes committed during Saddam Hussein's regime.''. We have funded programs that have now for months provided technical assistance and consultation to Iraq's emerging political parties to help them compete effectively in the upcoming elections. Together with our colleagues at USAID, we have also dedicated substantial support to nongovernmental groups, enabling them to conduct human rights advocacy, democracy and human rights education and activities in conjunction with the elections. We are working to ensure that an independent and vibrant media operates in Iraq, and we have launched several initiatives, including a U.S.-Iraq women's network, and are on the verge of funding more, aimed explicitly at promoting the economic, political, legal and social status of Iraqi women and girls.
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Our role in Iraq has changed with the dissolution of CPA, but our dedication to the promotion of human rights, institutions of freedom and respect for the rule of law will continue through the activities of our Embassy, under the leadership of Ambassador John Negroponte. The many activities described above will continue, in partnership with the Iraqi Interim Government. The advancement of freedom in Iraq is critical to our shared goal of helping Iraq become a secure, stable and successful independent state with democratic, representative government.
In Nepal, the on-going Maoist insurgency has weakened government institutions and created an environment where rampant human rights abuses occur. In this atmosphere, the United States has initiated a $6 million program to support the rule of law and respect for human rights. We are also working with the National Human Rights Commission in researching and analyzing draft anti-terror legislation and ensuring the right to a fair trial.
The historic Kenyan 2002 general election peacefully ended Daniel Arap Moi's 24 years in power. President Kibaki is making good on pre-election promises to fight corruption and provide free compulsorily education and more recently his government has established an independent Human Rights Commission. In 2003 and early 2004, the United States continued to support efforts to strengthen government institution and civil society.
Tackling the Lord's Resistant Army's brutal 18-year insurgency in northern Uganda, the U.S. funded a program to expand access to quality education for children at risk of exploitation as child soldiers.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As the Government of Zimbabwe continues its concerted campaign of violence, repression, and intimidation, U.S. programs are assisting victims of torture and other political violence and funding access to independent media.
The important purpose of this follow-on report to the Country Reports is to show that U.S. support for human rights is more than a once-a-year exercise in identifying abuses. I am reminded of President Bush's words when he said, ''The message to those who long for liberty and those who work for reform is that they can be certain they have a strong and constant ally in the United States of America.'' And likewise, Secretary Powell said in the preface to this report:
''On every continent, we are making important, long-term investments in democracy. We are helping to build democratic institutions. We are working with non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, opposition parties, minority communities, women's organizations and labor movements to develop dynamic civil societies. We are promoting good governance to create conditions for economic growth and sustainable development. We are helping to free the flow of information and to ensure free and fair elections. And through our exchange and other programs, we are acquainting rising generations with democratic ideas and processes.''
Most importantly, extraordinary men and women around the world take great personal risks to shed light on human rights abuses and press for democratic changecourageous people like Oswaldo Payá in Cuba, Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. This report demonstrates our effort to stand in solidarity with these brave souls who are working hard to achieve freedom, not only in democratic societies, but also in repressive ones. They are setting the course of history and we must help them.
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, again this year we have tried to provide a report that is true to the language and the spirit of the mandating legislation that came out of this Committee. We are crafting programs to promote freedom and liberty, and we are making the connection from reporting to policy. Much work remains, and we look forward to working with this Committee to find more and better ways to promote human rights and democracy. We continue to welcome ideas and suggestions for next year.
And now, I would be happy to answer your questions.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Craner.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROGER P. WINTER, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. WINTER. Thank you very much.
For USAID, democracy and governments and human rights are part of our core mandate for doing development. What that means for us programmatically and activity wise is we are managing about a billion dollars in U.S. taxpayers' money from a number of accounts for democracy and human rights and good governance programs in nearly 100 countries around the world. Many of them are reflected in Lorne's excellent report.
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There is not enough time to talk about all of the things that are going on in Iraq that we do not see on the evening news, but we are severely, as it were, involved in producing workable local governance and the tools that are needed at the local level to actually be responsive to citizen needs.
We helped create 445 neighborhood councils, 193 sub district councils, 12,000 small grants at a local level for local citizen participation and similar things.
There are nine districts in which we have created women's empowerment centers that involve a lot of training and capacity building for women and we are spending a lot of time, effort and money on preparing for the January, 2005 elections.
The same thing is true in Afghanistan, where there has been a substantial amount of progress made toward Constitutional democracy and the laws that have been adopted in Afghanistan provide an unprecedented legal acknowledgement of human rights and the rule of law.
Last year you may recall they had something called the Loya Jirga, which was the beginning of new governance in Afghanistan. Preparation for the Loya Jirga, operational planning and logistics were all handled by USAID on behalf of the U.N. and the Constitutional commission.
So far this year, we have completed the building of two courthouses completely and will have completed 16 courthouses and judicial facilities in nine provinces by the end of this fiscal year.
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Overall we expect to be investing about $100 million in democracy and human rights programming in Afghanistan this year and virtually alone we have been responsible for the registration of six plus million voters to participate in the upcoming, in the fall, this coming fall presidential elections and then subsequently the lower house elections that are being scheduled.
I would like to mention Sudan in particular, because you have brought it up with respect to Darfur. Darfur is a place where we have major human rights and other kinds of investments.
The situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate. We have not seen yet the full benefit of the Secretary's visit, as well as the Secretary General's visit, since they only happened a few days ago.
But the truth of the matter is that the situation of the population at large continues to deteriorate. Notwithstanding the fact that there is a cease-fire agreement, aerial bombardment continues and attacks on civilians continue.
The biggest problem is the so-called Janjaweed, this militia. This Arab militia is attacking an African civilian population on both sides. Their Muslim religion is not a factor.
This is a situation in which we are very heavily involved. We do expect a substantial body count in Darfur because of the situational dynamics that are already in place, even though we are beginning to see some improvements in the access side.
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However, you should not forget that a major effort has been made by the Administration over the last 3 years in trying to bring about a peace between the government of Sudan and the south.
That peace agreement is virtually in place and we expect it to be finalized within the next 60 days or so.
There is a major task for the United States Government and USAID specifically here. We basically will bear the principal responsibility for standing up the new government of southern Sudan.
What that means is creating a government, not obviously entirely by ourselves, the Sudanese have to do it, but supporting the creation of a government from scratch.
That means helping create a unity amongst the southern population and the disarming of a variety of militias. It means tremendous efforts at capacity building. It means the supporting of eight transition teams that help create a government which will respect human rights, which will foster open politics and will be responsive to government needs.
In Sudan, therefore, we have one of the worst human rights situation in the world right now. Severe ethnic cleansing of one aspect of the population.
At the same time, we are trying to create a whole new government in the southern part of the country. Both of these are major tasks and we have major, major efforts going with respect to all of these.
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I will stop momentarily. Let me just say we actually also directly help people who are the victims of human rights abuse.
What we do is we have an abuse prevention and protection unit. We have people who are up on the border of Chad who are actually trying to document the abuses that are going on inside Darfur, that are actually trying to understand the patterns of mass rape that have been used against the female population of the groups that have been displaced.
We are doing this direct documentation as part of a human rights effort and also to prove that the government of Sudan has engaged in the practice of trying to cover up the atrocities they have engaged in.
Finally, we have a victim's torture fund in which we provide for the treatment of more than 75,000 individuals per year who are victims of torture and abuse in 68 treatment centers in 20 countries around the world.
I would be happy to respond to questions on any of these points and of course, there are still 97 other countries that we work in that we have not mentioned. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Winter follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROGER P. WINTER, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
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Chairman Gallegly and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today about the work of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in building democracy and promoting good governance and human rights.
I congratulate Assistant Secretary Craner and his colleagues at the State Department for producing again this year a superb compendium of the U.S. government's efforts to promote democracy and human rights abroad. ''Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 20032004'' reviews the efforts of dedicated U.S. government officials, at many levels, within the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, and other U.S. agencies, working over the past year to build democratic institutions that will protect freedom and human rights.
USAID supports democratic transitions and promotes human rights as a core element of our development mandate. In recent years a global consensus has emerged that development is not only dependent on good governance, but that good governance is part and parcel of successful development. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated that, ''governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development.'' The only form of governance that we have found to be well-suited to development, security and long-term stability is democratic governance.
That finding is strongly reinforced in USAID's 2002 publication, ''Foreign Aid in the National Interest,'' which sets forth categorically that, ''promoting democratic governance is vital to the national security of the U.S. and must be a central objective of any development program.'' Stable democratic nations are less likely to go to war against us, our allies or against each other. Nations operating under democratic systems are less likely to dissolve into the anarchy which breeds terror and lawlessness, and are more likely to support free markets and international trade. Democratic nations are more likely to cooperate with the United States in meeting the challenges of the 21st century, such as disease, narcotics, hunger, trafficking in persons, and the threatened environment.
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USAID is proud of its accomplishments in supporting transitions to democracy and human rights as part of the U.S. government's overall effort. Although these accomplishments seldom attract headlines they are nonetheless vital successes of U.S. foreign policy. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to provide you some examples of USAID's past and recent efforts to promote democracy and human rights.
USAID was a pioneer within the international development community in putting democracy and human rights at the forefront of the development agenda. Since the early 1980s, USAID has provided technical advice and assistance to reformers to support properly functioning democratic governments whose leaders are chosen by popular vote, whose criminal codes are modernized to protect citizens, and where the culture of impunity has been challenged and is being replaced by a culture of accountability.
Our democracy and human rights programs, born amid the political turbulence of Latin America in the 1980s, are now two decades old. One need only recall Central America in the 1980s, a region consumed by civil war and suffering under repressive autocracies to see the progress that has been made.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, when first eastern Europe and then the Soviet Union abandoned communism, USAID was among the first to assist a new generation of leaders with the establishment of new democratic institutions, new laws, independent judiciaries, free press, and political competition that was more free and more fair. Today Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, whose democracies all benefited from substantial USAID assistance over the years, are successful democratic nations that have recently gained membership in the European Union.
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Accomplishments in Africa in past years are no less important, though the challenges there remain tremendous. Only ten years ago, South Africa embarked on a transition from institutionalized inequality, racial discrimination and fundamental violations of human rights to democracy. USAID played a vital role supporting the new government and civil society organizations in South Africa as they created a new social contract based on equal rights and the profoundly democratic principle of ''one person one vote.'' USAID assistance in Mozambique has been equally critical, supporting electoral and political party reform and modernization of the justice sector and ultimately bringing a measure of stability to a country that had been at war with itself for a generation.
The United States remains the world's foremost proponent of democratic development and a leading promoter of good governance and human rights and USAID continues to extend robust support to democratic reformers and institutions. USAID's democracy budget in FY 2004 will approach $1 billion, including Development Assistance, Economic Support Funds, and other accounts. That budget supports democracy, good governance and human rights in nearly 100 countries throughout the world.
The promotion of democratic transitions and human rights faces many new challenges, particularly in consolidating nascent democracies, fighting corruption, and addressing the post-Cold War phenomenon of fragile and failing states. President Bush noted in his preface to the 2002 National Strategy of the United States that the greatest threat to the United States today does not come from strong, hostile states, but from dysfunctional, lawless and weak states. Accordingly, USAID is examining how best to transform fragile states into capable national governments functioning under the rule of law. A few examples will help explain the challenges and opportunities.
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In Iraq, America faces perhaps its greatest challenge. Among the justifications for regime change in Iraq was to liberate the Iraqi people from one of the most brutal tyrannies in recent history, and replace it with a modern democratic state. That goal remains central. While the detailed structure of that system will be identified through the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution in the coming months, a solid foundation for that work has been laid by USAID's local governance and community action programs.
Early in the campaign to reconstruct Iraq, USAID's initial task was to support local governments and build their capacity to deliver essential services throughout the country. Today, across Iraq, widespread efforts are laying the foundation for a more representative government that respects the rights of individualswhether they are Sunni, Shi'ia, Kurds, Assyrians, or Turkomensand will enable greater participation in the political process by Iraqis. USAID has helped to establish local governance programs in each of Iraq's 18 governorates, and is building the capacity and skills of local government officials and public servants to effectively manage resources and establish priorities based upon the needs of constituents while also working with citizen groups to promote their active participation. USAID is also actively engaged in a civic education program, having conducted more than 7,000 sessions with broad cross-sections of Iraq society to discuss the principles, rights, and responsibilities of citizens and government under a democratic system of governance.
Every major aspect of our Iraq program considers the needs and capabilities of womenin education, employment, health, agriculture, and political life. In addition, we have specific programs addressing women's issues. We are creating women's centers in all nine districts that will serve as training centers and meeting places to empower women and assist them.
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As the transition toward Iraqi sovereignty proceeds, the USAID effort to promote democracy and human rights is continuing and broadening. In consultation with other U.S. agencies, USAID is developing programs to establish a modern justice sector, further support civil society, and prepare for the 2005 election process. The security environment remains highly fluid. The 110 USAID staff working on the ground in Iraq demonstrates significant commitment and courage. Our Iraqi partners, aware of these risks, remain committed to the democratization of their country, and USAID will continue to support them in their pursuit of this goal.
The re-building of Afghanistan after generations of war is one of the most important challenges we face today. Once the home of the Taliban and of Al Qaeda, Afghanistan is making progress toward constitutional democracy, with unprecedented legal acknowledgement of human rights, and the rule of law. Last year, USAID developed and managed the operational planning and logistical support for the Constitutional Loya Jirga on behalf of the United Nations and the Constitutional Commission. USAID has built or refurbished courthouses in two provinces to date, and is in the process of building or refurbishing judicial facilities in five additional provinces. By the end of 2004, USAID will have built or rehabilitated 16 judicial facilities in seven provinces, which will house the institutions of law and promote a culture that respects law and human rights.
USAID continues to provide technical assistance and training in Afghanistan to the Constitutional, Judicial and Human Rights Commissions, as well as the President's Office and other institutions. USAID is working with the electoral authorities to ensure a successful national election later this year. USAID staff, contractors and grantees are working with political party and civic leaders on domestic election monitoring, as well as conducting a civic education campaign to promote popular political participation.
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In Sudan, USAID began raising the alarm about Darfur only months after the onset of the crisis. USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios accompanied Secretary Powell to the region; this was his second trip to the region in the last few months. USAID has been active in promoting accountability for the severe human rights abuses there. USAID recently collaborated with nongovernmental organizations and the State Department, both DRL and INR, to develop a questionnaire that will be used in the collection of information. The first phase of the Darfur War Crimes Documentation Project is being funded by USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives. It is USAID's flexible funding mechanism that is allowing that project to be implemented quickly.
In southern Sudan, we stand at the brink of an historic breakthrough. Africa's longest raging civil war, one which has caused some 2.5 million deaths, more than 4 million internally displaced, and more than 300,000 refugees, may be coming to an end. The people of southern Sudan as well as the international community already are looking to USAID to step forward to aid in the stabilization and reconstruction of southern Sudan, including supporting basic governance institutions. It is an exciting yet daunting challenge given that large sections of southern Sudan, abandoned or destroyed by war, have experienced virtually no formal government in decades. With the signing of the Framework for Peace on May 26th, the moment has arrived to help the people of southern Sudan create a government that is respectful of human rights, politically open, and responsive to the needs of local citizens.
USAID has been working with the authorities of southern Sudan to prepare for this challenge. We will play a significant role in supporting the creation of an open political process, including widespread education about the peace agreement itself, broad ranging support to reconciliation of all southern political and military elements, and a south-wide political convention to make initial decisions on the interim administration. At the grass-roots level, we support civic education through civil society groups, and provide assistance for the development of community-based civil society. We are supporting independent media outlets, including an independent radio station serving southern Sudan. In anticipation of the peace agreement, USAID is developing organizational designs for the future state ministries, beginning with the Ministry of Education.
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USAID is also supporting community-based reintegration of returned abductees in receiving communities of southern Sudan. The program supports the development of committees to ensure that returning abductees have quality interim care as they re-enter community life. In addition, the program seeks to improve child protection in southern Sudan to address issues of abuse, exploitation, family separation, and neglect, among others. The program works with southern Sudanese to identify, document, and develop community strategies to improve child protection. We are participating in the United Nations' planning for disarmament, demobilization, and re-integration of soldiers, which will include child combatants.
USAID also supports development of the judiciary and the South Sudan Law Society . Activities include funding the South Sudan Law Society's community-based human rights monitoring activities, where the Society trains and supports local human rights commissions created by people-to-people peace agreements. In conjunction with the judiciary, USAID supports the expansion of access to dispute resolution mechanisms by supporting itinerate courts in conflict areas and paralegal (i.e. certified arbiters) training. We support the drafting, dissemination, and training on new law through assistance to the Secretariat of Constitutional and Legal Affairs.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is gradually finding its way on a clear if unsteady path to stabilization, and USAID is providing assistance for what will be a difficult transformation from conflict to durable peace and democratic governance. USAID helped establish an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), and continues to provide technical assistance and training to the IEC and to the political parties that were warring belligerents only two years ago. The USAID Mission in the DRC supports transitional justice institutions and non-governmental organizations to protect human rights and promote access to justice. USAID provides technical assistance and training in conflict mitigation for citizens to rebuild their communities while reintegrating ex-combatants and displaced persons. USAID is currently assisting with the drafting and implementation of a legal framework for elections, a representative political process and political party system. While uncertainty remains, the DRC is making a bid for democracy and stability with USAID help.
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One of USAID's objectives in Georgia is to help develop more transparent, accountable and responsive democratic governance. USAID will continue its decentralization activity and support to local governments to strengthen their capacity to manage resources, respond to citizens' concerns, and improve service delivery. USAID supports greater integrity and competency in the judicial process, through assistance to the judiciary and to lawyers. USAID assistance to legal aid clinics supports citizens in exercising their rights, including against corrupt practices. The USAID Mission's rule of law program recently produced televised documentaries on human rights, one of which led the government to close pretrial armed forces' detention camps on the grounds that they grossly violated human rights.
Through USAID assistance on the administrative code, Georgia now has Freedom of Information legislation which is frequently used by citizens to force transparency in government. Every sector of USAID's assistance focuses on countering corruption in Georgiaincreasing transparency, accountability, prevention, enforcement, and educationand the USAID Mission supports civil society efforts to monitor and provide outreach on corruption issues. In light of recent political openings in Georgia, USAID will also soon initiate a program to work with the Georgian Parliament to strengthen legislative processes.
In August 2002, USAID established a new program in Venezuela to strengthen the country's fragile democratic institutions and promote a peaceful, democratic, and constitutional resolution to the current political crisis in Venezuela. The USAID effort has three objectives: to create political space for dialog between competing political interests, ensure free and open political competition in the electoral process, and build a national agenda that will draw Venezuelans together, reduce tension and help deter violence. We are supporting numerous non-partisan, local non-governmental organizations, training and developing a network of domestic election monitors, and promoting independent media agencies in their efforts to work through the crisis.
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USAID works closely with the State Department and other government agencies on these matters, and is assisted and supported by numerous non-governmental organizations, both American, international and local in each host country. Many other bilateral and multilateral donors and international organizations contribute to this global effort as well. Ultimately the fate of peoples and nations is in their own hands. The triumph of democracy and the protection of human rights and dignity must be the achievement of people and their states. The task of USAID and its partners is to support them in their efforts.
Drawing lessons from these country level initiatives, USAID has also taken several steps to expand its response to human rights concerns, the nexus between governance and food insecurity and corruption. We have recently initiated what we believe are several innovative programs.
In August 2003, USAID established the Abuse Prevention and Protection Team (APPT) to offer rapid, short-term, flexible assistance in response to widespread abuses during pivotal periods, such as in the immediate humanitarian response to conflict, in the transition towards development and stability, and where appropriate, before a conflict emerges. This initiative means that, in addition to human rights promotion, USAID seeks to foster practical protection solutions to highly vulnerable populations. The APPT is small and experimental at this early stage. It is located in the Office of Transitional Initiatives (OTI) which has been noted for its rapid and effective field interventions. To date, the APPT has been active in Iraq, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti, and is part of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on the ground in Sudan.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As part of our efforts to develop more effective responses to humanitarian emergency faminethe most extreme manifestation of food insecurityUSAID initiated the ''governance and food security project.'' This project is predicated on the thesis that governance is often as responsibleif not more responsiblethan economic, climatic or agricultural problems in creating the conditions that perpetuate food insecurity. Famines are frequently closely correlated with conflict, suggesting that climatic shocks such as drought or flood are sometimes trigger events, rather than the root causes. Food insecurity is tied to poverty and vulnerability, which can be traced in large part to economic mismanagement and ineffective state institutions. Governments that lack accountability are less likely to be responsive to the needs and demands of the population, including the demand for food and other basic needs. USAID has designed and is field-testing an assessment framework that identifies how governance impacts food security problems. The first case study was completed in Nicaragua in May 2004.
USAID's Democracy Office has recently developed a new international Anti-corruption Strategy. This strategy will take us beyond the successes we have had in addressing administrative and lower-level corruption. When fully integrated, it will confront the grand corruption of entrenched elites, attack political corruption, and develop approaches to challenge both predatory states and those captured by powerful interests. This will require engaging with our embassies and others in high-level policy dialogue and diplomatic efforts. The strategy promotes cross-sectoral and multi-sectoral approaches and encourages staff in health, education, environment, agriculture and economic growth, in addition to working specifically on democracy and human rights programs, to explicitly address anti-corruption in all Agency programs. It also asks USAID to improve its understanding of the problem through evaluation and research and to continue to model the highest standards of integrity both in its internal operations and in the field through its partners. This strategy builds on the early leadership efforts of USAID in fighting corruption but demands greater and more sophisticated efforts of us as we rise to the serious challenge which corruption poses.
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The struggle for democracy and human rights has been long but fruitful, and perhaps as challenging as the war on terrorism. Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt were early leaders in this struggle for democracy, good governance and human rights. We have fought and won many battles in this struggle, the greatest being the defeat of communism. The struggle is not over. Every generation brings its own new challenges to democracy.
We feel that now is precisely the time not only to reaffirm our commitment to democracy and human rights in the world, but to augment and strengthen our programs and reinforce the message that the United States remains the most unflinching champion of democracy and human rights. Without that leadership on our part, alternative values and concepts of governance will likely emerge to challenge the world's democracies.
I greatly appreciate the support of the Congress in our efforts to address these important democracy and human rights challenges abroad and look forward to continuing this collaboration.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Winter.
I would like to open the questioning with Mr. Craner. The status of the democratic movement in Burma and, specifically as it relates to the National League of Democracy, could you briefly fill us in on that?
Mr. CRANER. As you know, they are heavily repressed. They would like to be able to open up offices within the country again and Aung San Suu Kyi, their leader, remains under arrest.
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I know there have been some people that have speculated about the state of the NLD and whether they are still capable of operating.
I have confidence that they are indeed capable of operating. I know that there are a number of people, including the regime, who thought that Aung San Suu Kyi's popularity had worn off.
