[Senate Prints 112-30, Volume I]
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   112th Congress 1st 
         Session         JOINT COMMITTEE PRINT         S. Prt.
                                                        112-30
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     


                    COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
                           PRACTICES FOR 2010

                                VOLUME I

                               ----------                              

                              R E P O R T

                            SUBMITTED TO THE

                     COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
                               US SENATE

                                AND THE

                      COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
                      US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                                 BY THE

                          DEPARTMENT OF STATE

     IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTIONS 116(d) AND 502B(b) OF THE FOREIGN 
                   ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961, AS AMENDED

                                     


           COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR 2010
                                VOLUME I




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112th Congress 
 1st Session             JOINT COMMITTEE PRINT                  S. Prt.
                                                                 112-30
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     


                    COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
                           PRACTICES FOR 2010

                                VOLUME I

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                            SUBMITTED TO THE

                     COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

                               US SENATE

                                AND THE

                      COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

                      US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                                 BY THE

                          DEPARTMENT OF STATE

     IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTIONS 116(d) AND 502B(b) OF THE FOREIGN 
                   ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961, AS AMENDED

                                     


                                     


                                     


                                     


                                     


?

                 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS        

            JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman          
BARBARA BOXER, California            RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   MARCO RUBIO, Florida
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire        JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware       JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois          JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
TOM UDALL, New Mexico                MIKE LEE, Utah
             Frank G. Lowenstein, Staff Director          
       Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director          


                                     
                  COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS        

             ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman        
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey     HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana                  GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ELTON GALLEGLY, California           ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American 
DANA ROHRABACHER, California             Samoa
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois         DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California          BRAD SHERMAN, California
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio                   ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
RON PAUL, Texas                      GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MIKE PENCE, Indiana                  RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
JOE WILSON, South Carolina           ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
CONNIE MACK, Florida                 GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska           THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas             DENNIS CARDOZA, California
TED POE, Texas                       BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida            BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio                   ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio                   CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
DAVID RIVERA, Florida                FREDERICA WILSON, Florida
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania             KAREN BASS, California
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas                WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania             DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina
               Yleem D.S. Poblete, Staff Director        
         Richard J. Kessler, Democratic Staff Director        

                              (ii)        

  

 
                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              
                                                                   Page

Letter of Transmittal............................................    ix

Preface..........................................................    xi

Overview and Acknowledgments.....................................  xiii

Introduction.....................................................  xvii

                                Volume I

Africa
    Angola.......................................................     1

    Benin........................................................    20

    Botswana.....................................................    30

    Burkina Faso.................................................    41

    Burundi......................................................    51

    Cameroon.....................................................    72

    Cape Verde...................................................    92

    Central African Republic, The................................    98

    Chad.........................................................   122

    Comoros......................................................   137

    Congo, Democratic Republic of the............................   143

    Congo, Republic of the.......................................   186

    Cote d'Ivoire................................................   196

    Djibouti.....................................................   218

    Equatorial Guinea............................................   227

    Eritrea......................................................   240

    Ethiopia.....................................................   257

    Gabon........................................................   284

    Gambia, The..................................................   292

    Ghana........................................................   305

    Guinea.......................................................   320

    Guinea-Bissau................................................   335

    Kenya........................................................   344

    Lesotho......................................................   368

    Liberia......................................................   384

    Madagascar...................................................   395

    Malawi.......................................................   408

    Mali.........................................................   419

    Mauritania...................................................   429

    Mauritius....................................................   444

    Mozambique...................................................   452

    Namibia......................................................   465

    Niger........................................................   479

    Nigeria......................................................   493

    Rwanda.......................................................   525

    Sao Tome and Principe........................................   544

    Senegal......................................................   549

    Seychelles...................................................   565

    Sierra Leone.................................................   571

    Somalia......................................................   589

    South Africa.................................................   610

    Sudan........................................................   628

    Swaziland....................................................   655

    Tanzania.....................................................   670

    Togo.........................................................   692

    Uganda.......................................................   702

    Zambia.......................................................   728

    Zimbabwe.....................................................   744


East Asia and the Pacific

    Australia....................................................   783

    Brunei Darussalam............................................   794

    Burma........................................................   801

    Cambodia.....................................................   823

    China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau).................   843

