May 19, 2004

US Record on Human Rights Situation of UNPO Members

Extract of the U.S. Record 2003-2004, highlighting U.S. efforts to promote human rights and democracy in several UNPO member countries
Untitled Document

Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2003-2004 is submitted to the Congress by the U.S. Department of State. In their report they cover the situation of several UNPO memebers.
Below you can find an extract of the report concerning UNPO members. The full report can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of State



In Aceh, the United States was the chief financial supporter of the
Henri Dunant Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, which helped to broker
the ceasefire agreement (COHA) between the Indonesian Government and the
Free Aceh Movement during the first four months of 2003. This support
helped bring about a substantial reduction in human rights violations
while the ceasefire remained in effect. After the COHA collapsed and the
Government declared martial law, U.S. officials, including Deputy
Assistant of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Elizabeth
Dugan, frequently urged the Government to protect noncombatants' rights
and allow access to humanitarian groups and journalists. The United
States supported civil society organizations that assisted human rights
victims and advocated peaceful resolution of the conflict, and helped
fund the International Catholic Migration Committee’s treatment of
torture victims. Although the U.S. Agency for International Development
was blocked from administering humanitarian aid in Aceh after the
declaration of martial law, the Mission continued to support local NGOs
and media groups attempting to monitor the humanitarian situation in Aceh.

West Papua

In Papua, where separatist sentiment ran high and human rights
violations continued, the United States took steps to improve monitoring
and investigation of human rights abuses. The United States continued to
demand justice for the August 2002 killings of two U.S. citizens near
the city of Timika, and received commitments from Indonesian authorities
to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to resolve this case.
The United States also conveyed concerns over severe rights abuses in
the Central Highlands following an April raid on a government arsenal;
the National Human Rights Commission subsequently opened an official
investigation into the Highlands case. Thanks to advocacy work by
U.S.-funded NGOs, the Commission also launched a probe into the 2001
Wasior incident, during which 12 civilians were killed. The United
States also backed efforts to enshrine Adat (traditional) rights into
law, to increase basic awareness of rights among Papua's most isolated
communities and support the work of the Papua branch of the Committee
for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.

South Moluccas

In Maluku and North Maluku, violence between Muslims and Christians
subsided in 2003, while in Central Sulawesi, following a decline in
violence throughout most of the year, an upsurge in violence was
observed in October and November. All three provinces continued to need
extensive reconciliation and reconstruction work. In Central Sulawesi,
U.S. funding helped the NGO CARE with community development projects and
built homes for those displaced by the conflict. In the same province
and in Maluku, our funding helped the NGO Mercy Corps provide income
generation projects to aid those rendered jobless by the conflict. The
NGO International Medical Corps used U.S. funds to provide emergency and
primary health care to Maluku residents on remote islands where
sectarian violence had destroyed health facilities. U.S. officials
regularly met religious leaders to urge mutual respect and cooperation,
while at the same time calling for justice for those who perpetrated
severe human rights abuses in the past.


The United States continued its efforts to document restrictions on
religious freedom in Vietnam and to raise our concerns at all levels in
interactions with the Government. For example, after U.S. officials
highlighted the case of an "unofficial" Protestant church threatened
with demolition in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnamese authorities backed off
their threats and eventually allowed the church to continue operations.
In October, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom John
Hanford visited Vietnam to set forth concrete steps – including the
release of religious prisoners and allowing the opening of new churches
– that the Government should take to meet international concerns.
Subsequent to that visit, the Government issued a directive calling for
the "continuation of normalizing of relations with the [Protestant
Church] in the Central Highlands" and stating a Bible training center
may be permitted to open soon. It also allowed an increase in the number
of officially registered Protestant churches in the Central Highlands.

