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US Launches Promising Human Rights Reporting Tool

Human Rights Watch: “The United States Department of State is empowering ordinary people around the world to report human rights abuses by foreign security forces. On September 30, the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor launched a new reporting tool, the Human Rights Reporting Gateway, that gives the public a way to alert the US government of gross violations of human rights. The State Department hopes the information uploaded will help its staffers determine which foreign security forces should not receive US assistance. The vetting process that this information will feed into is required by the Leahy Laws, which prohibit the US government from providing funding to assist specific units of foreign security forces where there is “credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.” Until now, vetting included the review of classified and open-source materials. Now, people affected by such abuses, academics, and human rights researchers can contribute to the process. The Leahy Laws, which were created by Senator Patrick Leahy in the 1990s and apply to the State and Defense Departments, have strengthened oversight of US security assistance and aimed to incentivize respect for human rights. This new tool gives those vetting another source of information on gross violations, including torture, extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearance, rape by specified foreign security forces, and “other forms of cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment.”


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