        Tibet....................................................   882

        Hong Kong................................................   891

        Macau....................................................   906

    Fiji.........................................................   914

    Indonesia....................................................   928

    Japan........................................................   949

    Kiribati.....................................................   961

    Korea, Democratic People's Republic of.......................   966

    Korea, Republic of...........................................   979

    Laos.........................................................   989

    Malaysia.....................................................   999

    Marshall Islands.............................................  1026

    Micronesia, Federated States of..............................  1032

    Mongolia.....................................................  1038

    Nauru........................................................  1050

    New Zealand..................................................  1054

    Palau........................................................  1061

    Papua New Guinea.............................................  1066

    Philippines..................................................  1076

    Samoa........................................................  1093

    Singapore....................................................  1101

    Solomon Islands..............................................  1116

    Taiwan.......................................................  1123

    Thailand.....................................................  1132

    Timor-Leste..................................................  1160

    Tonga........................................................  1169

    Tuvalu.......................................................  1175

    Vanuatu......................................................  1180

    Vietnam......................................................  1187


Europe and Eurasia

    Albania......................................................  1213

    Andorra......................................................  1224

    Armenia......................................................  1229

    Austria......................................................  1261

    Azerbaijan...................................................  1270

    Belarus......................................................  1295

    Belgium......................................................  1332

    Bosnia and Herzegovina.......................................  1340

    Bulgaria.....................................................  1358

    Croatia......................................................  1371

    Cyprus.......................................................  1389

    Czech Republic...............................................  1415

    Denmark......................................................  1433

    Estonia......................................................  1441

    Finland......................................................  1449

    France.......................................................  1460

    Georgia......................................................  1472

    Germany......................................................  1515

    Greece.......................................................  1530

    Hungary......................................................  1547

    Iceland......................................................  1565

    Ireland......................................................  1573

    Italy........................................................  1581

    Kosovo.......................................................  1594

    Latvia.......................................................  1615

    Liechtenstein................................................  1626

    Lithuania....................................................  1631

    Luxembourg...................................................  1643

    Macedonia....................................................  1648

    Malta........................................................  1663

    Moldova......................................................  1673

    Monaco.......................................................  1699

    Montenegro...................................................  1703

    Netherlands..................................................  1730

    Norway.......................................................  1741

    Poland.......................................................  1750

    Portugal.....................................................  1766

    Romania......................................................  1773

    Russia.......................................................  1796

    San Marino...................................................  1840

    Serbia.......................................................  1844

    Slovakia.....................................................  1861

    Slovenia.....................................................  1877

    Spain........................................................  1885

    Sweden.......................................................  1896

    Switzerland..................................................  1907

    Turkey.......................................................  1917

    Ukraine......................................................  1939

    United Kingdom...............................................  1965


                   START HERE deg.Volume II

Near East and North Africa

    Algeria......................................................  1979

    Bahrain......................................................  1996

    Egypt........................................................  2009

    Iran.........................................................  2027

    Iraq.........................................................  2061

    Israel and the occupied territories..........................  2089

    Jordan.......................................................  2139

    Kuwait.......................................................  2157

    Lebanon......................................................  2169

    Libya........................................................  2188

    Morocco......................................................  2203

    Oman.........................................................  2222

    Qatar........................................................  2230

    Saudi Arabia.................................................  2243

    Syria........................................................  2266

    Tunisia......................................................  2288

    United Arab Emirates.........................................  2305

    Western Sahara...............................................  2317

    Yemen........................................................  2324


South and Central Asia

    Afghanistan..................................................  2347

    Bangladesh...................................................  2372

    Bhutan.......................................................  2395

    India........................................................  2403

    Kazakhstan...................................................  2437

    Kyrgyz Republic..............................................  2457

    Maldives.....................................................  2472

    Nepal........................................................  2485

    Pakistan.....................................................  2505

    Sri Lanka....................................................  2541

    Tajikistan...................................................  2560

    Turkmenistan.................................................  2573

    Uzbekistan...................................................  2586


Western Hemisphere

    Antigua and Barbuda..........................................  2609

    Argentina....................................................  2614

    Bahamas, The.................................................  2630

    Barbados.....................................................  2640

    Belize.......................................................  2646

    Bolivia......................................................  2655

    Brazil.......................................................  2668

    Canada.......................................................  2688

    Chile........................................................  2702

    Colombia.....................................................  2713

    Costa Rica...................................................  2742

    Cuba.........................................................  2754

    Dominica.....................................................  2768

    Dominican Republic...........................................  2775

    Ecuador......................................................  2794

    El Salvador..................................................  2812

    Grenada......................................................  2827

    Guatemala....................................................  2833

    Guyana.......................................................  2850

    Haiti........................................................  2859

    Honduras.....................................................  2873

    Jamaica......................................................  2892

    Mexico.......................................................  2904

    Nicaragua....................................................  2923

    Panama.......................................................  2940

    Paraguay.....................................................  2957

    Peru.........................................................  2970

    Saint Kitts and Nevis........................................  2987

    Saint Lucia..................................................  2991

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.............................  2997