That the people were no longer interested in following her and one of the great surprises they got and perhaps the reason she is back in her house today is that thousands and thousands of Burmese turned out everywhere she went to see her.
I have no doubts about her capabilities and about the capabilities of the NLD itself. It continues to be repressed, but as we have seen in dozens of countries around the world these last 2 decades, you cannot repress the idea of freedom in people's minds.
Mr. GALLEGLY. I had the opportunity just a few months ago to travel to Southeast Asia and what you are saying is encouraging, because I got some mixed reviews about her plight and how much real support there was in the region and that is encouraging.
Could we switch to another hemisphere for a second? Again for you, Mr. Craner, in Venezuela, as you know, there is a referendum scheduled. I believe it is around the 15th of August or maybe in the middle of August that could very well lead to the recall of President Chavez.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There has been a lot of concern about the transparency and the fairness of the election, whether outside observers were going to be allowed in and, as someone who has had the opportunity to be an official observer in elections in Central America several years ago, I know how vital that is to the way the world looks at whether the election is legitimate or not.
Could you give us a brief assessment of that?
Mr. CRANER. I would agree with you. It is important to have outside observers to be able to make judgments. It is also important to have domestic observers to be enabled to make judgments.
We have been working very closely with the OAS, but also with NGO's, including the Carter Center and the IRI and others to make sure that they are able to conduct their work in Venezuela.
Our desire here is to see an open and transparent process. The Venezuelan people will decide the results.
Mr. GALLEGLY. More specifically, I have heard mixed reviews as to whether or not, for instance, the Carter Center delegation would be allowed in.
What reports are you getting that there will be legitimate international observers?
Mr. CRANER. It is not yet clear, as far as I understand that there will be, but we think it is important that there be.
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Mr. GALLEGLY. I think we all agree it is important.
Mr. CRANER. Yes.
Mr. GALLEGLY. The question is whether actually it is going to happen.
Mr. CRANER. That is not clear yet, but it is something that we and others, including the OAS, continue to press for. It is a very well understood principle, in this hemisphere, that both domestic and foreign observers should be allowed to see elections, just as they are welcome here.
Mr. GALLEGLY. It is something in this hemisphere that we are all very much aware of and really concerned about, not just because it is in the hemisphere, but because it speaks to the whole issue of democracy.
With that, I would yield to my friend from California, Mr. Sherman, for 5 minutes.
Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have so many questions. I will have some where I will ask you to respond on the record, but let us start with one I would like you to respond to orally.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I wonder if next year's report can contain a complete list of all the provisions of U.S. law that allow or require the Administration to withhold foreign aid, trade preferences, loan, loan guarantees, other aid from those foreign governments that violate human rights so that we have at the beginning of the report hopefully a list of the tools in your tool case?
Mr. CRANER. I would be happy to commit to that idea. I have a feeling if I listed every provision of sanctions in U.S. law, the report might be five or six times as thick, as they apply to every country. Is that what you are asking?
Mr. SHERMAN. No. Just a list of every tool.
Mr. CRANER. In general?
Mr. SHERMAN. Right.
Mr. CRANER. Sure. Absolutely.
Mr. SHERMAN. Then this would make the report thick, but it would actually make it relevant. Could we count on you to, in your report, show how these provisions were applied or not applied during the preceding year to each of the countries in which there were serious violations of human rights?
Mr. CRANER. Yes, I think I can commit to that, certainly in terms of where they are applied. If we did not choose to apply them, are you looking for a reason why we did not choose to apply them in the report?
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Mr. SHERMAN. That would be helpful or just say we did not apply these. If you do not want to give a reason, do not give a reason, but at least something like here is a serious violation of human rights, here is what we did and here is just a list of the tools we did not use. We will or will not provide you with a reason as to why we used or did not use these.
Mr. CRANER. Let me commit to the first part of that and let us talk about the second, if we could.
Mr. SHERMAN. Okay. Moving on to Iran, there seems to be almost no programmatic assistance to those working for democracy in Iran.
I know we broadcast into Iran ourselves, but we do not provide help to those working for democracy or those private broadcasters, which I know for a fact have a lot of listenership and viewership in Iran.
Why is it that we support pro-democracy advocates in nations that are friendly to the United States, but are not helping pro-democracy advocates working for democracy in a regime whose lack of democracy is hostile and dangerous to the United States?
Mr. CRANER. As I understand it, it was against the law to do so until the fiscal year 2004 Congressional authorization, where we were permitted, for the first time, to be able to do that.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My Bureau recently solicited proposals on Iran and hopes to begin funding the first of these within this fiscal year. We already have a number of proposals. But until we were allowed to, we could not.
Mr. SHERMAN. I would hope that the Administration would advise us with problems with statutes and that we would correct them.
This one has already been corrected and I hope that you would work with my staff and especially Don McDonald, as to your quest for proposals, because I am in touch with a number of organizations that I think are doing an outstanding job and we need to make sure that they are aware of what aid is available.
Moving on to Sudan. It is my understanding that you are seeking travel restrictions and an arms embargo at the U.N., only against the Janjaweed, but not against the members of the government of Sudan.
Why are you being so timid and along those same lines, why are we not using third party sanctions? We do that with the Iran, Libya Sanctions Act, which I support, which has been effective at least with regard to Libya, which has some affect on Iran.
Why has the Administration not come to Congress and asked for us to enact in effect the Sudan Peace Acts provisions, although they were drafted with an eye toward southern Sudan, to ban capital markets for those companies investing in Sudan until Sudan allows at least aid workers to get in?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC How can you come before us and say, Sudan is in the midst of committing I guess it would be the first genocide perhaps of this century, while simply saying that we are not going to impose any problems on the official government and we are going to allow companies to use our capital markets on the one hand and invest in ways to help that government in the other? Is now the time to be timid?
Mr. CRANER. I do not agree with your characterization we are being timid, number one. Secondly
Mr. SHERMAN. We are going to allow investment, the access to capital markets, travel by officials, as I understand it the arms embargo only to the militia, but not to the Army. If that isn't timid
Mr. CRANER. If you look, if you actually read the U.N. resolution that we have proposed, there is provision against the first people we have been able to identify, the Janjaweed, who have direct responsibility for what is going on in Darfur.
But if you read the resolution, you see that within 30 days we ask the U.N. to report back on Sudanese officials or others who are responsible for the atrocities in Darfur.
What is clear is that we have presented the Sudanese government with two paths. One is a path that they can go down where the fruits of the north/south agreement are acquired and that means ending the war in Darfur.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The other is a path where the conflict in Darfur continues and at that point we begin with sanctions against the Janjaweed.
Then we go to a U.N. resolution and we keep going down that road until the conflict is resolved.
Mr. SHERMAN. I fear that many will die before we get to anything that we wouldn't describe as timid and I believe my time has expired.
Mr. GALLEGLY. The gentleman is correct.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
Of course when I am using words to describe what the Administration is doing, I can only use it to describe the Administration as compared to other Administrations that I knew.
I cannot really accuse it just in terms of some 100 percent pure. It is like trying to find a mate who is a perfect mate. You are never going to find that, because everyone has their warts.
Let me say as compared to the last Administration, this Administration is anything but timid. This is a bold, aggressive Administration on human rights, if you compare it to the last Administration, which had human rights as a
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHERMAN. I assume the gentleman's arguments will now allow him to yield because they are not strong enough?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I would assume that you shouldn't be interrupting my right to present my case, as I didn't interrupt yours.
Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I would assume that not only courtesy, but a matter of regular order would apply here.
Let me state also that all of our colleagues have a right to make their own judgments and paint their own pictures and I didn't disrupt my colleague as he was painting his picture.
Let me congratulate the Administration in anything but a timid policy in Sudan. After the last Administration let the slaughter of people north and south go on for their entire Administration, this Administration has achieved a dramatic breakthrough in Sudan.
The peace between north and south in Sudan should not be minimized. This is a tremendous accomplishment and Mr. Craner, Mr. Winter, thank you for your hard work. I am sure both of you put a great deal of effort in on this.
Yes, we have another problem in Sudan to overcome, but we have overcome a tremendous obstacle to peace and prosperity in that area and you and the Administration have done a great job.
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Similarly, in Afghanistan where the last Administration basically had a covert policy of support for the Taliban, don't anyone disturb the Taliban for 8 years and this Administration now of course we have seen the Taliban an al-Qaeda driven out of Afghanistan and replaced by a system that hopefully will blossom into a more pro-western or pro-democratic type of society. A more open society.
The Loya Jirga, which was a tremendous accomplishment, not just for Afghanistan because of peace, but for human rights, we have women who in the last Administration ignored for 8 years. Now we have a situation where the women of Afghanistan have a chance for a better life.
We have radical Islam, which was ignored by the last Administration, now finally being dealt with in Iraq where we are trying to build a democratic society in which concern is an alternative to radical Islam and the Muslim world.
I believe there are a lot of things that of course we are far down the list from being 100 percent on my scorecard, but you are anything but timid and deserve a congratulations, especially, Mr. Assistant Secretary Craner, you have spent your life being a beacon of hope to people who are oppressed.
You have spent your life. You have risked your life on occasion trying to make sure that this country stands for the principles of decency and the defense of human rights and liberty that make us all proud and you have done a terrific job and I just hope that when you leave that you of course are not leaving the battlefield, you are just changing positions. We want to see you here just as much and we want you to continue in the fight.
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The reason we need you leads into my question. To the degree that this Administration has not got the 100 percent marks that I would hope it would have in China for example and where I think we have not confronted it and I agree with my colleague from California, that in Iran we could have been put on some of the things that he is talking about. I agree with him totally in terms of what we could have been doing in putting restrictions.
That we have the rights of putting restrictions on Iran that we have not been doing and to fight the Japanese investment, et cetera, which I think is very important and I am very glad that Mr. Sherman brought those issues up.
Aren't there people in this Administration and in all Administrations that have a low priority of human rights and don't we see that in places like for example in Burma where our Chairman, Mr. Gallegly, gets mixed reviews about whether or not Aung San Suu Kyi is really popular and then surprise, surprise there are rallies for her behalf every time she gets a chance to stick her head out of her door?
What can we do, as you are leaving, Mr. Craner, your current position, what can we do to make sure human rights remains a high priority in an Administration that has done a better job than the last, but has not done as good a job as we would like it to see?
Mr. CRANER. I think in my letter of resignation, I said that I thought this Administration, I do think this Administration has the best record on human rights and democracy since President Reagan.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't think we are perfect. There are a number of issues where we can do better, but it always helps, frankly, to hear from Congress, to be asked to come up for hearings, to be asked to explain our policies.
That is why our government was created as it was so that people like me would have to come before people like you and answer questions that would make us look in the mirror and say, are we doing the right thing?
I think that is the primary way that Congress can be most helpful. Obviously you also have the power of the purse and you can be helpful in that way as well.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I hope those people in the Administration who are, for example in Burma just to use Burma as an example, who bend over backwards to give the regime there the benefit of the doubt, because they are supposedly helping us in the drug war, which again is a very questionable premise, I hope that they will take note of the good work that you have done and the response that you have gotten.
Again, I didn't ask any hard questions and because I was tough on my colleague doesn't mean that I don't agree with some of the very points that he made about Iran and some of the other things that he has said, which I agree with him totally on. Thank you.
Mr. CRANER. Thank you.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Ms. McCollum.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for your service, Mr. Craner. It has been a pleasure to work with you. I have three topics which I would like to lay out and then if we don't have time for responses on all of them, a written response back to the Chair and the Members would be fine.
The first one deals with gender based violence. In looking over the report, quite often the report, whether in any part of the world where we are watching countries closely for democracy, development and human rights improvement, the report talks about gender based violence quite often.
I know that the State Department's Bureau of Population Refugees and Immigration, with the assistance of Congress, I believe that we should be doing a lot more to help women in these situations.
In fact, there is appropriations requested and I would like to know if the Administration is going to look favorably upon that, because it is mentioned time and time and time again how women and girls are subject to violence.
Another issue that is in the report, it is woven within it is HIV/AIDS and I will use Africa as an example. The AIDS epidemic in Africa and countries continues to be a human rights tragedy that has ravaged Africa, along with much of the world. It is showing no signs of weakening, only spreading.
In fact, just yesterday U.N. documentation recorded 4.8 million new infections, the highest incident of AIDS continuing to be found of course in the Subsaharan African area.
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Many of the people living with the AIDS are women and children and those living with the AIDS are unable to do most anything else to improve their lives or even address the needs of their families, let alone their communities.
The question that I have is: I would like more information in greater detail how the State Department, through the President's initiative and other programs, is going to address the very serious human rights issues in Africa, especially while civil societies deteriorate as the AIDS epidemic continues to ravage the continent.
What does it do to put merging democracies, even in a more fragile state and what does it do for those established democracies? None of them are very old that continue to deal with these problems. How can we strengthen the capacity of countries in Africa to address human rights?
The last comment I have, I did not find in the report and it has to do with unexploded ordnance. One of the lasting legacies unfortunately of the Vietnam war era is the tremendous number of unexploded bombs and other ordnances that were dropped by our country over the country of Laos.
From 1964 to 1973, the United States flew 580,000 bombing runs over Laos. One over every 9 minutes for 10 years.
According to reports, more than two million tons of ordnance was dropped on the country, double the amount that was dropped in the European theater during the entire conflict of World War II.
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During this time period, when we were dropping in Laos, Laos had a population of over three million people. Doing math, roughly this means that there were a little under one ton of ordnance dropped for every person in the country of Laos.
Now to my point. According to CRS, 10 to 30 percent of these bombs did not explode, leaving an estimated 8 to 24 million unexploded ordnance. The cluster bombs that were part of these submunitions of these bombs or bombies as they are called quite often, in my opinion is a human rights tragedy.
Farmers find the unexploded ordnances in their field, hampering their use of developing agriculture. Children continue to find the colorful bombies around their homes, mistaking them for toys and detonating them by accident.
Even recently on the Discovery channel, they documented the amount of unexploded ordnance in Laos and showed local villagers using the unexploded ordnance to help build their homes or use in the schools and these are still live bombs.
This year I have made a request to the Appropriations Committee to increase our commitment to cleaning up these unexploded ordnance and to remove this portion of our lasting legacy.
Can you tell me what role we see unexploded ordnance playing a human rights challenge in Laos as well as other countries? There was an article in my local paper just about what our United States soldiers were doing to remove mine fields in Afghanistan.
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. CRANER. Very quickly and I would be happy to get back to you with more information on these. On gender based violence and gender based discrimination in general, we have tried to incorporate gender based issues into existing programming.
For example, when we work with journalists or with political parties or with civil society groups, even in what I would call male dominated societies, we have tried to point out to them you are missing half the resources of your country if you are not involving women.
In particular, as Congressman Rohrabacher noted in Afghanistan, a country that was perhaps the worst for women in the world. Women who were restricted to their houses, who could not work. Girls who could not go to school are now able to do that and that is the spirit and the effort we are trying to bring into other programs.
Under Secretary Dobrianski have worked very, very hard on this, not only in Afghanistan, but elsewhere and we have worked very closely with her Office of Women's International Issues on Iraq to try and replicate some of the success that we had in Afghanistan in moving women much higher to where they ought to be in the society.
On HIV/AIDS, as you know, this is a very, very central and particular concern of Secretary Colin Powell. He asked Mr. Tobias to join him.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Tobias did, about 3 or 4 months ago, come into the Department to head this new AIDS office within the State Department, to get at the very issues you are talking about to ensure that HIV/AIDS is not looked at just as a health care issue, but as you pointed out, as an issue that can destroy insidiously societies from inside when you begin to take away their militaries, when you begin to take away the urban elite in these countries who get HIV/AIDS and begin to die and when you begin to take away parents and grandparents are taking care of small, small grandchildren.
If you have the time, I would like to encourage Mr. Tobias to come up here and describe to you his vision of where he is going on these issues. We have worked very closely together, but I think you would benefit from that.
On unexploded ordnance, this is an issue that you see more and more in the world. It is an issue that not only affects people in general, but also it has led in many countries to a very high number proportion of disabled people in the country.
This issue of the disabled, in many cases because of conflicts, is something that we in the State Department are beginning to take very, very seriously. I cannot honestly tell you, I cannot say we had the record, I wish we did, until very recently, but I think in the very near future you are going to see some initiatives come out of the State Department to address those very issues, in cases of the disabled in conflict ridden societies.
As far as the specific legislation you referred to, I will have to come back to you on that.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information referred to follows:]
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS SUPPLIED IN WRITTEN FORM BY THE HONORABLE LORNE W. CRANER IN RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION POSED BY THE HONORABLE BETTY MCCOLLUM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
Unexploded ordinance is a serious humanitarian problem that destabilizes societies and countries. The stories of children falling victim to bombs intentionally made to look like toys are especially alarming. We share your deep concern over this issue.
At the Department of State, these issues are handled by the Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, so I refer you to the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in that Bureau for additional details.
The United States leads the world in helping to clean up landmines and other debris of war. The U.S. Government has spent $900 million since 1993 on mine action programs in some 40 countries. The Bush Administration's budget request for the State Departments FY05 demining program is 50 percent above the FY03 base figure.
The FY04 total for demining programs in Laos is $1,412,000, which would bring the total State Department contribution for landmine and unexploded ordnance programs in that country to $12,331,000 from 19972004.
Ms. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Chair, for the record, can I enter the report that I mentioned from The Washington Post, ''Record Numbers Infected With HIV/AIDS,'' which also not only talks about HIV/AIDS, but gender based violence?
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Mr. GALLEGLY. Without objection, it will be made a part of the record of the hearing.
Mr. Schiff, you will be recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to begin by joining my colleagues in expressing my concern for the situation in Sudan and the potentially catastrophic loss of life and violation of human rights there.
The Administration has only to ask and Congress will provide whatever is necessary to try to protect the people of Sudan and try to address that humanitarian crisis.
I also want to add my voice to the continuing crisis of the AIDS pandemic and again, I think Congress has demonstrated willingness to act in whatever way and devote whatever resources can be effectively utilized to try to prevent what increasingly is an unnecessary and mammoth loss of life.
The second point and I do not want to dwell too much on comparisons between this Administration and the last, I think we spent far too much time this Committee doing that, nonetheless, I think a couple of points bear notice.
First, as tempting as it is to attack the prior Administration, this Committee I think increasingly when Americans look at where we are today and where we were 4 years ago, at the prosperity we enjoyed at home, at the standing we enjoyed around the world, the answer to the gentleman's question is not as clear as he might make out.
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We have, I think, moved backward in terms of North Korea's nuclear program. We have moved backward in terms of Iran's nuclear program, as those two efforts have gone forward, not been arrested.
Our ability to marshall the international coalition to attack the problem of proliferation of nuclear material technology expertise I don't think has been meaningfully improved.
In that respect, a small coalition of the unwilling is enough to defeat a small coalition of the willing. We need to be able to marshall the great, great majority of nations to that effort.
The question that Mr. Reagan posed about whether we are better off now than 4 years ago, in many respects does not inure to my colleague's benefit.
Moving on, let me ask you a question then, Mr. Secretary. The annual report that is done highlights some of the human rights abuses that go on around the world.
I have been working on legislation. I would just like to get your gut reaction, I know you cannot support or oppose without having a chance to examine it, but I have been looking at legislation that would also include either in that report or as a separate report a list of sort of the flip side of that coin.
The positive actors. Those human rights champions around the world. Individuals, organizations, members of the press that are risking their lives to improve the quality of life for their fellow citizens, wherever they come from.
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It seems to me this would have the benefit of spot lighting some of the positive things going on around the world, some of the courageous people in organizations out there.
It might also provide them some measure of protection if they were highlighted in this way. Other nations would know that we are watching, we are interested, we are concerned with their well being.
It also could pose risks and there would obviously be discretion about whether to include persons or organizations and certainly be a delicate political task to identify them, because when you celebrate their work in propagating freedom and liberty, you are implicitly criticizing the host government or environment they are working in.
I wonder if you can give me your thoughts on that concept and then the final question for either gentlemen is on Al Hurrah and our efforts, which have met only the most modest success thus far, to compete with the Al Arbias of the world.
It was an interesting piece recently by Stephen Cook suggesting that we might make Al Hurrah more like a C-Span of the Arab world and carry more live information, not only about politics and processes in the Arab world, but also in the United States as well.
I am pointing at the success of airing Secretary Rumsfeld's testimony before Congress in the Arab world and would love your thoughts on how to make Al Hurrah more effective as well.
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Mr. CRANER. Let me go to the last question first, which is Al Hurrah. I am seeing other data. I saw a recent CNN Time Magazine poll of Iraqis. I mean it was everything from what do you think of the United States to do you want the U.S. to stay, et cetera.
One of the questions was and this was within a few months of Al Hurrah starting: What are you watching? Al Hurrah was already getting a 24 percent share in Iraq.
I understand from a different source in PR that Al Hurrah is quite successful across the Middle East. So it seems to me they are already doing something right. I have not yet discerned what it is, but in terms of competing with Al Arbias, Al Jazira and others, from what I am seeing, they are already doing something right, if they are capturing that kind of audience share within a few months. You may want to sit down with them.
I like the idea of highlighting champions of human rights and democracy around the world. I think one of the most moving experiences I think the Secretary of State has had recently was when he went to Georgia, a country whose democrats we had supported for many, many years.
Edward Shevardnadze, an old friend of the United States, stepped down and this young man, Mr. Saakashvili, who was aided incidently very much by the National Democratic Institute, came to power.
Secretary of State Powell went to the inauguration. The new Georgian President, champion of democracy, took him to a townhall meeting and in the townhall meeting, there were Georgian flags on the wall and there was the flag of only one other country, it was the American flag on the wall to basically show and thank the United States for what it had done.
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I know our diplomats have had similar experiences in Kenya and certainly they have had similar experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I think given what the President has done on his watch, amongst many other things, to completely change 50 years of policy in the Middle East, those heroes of democracy and heroes of human rights in the Middle East are beginning to come out and you are even beginning to see the leaders talk about these issues when they did not 3 or 4 years ago.
I think it is a good idea to highlight heroes. I think we could do it right in this book, to highlight some of the people who were working in these countries. Maybe even some that were assisting who want to see more democracy and human rights in their country.
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you.
Mr. GALLEGLY. I thank the gentlemen of our first panel.
Mr. Winter, thank you very much.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. A point of personal privilege.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Yes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to point out that Mr. Craner has served very ably and if there are any heroes of democracy and freedom in this world that need to be highlighted, it is you, Mr. Craner.
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Thank you very much for your heroic efforts and your hard work on the part of human rights and democracy over these years and good luck in your new location.
Mr. CRANER. Thank you very much, sir.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you. Mr. Winter.
Mr. Craner, I would like to associate myself with the remarks that Mr. Rohrabacher made and I wish you and your wonderful family lots of blue skies and green lights in the future. Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 2:40 p.m., the Subcommittee meeting was recessed until 2:43 p.m.]
