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Title:  Appendix A: Notes on Preparation of Report, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State
Date:  March 1996




                            APPENDIX A

                Notes on Preparation of the Reports

We base the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on 
information available from all sources, including American and foreign 
government officials, victims of human rights abuse, academic and 
congressional studies, and reports from the press, international 
organizations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) concerned with 
human rights.  We find particularly helpful, and make reference in most 
reports to, the role of NGO's, ranging from groups in a single country 
to those that concern themselves with human rights worldwide.  While 
much of the information we use is already public, information on 
particular abuses frequently cannot be attributed, for obvious reasons, 
to specific sources.

By law, we must submit the reports to Congress by January 31.  To 
comply, we provide guidance to United States diplomatic missions in July 
for submission of draft reports in September and October, which we 
update by year's end as necessary.  Other offices in the Department of 
State provide contributions and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, 
and Labor prepares a final draft.  Because of the preparation time 
required, it is possible that yearend developments may not be fully 
reflected.  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 organizations, most 
opposition groups and certainly most governments deny that they commit 
human rights abuses and often go to great lengths to conceal 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.

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, 
discrimination) in which abuses and problems occurred.

We have continued the effort from previous years to expand reporting on 
human rights practices affecting 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 
discriminatory laws or regulations).  In Section 5, we continue to 
discuss socioeconomic discrimination; societal violence against women, 
children, or minority group members; and the efforts, if any, of 
governments to combat these problems.

With regard to governmental policies on the welfare of children, readers 
may wish to consult "The State of the World's Children 1996," published 
by the United Nations Children's Fund, which provides a wide range of 
data on health, education, nutrition, and rates of infant mortality and 
mortality under 5 years of age in some 145 countries, as well as 
information on the degree of progress that these countries are making in 
reducing the key mortality rate for those under age 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, illegal, and excessive 
use of lethal force by the police, security forces, or other agents of 
the State whether 

against criminal suspects, detainees, prisoners, or others); excludes 
combat deaths and killings by common criminals, if the likelihood of 
political motivation can be ruled out (see also Section 1.g.).  Although 
mentioned briefly here, deaths in detention due to official negligence 
are covered in detail in Section 1.c.

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 degrading.  This section also covers prison conditions, 
including whether conditions meet minimum international standards, and 
deaths in custody due to negligence by government officials.

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.  Also discusses whether, and under what 
circumstances, governments exile citizens.

Denial of Fair Public Trial--Briefly 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--An optional subsection for use in describing abuses that 
occur in countries experiencing significant internal armed conflict.  
Includes indiscriminate, nonselective killings arising from excessive 
use of force, e.g., by police in putting down demonstrations, or by the 
shelling of villages (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, lethal use of 
excessive force by security forces (which is herein defined as a form of 
extrajudicial killing) is discussed in Section 1.a.; nonlethal excessive 
force in Section 1.c.

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--Discusses whether the constitution or laws provide 
for the right of citizens of whatever religious belief to worship free 
of government interference and whether the government respects that 
right.  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 have the legal right and ability in practice to 
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 country.

Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or 
Social Status--Every report contains a subheading on Women, Children, 
and People With Disabilities.  As appropriate, some reports also include 
subheadings on Indigenous People, Religious Minorities, and 
National/Racial/Ethnic 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, focusing on laws, 
regulations, or state practices which are inconsistent with equal access 
to housing, employment, education, health care, or other governmental 
benefits by members of specific groups.  (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.)  
Societal violence against women, e.g., "dowry deaths," wife beating, 
rape, trafficking in women, and government tolerance of such abuse, is 
discussed in this section under the subheading on women.  We also 
discuss under this subheading the extent to which the law provides for, 
and the government enforces, equality of economic opportunity for women.  
Similarly, we discuss violence or other abuse against children under 
that subheading.  Because female genital mutilation (circumcision) is 
most often performed on children, we discuss it under that subheading.

Worker Rights -- See Appendix B.

(###)

[end of document]

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