    Suriname.....................................................  3003

    Trinidad and Tobago..........................................  3011

    Uruguay......................................................  3020

    Venezuela....................................................  3028


Appendixes

    Appendix A: Notes on preparation of Report...................  3061

    Appendix B: Reporting on Worker Rights.......................  3069

    Appendix C: Selected International Human Rights Conventions..  3071

    Appendix D: Description of International Human Rights 
      Conventions in Appendix C..................................  3079

    Appendix E: FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Actuals...............  3081

    Appendix F: United Nations General Assembly's Third Committee 
      Country Resolution Votes 2010..............................  3107

    Appendix G: United Nations Universal Declaration of Human 
      Rights.....................................................  3115
?

                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL

                              ----------                              

                                       Department of State,
                                     Washington, DC, April 8, 2011.
Hon. John F. Kerry,
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: On behalf of the Secretary of State, I 
am transmitting to you the Country Reports on Human Rights 
Practices for 2010, prepared in compliance with sections 
116(d)(1) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as 
amended, and section 505(c) of the Trade Act of 1974, as 
amended.
    We hope this report is helpful. Please let us know if we 
can provide any further information.
            Sincerely,
                                 Michael H. Posner,
                         Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, 
                                           Human Rights, and Labor.
    Enclosure.

                                  (ix)

                                     
                                PREFACE

                              ----------                              

    Today, the eyes of the world are focused on the Middle East 
and North Africa, where people are demanding that their 
governments live up to the guiding principle of the Universal 
Declaration of Human Rights, that all people are ``born free 
and equal in dignity and rights.'' The promise of this 
principle is the driving power behind every movement for 
freedom, every campaign for democracy, every effort to foster 
development, and every struggle against oppression. We are 
inspired by the courage and determination of these activists, 
and we see in their struggles the true manifestation of a 
universal yearning for dignity and respect. We stand with them 
and with all citizens, activists, and governments around the 
world who peacefully work to advance the causes of democracy 
and human rights.
    As President Obama has said, we are guided by a simple 
idea, `` . . . freedom, justice and peace for the world must 
begin with freedom, justice, and peace in the lives of 
individual human beings.'' This idea represents values we 
cherish in the United States, but they are not ours alone. Our 
belief in the universal principles of freedom, justice, and 
peace guides us on a daily basis as we work to make human 
rights a human reality. The world has witnessed that without 
meaningful steps toward representative, accountable, and 
transparent governance, the gap between people and their 
leaders will only grow. We will continue to promote, support, 
and defend democracy, in its many forms, knowing that it is the 
best political system for allowing individuals to enjoy their 
human rights.
    The 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices provide 
a record of the state of human rights in the world and raise 
awareness of the progress made in 2010, the ground lost, and 
the work that remains. This year marks the thirty-fifth year we 
have reported to Congress on human rights around the world. 
These reports were initially envisioned as a tool to help guide 
the United States in its foreign policy, but they have grown to 
be something much greater. Other governments, individuals, and 
organizations now use the human rights reports as essential 
sources of information about conditions in countries around the 
world. For activists, many of whom confront a shrinking space 
in which to operate and do so at great personal risk, these 
reports also provide evidence that the world is being made 
aware of their struggle.
    As I travel the world, I make a point of meeting with those 
people working to advance the cause of human rights within 
their own countries. I am consistently impressed by the power 
of the human spirit, and the unwavering commitment of these 
brave individuals. Their work inspires us and confirms the 
importance of holding governments, including our own, 
accountable for the treatment of their citizens.
    Once each year we submit the Country Reports on Human 
Rights Practices to Congress, but advancing freedom and human 
rights is a daily priority for the men and women of the 
Department of State, both in Washington and in our embassies 
overseas. Through these reports, through our diplomacy, and 
through our example, we will continue to press for the 
universal human rights of all individuals. Now is the 
opportunity for us to support all who are willing to stand up 
on behalf of the rights we cherish.
    In that spirit I hereby transmit the Department of State's 
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 to the 
United States Congress.
                            Hillary Rodham Clinton,
                                                Secretary of State.
                      OVERVIEW AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

                              ----------                              


                      WHY THE REPORTS ARE PREPARED

    This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department 
of State in compliance with Sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended. The law 
provides that the Secretary of State shall transmit to the 
Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Foreign Relations of the Senate by February 25 ``a full and 
complete report regarding the status of internationally 
recognized human rights, within the meaning of subsection (A) 
in countries that receive assistance under this part, and (B) 
in all other foreign countries which are members of the United 
Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of a human 
rights report under this Act.'' We have also included reports 
on several countries that do not fall into the categories 
established by these statutes and thus are not covered by the 
congressional requirement.
    In the early 1970s the United States formalized its 
responsibility to speak out on behalf of international human 
rights standards. In 1976 Congress enacted legislation creating 
a Coordinator of Human Rights in the Department of State, a 
position later upgraded to Assistant Secretary. Legislation 
also requires that U.S. foreign and trade policy take into 
account countries' human rights and worker rights performance 
and that country reports be submitted to the Congress on an 
annual basis.

