The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal

DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994

                           APPENDIX A

              Notes on Preparation of the Reports 

The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices are based 
upon all information available to the United States Government.  
Sources include American officials, officials of foreign 
governments, private citizens, victims of human rights abuse, 
congressional studies, intelligence information, press reports, 
international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations 
concerned with human rights.  We are particularly appreciative 
of, and make reference in most reports to, the role of 
nongovernmental human rights organizations, ranging from groups 
in a single country to major organizations that concern 
themselves with human rights matters in larger geographic regions 
or over the entire world.  While much of the information we use 
is already public, information on particular abuses frequently 
cannot be attributed, for obvious reasons, to specific sources. 

The reports by law must be submitted to Congress by January 31.  
To comply, United States diplomatic missions are given guidance 
in September for submission of draft reports in October, which 
are updated by year's end as necessary.  Contributions are 
received from appropriate offices in the Department of State, and 
a final draft is prepared under the coordination of the Bureau of 
Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.  Because of the 
preparation time required, it is possible that developments in 
the latter part of the year may not be fully reflected; moreover, 
reports from some of the nongovernmental organizations are for 
periods ending well before the end of the year.  We make every 
effort to include reference to major events or significant 
changes in trends. 

We have attempted to make these country reports as comprehensive 
as space will allow, while taking care to make them objective and 
as uniform as possible in both scope and quality of coverage.  We 
have given particular attention to attaining a high standard of 
consistency despite the multiplicity of sources and the obvious 
problems related to varying degrees of access to information, 
structural differences in political and social systems, and 
trends in world opinion regarding human rights practices in 
specific countries. 

It is often difficult to evaluate the credibility of reports of 
human rights abuses.  With the exception of some terrorist 
groups, most opposition groups and certainly most governments 
deny that they commit human rights abuses and often go to great 
lengths to cover up any evidence of such acts.  There are often 
few eyewitnesses to specific abuses, and they frequently are 
intimidated or otherwise prevented from reporting what they know.  
On the other hand, individuals and groups opposed to a particular 
government sometimes have powerful incentives to exaggerate or 
fabricate abuses, and some governments similarly distort or 
exaggerate abuses attributed to opposition groups.  We have made 
every effort to identify those groups (e.g., government forces, 
terrorists, etc.) that are believed, based on all the evidence 
available, to have committed human rights abuses.  Where credible 
evidence is lacking, we have tried to indicate why.  Many 
governments that profess to oppose human rights abuses in fact 
secretly order or tacitly condone them or simply lack the will or 
the ability to control those responsible for them.  Consequently, 
in judging a government's policy, it is important to look beyond 
statements of policy or intent in order to examine what in fact a 
government has done to prevent human rights abuses, including the 
extent to which it investigates, tries, and appropriately 
punishes those who commit such abuses.  We continue to make every 
effort to do that in these reports. 

There is a conceptual difficulty in applying a single standard of 
evaluation to societies with differing cultural and legal 
traditions.  There is also a problem of perspective in discussing 
countries that face differing political and economic realities, 
which must be taken into account in describing the human rights 
environment.  Rather than viewing a country in isolation, these 
reports take as their point of departure the world as it is and 
then seek to apply a consistent approach in assessing each 
country's human rights situation.  While we have tried to make 
each report self-contained by including enough background 
information to place the human rights situation in context, 
readers who need to delve more deeply may wish to consult other 
sources, including previous country reports. 

To increase uniformity, the introductory section of each report 
contains a brief setting, indicating how the country is governed 
and providing the context for examining the country's human 
rights performance.  A description of the political framework and 
the role of security and law enforcement agencies with respect to 
human rights is followed by a brief characterization of the 
economy.  The setting concludes with an overview of human rights 
developments in the year under review, mentioning specific areas 
(e.g., torture, freedom of speech and press) in which abuses 

There are two format changes in this year's report.  Public law 
103-87, enacted on September 30, 1993, requires that the reports 
include "an examination of the discrimination against people with 
disabilities," including whether the government has enacted 
legislation or otherwise mandated provision of accessibility to 
public buildings.  As a result, the heading of Section 5 has been 
changed to: "Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Disability, Language, or Social Status," and the topic is 
discussed in each report.  The second change is the use of 
subtitles in Section 5 to make that section more readable and to 
enable readers searching for information on discrimination 
against specific groups to find it more readily.  We have 
continued the effort from previous years to expand reporting on 
the human rights of women, children and indigenous people.  We 
discuss in the appropriate section of the report any abuses that 
are targeted specifically against women (e.g., rape or other 
violence perpetrated by governmental or organized opposition 
forces, or legal restrictions on freedom of movement).  
Socioeconomic discrimination; societal violence against women, 
children or minority group members; and the efforts, if any, of 
governments to combat these problems continue to be discussed in 
Section 5. 