Mr. GALLEGLY. I would like to welcome our second panel. The first witness of our second panel is Mr. Carl Gershman. Mr. Gershman was appointed President of the National Endowment for Democracy by the Endowment's Board of Directors on April 30, 1984.
From 1981 to 1984, he served as the Senior Counselor to the United States Representative to the United Nations. During that time, he was also the U.S. Representative to the U.N.'s Third Committee, which oversees human rights issues.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From 1980 to 1981, Mr. Gershman was a resident scholar at Freedom House.
Appearing on behalf of the International Republican Institute is IRI Board member Ambassador Richard S. Williamson. Ambassador Williamson serves as a U.S. Representative to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
His foreign policy experience also includes services as Ambassador and Alternate Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Office in Vienna, and delegate to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
Mr. Williamson served as a member of the board of IRI from 1990 to 2001 and again since February 2004.
Next we have Mr. Kenneth Wollack. Mr. Wollack joined the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 1986 as Executive Vice-President and was elected President of the Institute in 1993.
Before joining NDI, Mr. Wollack co-edited the Middle East Policy Survey and wrote regularly on foreign affairs for The Los Angeles Times.
From 1973 to 1980 he served as the legislative director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Mr. Wollack is currently a senior fellow at UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our fourth witness is Mr. Tom Malinowski, Advocacy Director for the Human Rights Watch in Washington, DC. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Foreign Policy Speech Writing and National Security Council during the Clinton Administration.
From 1994 to 1998 he was a speech writer for the Secretary of State Christopher and Albright and a member of the State Department's Policy Planning staff.
He also worked for the Ford Foundation and as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
We welcome all of you this afternoon. Again, I would appeal to you to do everything humanly possible to keep your verbal statement to 5 minutes and any additional statement that you would like to make will be made a part of the record of the hearing in its entirety.
With that, I welcome Mr. Gershman.
STATEMENT OF CARL GERSHMAN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY
Mr. GERSHMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Gallegly. It is a great pleasure and an honor to testify before this Committee and to see so many Members here that the Endowment has known for so long.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The main way in which human rights are addressed in the international community are through organizations that publicize human rights abuses, that seek to protect human rights activists through reports that try to establish human rights norms.
The State Department, through its human rights reports does that. Human Rights Watch does it as well. Rich Williamson, when he was Ambassador to the Human Rights Commission did it at the Commission.
The Endowment's approach to supporting human rights is a little bit different. Throughout the world in countries that are dictatorships, sometimes in exile, countries that we call semi-authoritarian, there are organizations that are fighting for human rights, non-governmental organizations, and the National Endowment for Democracy is in the position to provide through the good graces of the Congress material support to these organizations so that they can function.
During the course of the last year and a half, we have supported some 175 of these organizations around the world and in the testimony that you have before you, the written testimony, we outline some of these programs in 34 different countries, countries such as: In Africa, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria; in Asia, China, North Korea, Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia; in Central Europe certainly in the Balkins and Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Romania; in Latin America, Cuba as well as in Venezuela and Argentina; in the Middle East, throughout the region now, but especially in Egypt and Algeria; in the former Soviet Union, in the NIS region, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus as well as countries in the Caucasus and in the stans such as Kyrgzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is a broad and very ambitious program and it is not the only way in which we are able to try to support human rights.
Let me pick up on a point which Congressman Schiff made about trying to highlight some of these people who are really heroes in their struggle and one of the things we have done is to present our Democracy Award annually to many of these people.
Just last month, on the very day that this hearing was supposed to have been held, had it not been for the ceremony surrounding the death of Ronald Reagan, we honored four Russian activists from the Moscow Helsinki Group, from the Memorial, from the Glasnost Defense Foundation and others.
We presented them with our Democracy Award and we heard from them about a very critical situation taking place in Russia. One of these activists, Ludmilla Alexyeva, pointed out in terms of the progress that these groups are able to make, that after she returned from exile and took over the leadership of the Moscow Helsinki Group, they had a meeting on the 20th anniversary of this group and some 30 human rights organizations from around Russia were present at that meeting in 1996.
Seven years later, they had over 3,000 human rights organizations around Russia, in every one of the 89 regions, which are able to monitor the situation and to fight to defend human rights. Through our support we are able to help many of these groups.
Last year we presented our Democracy Award to three survivors of the North Korean Gulag. These survivors of the Gulag have since established an organization which actually seeks to abolish the Gulag in North Korea and we are able to give them the support to help them get off the ground.
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Other groups in South Korea who have been mobilizing on human rights in North Korea have built an international coalition for human rights in North Korea that I think is beginning to get the issue of North Korea onto the agenda of the international community.
I would like to thank Rich Williamson for his support for the resolution that was adopted by the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations for the 2nd year.
The last point, in terms of the ways in which we are able to help human rights activists now through the help of the Congress, is that in memory of Congressman Fascell, who was the founder of the NED and President Reagan, we have now established the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program and many of the people who are Reagan Fassell Fellows are human rights activists, some of them who are in the room with us today, such as Chee Soon Juan from Singapore.
I would like also to note the activist Mubarak Tashpulatova from Uzbekistan who is a Reagan-Fascell Fellow now and who I believe is with us today.
I raise this as a point in conclusion that the struggle for human rights remains very, very difficult and we are deeply concerned about the situation in Uzbekistan, where the government has passed new legislation which makes it almost impossible at the moment directly to get financial help to non-governmental organizations in Uzbekistan, which is seeking to expel any outside groups that are working in Uzbekistan and this is another dimension of the struggle for human rights, to prevent governments from passing laws which restrict the rights of NGO's to function, which make it difficult for the international community to provide technical support as well as financial support to local NGO's.
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Thank you, Mr. Gallegly.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gershman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CARL GERSHMAN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY
Congressmen Gallegly and Sherman, and members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for inviting the National Endowment for Democracy to appear before you this afternoon to discuss the ways in which our grants program is addressing human rights abuses around the world.
As you know, the Endowment, along with its four core Institutes, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Center for International Private Enterprise, and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, supports a broad range of democratic initiatives. In addition to the programs of these institutes in the broad areas of political development, democratic governance, economic reform and worker rights, NED funds a vast array of nongovernmental initiatives that focus on independent media, civic education, the political participation of women and youth, the spread of democratic values, and other critical aspects of democracy building.
But there is no area of our ''discretionary'' (i.e., non-core Institute) grants program that is more extensive than our support for groups involved in the struggle for human rights inside their home countries. A recent inventory of grants related to human rights indicates that since the beginning of FY2003, we have funded as many as 175 programs in 50 countries, ranging from the world's remaining dictatorships such as Cuba, Burma, and North Korea, to countries with semi-authoritarian regimes in the Eurasia region, the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere, to post conflict countries, most notably in Africa and the Balkans.
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The Endowment has long recognized the critical interrelationship between human rights and democracy, since the latter serves as the best means of protecting fundamental freedoms. These include not only political rights but also civil liberties (freedom of belief, opinion, expression, etc.) and protection from unjustified detention, exile, terror, and torture. Through their courageous and often dangerous activities, human rights groups protect grassroots democrats and expand the political space available to them.
In many highly repressive countries, the efforts of human rights groups constitute the only kind of meaningful democracy-related work that can be carried out under the circumstances. In the Statement of Principles and Objectives adopted during NED's first year of operation twenty years ago, the bipartisan Board of Directors asserted its determination not to neglect ''those who keep alive the flame of freedom in closed societies.'' That policy has paid dividends in many parts of the world, including parts of the former Soviet bloc, where several one-time satellites have become full-fledged democracies in less than a generation. Still, much remains to be done in that part of the world and elsewhere, as this necessarily abbreviated survey will make clear.
Mr. Chairman, space does not permit me to share with the subcommittee everything we are doing in the area of human rights, but I am pleased to submit for the record brief descriptions of each of the 175 grants in this field of work that we have awarded over the past year-and-a-half. In the remainder of this written statement, I want to highlight for the subcommittee how our programs are making an impact in key countries where rights abuses are particularly egregious.
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While much of the world's attention is focused elsewhere, one of the world's enduring human rights catastrophes continues to plague the country of Sudan. As they have done for many years, NED grantees in that country document human rights abuses and advocate for a peaceful resolution of Sudan's 20-year civil war-one of the longest running conflicts in recent history, which has left two million people dead and an additional four million displaced.
The Sudanese Human Rights Association focuses its efforts on the rights of refugees, and its monitoring and advocacy are reflected in its closely read publication, The Sudan Monitor. The Center for Documentation and Advocacy reports on Sudanese political developments, including human rights issues, in The South Sudan Post, an influential, widely distributed magazine that reports on the conflict. With Endowment support, the popular Kwoto Cultural Center uses traditional theater to promote peace, justice, and reconciliation.
As Sudan's historic peace negotiations draw to a close, Sudan's western Darfur region has become engulfed in a dangerously escalating crisis. The conflict threatens to derail the peace process and ignite genocide. This year NED awarded grants to NGOs working to mitigate conflict and promote peace and human rights in some of Darfur's most inaccessible areas. With Endowment support, the Environmentalists Society is teaching conflict resolution to community leaders in Darfur and the disputed areas of central Sudan. The Endowment is also supporting the Sudan Self-Help Foundation's peace and human rights training for some of the 800,000 people displaced over the past year by the conflict.
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By contrast, the mood in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been transformed over the past year from despair to genuine hope. International peacekeepers have deployed throughout the country and the massive death and destruction of the previous four years has subsided. Congolese civil society played a critical role in this transformation, strengthening the prospects for peace and democracy.
From its first grant in 1991 to the human rights group La Voix des Sans Voix, NED's direct grants to Congolese groups concerned with human rights, free press, democracy education, and conflict resolution have grown to a total of 38 in the last year alone. Although the Congo has been plagued by dictatorship or war for most of its post-independence history, the last seven years have been particularly tragic, as the country became the center of one of Africa's deadliest wars. Throughout this tumultuous period, civil society organizations emerged and many began to champion human rights and democratization.
Leaders of civil society organizations, many of them NED grantees, were active in the peace negotiations, attending and lobbying the peace conference in South Africa, and building broad popular support for the process. In Eastern Congo, where the devastation has been the worst, civil society is leading the regeneration of the society. In Kisangani, a coalition of human rights organizations, many of them NED grantees, including Groupe Lotus, Les Amis de Nelson Mandela, Groupe Lufalanga, Justice et Liberation, and others have joined forces to resist the worst depredations of the warring factions in the area, and have preserved a climate of ethnic tolerance and peace.
NED support for human rights groups in Nigeria is helping to reinforce that country's democratization process. The Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is promoting conflict resolution with Ogoni and other marginalized minority groups that have experienced violence and oppression in the oil-rich southeast. In the country's predominantly Muslim north, the Endowment supports the Human Rights Monitor to promote good governance and civic education through its magazine Equal Justice, the League of Democratic Women, which uses trainings and publications to promote women's participation in democracy, and Women in Nigeria, which combats violence against women.
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Mr. Chairman, as you know, last week marked the fifteenth anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square, and China's continuing poor record on human rights, despite all of that country's economic growth, speaks for itself. According to Reporters Sans Frontieres, over the past 15 years, more than 130 journalists and Internet users have been jailed, of whom 43 participated in Beijing Spring. China's authorities recently put several human rights activists under house arrest, preventing them from publicly commemorating the 15th anniversary of the crackdown. During the past decade, over 40 journalists have been harassed for meeting either with student movement activists or the Chinese Democratic Party. Twenty-seven journalists and 61 cyber-dissidents remain behind bars.
The mishandling of the SARS crisis was only one among many serious outrages last year that gained international condemnation last year. One hundred and sixteen prisoners were taken into custody for counterrevolutionary crimes and 32 for labor-related activities. Religious practitioners have been victimized by China's failure to protect freedom of worship, and vulnerable populations continue to be subject to extra-legal administrative detention without recourse.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the many members of this House who have rallied to the side of Christina Fu, the wife of our grantee Yang Jang li, during her husband's lengthy and, even according to the norms of China's own legal system, unlawful imprisonment. As you know, last month Jang li was sentenced to five additional years in prison beyond the two he has already served. We should continue to press the Chinese government to overturn this travesty of justice.
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For a number of years, the Endowment has been one of the principal funders of the highly effective international NGO Human Rights in China (HRIC). That support helps the organization fulfill its mission of informing domestic Chinese as well as international communities of China's progress in meeting its human rights obligations and promoting civic awareness among Chinese citizens.
A new undertaking for the organization that the Endowment is assisting is to develop and utilize benchmark indictors to assess China's human rights progress from 2004 through 2008, when the country will host the Olympic Games. These benchmarks will assist HRIC's ongoing effort to advocate for a 2008 Olympics untainted by human rights violations. HRIC's program extends to researching and reporting on the rights of women and children, juvenile justice, child labor and the relationship between criminal elements and the Chinese government; delivering emergency support to targeted groups; maintaining a database of political prisoners; and extending its advocacy activities through the use of four interlinked, topical websites.
Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Chinese government has justified its crackdown on ethnic minorities, particularly the Muslim Uyghurs of Northwest China in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, using the pretext of the international war against terrorism. This practice has resulted in a further intensification of an already severe human rights situation involving widespread restrictions on freedom of speech and religion, false imprisonment, torture and execution. To address this dire situation, the Endowment recently provided Human Rights in China with a supplementary grant to step up its work in the region and to promote systemic reform of policies that discriminate against the Uyghur population.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For many years, the Endowment has also provided funding to the U.S.-based Laogai Research Foundation, led by Harry Wu, which continues to document the truth about the network of labor camps in China, a key instrument of the suppression of dissent.
As the situation in Hong Kong continues to deteriorate, Beijing repeatedly threatens any progress that enclave would otherwise be inclined to take toward a democratic future. NED support is helping the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor to carry out an expanded program, including coordination of the democratic advocacy projects of the Civil Rights Front, which organized the march last summer whose massive turnout convinced Beijing to delay passage of intimidating security legislation. Since its establishment in anticipation of the 1997 transfer of sovereignty, the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor has become the leading group helping to maintain the momentum for strengthening the rule of law and democratic institutions in the territory.
Greater China is by no means the only area in Asia in which the Endowment funds initiatives to promote human rights and the rule of law. Indeed, our programs in that part of the world are heavily weighted toward closed societies and other dictatorships such as North Korea, Burma, and Vietnam.
The world's most repressive regime, North Korea, has seized too little of the world's attention, despite the existence of a vast prison network that enslaves up to a quarter of a million people and an invisible exodus of its population that has resulted in a massive refugee crisis in mainland China. The growing number of refugees who have arrived in South Korea have opened up new possibilities to obtain first-hand testimony to counter the ongoing attempts by the North (as well as many in the South) to conceal its gross violations of human rights.
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Last year several survivors of the notorious Yodok political prison slave-labor camp, along with other refugees from North Korea and sympathetic South Koreans, formed a group known as the Democracy Network Against North Korean Gulag (NK Gulag) to campaign actively for human rights and democratization in the North. These survivors are speaking out on the horrors of their native country and are engaging with those sectors of the public in the South, particularly young people, who knowingly lend political support to the North Korean government and ignore the suffering of the regime's victims. The two founders of NK Gulag, Kang Choel-hwan and An Hyuk, received the Endowment's Democracy Award last year.
In Burma, where the military regime continues to detain Aung San Suu Kyi and brutally repress the pro-democracy movement, the Endowment continues to support groups such as the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners which documents the situation of political prisoners, provides assistance to both their families and former prisoners, and raises international awareness of the human rights crisis inside the country. In Vietnam, where economic reforms have not improved the country's human rights situation, the France-based Que Me advocates for pro-democracy activists, including the independent Buddhist movement.
The work of Que Me is illustrative of what a small group of well-connected exile activists can achieve through sheer determination and hard work. One day last fall the group received an urgent message from a senior monk who is the deputy to the leader of Vietnam's Unified Buddhist Church who has been under house arrest for 21 years. The minivan in which the deputy and nine other Buddhist leaders were traveling to Saigon had been blocked and the leaders were staging a hunger strike in the hot sun. The group in France was able through their media contacts to give non-stop interviews to BBC, VOA, Radio Free Asia and others, while faxing letters to U.S. and European embassies, consulates, and parliaments. These actions mobilized a large crowd of Buddhist activists to form a human wall around the van, and the authorities were forced to relent. The following day Que Me's Penelope Faulkner interviewed the leader of the Church on Radio Free Asia, the first time his voice had been heard on the radio in Vietnam in 21 years.
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As Cambodia and the international community move toward a tribunal on the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, it will become increasingly important to have both an accurate and complete accounting and one that is as accessible as possible to a poor population. The Endowment is supporting the careful and painstaking efforts of the Documentation Center of Cambodia to document these crimes and educate the public about them, thus helping Cambodians confront their tragic history .
The Balkan region continues to be the focus of NED's programming in Central and Eastern Europe. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the emergence of a democratic state has been thwarted by the legacy of four years of war, ethnic separatism, and a lingering communist heritage. Nationalism and ethno-centric attitudes remain deeply entrenched in the country's three main ethnic communities and human rights violations are widespread. Unfortunately, there are few resources at the disposal of victims of human rights abuse who are in need of legal assistance.
Since its establishment in 1995, the Tuzla Human Rights Office has established an impressive track record in encouraging the observance of human rights in the Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina and addressing the difficult human rights issues affecting both entities by working closely with human rights activists based in the Serb Republic. Since its opening in 1997, the organization's branch office in Bijeljina has, with Endowment support, promoted greater awareness of international human rights standards, in particular the human rights provisions of the Dayton Agreement, by organizing seminars for journalists, lawyers, and other professionals. The Office has provided valuable information to international organizations such as Amnesty International, the OSCE, European Commission's Monitoring Mission, and the United Nations.
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The Endowment also supports the important work of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in its efforts to promote domestic compliance with human rights standards and to monitor the human rights situation in the Serb entity of Bosnia. Among the Committee's active members are prominent academics, journalists, and human rights experts, many of whom have lost their positions for political reasons. In addition to providing free legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse, the Committee's staff works closely with the local Human Rights Ombudsman mandated by the Dayton agreement in order to make the local authorities of the Serb Republic more accountable for their actions.
Mr. Chairman, if the democratic transition in Serbia is to succeed, its people must come to terms with the country's role in the series of wars that ripped apart the old Yugoslavia. Despite its potential educational value, both state and independent television stations have been broadcasting only portions of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in the Hague, resulting in an incomplete and often skewed presentation. With Endowment support, The Humanitarian Law Center is creating the first on-line searchable database of the complete transcripts of the trial. Led by the courageous and highly acclaimed human rights activist Natasa Kandic, recipient of the Endowment's 2000 Democracy Award, the Center publishes regular reports on the human rights situation throughout the former Yugoslavia based on information gathered by its extensive network of volunteers.
Minority populations remaining in Kosovo, particularly ethnic Serbs, continue to face reprisal at the hands of the ethnic Albanian majority, paralyzing any normal political development there. Promoting domestic compliance with international rights standards with a particular emphasis on the rights of minorities has been, since its founding in 1989, the focus of the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedom, a non-governmental organization based in Pristina. Through NED's support over the past decade, the organization has been able to broaden the scope of its critical human rights work by equipping a network of regional field offices throughout Kosovo.
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Despite some progress toward democracy in Bulgaria, the country continues to face problems related to a lack of protection of basic rights for many of its citizens. The Roma of Bulgaria continue to face widespread prejudice, discrimination, stereotyping in the media, and negative attitudes among the population. Furthermore, there is a deep mistrust of local authorities in the Roma community. The Tolerance and Mutual Aid Foundation has used NED support to train over 160 young leaders working to promote the protection of Roma rights at the local level. Currently, NED assistance is enabling the Foundation to maintain a nation-wide network of young Roma leaders who act as liaisons between local government officials and the Roma community, work with local officials and legal professionals to reduce widespread discrimination against Roma, monitor human rights abuses at the local level, and provide legal aid to victims of abuse.
Romania is another country in transition to democracy that continues to battle the legacy of its past with a system that is overly centralized, closed to citizen input, and plagued by problems ranging from an incompetent judiciary and police abuse to discrimination against minorities. NED assistance to The Association for the Protection of Human Rights in Romania-Helsinki Committee enables it to act as a resource of information for parliamentary commissions regarding individual complaints about violations of civil liberties, to provide legal assistance, and to play a key role in pressuring local authorities to solve these cases.
Mr. Chairman, our own hemisphere is hardly immune to human rights abuses. Any serious survey of these problems must begin, of course, with Fidel Castro's Cuba, where in March of last year the regime launched its most serious crackdown on internal dissent in decades. In less than three weeks, the government detained and in summary closed-door trials sentenced 75 independent activists on charges of subversion, most defendants receiving an average of 18 years in prison.
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For decades, Cuban human rights groups on the island and in exile have helped bring world attention to the efforts of the regime to repress the dissident and democratic opposition and have provided a much needed source of reporting and monitoring. Because of the nature of the restrictions on contacts with the international community, outside contacts have been critical in helping human rights groups raise international awareness of the situation inside, increase political pressure on the regime, and provide moral support to those in Cuba, whose lives have been so deeply affected.
To give but one example of many initiatives supported by NED, the Miami-based Cuban Committee on Human Rights provides timely information to international organizations such as the UN Human Rights Commission, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and Amnesty International. These efforts contribute substantially to generating international scrutiny of Cuba, pressures for liberalization, and international support for democratic and human rights activists inside.
The situation in Venezuela is a source of grave and growing concern. A country that once was a pillar of democracy in Latin America is now caught in an escalating crisis. The society is dangerously polarized between the government of President Hugo Chavez and the political opposition, and the Chavez government is consolidating control over the judiciary, the legislature, and other official institutions.
As democracy in Venezuela has come under strain, the human rights situation has deteriorated. The last four years have brought about a general erosion of the state and the rule of law. Venezuelan paramilitary groups are operating in the border area with Colombia. And since the approval of the Chavez-inspired ''Bolivarian constitution'' in 1999, all of the top positions of the judiciary have been packed with political allies, and hundreds of lower court judges have been dismissed and replaced with provisional magistrates.
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NED assistance to the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) enables it to work with local Venezuelan human rights organizations to prepare and defend human rights cases before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. CEJIL also uses Endowment support to conduct training sessions for human rights groups, journalists and civil society organizations on international human rights standards and mechanisms for their protection.
When a regime wants to violate the rights of its citizens, it often moves against the one institution capable of exposing its actions. Recent international delegations have cited concern about the mounting violence against journalists in Venezuela. At the same time, the government has introduced ''media content'' legislation that would establish government oversight of the veracity and quality of all published and broadcast news, while threatening to revoke the licenses of certain television and radio stations.