                      HOW THE REPORTS ARE PREPARED

    The Department of State prepared this report using 
information from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, foreign 
government officials, nongovernmental and international 
organizations, and published reports. The initial drafts of the 
individual country reports were prepared by U.S. diplomatic 
missions abroad, drawing on information they gathered 
throughout the year from a variety of sources, including 
government officials, jurists, the armed forces, journalists, 
human rights monitors, academics, and labor activists. This 
information gathering can be hazardous, and U.S. Foreign 
Service personnel regularly go to great lengths, under trying 
and sometimes dangerous conditions, to investigate reports of 
human rights abuse, monitor elections, and come to the aid of 
individuals at risk, such as political dissidents and human 
rights defenders whose rights are threatened by their 
governments.
    Once the initial drafts of the individual country reports 
were completed, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and 
Labor, in cooperation with other Department of State offices, 
worked to corroborate, analyze, and edit the reports, drawing 
on their own sources of information. These sources included 
reports provided by U.S. and other human rights groups, foreign 
government officials, representatives from the United Nations 
and other international and regional organizations and 
institutions, experts from academia, and the media. Bureau 
officers also consulted experts on worker rights, refugee 
issues, military and police topics, women's issues, and legal 
matters, among may others. The guiding principle was to ensure 
that all information was assessed objectively, thoroughly, and 
fairly.
    As has proven the case in the past, we anticipate that the 
reports will be used as a resource for shaping policy, 
conducting diplomacy, and making assistance, training, and 
other resource allocations. They will serve also as a basis for 
the U.S. Government's cooperation with private groups to 
promote the observance of internationally recognized human 
rights.
    The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices cover 
internationally recognized civil, political and worker rights, 
as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 
These rights include freedom from torture or other cruel, 
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, from prolonged 
detention without charges, from disappearance or clandestine 
detention, and from other flagrant violations of the right to 
life, liberty and the security of the person.
    Universal human rights seek to incorporate respect for 
human dignity into the processes of government and law. All 
persons have the right to nationality, the inalienable right to 
change their government by peaceful means and to enjoy basic 
freedoms, such as freedom of expression, association, assembly, 
movement, and religion, without discrimination on the basis of 
race, religion, national origin, or sex. The right to join a 
free trade union is a necessary condition of a free society and 
economy. Thus the reports assess key internationally recognized 
worker rights, including the right of association, the right to 
organize and bargain collectively, the prohibition of forced or 
compulsory labor, the status of child labor practices, the 
minimum age for employment of children, and acceptable work 
conditions.
    With this 2010 edition of the country reports, DRL expanded 
the use of hyperlinks from these reports to other key human 
rights documents produced by the Department of State. 
Specifically, readers are asked to follow hyperlinks for 
complete information on religious freedom issues by consulting 
the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, the 2010 
Trafficking in Persons Report, if applicable, and the several 
current publications produced by the Department's Consular 
Affairs Bureau on international child abductions, if applicable 
to the country in question.
    Within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the 
editorial staff of the Country Reports Team consists of: Editor 
in Chief Stephen Eisenbraun; Office Directors: Eric Falls, 
Robert Boehme, Jeffrey Hawkins, Douglas Kramer, Jessica 
Lieberman, Mark Mittelhauser, Susan O'Sullivan; Senior Editors: 
Jonathan Bemis, Douglas B. Dearborn, Daniel Dolan, Jerome L. 
Hoganson, Patricia Meeks Schnell, Marc J. Susser, and Julie 
Turner; Editors: Naim Ahmed, Cory Andrews, Sarah Buckley-Moore, 
Laura Carey, Elise Carlson-Rainer, Della Cavey, Eric Concha, 
Sharon Cooke, Susan Corke, Stuart Crampton, Kathleen Crowley, 
Frank Crump, Bonnie Daley, Tu Dang, Mollie Davis, Mort Dworken, 
Sindbad Fennimore, Karen Gilbride, Joan Garner, Carrie George, 
Safiya Ghori-Ahmad, Patrick Harvey, Caitlin Helfrich, Matthew 
Hicks, Alexandra Hoey, Kimberly Holbrook, Victor Huser, Jill 
Hutchings, Stan Ifshin, Dianna James, Sarah Johnston-Gardner, 
David T. Jones, Simone Joseph, Malac Kabir, Yelda Kazimi, 
Mancharee Junk, Min Kang, Katharine Kendrick, Orly Keiner, 
Stephen Kopanos, Alyson Kozma, Douglas Kramer, Sarah Labowitz, 
Gregory Maggio, Stacey May, Stephen Moody, Sarah Morgan, 
Perlita Muiruri, Sandra Murphy, Daniel L. Nadel, Genevieve 
Parente, Blake Peterson, Meredith Ryder-Rude, Peter Sawchyn, 
Robert Schlicht, Monica Sendor, Wendy Silverman, Marissa Smith, 
Rachel Spring, Jason Starr, Leslie Taylor, Jennifer Terry, 
James C.Todd, David Wagner, Micah Watson, Chanan Weissman, 
Mareham Youssef, Sarah Yun, Rachel Waldstein, Bernadette 
Zielinski; Editorial Assistants: Carol Finerty, Stephanie 
Martone, James McDonald, and Regina Waugh.
                              INTRODUCTION