Albanians in Macedonia

In March 2003, after a mine killed two Polish NATO soldiers, the
Ambassador traveled to Lipkovo, a northern Macedonian village, to send a
clear message that the United States would not tolerate violent
extremism in the region. He pressed the Government to investigate and
prosecute the perpetrators. In May 2003, the Ambassador, in coordination
with government officials, met with ethnic Albanians in Vejce, a
northern Macedonian village near the Kosovo border, to defuse an armed
standoff and persuade the local residents to allow ethnic Macedonian
family members to place flowers at the site where eight ethnic
Macedonian security force members were killed in 2001. A dignified,
positive outcome resulted.


In his September 2003 meeting with President Vladimir Putin at Camp
David, President Bush raised a broad range of bilateral issues including
democracy and human rights concerns such as Chechnya. In a January trip
to Moscow, Secretary of State Powell raised democracy and human rights
concerns, including Chechnya, media freedom and rule of law. In an op-ed
in the prominent newspaper Izvestiya, he acknowledged that the civic
institutions of a democratic society take time to develop, but welcomed
the future prospect that Russia would achieve stable democratic
institutions, noting that “without basic principles shared in common,
our relationship will not achieve its potential.”

The gravest threat to human rights in Russia continued to be the
conflict in Chechnya. During the joint press conference of Presidents
Bush and Putin following their September meeting at Camp David,
President Bush stated, “Terrorists must be opposed wherever they spread
chaos and destruction, including Chechnya. A lasting solution to that
conflict will require an end to terror, respect for human rights and a
political settlement that leads to free and fair elections.” Senior U.S.
officials, including Secretary Powell and the Ambassador, regularly
expressed concern and continued their dialogue on the conduct of the
Russian military in Chechnya with high-level Russian political and
military leaders and with Russian and American NGOs. In public and
private forums, U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs Beth Jones, used testimony before
Congress, regular meetings with the Russian President's aide for
Chechnya, media interviews and public speeches to highlight the issue.
They stressed both publicly and privately that the conflict in Chechnya
requires a political, not military, solution, that Russian forces in
Chechnya should end human rights abuses, and that the Russian Government
should hold those found responsible accountable when violations occur.
The United States also called on the Chechen leadership to end terrorist
acts and violence against civilians, repudiate terrorism in word and
deed and cut all ties to Chechen and international terrorists. The day
after the October presidential election in Chechnya, the State
Department Spokesman stated, “Unfortunately, the presidential election
that took place yesterday and the political process that led up to it
fell short of the potential for producing a positive democratic outcome.”

The United States voted for the European Union’s resolution on Chechnya
at the 2003 UN Commission on Human Rights. The United States used OSCE
forums to convey human rights and humanitarian concerns about Chechnya.
Secretary Powell drew attention to human rights abuses in Chechnya
during his address to the OSCE’s Ministerial Meeting in December. U.S.
funding supported efforts by Russians to promote accountability for
human rights abuses in Chechnya. U.S. officials repeatedly urged that
all returns of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to Chechnya be purely
voluntary and that IDPs in tent camps who wish to remain in Ingushetiya
be given the choice of moving to alternative shelter. The United States
supported legal assistance to indigent people, including through an NGO
that assisted nearly 5,000 IDPs in the North Caucasus in FY 2003. Also
in FY 2003, the United States gave a total of $22.5 million to
international humanitarian assistance programs addressing a wide range
of IDP needs in the North Caucasus, and the United States continues to
provide such assistance.

Chittagong Hill Tracts

USAID leads a thematic working group on anti-trafficking with the
Government, civil society and other donor representatives that has
developed the conceptual framework for the sector and launched a media
communications package used by the Government and NGOs working in the
field. The results are clear: Public awareness and condemnation of
trafficking are going up, as are arrests and convictions of traffickers.
Through a series of anti-trafficking film festivals, the United States
is working to strengthen awareness of the issue regionally as well as in
Dhaka. USAID also began an innovative program with an imams’ association
in Chittagong, under which imams in the border areas receive training in
anti-trafficking. Approximately 500 of these imams train other imams and
engage their communities in discussions of this crime. Several of the
imams who received this training have written letters to newspapers as
well as conducted meetings following Friday prayers to initiate
community strategies to combat trafficking.