Local groups are beginning to help ensure that the media are equipped with the skills to operate professionally and safely in such a threatening environment. Through its assistance to the Institudo de Prensa y Sociedad-Venezuela, NED supports an alert network reporting attacks against journalists that occur both in Caracas and in the provinces. Additionally, the institute offers training for journalists, including sessions on investigative reporting, journalistic ethics, and enhancing the role of the media in promoting democratic values.
Like Venezuela, in the not-so-distant past many thought Argentina to be a stable democracy. Who would have thought that the country could be plunged into political chaos? But that is precisely what happened there toward the end of 2001, when over a period of fifteen days, Argentina had five Presidents, defaulted on its national debt, and saw over half of its population thrown into poverty.
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Although the crisis seems to have stabilized following the election of Nestor Kirchner in May 2003, the issues of institutional fragility and the lack of respect for the rights of citizens remains. Outside Buenos Aires, a number of social and human rights organizations in the Argentine provinces have denounced the political manipulation of the legal system, as well as election irregularities and questionable practices relating to the installation and removal of government officials and magistrates.
NED supports the highly regarded human rights organization Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) in its efforts to strengthen organizations in Argentina's interior and develop effective strategies to promote the defense of the rights of citizens. CELS has brought constitutional and human rights cases to trial in both local and international tribunals, as well as performed research on problems related to the lack of judicial independence. CELS has also begun a program of training provincial organizations in legal and advocacy approaches to protecting human rights.
Mr. Chairman, before turning to our human rights programs in the Middle East, let me say a word about our work in that region. As you are well aware, there has been a debate for a number of years about how best to democratize a region where dictatorships and semi-authoritarian regimes have seemed so entrenched, a debate that began to take on even more urgency after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. For well over a decade, NED has worked with the region's moderates to strengthen civil society. We continue to believe that a steady long term commitment to democrats on the ground is the ultimate answer to the region's problems. That means strengthening political parties, trade unions, independent media, and groups that fight corruption and promote economic reform, and building up those growing voices in the region that articulate democratic values.
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Women's participation remains most critical to democracy building in the Middle East, and NED continues its support for women's rights and their role in public life in conservative countries such as Yemen and Bahrain, as well as in more open countries, such as Lebanon, Morocco and Turkey. In Afghanistan, numerous NED grantees, including the Cooperation Center for Afghanistan and NEGAR Association for the Support of Afghan Women, have empowered and mobilized thousands of women to participate in public debate on the new Constitution. In Iraq, NED has supported the efforts of the Kurdish Institute for Elections, the ASUDA women's organization, Women for Women International, and many others to monitor abuse against women and involve them in the political transition process.
Sisterhood Is Global International/Jordan (SIGI/J) plays a leading role in addressing issues of women's rights and empowerment, educating Jordanian women, particularly those representing rural areas, on their rights and responsibilities in a democratic society. Building on successive years of training in the area of human rights, and responding to increased demand from women throughout the country, SIGI/J is implementing training on women's rights, with an emphasis on educating women on their civil and political rights and the importance of women's involvement in the social and political processes which shape their lives.
In some Muslim countries, governments have adopted religiously-based political ideologies that at a minimum discourage, if not eliminate, the voice of women in society. In addition, in a segment of the world's population that lacks both significant access and the capacity to produce and use that information, the ability of Muslim women to obtain and utilize information in a meaningful manner is particularly limited.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Still, women in these countries are becoming increasingly aware of their individual political and human rights as a result of increased access to education and information, as well as the spread of women's rights movements across the region. With NED support, the Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace is creating multi-media, culture-specific education tools for individuals and organizations that are strengthening women's participation an leadership in building civil society. This year, in addition to developing a host of multi-lingual curriculum resource materials, the organization will conduct leadership training programs for women and girls in 12 Muslim-majority countries.
NED's programs to strengthen human rights in the Middle East extend well beyond its work on behalf of women. For example, in Yemen, where abuses by the police and the security apparatus are significant hindrances to the political development and strengthening of civil society, the Endowment is supporting the Human Rights Information and Training Center in conducting training workshops for three public sectors: police, journalists, and teachers. In Egypt, where flogging is still a common practice in the prisons and where the government continues illegal house arrests, imprisonment without trial, and disappearances, NED is assisting the Human Rights Center for the Assistance of Prisoners. The Center monitors the conditions in prisons and detention centers, raises public awareness of human rights issues, and advocates the incorporation of international human rights norms into Egyptian legislation.
In Algeria, a decade of armed conflict between the government and armed Islamic groups has resulted in over three thousand disappearances at the hands of the security forces. There would be little or no awareness of this problem among the population at large, nor in the broader international community, had it not been for the persistence of hundreds of mothers of disappeared persons who have been picketing government offices for the past few years demanding information about their missing family members. Their ongoing protests have led to the birth of two associations of ''mothers of the disappeared,'' which, with the help of Algerian NGOs, political parties, and human rights lawyers, have received official recognition.
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The Endowment supports the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria, an organization that has provided training and advice to the mothers' associations on legal procedures, advocacy and networking. Through the work of the Committee, the mothers are helping to advance the notions of accountability and respect for the rule of law in a country that has been plagued by its absence.
NEW INDEPENDENT STATES
Mr. Chairman, the past year has seen the continued erosion of democratic institutions in Russia and a corresponding decline in respect for human rights. Just last week, in his annual state of the union address, President Putin denounced human rights groups critical of his record and accused some of serving the interests of ''dubious'' organizations.
This evening, the Endowment will bestow its annual Democracy Award on four Russian activists who are frequently on the receiving end of such official defamatory pronouncements. These individuals and the organizations they represent are being honored for keeping alive the hopes of so many in Russia that they can one day have the kind of free society that has eluded them for so long. The four are:
Ludmilla Alexyeva, one of the founders of the Moscow Helsinki Group, whose members were driven into exile during the 1970s and 1980s but which, under her leadership, reemerged in Moscow a decade ago and has become the country's leading human rights organization;
Arseney Roginsky, Chairman of the International Memorial Society, an organization established in the late 1980s that has done groundbreaking work on the commemoration of victims of Soviet repression, human rights in Russia, and the resolution of ethnic conflict;
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Aleksei Simonov, head of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, an organization that supports freedom of the press, trains journalists how to work in war zones and fights to protect their rights; and
Mara Polyakova, Director of the Independent Council for Legal Expertise, an organization that brings together the top legal minds in the country to analyze legislation on human rights and advises lawyers on high profile cases involving rights violations.
One sector in Russia that is of serious concern is the judicial system. Citizens can be arrested arbitrarily and have little access to competent legal representation before or during trials. Victims of crime can receive no justice when prosecutors refuse to prosecute officials who violate the law.
One of the few human rights organizations in Russia that regularly challenges the government in the courts is Za Prava Cheloveka, whose network of regional human rights organizations and legal clinics, with Endowment support, provides an opportunity for citizens with complaints against law enforcement authorities to come for free legal advice and, occasionally, more extensive assistance. Za Prava Cheloveka has achieved some notable successes since its founding in 1997.
Mr. Chairman, the unrest in Chechnya is now entering its second decade with little hope of a peaceful settlement. The people of that besieged region have been subjected to a constant onslaught that has led tens of thousands of Chechens to flee their homeland for an uncertain, but relatively safe, life as refugees in Ingushetia. In an effort to ''normalize'' the situation, Russian authorities have been taking steps to force refugees to return to Chechnya, despite the fact that its housing stock has been largely destroyed.
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As refugees are forced back into Chechnya, they face an array of problems from inadequate housing to the shortage of basic necessities, and are vulnerable to violence and exploitation from all sides of the armed conflict. With Endowment support, the Chechen Committee for National Salvation, a group formed in 2001 at the First Congress of Chechen Refugees held in Ingushetia, provides a program of legal aid and direct action to protect both those refugees who remain in Ingushetia and those who return to Chechnya.
Like its neighbor Russia, Ukraine remains, a dozen years after independence, a semi-authoritarian country. Although the country is a signatory to a wide variety of international conventions on human rights, serious problems remain in virtually all areas of civil and human rights, including a lack of accountability among law enforcement officials and police brutality, including torture. The problem is compounded by the fact that human rights NGOs are few in number, politically weak, poorly funded, and isolated.
Since its founding as an outgrowth of the Kharkiv branch of the organization ''Memorial'' in 1992, the Kharkiv Group for Human Rights Protection has collected information on the status of human rights in Ukraine, investigated violations, educated the public, and promoted advocacy of human rights in the national government. With a grant from NED, the group is publishing bulletins, printing books, analyzing draft laws pending before the Parliament and developing recommendations for the committees considering them, monitoring torture and other human rights violations, and conducting training seminars for 50 human rights NGO leaders.
The Endowment remains one of the largest foreign donors operating in Belarus, where we support hundreds of NGOs and independent publications that oppose the authoritarian regime of Europe's ''last dictator,'' Alexander Lukashenka. NED promotes human and civil rights in Belarus by supporting networks of human rights activists, defending activists and organizations repressed by the regime, monitoring the country's human rights situation, providing legal aid, organizing human rights education programs, and disseminating information about rights violations.
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Human rights programs highlight much of the Endowment's work in both Central Asia and the Caucasus. Just to offer a few examples, the Kyrgyzstan Committee for Human Rights maintains a regional network of offices providing legal advice and human rights assistance through which it helps to rehabilitate victims of torture, lobbies to solidify international pressure on the government to improve its compliance with human rights norms, trains NGO activists, and works toward the formation of a network of human rights organizations throughout Central Asia; the Tashkent Branch of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan ''Ezgulik'' monitors and reports on the human rights situation of families who have been victims of state repression for political activities or religious beliefs; and The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan monitors courtroom processes, provides legal counseling to individuals who complain about arbitrary judicial behavior, and conducts seminars to teach victims and defenders how to use the country's laws and international instruments to press their cases against the government.
Mr. Chairman, it is only the limitations of time and space that compel me to end my description of the Endowment's human rights program here. As these illustrative examples make clear, we regard the protection of the rights of individuals an essential component of our work to strengthen democratic institutions and values. Furthermore, we believe that our approach of empowering indigenous groups to monitor and report on the actions of their own authorities has paid enormous dividends for the people of these countries. On behalf of the Endowmentand on behalf of those courageous groups working to promote human rightslet me express our gratitude to the Members of Congress for giving us the resources to carry forward this critical support.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Gershman.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR RICHARD S. WILLIAMSON, BOARD MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to be here and I apologize for my coughing. I will try to contain it. I have a bad cough.
It is a special pleasure to be here in front of my former colleague in the Reagan White House, Congressman Rohrabacher. It is nice to see you again, Dana.
I want to, Mr. Chairman, note that a number of members of this Committee's staff gave of their time to come to Geneva during the human rights commission meeting and made a significant contribution, as we were trying to garner support for some important resolutions addressing human rights abuses in various parts of the world and, of course I note with pleasure as an IRI board member, that Lorne Craner will be returning to us.
I have had the pleasure of being election observer in Voronish, Russia, in Minna, Nigeria, in the Siem Riop region of Cambodia and in each place you see the determination of people who had been denied the opportunity to express themselves and engage in self-determination going to the polls with tremendous hope and their actions have reflected the work I think of NED, NDI and IRI, that democracy is more than the mechanics of elections.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It has to do with nurturing and supporting of free press, civil society, transitional justice, competitive political parties and when those elements are together, they help sustain and advance the cause of human rights.
The efforts that IRI makes, in concert with its other core agencies, to advance this cause supported by Congress has made an important contribution during the revolutionary changes we have seen throughout the world and the march of freedom in the last 20 years and we see today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Kosovo and elsewhere.
Mr. Chairman, if I could, I would like to just make one other point briefly and tell you a short story about the human rights commission meeting in Geneva.
It is a sad story, because the international community failed the people of Sudan, some 35,000 already killed, failed the over 1,000,000 people displaced, 130,000 in Chad, the rest in Darfur, in desperate conditions where experts predict as many as 300,000 may perish by the end of the year.
Early on I met with my European Union counterpart, the President of the European Union, to review the resolutions we would take the initiative for and those in which others would.
We took the lead, China, Cuba and others. I was informed they would like to take the lead on Sudan, which was fine with us. I made the point that any resolution had to condemn the actions, condemn the government's arming of the militia, condemn the militia.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It had to demand a stop of the arming and coordination of those raids and demand humanitarian access and there had to be a mechanism to monitor and report through a special rapporteur.
I won't go through all the details, but by the end of the 6 weeks, we had the votes to pass such a resolution. We had the votes in part because the Secretary General came to Geneva on the 10th anniversary of remembrance of the awful genocide in Rwanda where 800,000 Tutsis were killed by machetes in 100 days.
In his address, Kofi Annon referred to this as ethnic cleansing and, as a result, we got some support from African countries for our resolution.
It was divisive. It was hotly debated, but the day of the vote, the leader of the African group and the Sudanese representative approached the leader of the EU with a compromise to try to get consensus and the head of the European Union agreed to it. It was a resolution that did not condemn, did not demand, did not require reports.
President Bush, before then in February, had been one of the first world leaders to condemn the arming of the Janjaweed and the atrocities going on.
With the support of the State Department and the White House, we stood up and would not join consensus and forced a vote in which we said, after World War II we said never again and then we had the killing fields in Cambodia, the genocide of Rwanda, the ethnic killing in Bosnia, Kosovo and that my colleagues in that room would be remembered for one thing 10 years from now and that is that they did not stand up for the victims of the ethnic cleansing in Sudan.
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But the pressure to get consensus, cooperation and buy-in became more important to a majority of the members of the human rights commission than to stand up for the victims or the principles in the universal declaration.
This points to a fundamental flaw that the United States has to continue to work with a broader coalition to try to change the dynamics. Part of that is a democracy caucus, but there have to be other ways and means to do that.
I think the work on the ground of NDI, IRI and NED contribute, but there also has to be commitment at other levels to try to advance this cause. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Williamson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR RICHARD S. WILLIAMSON, BOARD MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE
Good afternoon. I want to thank the chairman, Congressman Gallegly, and the members of the Subcommittee for the opportunity to testify on the State Department's second report on efforts in the past year to support human rights and democracy around the world.
I also would like to thank Assistant Secretary Lorne Craner and his team in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Laboras well as U.S. embassy staff around the worldfor the hard work and dedication that is evident in this report.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1982, President Reagan called on the leaders of the free world to take action in support of democracy and human rights. He sought a United States foreign policy animated by promoting human freedom and self-government as its moral and strategic foundation. Speaking to the British Parliament at Westminster, he said:
''We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. [. . .] The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.''(see footnote 1)
The next year, Congress voted to provide funding for the National Endowment for Democracy, along with four core institutes including the International Republican Institute. In the 20 years that followed, IRI has worked in more than 70 countries to help people to develop their own democratic systems and to make the ''infrastructure of democracy''such things as political parties, legislatures, a free press, the rule of law, and electoral processesfunction well and inclusively.
President Reagan made another important observation in his Westminster speech. Calling for a foreign policy anchored on the promotion of democracy and human rights, he noted:
''This is not cultural imperialism; it is the means for genuine self-determination and protection for diversity. Democracy already flourishes in countries with very different cultures and historical experiences. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy.''(see footnote 2)
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President Reagan was right, and in his foresight he anticipated the naysayers of our day, who question whether Arabs, or Muslims, in places like Iraq or Afghanistan really want democracy, or if they are even capable of it.
As President Bush said this spring,
''There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern.''(see footnote 3)
The yearning for freedom is universal. What is needed in many places is the opportunity to establish democracy and its institutions. As an IRI election observer, I have seen the desire for freedom and faith in democracy in the eyes of voters in Voronish, Russia; in Minna, Nigeria; and in the Siem Riop province of Cambodia. Each of those countries had known totalitarian rule and the injustices that flow from that failed system. These people had experienced the arbitrary and capricious nature of regimes not accountable to the people. They had lived in a world where fundamental human rights were denied and opportunities limited. They had known the dismay and discouragement of having their lives circumscribed and their hopes dimmed. These people longed for freedom and the opportunities freedom brings. They were committed to democracy with a faith that democracy would help them realize their hopes and dreams in a new world where their basic human rights would be recognized and respected. Often walking great distances, these new voters went to their polling stations, some in schools and others in village meeting rooms with mud floors and thatched roofs. They came with hope and determination. They came to exercise the fundamental right of self-determination that is empowering. They came to reclaim a basic human right which they had been denied.
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In that same spirit, other people elsewhere are struggling to be able to freely cast their votes for freedom. Just days ago, fourteen Afghans were killed for registering to vote.(see footnote 4) The remnants of the Taliban are suspected of these killings in a bid to scuttle elections. The United States government, IRI, and others are working hard to help the Afghan people help themselves so that these terrorists do not succeed in denying the Afghan people their right to select their own government. And, in the end, I am confident the tide of history for democracy and freedom will prevail in Afghanistan as it has in regions of the former Soviet empire and elsewhere. It will prevail because of the spirit and convictions of people like the Afghans, who are demanding that their human rights be honored.
And we should be encouraged that the evidence on the ground is demonstrating that a majority of Iraqis now want representative government.(see footnote 5) The transfer of Iraqi sovereignty last week was an important step toward the democratic elections scheduled for next year. Again, the majority of the Iraqi people are committed to working toward those elections. They have faith that things will be better then.
IRI's own recent polling in Iraq confirms this.(see footnote 6) We recently completed work on a National Public Opinion Survey of Political Attitudes in Iraq, comprising 2,200 household interviews (1,920 valid interviews post-data cleaning) covering all 18 governorates, IRI's poll is among the largest, nationwide surveys taken in Iraq in recent months, with a margin of error of +/2.4%. Importantly, this survey also included a 25% rural sampling (drawn from all 18 governorates) making it the first nation-wide poll to do soall previous surveys focused, for practical reasons, solely on urban areas. The survey was in the field from May 27thJune 11th, immediately preceding and following the announcement of Iraq's Interim Government.
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The poll was implemented by the Independent Institute for Administrative and Civil Society Studies (IACSS), an indigenous Iraqi polling firm, and was funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. Approximately half (50.73%) of respondents believe that Iraq is currently ''heading in the right direction'' as opposed to approximately 40% (39.32%) who see the country heading in the ''wrong direction.'' While this is marginally lower than previous polls conducted over recent months, in view of the violence and instability witnessed since early April, the support for ''right direction'' bears witness to a strong base of optimism among Iraqis.
Looking ahead to one year from today, nearly 65% (64.84%) believe things will be better in Iraq and only 15% (14.79%) of people believe things will become worse.
Tragically, the Iraqi people also are under assault by terrorists who seek to derail progress toward freedom. But they too will fail and the tide of history will prevail. With the help of many in the international community, including IRI, freedom and democracy, I believe, will take root in Iraq.
Professor Jack Donnelly has written:
''Democracy and human rights share a commitment to the ideal of equal political dignity for all. Furthermore, international human rights norms (. . .) require democratic government.''(see footnote 7)
But the liberal democracy that is sustainable and will protect human rights is about more than the mechanics of voting. A vibrant democracy also requires free media, robust political debate, a viable civil society, protected minority rights, and the rule of law.(see footnote 8)
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As my colleague on the IRI board, Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, has written:
''We believe that the rights of individuals are most effectively promoted and expanded by and through democratic political institutionswhere governments are elected through periodic competitive elections, elections that feature freedom to criticize government, to publish criticisms, to organize opposition and compete for power.''(see footnote 9)
It takes time for new, fragile democracies to take root and to grow sturdy enough to withstand the storms resulting from anger over past corruption and the rising expectations of the people. Latin America provides many examples of this phenomenon. As Riordan Roett, director of Western Hemisphere Studies at Johns Hopkins University said regarding a growing impatience with the democratic process in many new democracies in that region, ''Latin America is paying the price for centuries of inequality and injustice.''(see footnote 10) In that region and elsewhere, more work is required, ''to root out corruption, repair democratic institutions, and lift [these countries] out of economic implosion.''(see footnote 11)
Outside help can play a critical role in creating the opportunity for democracy that local people seek. With the support of the State Department, USAID, and the National Endowment for Democracy, IRI is creating new opportunities for democratic advances every day.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our tool kit includes training, often done by volunteers drawn from congressional staffs and veteran campaigners from across the United States, in the practical techniques of competing and winning elections: party and campaign organization; political communications and message development; get-out-the-vote efforts; public opinion polling and analysis; and outreach to marginalized voter groups. IRI organizes international election observation missions, and trains parties and civil society groups in poll watching in order to verify that the conduct of elections is free and fair.
Elections are important, but democracy requires more than elections. For new office holders and for those in opposition parties, IRI offers training on how to succeed in the period between elections. Here, the tool kit includes training in ethics and public accountability, conflict mediation and mitigation, leadership training, legislative development, platform development, policy development and implementation. IRI also offers technical advice and support in constitutional design, making federalism work, and specially adapted training for local government officials, public servants, and independent judiciaries.
Politicians are important, but if the members of the subcommittee will excuse me for saying so, democracy requires more than politicians. IRI works with indigenous civil society NGOs that promote democracy, free media, human rights, and the political participation of women, young people, and marginalized regional, religious, and ethnic groups. From Solidarity in Poland, to the South African Institute for Race Relations, to the Directorio Democratico Cubano, to the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, to the Iraqi Foundation for Democracy and DevelopmentIRI's local partners show true heroism in the struggle to expand freedom for their own countries.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are proud of our local partnerships, but more than that, IRI believes in the philosophy captured in the old adage, ''Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.'' Our goal is not to establish some kind of paternal relationship between U.S. funding and expertise, and those who work toward democracy abroad. IRI works to empower local organizations, often offering training for local trainers, who can more effectively spread the knowledge of techniques and ideas to their compatriotsin their own language and in their own towns and villages.
I hope that this summary of the tools we use has been helpful to you, providing some specifics to illustrate what it is that we mean when we speak about advancing democracy worldwide, and implementing President Reagan's vision in practical ways. For our work at IRI is informed by America's expansive idealism and faith in the inalienable rights of all men and women, and in our confidence that democracy can help ensure that such rights are realized by all.
Let me now turn to the State Department's report itself.
First, it is heartening to see that IRI is specifically mentioned in many of the countries in which we are working.
Second, I would like to draw your attention to an important distinction that may not be apparent as you read this report, differentiating between those countries where the struggle to expand and improve democracy is ongoingthe long, hard slogand those countries that are approaching democracy after a civil conflict, or in the twilight hours of conflict.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One thing we in the United States should have learned by now is that post-conflict reconstruction is difficult, expensive, and takes time. We still don't have all the answers on how best to achieve the transition toward democracy for a country emerging from bloody conflict. Despite a growing number of cases, including Germany, Japan, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and now the recent examples of Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. foreign policymakers still have no sure playbook for helping that transition.
Keep this in mind as you read this excellent report, because unlike the previous edition, this report includes a statement on the United States strategy for promoting improved democratic practices for nearly every country listed. The U.S. strategy, and that of foreign assistance implementing organizations like IRI, must grapple with the shadow cast by conflict in many places, and we need to think creatively about how we can do so better than we do now.