                              ----------                              

    This report provides encyclopedic detail on human rights 
conditions in over 190 countries for 2010. Because we are 
publishing this report three months into the new year, however, 
our perspectives on many issues are now framed by the dramatic 
changes sweeping across countries in the Middle East in 2011. 
At this moment we cannot predict the outcome of these changes, 
and we will not know the lasting impacts for years to come. The 
internal dynamics in each of these countries are different, so 
sweeping analysis of the entire region is not appropriate. In 
places like Tunisia and Egypt, we are witnessing popular 
demands for meaningful political participation, fundamental 
freedoms, and greater economic opportunity. These demands are 
profound, they are homegrown, and they are being driven by new 
activists, many of them young people. These citizens seek to 
build sustainable democracies in their countries with 
governments that respect the universal human rights of their 
own people. If they succeed, the Middle East region, and with 
it the whole world, will be improved.
    The United States will continue to monitor the situations 
in these countries closely, knowing that the transition to 
democracy is not automatic and will take time and careful 
attention. In Egypt, we await the lifting of the state of 
emergency, which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has 
promised to do prior to parliamentary elections. In Tunisia, we 
are encouraged by the creation of a fact-finding committee to 
investigate human rights abuses that took place during the 
uprising.
    While we address these and other short-term repercussions, 
historians will have the benefit of time and perspective to 
help us understand what triggered these popular movements. But 
three trends clearly contributed to their development and to 
other changes that occurred throughout the world in 2010. The 
first is the explosive growth of nongovernmental advocacy 
organizations focused on a wide range of democracy and human 
rights issues and causes. Fifty years ago, when Amnesty 
International was created, few countries outside of North 
America or Western Europe had any locally based human rights 
organizations. Today, local nongovernmental organizations 
(NGOs) exist in almost every country in the world. The growth 
of these organizations has been dramatic, and in many countries 
such citizens' organizations have been created against great 
odds and only because individual human rights activists were 
willing to face great personal risk. Secretary Clinton 
highlighted the importance of these organizations in a speech 
she gave in July 2010 in Krakow, Poland, to the Community of 
Democracies. As she said, ``societies move forward when the 
citizens that make up these groups are empowered to transform 
common interests into common actions that serve the common 
good.''
    In closed societies, where repressive governments seek to 
control and stifle the debate on sensitive political and social 
issues, governments view these independent local citizens' 
organizations as a threat rather than a resource, and democracy 
and human rights defenders are singled out for particularly 
harsh treatment. For example, in Belarus, over 700 prodemocracy 
activists, including seven presidential candidates, were 
arrested during public demonstrations following the flawed 
December 2010 presidential elections. In the weeks that 
followed, the offices and homes of civil society 
representatives, independent journalists, and political 
activists were raided as part of an effort to stifle 
independent political activity and free expression.
    In the last several years, more than 90 governments have 
sought to pass restrictive laws and regulations, hampering the 
ability of organizations to register, operate freely, or 
receive foreign funding. A proposed NGO law in Cambodia, 
introduced in December, is emblematic of these efforts. The law 
would impose burdensome reporting requirements on NGOs, erect 
significant barriers to the registration of foreign NGOs, 
require foreign NGOs to collaborate with the government, and 
outlaw unregistered NGOs. In Ethiopia, a new civil society 
organization law entered into force in February, following a 
one-year grace period. The law prohibits charities, societies, 
and associations that receive more than 10 percent of their 
funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that 
promote human rights and democracy; the rights of children and 
persons with disabilities; equality among nations, 
nationalities, people, genders, and religions; conflict 
resolution or reconciliation; and the promotion of justice. 
During the grace period, Ethiopia's leading human rights 
defender organizations adjusted by re-registering either as 
local charities, meaning that they could not raise more than 10 
percent of their funds from foreign donors, or as ``Resident 
Charities,'' which allowed donations but prohibited activities 
in the enumerated areas. There were 3,522 registered 
organizations before the civil society organization law was 
adopted; after the law only 1,655 remained.
    Secretary Clinton acknowledged these troubling restrictions 
on civil society in her speech in Krakow, when she identified a 