The following notes on specific categories of the report are not 
meant to be comprehensive descriptions of each category but to 
provide definitions of key terms used in the reports and to 
explain the organization of material within the format: 

Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing--Includes killings in 
which there is evidence of government instigation without due 
process of law, or of political motivation by government or by 
opposition groups; also covers extrajudicial killings (e.g., 
deliberate and illegal use of lethal force by the police, 
security forces, or other agents of the State whether against 
criminal suspects or others or deaths in official custody 
resulting from unnatural causes or under suspicious 
circumstances); excludes combat deaths and killings by common 
criminals, if the likelihood of political motivation can be ruled 
out (see also Section 1.g.). 

Disappearance--Covers unresolved cases in which political 
motivation appears likely and in which the victims have not been 
found or perpetrators have not been identified; cases eventually 
classed as political killings are covered in the above category, 
those eventually identified as arrest or detention are covered 
under "Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile." 

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment--Torture is here defined as an extremely severe form 
of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, 
committed by or at the instigation of government forces or 
opposition groups, with specific intent to cause extremely severe 
pain or suffering, whether mental or physical.  Discussion 
concentrates on actual practices, not on whether they fit any 
precise definition, and includes use of physical and other force 
that may fall short of torture but which is cruel, inhuman, or 

Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile--Covers cases in which 
detainees, including political detainees, are held in official 
custody without charges or, if charged, are denied a public 
preliminary judicial hearing within a reasonable period. 

Denial of Fair Public Trial--Describes the court system and 
evaluates whether there is an independent judiciary and whether 
trials are both fair and public (failure to hold any trial is 
noted in the category above); includes discussion of "political 
prisoners" (political detainees are covered above), defined as 
those imprisoned for essentially political beliefs or nonviolent 
acts of dissent or expression, regardless of the actual charge. 

Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence--Discusses the "passive" right of the individual 
to noninterference by the State; includes the right to receive 
foreign publications, for example, while the right to publish is 
discussed under "Freedom of Speech and Press"; includes the right 
to be free from coercive population control measures, including 
coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization but does not 
include cultural or traditional practices, such as female genital 
mutilation, which are addressed in Section 5. 

Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts--Includes indiscriminate, nonselective 
killings arising from excessive use of force, e.g., by police in 
putting down demonstrations (deliberate, targeted killing would 
be discussed in Section l.a.). Also includes abuses against 
civilian noncombatants. For reports in which use of this section 
would be inappropriate, i.e., in which there is no significant 
internal conflict, use of excessive force by security forces is 
discussed in Section 1.a. if it results in killings or in Section 
1.c. if it does not. 

Freedom of Speech and Press--Evaluates whether these freedoms 
exist and describes any direct or indirect restrictions.  
Includes discussion of academic freedom. 

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association--Evaluates the 
ability of individuals and groups (including political parties) 
to exercise these freedoms.  Includes the ability of trade 
associations, professional bodies, and similar groups to maintain 
relations or affiliate with recognized international bodies in 
their fields. The right of labor to associate and to organize and 
bargain collectively is discussed under Section 6, Worker Rights 
(see Appendix B). 

Freedom of Religion--Includes the freedom to publish religious 
documents in foreign languages; addresses the treatment of 
foreign clergy and whether religious belief affects membership in 
a ruling party or a career in government. 

Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation--Includes discussion of forced 
resettlement; "refugees" may refer to persons displaced by civil 
strife or natural disaster as well as persons who are "refugees" 
within the meaning of the Refugee Act of 1980, i.e., persons with 
a "well-founded fear of persecution" in their country of origin 
or, if stateless, in their country of habitual residence, on 
account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a 
particular social group, or political opinion. 

Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change 
Their Government--Discusses the extent to which citizens have 
freedom of political choice and can change the laws and officials 
that govern them; assesses whether elections are free and fair. 

Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental 
Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights--Discusses 
whether the government permits the free functioning of local 
human rights groups (including the right to investigate and 
publish their findings on alleged human rights abuses) and 
whether they are subject to reprisal by government or other 
forces. Also discusses whether the government grants access to 
and cooperates with outside entities (including foreign human 
rights organizations, international organizations, and foreign 
governments) interested in human rights developments in the 

Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status--This year, every report contains a 
subheading on Women, Children, and People With Disabilities.  As 
appropriate, some reports also include subheadings on Indigenous 
People, National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities, and Religious 
Minorities.  Discrimination against groups not fitting one of the 
above subheadings is discussed in the introductory paragraphs of 
Section 5.  In this section we address discrimination and abuses 
not discussed elsewhere in the report instigated or condoned by 
the government, and, where not condoned, efforts by the 
government to counter them.  This includes restricted access to 
employment, housing, education, or to other economic, social, or 
cultural opportunities.  (Abuses by government or opposition 
forces, such as killing, torture and other violence, or 
restriction of voting rights or free speech targeted against 
specific groups would be discussed under the appropriate 
preceding sections.)  Government tolerance of societal violence 
or other abuse against women, e.g., "dowry deaths" and wife 
beating, is discussed in this section.  Female genital mutilation 
(circumcision), because it is most often performed on children, 
is discussed under that subheading. 

Worker Rights -- See Appendix B. 
Worker Rights -- See Appendix B.  (###)

[end of document]


Department Seal
Return to 1993 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.