Conflict affects democratic transitions and the work that we do, just as local circumstances will. While my remarks thus far have addressed the general themes of the report, I will now turn to some specific comments on the regions and countries listed.
IRI is conducting programs in eleven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Six countries in particular are in critical transition periods. The result may either set these countries onto a path to democratic stability, or steer them from it.
SudanIn recent weeks, Sudan has been at the center of international attention for both good and bad. Leaders from both Sudan and the international community were finally able to bring an end to the country's twenty-year civil war with a peace agreement in May 2004. Unfortunately, the current crisis in Darfur is evidence that there is still much work to do to bring peace, security, and democracy to the country. The highly-lauded peace agreement represented a significant, but only first of many steps.
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The rape, torture, and murder of black Sudanese by Arab militias is ethnic cleansingand there is much evidence to suggest that these militias receive support from the Arab government in Khartoum. Over 35,000 black Sudanese have died and over a million more have been displaced. Experts predict that more than 300,000 may perish by the end of the year due to the desperate conditions in which they have been forced to struggle to survive. This humanitarian crisis demands an immediate response. But it also tragically demonstrates the need for the people of Sudan to learn to live with tolerance in a pluralistic society.
In an effort to contribute to the success of Sudan's transition period, IRI has focused on building the foundation for a pluralistic democracy. IRI has been working in the southern part of the country to provide community leadership training to women in order to increase the participation of Sudanese women in civic life. Additionally, the Institute is helping the southern opposition make the transition from a military to a political organization through political party training and, after a peace agreement has been reached, through parliamentary training for participation in the new government.
LiberiaA year ago, there were few observers, if any, who would have expected Liberia to be on the path to peace and democracy it is on today. With the end of the civil war and a new National Transitional Government of Liberia, many of the abuses committed under the previous regime have stopped. There are still cases of abuse in isolated areas of the country where former government and rebels soldiers remain armed and unchecked. However, we have reason to hope that those occurrences will end with the complete deployment of United Nations peacekeepers.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The peace agreement that brought an end to Liberia's civil war mandates general elections in October 2005. One can argue that these elections will represent the country's first, truly democratic elections. To help create a democratic environment for these elections, IRI is conducting a program designed to build the capacity of Liberian political parties to effectively compete and provide Liberians with viable choices. For example, IRI has opened a resource center that will provide political parties with access to computers, photocopiers, reference materials, and other resources required to carry out their activities. As a necessary complement to those resources, IRI is also offering training to the parties on issues such as message development and communication, outreach and mobilization, and party organization and financing.
AngolaAlthough Angola is further into its peace process than the other post-conflict countries mentioned here, the country still has significant ground to cover. A government plagued by corruption has been unable to improve living conditions for most of its citizens despite the end of fighting two years ago. A key step in the country's democratic progress will be the upcoming general elections. However, the government has been unwilling to commit to any timetable for those elections.
Despite the uncertain election schedule, IRI understands that preparations must begin now. IRI is training Angola's political parties for the national elections and to establish themselves as effective democratic parties. Already, IRI has conducted a country-wide public opinion poll that identified specific issues of interest to voters and, subsequently, helped political parties develop issue-based platforms. IRI has also provided media/communications and party organization training in the capital city and in the interior provinces.
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After a history of highly centralized and authoritarian government, building the capacity of state and local governments and organizations will be critical to Nigeria's democratic success. These entities also may be the best-placed to combat corruption and mitigate violence. IRI's work in Nigeria is focusing on strengthening state-level political parties and building partnerships between civil society organizations and political parties at both the state and national levels. As part of its current activities, IRI has constructed an innovative program known as the State Party Leaders Academy. IRI has conducted this academy in various states, providing training on topics such as party organization, outreach and mobilization, and party financing to state parties. IRI also will be inviting political parties and civil society organizations to participate in forums addressing various political issues. These forums will help them identify opportunities to work with one another on common issues.
ZimbabweFollowing the 2002 presidential election that many international observers considered illegitimate including the United States, the government persisted in its pre-election suppression of political parties and civil society. Government supporters continue to harass critics within opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and the media with impunity.
The opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, is challenging the results of the 2002 election in the courts. The MDC has called for the creation of a transitional authority to govern the country until a new election, conducted under international supervision, can be held. Civic leaders continue to press for democracy and the rule of law. IRI remains committed to working with civil society in Zimbabwe to promote a peaceful and democratic environment in this troubled country. IRI's work in Zimbabwe has focused on building the capacity of the country's democratic political parties. IRI has trained them on message creation, message communication, and party structure, among other topics.
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The Asian financial crises of 1997 and 1998 sparked refomasi movements in many parts of southeast Asia that raised new hope for democracy in the region, but these have now petered out with the return of economic stability and repression by challenged rulers. Authoritarian regimes in Asia remain firmly entrenched, while semi-authoritarian regimes are losing momentum for democratic reforms due to the influence of money politics and weak public accountability. Progress toward democracy in most of Asia is slow, hesitant, and overall quite modest. There is little public pressure for political change in most countries, as citizens exhibit a preference for stability and a doubt concerning the likelihood of major change. The established democracies in Asia, such as Japan, South Korea, India, Taiwan, and the Philippines do little to promote democracy within the region.
BurmaThe political and ethnic repression in Burma continues to be very troubling. IRI has continued to support Burma's democracy movement. The support is targeted to the National League for Democracy/Liberated Areas (NLD/LA), the wing of Aung San Suu Kyi's party based in the border areas, and to the Political Defiance Committee (PDC), which brings together representatives of various democracy and ethnic groups to carry out non-violent struggle for democracy in Burma. NLD/LA and PDC have used IRI support to develop strategy for non-violent resistance and to organize grassroots political opposition to the military junta. Despite the junta's crack-down on opposition, NLD/LA and PDC have managed to carry on their efforts aimed at restoring democracy to Burma.
CambodiaElections in July 2003 resulted in a deadlock that may now to be ending, but the human rights situation continues to be a source of grave concern. IRI has supported the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) since its inception in 2002. CCHR conducts public forums across the country and broadcasts daily radio programs to inform citizens of their political rights and to give them a platform to express their views freely. CCHR also investigates cases of political violence and puts pressure on the authorities to prosecute the offenders. The Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC) was created in 2001 with IRI's assistance and, over the past year, has expanded youth participation in politics by organizing voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote campaigns for the July 2003 parliamentary elections and training thousands of students in the basic elements of democracy.
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For the 2003 parliamentary elections in Cambodia, IRI conducted a series of missions to assess the entire election process, starting with voter registration in January 2003. These mission culminated in a major election observation in July 2003 led by Christine Todd Whitman, former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and former Governor of New Jersey. In addition, IRI trained party poll-watcher agents of all major political parties throughout the country to monitor the elections.
ChinaChina, while making progress in some areas of democracy and human rights, continues to engage in religious persecution and censorship of the internet. IRI has consistently supported the development of grassroots democracy and self-governance in China for the past 10 years and has sponsored a wide range of innovative activities to promote the improvement of elections and the institutionalization of democratic governance. Based on the belief that increasing the base of participation in local electoral politics is as important as improving the quality of election procedures and administration, IRI has expanded on an initiative started in 2002 to encourage women to run for positions on village committees, and to train them in the fundamentals of good governance. In 2002, IRI also became the first foreign organization to observe urban community elections in China. IRI's work on urban elections has since focused on supporting the development of a unique model for the democratic management of urban communities in Fujian Province, a rapidly developing special economic region in Southern China. IRI is currently working to assist them in the development of a new regulatory infrastructure for democratic elections.
IndonesiaIndonesia is one of the few countries in Asia where the reform movement that emerged out of the 19971998 financial crises has retained momentum, and on July 5 Indonesians voted in direct elections for the president for the first time. IRI carried out extensive programs to prepare Indonesia's political parties for the legislative elections in April 2004. Through a series of polls and training seminars for all 24 political parties, IRI assisted more than 3,000 candidates and party activists in seven provinces in designing issue-based campaigns. While large campaign rallies still looked like street parades or pop concerts, candidates trained by IRI spoke on the issues of concern to voters. IRI-trained candidates addressed national issues, such as poverty and corruption, in their campaigns and brought up local issues, including clean drinking water and repairs needed for school buildings. In most of the program provinces, IRI-trained candidates won a larger percentage of the vote than candidates who received no training.
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In addition, IRI trained more than 5,000 party agents in election monitoring in all 32 provinces of Indonesia. These party agents, in turn, trained 47,975 party poll-watchers. IRI also developed and distributed more than 900,000 poll-watcher manuals and made the manual available via the internet for use throughout the country. The participation of trained party poll-watchers raised public confidence in the election process and contributed to the success of Indonesia's second free elections since the fall of Suharto.
IRI's Eurasia division currently works in nine countries in the region. Based on our experiences, we can confirm the judgment in the State Department's report (page 111) that, ''the past year has shown mixed results in advancing human rights and democracy across Europe and Eurasia.'' Four countries merit special consideration.
AzerbaijanAnticipating the October 15, 2003 presidential elections, IRI provided comprehensive political party campaign training to all parties over an eighteen month period. IRI worked with all political parties, both the ruling party and the opposition, and at both the national and local level. IRI participated in the OSCE and the U.S. government effort to bring more than 600 international observers to monitor the October 2003 presidential elections, deploying them nationwide. Although there were a number of areas within Azerbaijan where voting was peaceful and orderly, the observers noted many violations of the new Unified Election Code, including incidences of ballot stuffing, multiple voting, harassment at polling stations by authorities, incomplete voter lists, and a lack of regard for ballot tabulation procedures.
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The undemocratic and blatant disregard for the UEC in both the pre-election period and on election day led to civil unrest in the capital city, Baku, when the final ballot counts were announced. On the night of the election and in the days that followed, as many as 25,000 citizens came together to decry election fraud by the government. Ninety political party operatives and leaders were arrested following this protest, some of whom remain incarcerated today awaiting trial. In this discouraging environment, IRI has reoriented part of its program toward youth leadership development in the political parties, hoping a new generation of leaders may emerge to embrace democratic values.
GeorgiaIRI's board chairman, Senator John McCain, was among the most vocal supporters of official U.S. calls for improvements in Georgia's respect for human rights and democratic practice in 2003 and early 2004. IRI provided training in organizational development and management, and basic campaigning techniques, to all political parties before and after the January 4, 2004 presidential election that brought President Mikheil Saakashvili to power. IRI organized 24 international observers to monitor the presidential election.
MoldovaIn recent years, as described in the State department's report, a number of excellent programs were conducted by the U.S. Embassy for local elections in 2003, and these focused on rule of law programs and local governance work. IRI was asked to provide assistance to Moldova's political parties, and recently launched a targeted training program for all Moldovan parties. We are pleased that the parties have welcomed our assistance. Parliamentary elections in Moldova, planned for February 2005, will provide a crucial test of Moldova's parties in applying the skills imparted by IRI in the areas of message development, campaign strategy, and constituent communications.
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UkraineThe IRI program in Ukraine is focused on enhancing the chances for free and fair presidential elections in October 2004. We greatly appreciate the support of senior officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev and here in Washington, who have pressed for the Ukrainian government to permit IRI and the National Democratic Institute to conduct democracy-related programs in Ukraine by registering our programs there. The State Department's report rightly notes this effort, which ended with the successful registration of our programs in September 2003. However, the Ukrainian government has registered only the specific programs we are conducting now, on the basis of current grants. For each future project, IRI and NDI will be forced to obtain new registration. This may become a significant obstacle to expanding our work in Ukraine, and an unfortunate one as there remains much work to be done there in the critical months following the October 2004 elections.
While the progress over the past decade in Central and Eastern Europe has been undeniable and remarkable, there is a continued need for US engagement in the region. Other donors, while making important contributions, tend to be much more focused on aiding individual parties or NGOs. More than any other donor, the United States contribution to democracy in the region has helped the people of Central and Eastern Europe to achieve the successes we've seen. This is due, in part, to the fact that only the United States has truly emphasized the need to develop institutions, including governments, political parties, the media, the courts, labor unions, and non-governmental organizations.
Even among the region's eight new member states of the European Union (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia), there is still a need for US engagement. While elections are now standardized and basic human and democratic rights secure, key institutions remain fragile. Corruption and a continued lack of communications with the electorate mean that governments, political parties, and the judiciary lack credibility and legitimacy with many voters.
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Anti-reform parties and movements continue to attract broad levels of support, even in the countries that have seen the most progress. Extremist parties of the right and left have enjoyed resurgent support in recent years, in part because of the failure of democratic parties and leaders to fully adopt modern campaign and communications techniques. Some of these parties have mildly populist characteristics; others, however, espouse openly anti-Semitic, anti-Roma, and anti-minority views.
Reducing US engagement in the regionespecially in the Balkansrisks losing much of the gains of the last decade. For example, democracy programming has been scaled back in Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Reforms in these countries are only now beginning to take shape and pro-reform forces will find increasing levels of voter resentment as essential changes are implemented. Ethnic tensions remain high in Serbia, Bosnia, and Macedonia and as a result, terrorists and traffickers in narcotics and people (especially women and children) have found a fertile environment in the region.
AlbaniaIRI is implementing the second of a two-year USAID project in Albania, working on a two-part program: First, strengthening the individual leadership and voter outreach skills of Members of Parliament; and second, increasing the involvement of youth leadership in civil society.
In July 2003, 110 young leaders from across Albania were systematically selected to participate in a leadership training seminar in the city of Durres. More than a dozen Albanian and international NGOs provided information and for participants. In October 2003, more than 300 youth leaders participated as domestic monitors for the local elections. In December, IRI again used its youth network to rapidly organize six focus-group studies as part of the design research for a national youth survey of more than one thousand young Albanians. By mid-January 2004, the IRI youth network again mobilized for the fielding of a nationwide survey. This baseline survey explored the main concerns and views of Albanian youth on the country's political system and prospects for the future. IRI is currently implementing an intensive program of advocacy instruction for young leaders across Albania. This training will involve a series of lectures that will include instruction modules on the fundamental concepts of advocacy, strategic contact with decision makers, media relations, campaigns and elections, strategic management, and comparative advocacy campaign case analysis.
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IRI's Parliamentary program and its focus on Members of Parliament (MPs) and their district office training resumed in July of 2003 when the opposition leader from the Lithuanian Parliament traveled to Tirana to address 35 MPs and provide a comprehensive comparative analysis of the Lithuanian and Albanian legislative systems. In January, an expert American pollster addressed more than a third of the MPs in Parliament on the value of opinion research in the political process.
In late January 2004, IRI's Parliamentary Outreach Project launched its selected city approach. IRI interviewed more than 20 MPs to assist in the design of the project, which creates templates of events and activities that can be adopted in whole or in part by MPs who wish to better communicate with their constituents. Program activities include constituent focus groups, media availabilities, public hearings, and town hall meetings. IRI is working directly with selected parliamentary leaders and organizing a series of hearings in targeted districts designed to attract the public's interest and participation at the local level. Leaders of constituent groups, local experts, and interested citizens will be provided a forum at which they can directly express their views and concerns to their embers of parliament. The primary policy areas to be considered include local government issues, youth issues, the business community, women's issues, and the environment. These activities will lead to a Parliamentary seminar including MPs and their district staff, with the participation of a U.S. expert in district office administration. Based on these series of training in selected cities and the seminar, IRI plans to publish a district office manual to distribute to all MPs for their use in their district offices.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaIn 2003, IRI began a 2-year USAID program in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with three main components: local political party development, state level ministerial communications assistance and policy analysis development. In advance of the October 2003 local elections, IRI is conducting an intensive local political party development program, including a series of regional multi-party campaign training seminars and specific workshops on grassroots organization, campaign tactics, voter outreach, and message development and targeting.
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To assist in building legitimacy and confidence for Bosnia's state-level institutions, IRI began working with selected government ministries on ways to improve their communications and outreach with the public. Public opinion polling is used to help ministry staffs learn how to develop, coordinate, and transmit clear messages to the voters.
MacedoniaIRI has continued to play a major role in the development of institutions in Macedonia, including political party development, strengthening the role of women and youth in politics, and improving government communications. After the tragic death of President Boris Trajkovski in early 2004, IRI was asked by the US Embassy and the USAID mission to field an international election observation mission for the emergency election. IRI deployed 16 teams of experienced election observers throughout Macedonia to monitor and report their observations of the two election rounds. Observers generally concluded that the election process adhered to internationally recognized standards and was generally representative of the will of the Macedonian electorate, despite occasional instances of voter fraud and intimidation.
IRI also continued its regular program of political party development work with regular strategic consultations with high level party officials, including Prime Minister Crvenkovski and before his death, President Trajkovski. IRI also held several training seminars for youth party activist from various political parties. IRI's program for the remainder of the year will focus on preparing the parties for the upcoming local elections in the fall.
TurkeyIRI's work in Turkey continues to focus on the need to engage its massive youth population in political in civic life. Through a network of young people known as GencNet, IRI staff worked to teach young people the skills necessary to identify community problems and to take appropriate steps to correct them. The GencNet initiative includes training for youth activists, partnerships with Turkish NGOs, community-based projects, and a popular website. The GencNet project contributed to a recent reform in Turkey that lowered the age of eligibility for public office.
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This year, IRI a new component of its program to encourage youth participation in Turkish politics: mayoral candidate debates. A week before the country's local elections, IRI co-hosted youth-oriented debates with the Turkish Inter-University Debate Society for candidates in major districts of Ankara and Istanbul.
IRI also continued its work with its longtime partner organization Ka-der, to encourage greater women's participation. IRI/Ka-der activities included website development and training covering a range of topics related to participation in public life, including the role of social stereotypes, men's and women's expectations of politics, and the importance of women's representation in politics.
The Institute also launched a new Capital Internship and Model Parliament program, with the Turkish Democracy Foundation (TDF). This initiative is believed to be the first organized program of internships in key government institutions, including ministries, the parliament, and political parties.
The past two years have been seminal for the Middle East and North Africa and marked the start of a new chapter for IRI's work in the region. In Iraq, events throughout 2003 and 2004 have generated both new opportunity and new challenges on an unprecedented scale for the development of basic human and democratic rights in the Arab world. Coupled with ongoing efforts to support democracy in Afghanistan prior to that country's first scheduled national elections in more than two decades, IRI engagement in these critical U.S. foreign policy priorities continues to expand and intensify as important tests for democracy in both countries approach.
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The announcement in December 2002 of the Administration's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) marked a bold step to not only increase support for political development in the Middle East but also to include this support within a comprehensive package of economic and educational aid. Following notable accomplishments in countries like Morocco which held successful parliamentary elections in 2002 and Jordan which created a new ministry for political development in 2003, MEPI enables IRI to approach democracy support across the region in a more strategic and comprehensive fashion. With political reform in the Middle East finally coming center stage, IRI is initiating programs in countries neglected for decades and where support for democratic reform is needed most.
AfghanistanAs Afghanistan's national elections approach and it enters perhaps the most important phase in the country's democratic transition, IRI is helping prepare Afghans for this monumental event. IRI is striving to ensure equitable resource distribution and rational development policy through its work with an Afghan umbrella organization representing more than 300 Afghan civil society groups and hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries throughout the country. IRI's support for this effort is providing voice to the needs of Afghanistan's citizenry on a variety of issues and in the absence of elections to date, the project maintains one of the few formal links between citizenry and the country's fledgling leadership.
IRI's support for Afghanistan's first independent daily newspaper in the post-Taliban period, Erada, is additionally providing a key segment of the Afghan citizenry with up-to-date information and objective analysis of political, social and economic developments taking place in the country.
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As national elections scheduled to take place in September near and voter education and registration become paramount issues to a successful transition, IRI is conducting a variety of activities to prepare Afghan voters for elections. IRI programs initiated in eight regions of the country are supporting a comprehensive civic and voter education effort that targets local opinion makers for the purpose of encouraging voter participation. Additionally, IRI support to a local partner organization is bringing concepts of citizen responsibility and voter participation to isolated and at-risk populations through mobile civic education units. In combination, IRI efforts in Afghanistan are helping to increase voter knowledge and citizen participation and are laying the foundations for a more democratic future.
IraqDue to the timeliness and importance of developments in Iraq, I will elaborate in more detail about IRI's work there. IRI established an office in Baghdad in July 2003, and has partnered with NDI and other U.S. groups to deliver a multi-faceted program aimed at actively improving the civic and political rights of ordinary Iraqis. Our activities in the field, performed by an experienced staff of expatriates and dedicated Iraqis (local hires), range from political party training seminars to youth-oriented conferences to public opinion research initiativesan approach which reflects IRI's philosophy of engaging all aspects of civic society as a collective whole.
IRI helped to organize the Iraqi Foundation for Democracy and Development, headed by Ghassan Attiyah, a respected Iraqi dissident and publisher of the oppositionist periodical The Iraqi File, the IFDD is a regionally based non-governmental organization committed to supporting democracy and development in Iraq by fostering dialogue between decision-makers and citizens on important social, economic, and political issues. A primary goal is to bring together people of diverse ethnic, religious, political and tribal backgrounds to build consensus on finding solutions to the issues most important to the Iraqi people and for assisting in promoting freedom and democracy. With the material and advisory assistance provided by IRI's Baghdad staff, the IFDD has convened several conferences and events.
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IRI's Iraq program is training a wide range of political, civic, and issue-oriented citizen groups that have emerged during the post-Saddam period. These trainings focus on a variety of topics from platform development to the promotion of candidate leadership skills. In June, IRI's Baghdad team hosted a series of six political party training conferences whose attendance averaged over 120 people per session. Participants represented the diverse spectrum of political parties, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Da'wa Party and dozens of small to medium sized newly founded parties. Topics ranged from candidate leadership skills to platform development, thus offering emerging Iraqi civic and political organizations a chance to learn a full array of successful campaign techniques. Results were promisingparticipants expressed great enthusiasm during the proceedings and many actively pursued closer working relationships with the Institute.
In March, IRI brought together representatives from both the Governing Council (GC) and the Iraqi Ministries for the first time since these groups' inceptions to participate in a series of four conferences designed to improve communications strategies. Topics covered included inter-governmental communications, town hall meetings, public outreach, and crisis management. These seminars proved to be highly useful even after the dissolution of the GC, for many of the techniques which formed the basis of the trainings have been enacted by the Interim Government and its related Ministries.
The Institute's Iraq team has recently been approached by USAID to assist in training the staff of the Iraqi Supreme Preparatory Committee, the advisory body which will appoint members to the National Conference of 1000, who will in turn select the 100 members of the Interim National Council. We were honored to be asked to assist the Iraqis in this process and will begin a series of training conferences once plans are finalized.