``group of countries where the walls are closing in on civic 
organizations'' and cautioned that when ``governments crack 
down on the right of citizens to work together, as they have 
throughout history, societies fall into stagnation and decay.'' 
As we have seen in the Middle East and elsewhere, governments 
cannot suppress civil society indefinitely, and they can never 
suppress it legitimately.
    A second important trend is the dramatic growth of the 
Internet, mobile phones, and other connective technologies that 
allow instantaneous communications to billions of people across 
the globe. As Secretary Clinton observed in a recent speech on 
Internet freedom, the Internet has become the town square of 
the 21st century. Much has been said and written about the 
effects of these connective technologies in allowing Egyptians 
and Tunisians to mobilize in the weeks and months before 
demonstrations actually began. While it is the courage of the 
people themselves that led the way and was the driving force, 
the amplifying impact of these new technologies, coupled with 
the power of television stations and the Internet to broadcast 
videos obtained by citizens using these mobile phones, cannot 
be denied.
    Today there are more than two billion people with Internet 
access spread across most countries of the world, and around 
five billion mobile phone subscriptions. These numbers are 
projected to grow dramatically in the next 15 years. And as 
more people gain access to these remarkable technologies, and 
use them both to gather and impart information on human rights 
and to communicate with other activists, an increasing number 
of governments are spending more time, money, and attention in 
efforts to curtail access to these new communications outlets. 
More than 40 governments are now using a combination of 
regulatory restrictions, technical controls on access to the 
Internet, and technologies designed to repress speech and 
infringe on the personal privacy of those who use these rapidly 
evolving technologies.
    In Saudi Arabia in 2010, the government restricted access 
to the Internet and interfered with citizens' privacy while 
online. The official Communications and Information Technology 
Commission (CITC) improperly monitored e-mail and Internet chat 
rooms and blocked sites, including pages about Hinduism, 
Judaism, Christianity, and certain forms of Islam deemed 
incompatible with Sharia law and national regulations. In 
Sudan, the government monitored Internet communications and, 
during the elections, blocked access to the Sudan Vote Monitor 
Web site. The Government of China tightly controlled content on 
and access to the Internet and detained those expressing views 
critical of the government or its policies. In Vietnam, the 
government orchestrated attacks against critical Web sites and 
spied on dissident bloggers. Police arrested 25 dissidents over 
the course of the year and forcibly entered the homes of a 
number of others to remove personal computers, cell phones, and 
other material.
    A third trend, and one that points in a negative direction, 
was the continuing escalation of violence, persecution, and 
official and societal discrimination of members of vulnerable 
groups, often racial, religious, or ethnic minorities or 
disempowered majorities. In many countries this pattern of 
discrimination extended to women; children; persons with 
disabilities; indigenous; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and 
transgender (LGBT) persons; and members of other vulnerable 
groups who lacked the political power to defend their own 
interests. Often members of these groups were denied economic 
opportunity or the ability to abide by their social or cultural 
traditions or practices or were restricted in their ability to 
speak freely, to assemble peacefully, or to form associations 
or organizations.
    In Pakistan, religious freedom violations and violence and 
discrimination against religious minorities continued. The 
blasphemy laws were used to harass religious minorities as well 
as vulnerable Muslims or Muslims with minority views. (In the 
first two months of 2011, two senior government officials who 
publicly challenged these laws were brutally killed.) In Saudi 
Arabia, there were severe restrictions on religious freedom and 
discrimination on the basis of religion was common. In China, 
the government continued to demonize the Dalai Lama and harshly 
repress Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and Tibetan Buddhists. There 
were reports of increases in anti-Semitic acts around the 
world, including the desecration of cemeteries, graffiti, and 
blood-libel rhetoric, as well as Holocaust denial, revisionism, 
and glorification. There have also been spikes in expressions 
of anti-Semitism during events in the Middle East.
    Persons around the world continue to experience 
discrimination and intimidation based on their sexual 
orientation or gender identity. Honduras saw an upsurge in 
killings of members of the LGBT community by unknown 
perpetrators. Meanwhile, in many African, Middle Eastern, and 
Caribbean nations, same-sex relations remain a criminal 
offense, and through such laws and other measures the state 
reinforces and encourages societal discrimination and 