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In order for Iraq to become a truly democratic nation, it must empower all of its citizens to take part in the process of self-governance. To this end, IRI has concentrated a substantial amount of its resources towards promoting civic advocacy among women and youth. Since the beginning of its program, IRI has been heavily involved in the promotion of student elections on academic campuses across the country. With IRI assistance, the universities of Baghdad and Mustansaria have both successfully completed their student electoral cycles. Similar results have been witnessed in the universities of Najaf, Karbala, Diyawania, and Hilla, all of whom will shortly conclude the second wave of their final campaigns. IRI will continue to use the extensive relationships it has built among the student community to provide sound advice, guidance, and training to these enterprising activists in the months to come.
In order to encourage the growth of advocacy movements from within Iraq itself, IRI has partnered with a network of approximately 30 women's rights NGOs to facilitate a nationwide anti-violence campaign. Their project has involved door to door canvassing in both rural and urban provinces carried out entirely by Iraqi organizations.
IRI has developed a unique public opinion research capability in Iraq, through the training of more than one hundred Iraqi's as professional focus group facilitators. IRI trained surveyors work today for many of the leading Iraqi polling firms, and IRI has turned to them to conduct professional surveys on Iraqi public opinion. Polling data helps IRI to work with political parties on developing their platforms and messages, as well as helping small parties identify potential coalition partners. Polling information can further help citizen groups to identify concerns and issue awareness among ordinary Iraqis.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As noted in the State Department's report, Iraq has made remarkable progress toward democracy and better human rights performance by public officials since the liberation. Every day since that time, Iraqi's have incrementally taken greater control over their affairs, and political participation has been growing steadily. IRI is firmly committed to helping the Iraqi people succeed, providing them with the skills necessary in order to navigate and adapt new democratic institutions, organizations, processes and electoral events.
JordanIRI has long recognized that political reform in Jordan is influenced by a variety of factors both inside and outside the Kingdom's borders. In October 2004, King Abdullah's announcement of a public campaign to promote political reform and create a new ministry to guide reform efforts thus marked an encouraging sign of increased commitment on the part of the Jordanian government to democratic reform. IRI efforts over the years in Jordan have focused on women and youth, segments of the population the Institute believes critical to success of reform. With opportunity for additional focus on these groups through support from MEPI, IRI is embarking on a comprehensive program to increase civic and political participation by women and youth and to encourage improved outreach by political parties and elected officials to these key audiences.
IRI programs in the Middle East also have concentrated on helping build a ''culture of democracy'' by increasing the level and quality of public dialogue and debate. In Jordan, a public opinion poll released by an IRI partner organization within a few weeks of the formation of a new government provides one example of these efforts. By providing high quality public opinion data on expectations of the new government, IRI helped strengthen dialogue about important political reform issues and provided critical information about citizen priorities to decision makers and civil society alike. Continued IRI polling in the coming year on a more regularized basis will help establish a baseline of critical data on public opinion in support of continued democratic reform.
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MoroccoMunicipal elections held in September 2003 marked another step in Morocco's political reform process which began with successful parliamentary elections in 2002. Yet, despite these accomplishments, Morocco continues to face significant economic and social challenges and a public that remains largely apathetic to political reform, especially among marginalized segments of the population such as youth. IRI efforts in Morocco in 2003 and 2004 were aimed at reaching these marginalized audiences and supporting the continuation of democratic reforms initiated by this key U.S. ally.
In response to Morocco lowering its voting age to 18 for municipal elections, IRI coordinated a voter education and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort that worked with independent civil society to distribute more than 80,000 leaflets and 20,000 posters. Daily radio announcements during the election campaign period reinforced the initiative carried out on a nation-wide scale.
After the election, IRI initiated pilot projects with target local councils to help restore citizen confidence in elected institutions and help create mechanisms for improved interaction between elected bodies and communities. The largely impoverished Sidi Moumen district of Casablanca gained notoriety last year as the home of several suicide bombers who killed 45 people in Casablanca in May 2003. IRI's community clean-up project in Sidi Moumen is helping reverse a trend of cynicism and frustration in the area by providing local, working models of democracy in practice and by encouraging the development of public-private partnerships for improved service delivery.
IRI efforts in the Middle East over the past two years have additionally included parliamentary strengthening assistance in Oman and ongoing public opinion polling in the West Bank and Gaza, which provides the only window into Palestinian sentiment in the absence of elections by the Palestinian Authority. In February 2004, IRI also co-hosted the first of a series of high profile MEPI regional campaign schools for women that took place in Doha, Qatar.
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With elections expected to take place in Qatar in the coming year, these types of programs enable IRI to provide more comprehensive elections and civil society development assistance. IRI is also following events in Pakistan closely and is examining the possibility of initiating new activities before the end of the year in that country to strengthen prospects for lasting and sustainable democracy.
In the past 20 years there were dramatic advances in democracy in the Western Hemisphere. And IRI has been active in many countries, aiding at key moments in democratic transitions from military rule or following civil conflicts. Today, however, throughout the Western Hemisphere, democratic advances are threatened by weak institutions and failing economies. The challenge for IRI is to help political parties in the region to strengthen democratic institutions, reform flawed electoral systems, develop leaders among a new generation coming of age, and address poverty and corruption in party platforms and campaigns at the national and local level.
Andean RegionHistorically marginalized groups have begun to recognize their ability to influence political outcomes. Increased participation in elections and civil society activities demonstrates that indigenous populations have been energized by the democratic reforms of the past decade. Unfortunately, as happened last October in Bolivia, political empowerment has been channeled in ways not contemplated by constitutions or law. The toppling of a democratically-elected government through the mass mobilization of citizens to the streets has left Bolivia in a state of crisisand perhaps sent the message to others in the region, particularly in Ecuador and Peru, that legality is secondary to the perceived legitimacy of a government. In response to this emerging dynamic, IRI is working with civil society groups and political parties in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador to improve their ability to educate citizens on their rights and responsibilities in a democracy. In Peru, IRI is working directly with the executive branch of government to restructure and improve its ability to communicate with citizens and strengthen a presidency that has weakened to the point of jeopardizing the promising democratic advances that followed the departure of former president Alberto Fujimori.
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Central AmericaCentral America shows signs of progress and the consolidation of democracy. The subregion that became a battleground during the Cold War is now holding regular elections where former combatants and enemies are now vying for political power at the ballot box. El Salvador's March presidential elections saw nearly 70% voter turnout and an overwhelming victory for the candidate supporting open markets and a constructive relationship with the United States. IRI played a key role in observing these elections at the invitation of the country's electoral authorities. Currently, the Institute is working with political parties, business groups and civil society to promote market-based solutions to poverty. Nicaragua struggles with weak and fractured political parties and government institutions, but continues to promote reform under the leadership of President Enrique Bolanos. IRI is working directly with the democratic forces in Nicaragua to strengthen parties that represent a break from the corruption of the past.
VenezuelaFollowing a lengthy process of petition and signature verification, Venezuela will hold a recall referendum on August 15, 2004 that could lead to new elections or a confirmation of the current presidential term through 2006. Against a particularly challenging political backdrop, IRI is working with a broad cross-section of political parties to promote a peaceful and democratic solution to the impasse that has persisted during the last several years. The constitutional process to provide for a recall and perhaps subsequent elections presents both opportunities and risks. Venezuelans of all political tendencies need to be prepared and educated to participate thoughtfully and peacefully in this process, to guarantee its transparency, and to respect its results. By working with all parties to provide training in platform development, communications, and constituent outreach, IRI is contributing toward these objectives.
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HaitiA significant challenge of the international community is insuring that Haiti's recent crisis of government and ensuing transition results in the development of credible democratic political institutions and practices. This is the task of the interim administration headed by President Boniface Alexandre and Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. Time is shortroughly 18 months to rebuild a broken-down electoral capacity, guarantee a modicum of political security, re-energize legitimate economic activity and related infrastructure, and build hope among Haitian citizens that a government for the people is actually within their reach. This is a very tall order but IRI looks forward to playing a constructive in this process.
IRI's engagement dates back to the 1990 elections and until 1999 sustained an in-country office. Over the past 18 months the Institute's focus has been to encourage Haiti's disjointed political party community toward coalition-building and greater internal party transparency. This has been supplemented with a particular focus on encouraging women and youth to engage and even challenge Haiti's traditional political party structure. The effort has been backed up by the development of the information-based civic action website, www.Haitigetinvolved. While detractors have attempted to link IRI's work with Haiti's undemocratic elements, the Institute's true course of action will continue to foster the best practices of the democratic process.
CubaThe obvious exception to the progression of democracy in the Americas lies on the island of Cuba, where for over forty years a Communist dictator has presided over the region's only authoritarian police state. As the Bush Administration has recognized in its recent policy initiative toward Cuba, one of the keys to advancing the cause of democracy and human rights in Cuba is to recognize and provide moral support to the courageous peaceful democracy movement within Cuba. These men and women: journalists, librarians, small business operators, and activists, are the conscience of the movement to free Cuba from tyranny. Acknowledgement and solidarity with their cause is an imperative. Latin Americans, Europeans, and all others invested in the concept of freedom and human rights have a moral obligation to support the cause for a free Cuba. IRI continues to build on its work promoting an international solidarity movement to support Cuba's democratic dissidents. Through publications and events, IRI exposes the plight of the jailed dissidents and their family members. Through its Miami based partner, Directorio, IRI is on the forefront of efforts to generate awareness and support for Cuba's homegrown democracy movement.
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This review of various countries where IRI is helping to construct building blocks for democracy reinforces the point that I would like to leave you with, which is that the United States has both an opportunity and a responsibility to be a beacon of hope and promise for those who yearn for freedom; to be a shining city on a hill. U.S. foreign policy can make a difference. In fact, if we fail to come to the aid of democracies both nascent and unborn, we would break faith with our heritage and lose fidelity with the values we cherish.
President George W. Bush said it best last November,
''The progress of liberty is a powerful trend. Yet, we also know that liberty, if not defended, can be lost. The success of freedom is not determined by some dialectic of history. By definition, the success of freedom rests upon the choices and the courage of free people.''(see footnote 12)
Free people like us, the people in this room, and those who you were elected to represent. This report should help you to tell them that their government is taking the responsibility of supporting human rights and democracy very seriously.
I think that in this, Ronald Reagan would be proud that we are answering his challenge this way. Early in his presidency, in a speech in May of 1981, he said:
''History will ask and our answer will determine the fate of freedom for a thousand years. Did a nation born of hope lose hope? Did a people forged by courage find courage wanting? Did a generation steeled by hard war and harsh peace forsake honor at the moment of great climactic struggle for the human spirit?''(see footnote 13)
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The United States is still answering History's call with hope, courage, and honor. Those of us who have the honor and privilege of working with IRI are pleased to contribute to this sacred mission, this call to help others to realize freedom, which is the right of all, and not just the lucky few.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
STATEMENT OF KENNETH WOLLACK, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Mr. WOLLACK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The National Democratic Institute thanks the Committee for this opportunity to present its views.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Wollack, could you push your button or bring the microphone up? Is it on?
Mr. WOLLACK. Now it is.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WOLLACK. I will just repeat. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the Committee for this opportunity to present NDI's views on U.S. democracy assistance programs on the occasion of the release of the State Department's 2nd annual report on supporting human rights and democracy.
The report, in our view, provides a comprehensive and much needed review of U.S. democracy assistance programs over the past year.
As one of the organizations that has implemented a number of these programs, I would like to briefly share some of the lessons we have learned in the course of our work in more than 50 countries, raising a few themes that impact democracy support efforts by groups like NDI.
The first is the development of a new internationalism in promoting democracy. The promotion of democracy does not lend itself to unilateralism. At a time when there is growing recognition of the interconnectedness between economic prosperity and democracy, more and more other nations, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations and even international financial institutions are beginning to engage in democracy promotion and human rights activities.
Literally dozens of government funded foundations have been formed or have expanded in Europe, Asia and Africa. Inter-governmental bodies, such as the UNDP, the OAS and the OSCE have units dedicated to democratic institution building.
Donor aid agencies are increasingly committing funds to democracy promotion and even the World Bank and other international financial institutions have begun to recognize the linkages between political development and economic reform.
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There is a growing global movement to support networks of democrats and to build the democratic institutions that provide the ultimate protection against human rights abuses.
Such increased support validates the United States' longstanding leadership in the promotion of democracy and should encourage an even stronger commitment to such programs.
We have been most successful at NDI when we have joined with others to share democratic skills. As a practical matter, peoples making the transition to democracy required diverse experiences.
Cooperative approaches also convey a deeper truth to nations attempting a transition to democracy: That they are not ceding something to the United States when they develop democratic institutions. Rather, they are joining a community of nations that democracies can count on natural allies and an active support structure.
This cooperation was evident in Istanbul, Turkey at a recent gathering of leading democratic reformers from predominantly Muslim countries. The Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World was sponsored by NDI, the UNDP and the Turkish Democracy Foundation, with the support of 16 governments and foundations from the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
The second point relates to democracy and political extremism. Non-democratic countries in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world have been caught in a destabilizing cycle of authoritarianism and the radicalism it helps to breed.
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Political life has been polarized, marked by deep cleavages between secular and religious forces and between ruling elites and civil society.
However, throughout the Islamic world, including in Iraq, democratic, political, and civic activists are struggling against great odds to build a third way, a democratic middle ground that could offer viable political alternatives to citizens whose voices remain unorganized and often unheard.
These men and women are trying to discredit extremism by creating new space for debate and participation. To succeed, they must be armed with the skills, knowledge and institutional networks to recruit and sustain broad constituencies.
The United States agenda in the wider Middle East can help support those working for freedom of speech and expression, for fair elections that reflect the will of the voters, for representative political institutions that are not corrupt and that are accountable to the public and for judiciaries that uphold the rule of law.
There are those who would argue that reform in the Middle East and elsewhere must develop gradually and cannot be rushed. This is a common refrain of autocratic leaders from the Middle East to Central Asia to the Far East. And while we cannot expect democratic change overnight, as NDI's Chairman, Madeline Albright, has said, we need to answer that gradual is fine, but glacial is not.
Gradual means a steady, discernable movement in the right direction and our democracy support programs should be geared toward those progressive forces advocating real and discernable institutional change.
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While local democracy efforts are useful, particularly when resources are plentiful, they should not come at the expense of those initiatives that can help promote reform at the national level and challenge entrenched authoritarian behavior. We should not want, even inadvertently, to contribute to a steady erosion of reforms that leaves citizens in exactly the same place year after year.
The last point is that NGO's, such as NDI, IRI and the NED, have greatly appreciated the expansion of democracy initiatives undertaken by the U.S. Government. U.S. Government support for democracy programs come from a variety of sources and through various mechanisms.
Pluralism in democracy assistance has served the U.S. well. It has allowed for diverse, yet complimentary programs that over the long-term could not be sustained by a highly static and centralized system.
Funding from the National Endowment for Democracy has allowed NDI and the other core institutes of the Endowment to respond quickly and flexibly to emerging opportunities and sudden problems in rapidly shifting political environments.
USAID has provided the basis for longer term commitments and the State Department's economic support funds, through DRL and MEPI, have given the U.S. Government the capacity to support, without cumbersome regulations, cutting edge and highly focused democracy programs in individual countries and for regional and global initiatives.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, one of the lessons we at NDI keep learning with more than a little humility is that the appropriate role of our Institute is to provide support for democratic forces within societies, be they governmental or non-governmental, political or civil.
In non-democratic settings, these forces are seeking to promote peaceful political change, often against seemingly insurmountable odds and at great personal risk to themselves.
The new democracies, governments, political parties and civil society are finding ways to work cooperatively to construct national democratic institutions.
In all of these settings, our efforts are only successful when we stand behind people, not in front of them, when we follow, not lead and when there are self-motivated and dedicated people on the ground pursuing home grown initiatives for democratic reform.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wollack follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF KENNETH WOLLACK, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) thanks the Committee for this opportunity to present its views on U.S. democracy assistance programs on the occasion of the release of the Department of State's second annual report on Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 20032004 Report. The introduction to this Report states: ''the best guarantor of security and prosperity at home and abroad is respect for individual liberty, and protection of human rights through good governance and the rule of law.'' NDI concurs with this assertion.
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PROMOTING DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
NDI firmly believes that the United States should attach the highest priority to democratic development as an essential element of its foreign assistance programs. Nothing better serves the moral and strategic interests of the United States than the promotion of democratic practices and institutions. This convergence of interests has been recognized by both Democratic and Republican Administrations and by successive Congresses. In fact, the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was itself a bipartisan initiative. President Ronald Reagan's leadership in the establishment of the Endowment was one of his important legacies.
The notion that there is a dichotomy between our moral preferences and our strategic goals is a false one. Our ultimate foreign policy goal is a world that is secure, stable, humane and safe, and where the risk of war is minimal. Yet the undeniable reality is that violence is most likely to erupt in areas of the world that are nondemocratic or where governments are anti-democratic. Economic and social dislocations can generally be traced to political systems in which the victims have no political voice, in which government institutions feel no obligation to answer to the people, and in which special interests exploit the resources, land and people, without fear of oversight or the need to account.
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country, by acting directly or through freely chosen representatives, and that the will of the people expressed in genuine elections is the basis of authority of government. Thus, democratic governance is itself an internationally recognized human right. However, democratic governance cannot be achieved unless the people of a country are free to exercise a wide range of other civil and political rights.
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The freedoms of expressionassociation, assembly and movement, as well as freedom of the pressare simply the most obvious of these. Citizens must also be free from political violence, intimidation and other forms of coercion in order to make free choices at the ballot box and to participate in public affairs. This goes directly to the right to life, liberty and security of person. Likewise, the exercise of civil and political rights cannot be achieved unless there is equality of the law, equal protection of the law and effective remedies provided by competent, independent tribunals for violations of fundamental rights.
Establishing a democratic political process provides the best possibilities for developing governmental policies that address economic, social and other issues that are essential for advancing human dignity. Such a process provides the means to peacefully resolve the competition for political power through democratic elections and to address grievances that are often the source for internal and even international conflict. Establishing a democratic process in a country also provides the best mechanisms to combat corruption and redress abuses of power. These all are important antidotes to autocracy, corruption and lack of accountability that create instability and foster political extremism. Effective promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law therefore is essential to breaking the symbiotic relationship between political extremes.
There should be no trade-off between achieving stability and promoting democracy. There have been times when the principal concerns of the international community have been the restoration of peace, assisting in the rapid forming of a new government and maintaining national unity. Experience has taught us, however, that an early investment in democracy and human rights is the best way to ensure stability in the long run. In Pakistan, a military coup was at first greeted warmly by many Pakistanis who sought an end to the political bickering and corruption that had long plagued the nation. But the suppression of the country's more moderate, secular parties has led to greater prominence of more extreme, religious forces. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, three decades of autocratic rule were viewed by some as providing stability, but the suppression of democracy and human rights finally led to an outburst of pent-up frustrations, violence and armed conflict that has now claimed the lives of well over three million people in that Central African country. When stability comes at the expense of democracy we may achieve neither.
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A NEW INTERNATIONALISM
The promotion of democracy does not lend itself to unilateralism. At a time when there is growing recognition of the interconnectedness between economic prosperity and democracy, more and more other nations, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations and international financial institutions are beginning to engage in democracy promotion and human rights activities. Literally dozens of government-funded foundations have been formed or have expanded in Europe, Asia and Africa; intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have units dedicated to democratic institution building. Donor aid agencies are increasingly committing funds to democracy promotion and even the World Bank and other international financial institutions have begun to recognize the linkages between political development and economic reform, and are implementing civil society and governance programs. NDI programs have benefited greatly from cooperation with many of these groups.
There is a growing global movement to support networks of democrats, to connect political and economic development, and to build the democratic institutions that provide the ultimate protection against human rights abuses. Such increased support validates the United States' longstanding leadership in the promotion of democracy, and should encourage an even stronger commitment to such programs.
We have been most successful at NDI when we have joined with others to share democratic skills. As a practical matter, peoples making the transition to democracy require diverse experiences. The experiences of democrats from other nationsfrom new and established democracies alikeare often more relevant than our own.
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Cooperative approaches also convey a deeper truth to nations attempting a transition to democracy: that they are not ceding something to the United States when they develop democratic institutions; rather, they are joining a community of nations. That other nations have traversed the same course. That while autocracies are inherently isolated and fearful of the outside world, democracies can count on natural allies and an active support structure. And that other nations are concerned and are watchingsomething that would-be autocrats, who flourish outside the glare of the international spotlight, will bear in mind.
This cooperation was evident in Istanbul, Turkey, at a recent gathering of leading democratic reformers from predominately Muslim countries. The Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World was sponsored by NDI, the UNDP and the Turkish Democracy Foundation, with the support of 16 governments and foundations from the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL EXTREMISM
Understandably, much attention is currently being paid to the lack of democratic institutions in the greater Middle East. At the same time, a number of predominantly Muslim countries have made impressive, but often overlooked, advances in their democratic development. In Turkey, citizens elected to power a party with Islamic roots that subsequently passed far-reaching political reform legislation. In Morocco and Jordan, national legislative elections put more women in parliament in these countries than ever before. In Indonesia, the government undertook a transparent and inclusive constitutional reform process that has enabled direct elections for President and Vice President, and has eliminated military and police appointees from legislatures at all levels. In the Kingdom of Bahrain, leaders are spearheading an international judicial reform program. Recent elections in Yemen have led to a multiparty legislature. And in Senegal, more than 1,700 women now hold local government office.
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Nondemocratic countries in the Middle East and the wider Islamic world are caught in a destabilizing cycle of authoritarianism and the radicalism it helps to breed. Political life has been polarized, marked by sharp cleavages between secular and religious forces, and between ruling elites and civil society.
However, throughout the Islamic world, democratic political and civic activists are struggling against great odds to build a ''third way,'' a democratic middle ground that could offer viable political alternatives to citizens whose voices remain unorganized and often unheard. These men and women are trying to discredit extremism by creating new space for debate and participation. To succeed, they must be armed with the skills, knowledge and institutional networks to recruit and sustain broad constituencies.
Without support for this moderate democratic middle, radicalism will grow. Autocracy, corruption, and the lack of accountability feed powerlessness, poverty, and despair. In these situations, democracy and human rights are not only ideals to be pursued by all nationsthey are also pragmatic tools that are powerful weapons against extremism.
During the 1980s, an important lesson was learned about political transformations in countries like the Philippines and Chilethat political forces on the far left and far right enjoy a mutually reinforcing relationship, drawing strength from each other and, in the process, marginalizing the democratic center. Prospects for peace and stability only emerged once democratic political parties and civic groups were able to offer a viable alternative to the two extremes. These democratic forces benefited from the solidarity and support they received from the international community and in the U.S., Republicans and Democrats joined together to champion their cause.
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Today, these conditions find their parallel in the greater Middle East and Asia, where democratic activists now fear that they might be caught between governments that are using the call to action against terrorism to root out even benign forms of political participation, and fundamentalists who have always regarded democratic reform as a threat to their vision of a religious state.
Yet a new generation of democrats in the region are taking advantage of every opportunity to push for more freedom and accountability from their leaders. They are active in newly elected legislatures, within reform-oriented political parties, in women's organizations and among an abundance of non-governmental organizations. The men and women who form this growing indigenous democracy network have no questions about the compatibility of democracy and Islam, and are committed to the struggle for democracy in the Middle East. If it is offered and provided in a spirit of cooperation, they welcome practical assistance from the outside.
The U.S. agenda in the wider Middle East can help support those working for freedom of speech and expression, for fair elections that reflect the will of the voters, for representative political institutions that are not corrupt and that are accountable to the public, and for judiciaries that uphold the rule of law. Future programs can identify key areas where democracy assistance can be effective, particularly concentrating on encouraging women's participation, strengthening democratic institutions and practices at a local and municipal level, providing opportunities for regional networking, and supporting journalists and activists in opening up debate throughout the region.
In Iraq, a virtual explosion of politics followed the fall of Saddam Hussein. However, there have been few established avenues for those parties and individuals that could form a constituency for Iraqi peace, stability and democracy.
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There is an urgent need for democratic education, for political party strengthening, for coalition building and for material assistance to both established and emerging democratic movements and organizations. Few of the new parties and movements being formed by businesspeople, professionals and more progressive tribal interests have the organizing skills needed to participate effectively in a political process, and to build political coalitions that could cross ethnic and sectarian lines. Iraqi women, in particular, face numerous obstacles in attempting to enter into politics.
Operating with an experienced international staff of political and civic practitioners, NDI has been conducting programs in Iraq since last June, when we carried out some of the first public opinion research in the country. Since then, the Institute has served as a resource for hundreds of fledgling political parties and civic groups, and is currently working on programs to help strengthen these organizations over the long term. Our civic programs are designed to help groups develop organizational structures and strategies for becoming actively involved in the political process. Our political party programs, through a series of workshops on organizational development, recruitment, research, message development, and women's participation are helping parties develop training plans for their local and regional branches.
Indeed the U.S. government has recognized the growing needs in the region, and has increased funding for democracy promotion in the Arab and Islamic world. The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the State Department's Near East Affairs Bureau (NEA) and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor's (DRL) Human Rights and Democracy Fund have provided support for new initiatives in the region.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While we are encouraged to see additional resources being allocated for the Middle East, there is concern that democracy funds to Africa, Latin America and certain countries in Eastern Europe and Eurasia may be reduced. This would be a shortsighted approach to democracy promotion efforts, sending a dangerous signal to autocrats and democrats alike. To be effective, there must be a sustained and long-term commitment to these efforts globally.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SUPPORT AND THE ROLE OF NGOS
NGOs such as NDI have greatly appreciated the expansion of democracy initiatives undertaken by the U.S. government. U.S. government support for democracy programs comes from a variety of sources and through various mechanisms. In the early 1980s, these programs were funded primarily through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED and its core institutesNDI, the International Republican Institute, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity and the Center for International Private Enterprisegive concrete expression to America's democratic values while serving our country's national interest by promoting political environments that are inhospitable to political extremism.
Since the 1980's, support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has allowed for a significant increase in democracy promotion activities, as has the Department of State's application of Economic Support Funds for these purposes. Increased resources within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) have allowed even greater opportunities for much-needed assistance.
Pluralism in democracy assistance has served the U.S. well. It has allowed for diverse yet complementary programming that, over the long term, could not be sustained by a highly static and centralized system. Funding by the NED, for example, has allowed NDI and the other core institutes of the Endowment to respond quickly and flexibly to emerging opportunities and sudden problems in rapidly shifting political environments. Also, the NED has been able to operate effectively in closed societies where direct government engagement is more difficult. USAID funds have provided the basis for a longer-term commitment in helping to build a country's democratic institutions; and funding from DRL and other focused programs within the State Department have given the U.S. government the capacity to support, without cumbersome regulations, cutting-edge and highly focused democracy programs in individual countries, and for regional and global initiatives.
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ROLE OF U.S. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOS)
While the U.S. government can set the tone, and foreign aid can provide needed resources for democratic development, much of the work on the ground must be done by non-governmental organizations. This is particularly true in the Middle East. Groups such as NDI are capable of assuming responsibility, yet are not constrained by the stringent rules of formal diplomacy. NGOs can readily share information, knowledge and experiences with groups and individuals who are pursuing or consolidating democracy, sometimes without the cooperation or sanction of their government.
Perhaps most important, in countries where one of the primary issues being addressed is the paucity of autonomous civic and political institutions, the fundamental idea that government ought not to control all aspects of society can be undermined by a too-visible donor government hand in the development and implementation of democracy programs.
NGO initiatives must grow out of the needs of democrats in the host country. The work should always be in the open and should be conducted with partners committed to pluralism and nonviolence. At the same time, consultation is necessary with the Congress, USAID missions and embassies. When public funds are used, transparency and accountability should always prevail.
IMPORTANCE OF POLITICAL PARTY PROGRAMS
If there is one area where the allocation of additional resources would increase the effectiveness of democracy assistance programs, it would be in the area of political party modernization and reform.
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Political parties serve a function unlike any other institution in a democracy. By aggregating and representing social interests, they provide a structure for political participation. They act as training grounds for political leaders who will eventually assume governing roles. They foster necessary competition and accountability in governance. In the legislative arena, they translate policy preferences into public policies. And it is political parties, acting through the legislative process, that the public must ultimately rely on to design anticorruption measures and oversee their enforcement. It should come as no surprise, then, that when political parties fail to fulfill their special roles, the entire democratic system is placed in jeopardy.
Despite the importance of parties to democratic development, in recent years it has been civic organizations that have received the bulk of democracy assistance funding. The international development community has buttressed civic groups and assisted their rise. This is a good and necessary endeavor; NDI has participated in many such initiatives and continues to do so. At the same time, there is a danger in focusing almost exclusively on civil society development. Civil society activism without effective political institutions quickly creates a vacuum. It sows opportunities for populists and demagogues who seek to emasculate parties and legislatures, which are the cornerstones of representative democracy. The international community must respond to the need to build, sustain, and renew political parties in a way that matches our efforts to build and sustain civil society.
The democratization of political parties must be a priority in the efforts to restore public confidence in parties and the democratic process as a whole. Greater citizen participation, accountability of leadership, transparency, and institutional safeguards are more important now than ever for this democratization effort to succeed. Organizations and institutions that have the commitment and expertise to underpin and promote these initiatives lack adequate resources to do so at present.
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Over the past several years, there has gradually emerged a new recognition of the need to support political party development. The Inter-American Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) affirms that the ''strengthening of political parties is a priority for democracy.'' And with the support of NDI, the three largest global groupings of political parties, reflecting Social Democratic, Liberal and Christian Democratic ideologies, are joining forces to promote political party modernization, reform, and renewal. These three political party ''internationals'' represent 340 parties in 140 countries.
IMPACT OF DEMOCRACY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
One of the lessons we at NDI keep learning, with more than a little humility, is that the appropriate role of our Institute is to provide support for democratic forces within societybe they governmental or nongovernmental, political or civil. In nondemocratic settings, these forces are seeking to promote peaceful political change, often against seemingly insurmountable odds, or at great personal risk to themselves. In new democracies, governments, political parties and civil society are finding ways to work cooperatively to construct their nascent democratic institutions. In all these settings, our efforts are only successful when we stand behind people, not in front of them; when we follow, not lead; and when there are self-motivated and dedicated people on the ground pursuing homegrown initiatives for democratic reform or consolidation.
In short, these democracy promotion efforts are not an imposition. As NDI Chairman Madeleine Albright remarked at the Congress of Democrats from the Islamic World: ''It is not true that we intend or desire to impose anything upon anybody. Even if we did, we could not succeed. Because democracy is defined by the right of people to express freely their own views about who should lead their own societies. The truth is that, in any place at any time, it is dictatorship that is an imposition; democracy is a choice. At the core of democracy is the premise that governments have an obligation to respect the rights and dignity of their citizens.''
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In some cases, democracy assistance has played a critical and transformative role at a certain moment in a country's democratic transition. In other situations, longer-term assistance has allowed for the growth and development of stable, democratic institutions and processes grounded in the principles of inclusion, transparency and accountability. And in those places where democratic change has not occurred or has stalled, assistance has provided protection to, and solidarity with, courageous democrats seeking peaceful reform.
Even in countries which are widely regarded as democratic success stories, ''next generation'' democracy challengessuch as corruption, economic progress, political party reform, information technology, women, youth and minority participation, leadership development and addressing public apathy and disaffectionmust be tackled through greater linkages between the citizenry and political institutions and elected officials.
Following are examples of NDI-sponsored programs that have been supported by either USAID, the NED or DRL:
Last December, NDI convened a group of women political leaders from 27 countries to develop a Global Action Plan to promote political party reforms that advance women's leadership. The Win with Women Action Plan is being used to educate parties and prospective women candidates around the world.
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In Nigeria, for the first time legislators are engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and NDI is helping them develop programs to inform their constituents about HIV/AIDS control and prevention.
In southern Africa, USAID has supported NDI's partnership with the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADCPF), which comprises the national legislatures of 12 countries in the region. SADCPF has established democratic election standards for the region, created linkages among the parliaments through the Internet, and is developing an inventory of HIV/AIDS legislation to promote more effective means to combat the pandemic.
In Cambodia, 14 multiparty public debates before the recent parliamentary elections helped disadvantaged parties gain visibility in public forums throughout the country, and helped reduce political tensions.
A new NDI publication, Political Parties in Asia: Promoting Reform and Combating Corruption in Eight Countries, combines extensive data and analysis in a 428-page review of anticorruption practices of political parties in eight Asian countries.
Europe and Eurasia
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Georgia, when then-President Shevardnadze attempted to seat an illegitimately elected parliament, the people of Georgia demanded their political rights in the ''rose revolution,'' resulting in the election of a new president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and a new parliament. NDI programs helped democratic parties coalesce and civic groups develop an independent vote count that exposed fraud in the parliamentary polls.
In Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, NDI has begun working with an inspiring group of activists to help Roma overcome years of exclusion from the political process.
In Kyrgyzstan, a network of community reading rooms and discussion clubs, established with NDI's assistance, is helping to bring the previously isolated rural population into a national dialogue on democracy and human rights.
Greater Middle East
In Jordan, helped by NDI campaign training, six women made history by becoming the first class of women to be elected to Parliament in recent elections. Fifty-four women from all walks of life, including teachers, businesswomen, lawyers, and mothers, ran for office and took yet another step in the struggle to break through the societal barriers that have kept them out of elected office.
In Morocco, Jordan and Bahrain, DRL is supporting a series of NDI-sponsored training academies for political and civic leaders across the Middle East. The academies provide practical organizing skills for a burgeoning network of Arab democratic activists.
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A worldwide campaign in support of Oswaldo Payá and the Varela Project, a historic petition drive for peaceful democratic change in Cuba, is shining a spotlight on the peaceful efforts of democrats on the island.
Throughout the hemisphere, where the crisis of confidence in political parties continues to threaten democratic systems, emerging leaders from 35 parties in nine countries are participating in programs to reform, modernize and democratize party structures.
In Guatemala, a coalition of human rights and civic groups built a nationwide network to monitor intimidation and violence. Their efforts, especially focused on the exercise of political rights by indigenous peoples, mobilized citizens and produced reports that helped curtail intimidation and significantly reduced the level of political violence.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Wollack.
STATEMENT OF TOM MALINOWSKI, WASHINGTON ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Mr. MALINOWSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for having me and asking me and Human Rights Watch to comment again on this year's State Department report on promoting democracy and human rights.
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The value of this report of course is that it enables us to judge what our government is doing and by its omissions what it is not doing to advance an effective human rights and democracy strategy around the world.
Last year when we looked at the first of these reports, I had some criticisms of that first State Department effort and I have to say I share some of the concerns that Mr. Sherman outlined today and strongly support his suggestion that in the future the State Department outline for us all of the tools that are available under the law, including the sanctions provisions.
The strange truth of that is that actually there is nobody in the State Department who has such a list I am told. It does not exist. No one has ever compiled a clear compendium of what the laws and requirements are and it would be very helpful I think to the Department and to us to have that.
At the same time, I do want to give Mr. Craner a lot of credit and his team for addressing a lot of our concerns with this report and for the work that they do to advance these goals around the world.
I do not want to spend a lot of time talking about the report itself here today. What I would rather do is look at the big picture question, which is whether the United States is really responding right now to the greatest human rights challenges that we face around the world and here I really just want to focus on the answer and our response to two immediate crises on which I think virtually everything depends.
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The first and both have been mentioned here today, the first is the emergency in Darfur Sudan, where the Bush Administration is indeed deeply engaged trying to do the right thing, although much more still needs to be done.
The second is the crisis of credibility that Mr. Sherman alluded to. The crisis of confidence in America's ability to lead the struggle for human rights around the world by example, which was deepened so tragically by the prison abuse scandal.
So let me speak about both of those in turn. First of all, Sudan, the Committee is well aware of what is happening there. Ethnic cleansing that has driven more than a million civilians from their homes.
AID tells us that some 350,000 civilians may die if, in the next few months, if help does not reach them. This is the worst human rights crisis in the world today right now.
There is a lot of debate out there about whether to call it genocide. My view on that is that as the lawyers and the experts and guardians of that term debate, I don't think we should wait to act. We know what is happening. We know who is doing it. We know what is going to happen if we do not act.
My fear is that 10 years from now we are all going to be gathering together to remember the anniversary of Darfur, just as we are remembering now the anniversary of Rwanda and there will be retrospectives and expressions of regret and reports and hearings and meetings and we will all pledge to do more next time.
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I think maybe it would be better to agree that this is the next time and this is the time to take the action that is necessary.
I think if we are going to be serious about stopping it, we need to confront what that is going to take. It is going to require serious pressure against the government of Sudan, which is behind these attacks, not just the Janjaweed militia. Sanctioning a bunch of desert warriors by preventing them from traveling to Europe is not going to work. That may work in terms of pressuring the Sudanese government.
Secondly, we cannot expect at the end of the day the Sudanese government to protect the civilians we want to see come home to Darfur. It is going to require the deployment of international forces, peacekeepers and that is going to require a strong U.N. security council resolution.
Administration has tabled a draft in New York at the security council, which was a very good first step, but it simply not strong enough yet for some of the reasons that have been mentioned and I think all of us, including the Congress, need to come to grips with the fact that that is in fact what it is going to take if we are serious about any of this.
Let me say a few words about the second crisis and the prison abuse in particular. As Mr. Sherman mentioned, our record is far better than almost any government that we criticize around the world. That is not the issue.
The issue is that the United States is a standard setter and the example that we set is critical to everything that we do.
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Mr. Craner asked whether we no longer have the ability to promote human rights around the world because of this. The answer is of course we do. We have to, but the scandal still hurts badly.
As you know, the State Department delayed the publication of this very report, because it knew that there would be a problem in terms of credibility.
I mean how can the Department effectively promote human rights around the world, when our own Justice Department says that a Commander-in-Chief can authorize outright torture in wartime?
If the President of the United States can do that, then Suddam Hussein can do that. Any dictator can do that, not only to his own people, but to captured American prisoners of war, something that we should never forget.
It has hurt us very badly in all the places where we are promoting human rights around the world. World leaders, dictators are gloating over it. American diplomats have told us that there are certain issues they can no longer raise because of this scandal.
In Malaysia, American diplomats have told us very candidly, that they can't really criticize indefinite detention of dissidents any more or abuse in prisons.
There was, just last week, a rally in Egypt sponsored by some very brave democracy advocates, a rally against torture in Egypt and the Arab world and the poster that they put up to attract people to that rally is of course the famous image from Abu Ghraib.
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This rally had nothing to do with protesting the United States or Abu Ghraib. It was about torture in Egypt and yet this image has become the symbol of torture in that part of the world. So we have to turn this around.
It is going to take I think far more serious action than we have seen so far, including action by the Congress. There is legislation that has passed the Senate in the Defense Department Authorization Bill, sponsored by Senators McCain and Durbin, supported by Senator Warner in the Senate, which is going to conference and I hope the House will support it, which will reaffirm America's commitment under the torture convention, not to engage in interrogation methods that are designed to cause pain and humiliation.
We have to reaffirm the basic standard that our military has stood for, for many years, enshrined in all the doctrine, that we will not do to others what would be unlawful if it were done to American prisoners held overseas.
That is the basic standard that we should all be able to agree on and be clear about to the world.
Again, the moral clarity that is represented by these reports is absolutely vital and this Administration has been very good at projecting moral clarity around the world, but we also need moral authority to be able to promote these values effectively and we need to do both.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Malinowski follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF TOM MALINOWSKI, WASHINGTON ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Thank you for holding this hearing and for inviting Human Rights Watch to comment on the State Department's annual report on supporting democracy and human rights around the world.
Having an effective and principled American strategy to promote democratic freedoms around the world has never been more important to America's national security. Indeed, I strongly believe that promoting human rights is central to America's central national security imperative of defeating terror, for three reasons.
First, the aims of Al Qaeda and its allies are advanced by the actions of repressive regimes in the Muslim world, which stretches from Africa to the Middle East to Central, South and Southeast Asia. The terrorists' primary aim, we should remember, is to turn the hearts and minds of the people of this region against their governments and against the West, and to seize upon that anger to transform the region politically. When governments in countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan shut down political dissent, lock up non-violent dissidents, torture opponents, abuse the rule of law, and deny their people fair justice, they are contributing to the radicalization of their people, thus playing right into the hands of terrorist movements. And when ordinary people in the region associate the United States with their repressive governments, Al Qaeda's aim of painting the United States as the enemy is also advanced.
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Second, in the long run, the only viable alternative to the rise of violent, extremist movements in this region is the development of moderate, non-violent political movements that represent their peoples' aspirations, speaking out for economic progress and better schools and against corruption and arbitrary rule. But such movements can only exist under democratic conditions, when people are free to think, speak, write and worship without fear, when they can form political organizations, and when their rights are protected by independent courts.
Without a doubt, more radical organizations can also exploit democratic freedoms to express their views, and they will be part of the political landscape as societies in the Middle East become more open. But as for terrorists, they do not need human rights to do what they do. They have thrived in the most repressive societies in the world. It is the people who don't use violence who need democratic freedoms to survive.
Third, promoting human rights and democracy is important because America's moral authority partly depends on it. American power in the world is more likely to be respected when it is harnessed to goals that are universally shared. People around the world are more likely to aid the United States in the fight against terrorism and other important goals if they believe the United States is also interested in defending their rights and aspirations. When America is seen to be compromising the values it has long preached, its credibility and influence are diminished.
The value of this State Department report is that it allows us to evaluate what the United States government is actually doingand not doingto promote democracy and human rights in its relationships with governments around the world. It helps the Congress and the American people hold the State Department accountable for its efforts and their results, or lack thereof. It also tells people around the world that American diplomats do often take these issues seriously (something the diplomats themselves don't always like to advertise!) Unfortunately, this report, like the annual State Department human rights reports, is not always translated into key foreign languages and distributed or posted on U.S. web sites in the countries it covers. Congress should insist on the widest possible dissemination and provide the funding to make that possible.
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Last year, the State Department published the first of these new annual reports on democracy and human rights promotion. In my testimony to this Committee, I raised a number of concerns about the flaws of that report. The Department has addressed many of those concerns in this year's reportit is a far more comprehensive, honest and useful account of how the United States is advancing these interests around the world.
I commend Assistant Secretary Craner and his team for their dedication in producing the report, and more important, in doing the work that the report describes. I will not take up your time today commenting in any detail about its contents.
Instead, I hope we can focus on some larger questions today. Is the United States responding to the greatest human rights challenges of our time? Is the United States maintaining its standing and authority as a champion of democracy and the rule of law around the world? The day-to-day work of American diplomats and aid providers in missions around the world is vital. But ultimately, the answers to these bigger questions will determine how America's record and that of the Bush administration will be judged.
I believe that right now, the answers depend above all on how the United States responds to two immediate crises.
The first is a human rights crisis of the highest orderthe emergency in Darfur, Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of lives will be lost unless the United States and the international community mount a proper response to stop and reverse ethnic cleansing. Here, the Bush administration has been deeply and seriously engaged. It is trying to do the right thing, though clearly much more still needs to be done.
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The second is a crisis of credibility, a crisis of confidence in America's ability to lead the struggle for human rights around the world by example. This crisis was brought on by decisions made by the Bush administration to place some of its conduct of the war on terror beyond the reach of law, and it was deepened profoundly by the prison abuse scandal. Here, it is not yet clear if the administration is prepared to do what it must to repair the damage to America's moral authority in the world.
Let me speak about both of these crises in turn.
With respect to Darfur, it's clear that the catastrophe there is entirely man-made. It is the result of a campaign of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Sudanese government and by government-supported Arab militias known as the Janjaweed against the civilian populations of the African Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups.
Government forces have overseen and directly participated in massacres, summary executions of civilians, including women and children, burning and bombing of towns and villages, and the forcible depopulation of wide swathes of land long inhabited by these three African ethnic groups. The government and its Janjaweed allies have killed thousands of civilians, often in cold blood, and raped women. These crimes are frequently accompanied by ethnic slurs directed at the victims, calling them ''black'' and ''slaves'' and ''ugly.'' The government and its Janjaweed allies have destroyed villages, water sources (wells, irrigation) and food stocks and other supplies essential to the civilian population. Satellite imagery released by the United States demonstrates that villages belonging to the three targeted African ethnic groups have been systematically destroyed even as Arab communities nearby are left untouched.
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These attacks have driven more than one million civilians, mostly farmers, into camps and settlements in Darfur where they live on the edge of survival, hostage to continuing Janjaweed abuses. The U.S. Agency for International Development has estimated that 350,000 people may die in Darfur in the next few months if help does not reach them. (The World Health Organization estimates that 10,000 will die in the next month alone, unless there is an emergency military airlift of medical supplies to Darfurin which case the death toll can be ''brought down'' to 3,000.)
In response, the United States and the international community helped to mediate a cease-fire agreement on April 8 between the Sudanese government and the two rebel groups in Darfur in which the government agreed to ''neutralize'' the Janjaweed. The Sudanese President Omar El Bashir announced on June 18 that the Sudanese security forces would be ''mobilized'' to ''disarm'' the Janjaweed. But no such thing has occurred. The one million people displaced from their homes and farms are still being persecuted by the people who displaced them. The Janjaweed continue to loot, rape and kill in the displaced camps. Women and girls are raped by both government soldiers and Janjaweed, especially if they venture out of the camps for food or medicine. Backed by the government, the militias have launched assaults across the Sudanese border with Chad, threatening to turn this catastrophe into an international conflict.