intolerance. In Uganda, for example, intimidation and 
harassment of LGBT individuals worsened during the year, and 
some government and religious leaders threatened LGBT 
individuals.
    Exploitation of laborers was also a problem in many 
countries, often compounded by threats against workers for 
attempting to unionize. Again in 2010, the government of 
Uzbekistan mobilized thousands of adults and children as forced 
laborers during the annual cotton harvest. In Bangladesh, poor 
working conditions caused needless deaths, notably in the 
garment industry. Bangladesh was also the site of frequent and 
at times deadly labor unrest during the year, particularly in 
the Ready-Made Garment Sector and Export Processing Zones.
    These trends are further illustrated below by the thumbnail 
sketches of 27 countries (listed alphabetically by region). The 
section on country highlights provides illustrative examples of 
the human rights trends in 2010. In some of these countries 
there have been negative developments or the human rights 
record has been a mix of positive and negative developments. In 
other countries highlighted below, we reflect on positive 
trends in 2010. The body of this report is a much more detailed 
examination of these and an additional 167 countries.
    2010 marks the 35th year that the State Department has 
produced the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. 
This year's report covers human rights conditions in 194 
countries. What began as the response to a Congressional 
mandate to report on the human rights situation in those 
countries that were receiving U.S. assistance in the mid 1970s 
has blossomed into a detailed analysis of human rights 
conditions in all countries that are members of the United 
Nations. The country reports provide an overview of the human 
rights situation around the world as a means to raise awareness 
of human rights conditions, in particular as these conditions 
affect the well-being of women, children, racial and religious 
minorities, trafficking victims, members of indigenous groups 
and ethnic communities, persons with disabilities, sexual 
minorities, refugees, and members of other vulnerable groups.
    As the scope of the State Department's reporting has 
increased, so has the use of these reports around the world. In 
addition to providing data to Congress to inform their funding 
and policy decisions, these reports are used throughout the 
U.S. government and by many foreign governments. And, 
importantly, they are increasingly being used by individual 
citizens and NGOs as critical sources of information on what is 
happening in the world. To facilitate the sharing of this 
information, reports are translated into over 50 languages and 
made available online.
    The U.S. government compiles the human rights report 
because we believe it is imperative for countries, including 
our own, to ensure that respect for human rights is an integral 
component of foreign policy. We provide these reports as a form 
of comprehensive review and analysis.
    The reports do not cover human rights in the United States, 
although this Administration has made a commitment to take a 
close and critical look at our own performance on these issues 
even as we cast a spotlight on the practices of other 
countries. In November, the United States presented its first 
report on human rights in the United States to the UN Human 
Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva through the Universal Periodic 
Review. In preparation for that report we conducted extensive 
consultations in the United States with a wide range of civil 
society organizations and Native American leaders. Last month 
we appeared again at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva to report our 
response to the recommendations made to us by other 
governments.
    We also continually report on our human rights record 
pursuant to our treaty obligations. In January 2010, we 
submitted periodic reports on our implementation of the 
Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the 
Child. In 2011 we will be submitting periodic reports regarding 
implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and 
Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture, and the 
Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In 
2010, for the first time, a section on the United States was 
included in the State Department's Trafficking in Persons 
Report, and the United States was ranked based on the same 
standards to which we hold other countries.
    A final word about the production of these reports. These 
194 country reports are comprehensive, if not exhaustive. Their 
production is a Herculean endeavor requiring extra-ordinary 
efforts by a team of talented and committed human rights 
officers at U.S. Embassies around the world, and by their 
counterparts in Washington, D.C., including the dedicated staff 
in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Each 
country team collects, analyzes, and synthesizes information 
from a variety of sources, including domestic and international 
human rights organizations, other governments, multilateral 
organizations, and members of civil society. Once the reports 
are drafted, they are rigorously edited, reviewed, and fact-
checked, to ensure accuracy and objectivity.