The cease fire agreement also resulted in the deployment of some 120 lightly armed monitors under the auspices of the African Union. These monitors, who are not yet fully deployed, are hardly capable of covering a region that is the size of France, much less of protecting civilians. Last week, the monitors reportedly told Secretary of State Powell that they had not substantiated any cease fire violations in over a month. Yet both the government and the rebels have alleged on many occasions that the other has violated the ceasefire, and numerous attacks on villages have been noted by the U.N. and other relief organizations.
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There has been a lot of debate the last few weeks about whether to call what is happening in Darfur genocide. The problem is that the guardians of the international definition of genocide may not be satisfied until there is enough time to gather enough evidence, at which point it will be too late.
But if we know that hundreds of thousands of people are going to die, we should not care if the experts call it genocide or not. We already know what we need to know to decide to act. We know that innocent lives are being lost. We know who is doing it. And we know exactly what will happen if we do not act. Ten years from now, we will be gathering to remember the anniversary of Darfur, just as we recently remembered the anniversary of Rwanda. Journalists will write retrospectives. Government officials will express regret. We will all wonder why we didn't do more. And we will all pledge to do more the next time. It would be far better if we agreed now that Darfur is the ''next time'' and that this is the test of our moral commitment to stop atrocities when we can before it's too late.
What, then, should be done? The first step should be to define a clear goal, and work backwards from that.
This crisis will be resolved only if the atrocities stop, the Janjaweed militias are disarmed and disbanded and removed or withdrawn from the areas they have occupied, and the displaced civilians can voluntarily go home in dignity and security. We can demand that the Sudanese government do these things, including that it start protecting the civilians it has been attacking. But realistically, the Sudanese government is not going to stop its deliberate campaign until it is compelled to do so by effective international pressure, including targeted sanctions. And realistically, there is not going to be security for civilians to return home unless it is provided by some kind of international force. And realistically, neither of these things is likely to gain international support without a strong resolution, or series of resolutions, by the U.N. Security Council.
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The Bush administration has taken a number of admirable steps towards that kind of solution. It has made clear that it wants to see ethnic cleansing reversed. It has identified the names of Janjaweed commanders responsible for crimes and told Sudanese government officials it is investigating their role as well. Secretary Powell has traveled to Darfur to call international attention to the crisis. The administration is putting forward a Security Council resolution, under the Council's Chapter VII enforcement powers, and pressing somewhat reluctant allies to support it.
The draft resolution, however, may still be too weak to influence the Sudanese government. It imposes sanctions, including a travel ban and arms embargo, on the Janjaweed militia and their leaders, but not on the Sudanese military commanders who have armed and directed the killers on the ground, and who might actually be hurt by a ban on travel overseas. It does not clearly call for the voluntary return of the displaced to their homes in secure conditions. It does not call for additional measures against Sudan or authorize the deployment of international troops if its demands are not met. A strong resolution would do all those things, and that is what the United States should seek.
In short, Mr. Chairman, we can hope that the Sudanese government will take on its own the steps necessary to end this catastrophe, but we would be foolish to expect it. And that means, if we are serious about saving lives in Darfur, that the international community must be prepared to do what the Sudanese government will not. If that requires the deployment of international protective forces, the United States should be prepared to call for that and to back such a deployment financially and logistically. I urge the Congress to make clear to the administration that it will support such an effort.
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Mr. Chairman, let me also say a few words about the second crisis I mentioned at the outsetthe crisis of credibility the United States faces in promoting human rights around the world.
The State Department report we are examining today describes what the United States is doing to convince governments around the world not to abuse human rights, even if they are doing so in the name of national security. It describes how, from Uzbekistan to Egypt to China, America urges other countries not to engage in torture and not to lock people up without trial or charge, even when they say they are doing so to protect themselves from violence. Last week in Turkey, President Bush delivered another strong speech about the need for governments in the Arab world to embrace democratic reform and to respect the rule of law, even those governments that are most threatened by terrorism.
It should go without saying, however, that the United States cannot promote these values effectively if it is not seen as consistently applying them to itself.
The images of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison obviously did enormous damage to America's image as a champion of human rights and the rule of law around the world. But the images themselves are not the biggest problem. No one expects America to be perfect. Everyone knows that even democratic societies produce soldiers and prison guards who do terrible things. If that's all that happened here, we could solve this problem merely by punishing a few bad people. But that's not all that happened herethere were policy decisions made by this administration that will set back the fight against torture around the world by fifty years if they are not repudiated and reversed.
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First, we know that in 2002, the CIA whether it could use certain highly coercive techniques against detainees in its custody, and that the Justice Department responded with an authoritative opinion: that the President, pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief, can authorize even outright torture of prisoners. We have seen numerous reports, which have not been denied, that the CIA used a technique known as ''water-boarding'' in which detainees heads' are submerged underwater so they think they will drown. This technique, known as the ''submarine'' to victims of torture in places like Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe and Pinochet's Chile, has long been condemned by the United States.
If we believe that the President of the United States can authorize such things in war time, then we have to accept that Saddam Hussein and every other world leader can do the same thing. The next time a dictator uses this excuse to justify the torture of his opponents, or of American prisoners of war, what will the United States say?
Second, we know that the Justice Department decided that torture requires the infliction of pain so severe that it is ''equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death.'' This definition, which flies in the face of U.S. military doctrine and international law, would permit virtually every abuse we saw in those photos in Abu Ghraib. The next time a foreign government ''merely'' beats prisoners, or straps electrodes to their limbs without the ''intent'' of actually electrocuting them to death, all they will have to do is quote the U.S. Justice Department to argue that it's not torture. And that is tragic.
Third, we know that the Defense Department authorized for a time in Guantanamo the use of techniques such as ''forced standing,'' stripping detainees naked, and threatening them with dogs. Similar techniques, including sleep deprivation, exposure to hot and cold, and placing prisoners in painful ''stress positions'' were approved by military commanders in Iraq. Based on our own Human Rights Watch investigations, numerous press reports and the reports of the International Committee for the Red Cross, we know that these techniques were used by U.S. forces throughout Afghanistan and Iraq. They clearly contributed to deaths in custody and to the abuses in Abu Ghraib.
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Such so called ''stress and duress'' techniques may sound innocuous. But as anyone who has worked with torture victims knows, they are the stock in trade of brutal regimes around the world. For example, the Washington Times recently reported that ''[s]ome of the most feared forms of torture cited'' by survivors of the North Korean gulag ''were surprisingly mundane: Guards would force inmates to stand perfectly still for hours at a time, or make them perform exhausting repetitive exercises such as standing up and sitting down until they collapsed from fatigue.''
Binding prisoners in painful positions is a torture technique widely used in countries such as China and Burma, and repeatedly condemned by the United States. Stripping Muslim prisoners nude to humiliate them was a common practice of the Soviet military when it occupied Afghanistan. As for sleep deprivation, consider former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's account of experiencing it in a Soviet prison in the 1940s:
''In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep, to sleep just a little, not to get up, to lie, to rest, to forget. . . . Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger or thirst are comparable with it . . . I came across prisoners who signed what they were ordered to sign, only to get what the interrogator promised them. He did not promise them their liberty. He promised themif they signeduninterrupted sleep!''
These techniques were invented in the dungeons of the world's most brutal regimes for one purposeto inflict pain and humiliation without leaving physical scars. The State Department rightly continues to urge other countries not to engage in this kind of torture. But how can it credibly do so if the United States is seen to employ it, too?
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Finally, we know that the CIA and the Defense Department deliberately hid detainees from the International Committee for the Red Cross, in hopes that such isolation would aid interrogation. The Defense Department acknowledges this was a violation of the Geneva Conventions, yet Secretary Rumsfeld continues to defend it in at least one key case, for reasons he, surreally, has acknowledged he cannot explain. The next time the United States demands Red Cross access to an American POW or to a foreign detention center where torture is suspected, what will it say when this is thrown back in its face?
For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, the abused prisoners in Iraq were far from the only victims of this scandal. Some of the biggest victims are the many good people enduring torture in brutal prisons in places like Burma and China and Zimbabwe and Egypt who look to the United States to be their champion. For the United States can't be an effective champion for these people so long as it's echoing the arguments of theirs torturers.
And I can tell you from my organizations contacts with human rights activists in these places, that the prison abuse as well as controversies over the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects has had a devastating impact on America's image. Abusive governments around the world are gloating about it. And American diplomats are indeed beginning to censor themselves. We have seen that in Malaysia, for example, where political detainees have often been imprisoned without charged and abused in detention, and U.S. embassy officials have candidly told us that they can say little about it.
I recognize that President Bush has pledged that he is against torture and that the U.S. will obey the laws against torture. I welcome the fact that the White House has begun to distance itself from the Justice Department's efforts to find a legal justification for torture. But given the amount of damage that has been done, that is not enough.
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The administration should be absolutely clear that the United States will no longer apply to any detainee anywhere in the world methods of interrogation that violate the international prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. It should be clear that it is no longer employing so called ''stress and duress'' techniques, which are designed to inflict pain and humiliation on detainees. It should reaffirm the basic rule enshrined in the U.S. Army's Intelligence Interrogation Manual: that the United States will not take any actions against any detainee that would be considered unlawful if perpetrated by the enemy against an American prisoner.
The administration should also provide the International Committee on the Red Cross access to all detainees in U.S. custody or control everywhere in the world, and open prison facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan to local and international human rights organizations. And it should be open to a truly independent investigation of the prison abuse scandal.
It should, in other words, demand of itself exactly what it rightly demands of others in this and other State Department reports.
The Congress also has an important role to play. Senators Durbin and McCain, for example, cosponsored an amendment to the Defense Department Authorization bill last month reaffirming America's legal obligation to treat all detainees consistent with its obligations under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, and requiring the Defense Department to issue interrogation guidelines consistent with that commitment. The amendment was approved, with Senator Warner's support, by the Senate, and I urge the House to accept it in conference. Congress should continue its investigation of the prison abuse scandal, insisting that the administration provide whatever information is needed to aid that investigation.
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The stakes here are huge, Mr. Chairman. For the United States does have a special role to play in the worldand that role is based not just on America's power, but on the power of America's example.
We need the moral clarity that is provided by these State Department reports and by the efforts of the President and the State Department to condemn human rights abuses throughout the year. But the United States needs to project more than moral clarityit must maintain moral authority to promote a more humane and democratic world. That requires consistent leadership abroad and a sterling example at home.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Malinowski.
We will have time for at least one question or two, because the bells have gone off and we will come back.
Ambassador Williamson, could you respond to Mr. Malinowski's assessment, particularly as it relates to the prison abuse issue?
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think all decent people were shocked by the pictures that were shown of the abuses in the Iraqi prisons.
What happened was shameful and it was wrong and it was harmful to the United States and the values we hold, but the important thing I would like to emphasize and I think our real test is that we succeed in holding accountable those that trespass the values we cherish.
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What the world has seen is that the leaders of this Administration have had opportunity to be called before Congress and questioned about this, given thoughtful responses, in the United States we have a free press that is challenging what happened and how we should redress it, that NGO's have a right to speak freely.
I think in the long run, though the acts were shameful and wrong, the fact that we have a resilient process that will hold up the values we cherish in the end is more important, just as we are seeing last week when a once all powerful brutal dictator who held the life and death of everyone in his country brought to the dock, a young judge reading him his rights and the crimes for which he is being charged.
What is important now is the institutions like Congress, like our judicial process, like the press, like NGO's, like civil society work and Mr. Chairman, they are and this Administration is responsive to it, because they too are ashamed of what happened. It does not reflect the values of the United States of America.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. As you hear, the bell is going off. If you gentlemen can remain here so that we will have an opportunity for the
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Point of personal privilege.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Yes.
Page 175 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. Just to note that we are going to vote on the Manzullo amendment, which would take money from the National Endowment for Democracy. Just thought I would remind the Members of the Committee and my good friend, Brad Sherman.
Mr. SHERMAN. I would point out it then transfers that money to very important small business programs.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Small business programs are important. I would assume that those in this room will probably not be disappointed by my vote. I will return in about 10 minutes.
[Whereupon, at 3:16 p.m., the Subcommittee meeting was recessed until 3:37 p.m.]
Mr. GALLEGLY. I apologize for the interruption, but there are some things we don't have control over.
While we are waiting for Members of the Minority, I will continue with a couple of questions. First of all, for Mr. Gershman.
Mr. Gershman, President Bush announced back in his State of the Union address that he is requesting a doubling of funds for NED in 2005. NED has stated it will be working on a Greater Middle East initiative.
How much of the increased funds will be directed toward democracy activities in the Middle East alone and how do you see those activities being funded?
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Mr. GERSHMAN. Mr. Chairman, I assume that the question implies a distinction between the countries of the Middle East and the greater Middle East, which involves Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and other countries that are not considered part of the Middle East proper.
The vast majority of the funds, I don't have the exact figure, but I would assume that it is somewhere over 75 percent of those funds would go for the countries of the Middle East itself in northern Africa, the Levant, the Gulf region and so forth.
But we do have a significant program planned for Pakistan and for Turkey and even though it is difficult for us to, at this time, to be active in support of groups inside Iran, we have included funds for Iran as well.
I can get you the precise numbers in the plan that we have developed.
Mr. GALLEGLY. For the purpose of the hearing, perhaps just supply us with the general information on that. That would be helpful.
At this point, I would defer to the gentlemen from California, Mr. Rohrabacher, for 5 minutes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
First of all, I guess I should wait until Mr. Sherman gets here, just to note that I certainly agree with him and agree with our witnesses as well that it was pointed out that Mr. Sherman's recommendations on a list of the sanctions and a list on how sanctions are being utilized by this or any other Administration, is a very useful tool and I would hope that that suggestion is taken to heart and that next year that we have that tool available to us to figure out just how committed this Administration is or any other Administration is to human rights, in terms of how far they are pushing the alternatives that they have, rather than trying to guess how any alternatives are being used, where, by whom, on what.
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About Africa and about the slaughter that is going on in Africa today, again as I mentioned earlier, that the Administration has had a tremendous success in terms of ending this and finding a compromise between the north and south problem in Sudan and we already have had the Secretary of State visit that region and I am sure having Sudan on one of the top of his lists.
You all mentioned this. Are we optimistic? Is there an optimism that the fact that some kind of momentum from the north/south agreement might be able to be used to help end this horrible conflict? I guess the western region of Sudan.
Mr. MALINOWSKI. I guess I will take it.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Go right ahead.
Mr. MALINOWSKI. I agree that the north/south agreement is a huge breakthrough and it is going to save lives and the Administration deserves enormous credit for the work that they did to negotiate it, but I don't unfortunately think that it should lead us to be more hopeful about the situation in Darfur being resolved.
I don't see a positive spillover yet into what is happening in Darfur. Mr. Winter I think was very, very candid with us when he said that we have just not yet seen the results of the efforts that this Administration and others have made on Darfur, in terms of conditions for people on the ground. They remain miserable.
Page 178 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. I understand the agreement in Sudan was based on a recognition by both sides that the goodies of their natural resource development would not be shared, because it would not be realized by anybody if the conflict continued.
I would hope that argument would actually perhaps be able to be used again in solving the current situation.
Let me note that again when we talk about the Administration being timid that it was during the last Administration when we had this mass slaughter in Rwanda by I guess it was the Tutsis and Hutus. I am not sure if I am pronouncing that correctly.
But this was one of the greatest slaughters in history, at least in modern history and it was all but ignored here and by the last Administration I don't remember anything brought up by the last Administration on how we would try to stop that bloodshed that was going on.
Again, I am not saying we have a perfect record, but I think that in Sudan, as compared to what happened in Rwanda in the last Administration, what we are trying to do in Sudan demonstrates the sincerity of this Administration in trying.
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Congressman Rohrabacher, let me just note, not only was President Bush in February the first major world leader to call on action regarding Darfur, but notwithstanding our setbacks at the human rights commission, it is encouraging that the President proposed and the GA adopted a resolution condemning the human rights abuses in Darfur.
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It is encouraging that there is a resolution circulating in New York for U.N. security council action on Darfur that the United States is taking the lead on and it is encouraging that Secretary General Kofi Annon, as I said in April, called it ethnic cleansing, visited Darfur last week and then just yesterday increased the rhetoric.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. This is
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Hopefully the international support that President Bush has tried to lead will come together, because it is absolutely correct. We have to get action and one of the most serious problems is NGO humanitarian accesses being denied to those million displaced persons.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. We need to make that stand very clear and unfortunately that last vote that we just had, sorry, we lost it.
I believe that not only the Congress, but the American people have to be reminded. You know we just sang the praises of Ronald Reagan for a week about his accomplishments and how he ended the Cold War and Mr. Williamson and I know exactly what that entailed, part of it was the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, which the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, put forth as an idea in a speech before the British Parliament in 1982.
This institution and this commitment helped create a more peaceful world. We have enormous challenges now. We solved those challenges. We have another set of challenges. Every generation will have those challenges.
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But a fundamental tool in creating a more peaceful world and solving and overcoming the challenges of that moment, of that generation is always going to be the promotion of our fundamental values of freedom and justice and liberty and human rights and treating people decently that go with our way of life and making sure that those things are not just the legacy or let us say the birthright of Americans, but the birthright of all people and that is a very powerful argument in this world.
We need to tell the American people and our fellow colleagues that perhaps that is more important than a small business subsidy and why is it more important than a small business subsidy, even though you are a local small business and they want that subsidy, that peace and progress in this world and dealing with people on a moral basis, which will help promote peace and progress in this world, is actually so much more valuable in the long run and to our children than a subsidy to a small business operation is today.
I am afraid that we are up here talking with you and maybe we should have been down on the Floor, but thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership in holding this hearing.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher.
Ambassador Williamson, in June supporters of President Chavez in the National Assembly successfully passed a law that enlarged Venezuela's Supreme Justice Tribunal from 20 to 32 justices.
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The new law also allows the National Assembly to nullify the appointments of sitting justices. Some fear that this amounts to an effort by President Chavez to pack the court with his supporters and to influence the court and potential future rulings related to the recall referendum.
Could you respond to that?
Ambassador WILLIAMSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The situation in Venezuela has been troubling. IRI and I believe other core institutions are very active in trying to help prepare and educate participants thoroughly for a peaceful and transparent process.
It has not been easy. IRI in particular received some criticism from the government in Venezuela, but we think the efforts being made by NDI and IRI are helpful, but it is going to be terribly important that we continue to fight for it to be transparent, that we have international observers there to monitor and certify the election and that we get greater confidence in the people of Venezuela that it will be a free and fair process.
Mr. Chairman, at this point, I would not like to venture a guarantee that that will happen.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Wollack, would you like to expand on that or make a comment?
Mr. WOLLACK. I will just make a couple points. There is no doubt that throughout the process of collecting signatures for the referendum that the opposition parties, as well as the civic organizations, jumped through a number of hurdles in order to achieve the results that we are seeing today and that is a referendum process that will take place in mid August.
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The goalposts were changed. It was a rather unlevel playing field in terms of the signature gathering process. They achieved it once. They had to recertify it again, despite the fact that all of the observers who were watching the process had concluded that the original signature campaign carried out by the civic organizations and the opposition did meet the required number of signatures, but the opposition very patiently stayed engaged in the process and recertified the signatures that were challenged by the courts.
I imagine there will be a number of other challenges between now and August 15. The question of international observers has not been resolved and in addition to that, the question will be what are the rules of engagement for international observers, because undoubtedly there may be rules that will be introduced to inhibit their ability to carry out normal functions for international observers and also the ability of domestic Venezuelan observers to carry out a credible, non-partisan observation effort.
I think it is time to be very vigilant for the United States and for the countries in Latin America and in Europe to be engaged in this process as well and hopefully, the results will reflect the will of the Venezuelan people.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Wollack.
Mr. Rohrabacher has one follow-up.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I just note earlier one of my colleagues asked the very serious question about are we better off now than we were 4 years ago?
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Let me just note, with a very positive for the record, yes. Four years ago we were not trying to make the situation in Iraq any better, for either the Iraqi people or for the neighboring countries of Iraq, which were threatened by this gangster regime in Iraq. Today we are taking care of that business, unlike the last Administration 4 years ago.
Al-Qaeda, we have driven them out of their home base in Afghanistan and we are taking care of that business. It is a very difficult time, because we are taking care of al-Qaeda. We have taken care of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. We have made great strides in Sudan, which again are we better off than we were 4 years ago? The answer is yes.
Is there a conflict? In Georgia, Georgia, little Georgia out there in the middle of the other side of the world, 4 years ago and during the last Administration, the United States placed all of its eggs in the basket of an authoritarian who we liked. His name was Chevronatzi.
He is authoritarian. His regime replaced a democratically elected government, where the leader was assassinated, a guy named Kom Securdi.
Why do they like us now? Because yes, we are taking care of business in Georgia, because we are supporting the democratic elements and the more that our country supports the good guys around the world who want democracy, want their people to live in freedom and to have mutual respect for other people's rights, the more we are going to live in a more peaceful world.
Page 184 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are taking care of that kind of business right now, where we were not doing that under the last Administration.
We are not anywhere near perfect. There are so many other things we have to stress and reach higher goals and higher standards and make sure any prisoner that is ever tortured where Americans are around, that is never acceptable obviously, but we have taken care of that.
Our reaction to finding that out is also a message to the world. It is also a message to the world. Yes, we are taking care of business. We are better off than we were 4 years ago. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GALLEGLY. With that note, I will thank each Member and each witness. We appreciate the time you have given us this afternoon. We look forward to continuing to work with you all. With that, the Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:52 p.m., the Subcommittee meeting was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
RESPONSE FROM THE HONORABLE LORNE W. CRANER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, TO QUESTION SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD BY THE HONORABLE ELTON GALLEGLY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Page 185 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
(Footnote 1 return)
Address to the British Parliament, June 8, 1982.
(Footnote 2 return)
(Footnote 3 return)
Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Martin of Canada in a Press Availability, April 30, 2004. Transcript available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040430-2.html
(Footnote 4 return)
David Rohde, ''Fourteen Afghans are Killed for Registering to Vote'' New York Times June 28, 2004.
(Footnote 5 return)
See Reuel Marc Gerecht, ''Democratic Revolution?'' Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2004.
(Footnote 6 return)
More information on the poll and its findings is available at www.iri.org
(Footnote 7 return)
Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights: In Theory and Practice (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003) page 191.
(Footnote 8 return)
See generally, Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003)
(Footnote 9 return)
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Legitimacy and Force: Political and Moral Dimensions (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1988) page 85.
(Footnote 10 return)
Quoted in Juan Forero, ''Latin America Graft and Poverty Trying Patience with Democracy'' New York Times, June 24, 2004.
(Footnote 11 return)
(Footnote 12 return)
Address to the National Endowment for Democracy, November 6, 2003. Transcript available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031106-3.html
(Footnote 13 return)
Cited in Ronald W. Reagan, Speaking My Mind: Selected Speeches (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1989) page 423.