                           COUNTRY HIGHLIGHTS

    In 2010, governments around the world continued to commit 
severe human rights violations and abuses. The paragraphs below 
describe the human rights situation and key trends in specific 
countries where abuses were especially serious. We also 
highlight Ukraine, where in 2010 there was backsliding after 
positive developments in previous years. The section begins 
with a discussion of several countries--Colombia, Guinea, 
Indonesia--that are highlighted for notable positive human 
rights developments in 2010.
    Colombia is a country where there were notable improvements 
in the human rights situation in 2010. Soon after taking office 
in August, President Santos and his administration strengthened 
the government's relationship with civil society and human 
rights defenders, holding high-level consultative sessions, 
publicly expressing support for human rights defenders and 
engaging them in dialogue, and supporting efforts to increase 
penalties for threats and violence against human rights 
defenders. The government advanced a Land and Victims' Law to 
provide for land restitution and victims' reparations. 
Extrajudicial executions decreased substantially from 2008 and 
2009, and several senior military officers were convicted of 
human rights abuses. Some human rights abuses continued, such 
as some threats against human rights defenders and trade 
unionists. The Ministry of Defense began implementing an 
agreement with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human 
Rights to monitor ministry measures to improve adherence to 
human rights.
    In December 2010, Guinea inaugurated its first 
democratically elected president since independence from France 
in 1958. The people selected longtime opposition leader Alpha 
Conde, the candidate of the Rally of the Guinean People Party, 
as their president following two rounds of elections. Although 
there was some violence following the second round, the 
elections generally were regarded as free and fair.
    Respect for human rights in Indonesia continued to improve 
in 2010, 12 years after the country's transition to democracy. 
While weaknesses in the justice system persisted, President 
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, democratically reelected in July 
2009, remained a strong proponent of the rule of law and 
accountability and civil society, and the media remained among 
the most vibrant in Asia. Professionalization of the military 
continued, although some serious human rights abuses by 
military personnel occurred, particularly in Papua, and 
punishments, when imposed, were often not commensurate with the 
crimes committed.
Africa
    Cote d'Ivoire ended 2010 in a standoff over the presidency, 
following October elections in which incumbent President 
Laurent Gbagbo, candidate of the Ivoirian People's Front, and 
opposition party leader Alassane Ouattara, candidate of the 
Rally for Republicans, advanced to the November 28 presidential 
run-off. On December 2, the Independent Electoral Commission 
declared Ouattara the winner with 54.1 percent of the vote as 
compared with 45.9 percent for Gbagbo. The election was 
declared fair and democratic by the UN and international and 
domestic observer missions. Gbagbo refused to accept the 
results, alleging voter fraud and intimidation in several 
regions, and both Ouattara and Gbagbo took oaths of office on 
December 3. At year's end, President Ouattara operated his 
government from the Golf Hotel in Abidjan under a blockade from 
pro-Gbgabo forces. Gbagbo retained control of state resources 
including the national television station, the security forces, 
and the treasury. There were credible reports of human rights 
abuses during this time. On December 16, security forces fired 
on supporters of President Ouattara during a demonstration 
march. At least 20 persons were killed, many more wounded, and 
hundreds arrested. In the one week period from December 15-22, 
the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire human rights division 
reported 173 persons killed, 90 subjected to torture and ill-
treatment, 471 others arbitrarily arrested and detained, and 24 
persons missing. The overwhelming majority of these cases of 
extrajudicial killings, torture, detention, and disappearance, 
were committed by security forces loyal to Gbagbo. Human rights 
violations which took place after December 31 are not 
documented in the 2010 report.
    Serious human rights abuses continued throughout the 
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), particularly in the 
mineral rich, conflict-affected eastern and northeastern 
regions, where state authority remained non-existent or 
extremely weak. Human rights defenders have been intimidated, 
beaten, and, as in the case of prominent activist Floribert 
Chebeya, even killed. Armed entities--including elements of 
state security forces--perpetrated abuses with impunity and 
engaged in the illegal exploitation and trade of natural 
resources, particularly minerals. Revenues derived from the 
illicit trade in minerals, some of which supported armed 
conflict, fueled the continued insecurity in eastern DRC, 
aggravating an already precarious human rights situation. Rebel 
and militia groups in eastern DRC continued to engage in rape 
and looting campaigns in efforts to control communities 
residing near lucrative mining areas, and to reap mining-
related profits that sustained the conflict and attendant 
abuses. Credible sources such as the UN Group of Experts on the 
DRC presented information indicating that some Congolese and 
international corporations' supply chains originated with 
suppliers who traded with armed entities-including elements of 
the state security forces-that committed serious human rights 
abuses.
    Nigeria continued to be plagued by serious human rights 
abuses during the year. Security services personnel, including 
police, military, and State Security Service officers, 
committed extrajudicial killings and tortured, beat, and abused 
demonstrators, criminal suspects, detainees, and convicted 
prisoners. The Joint Task Force, formed in 2003 to address the 
instability in the Niger Delta and consisting of military, 
police, and security services, conducted raids on militant 
groups and criminal suspects, resulting in numerous deaths and 
injuries to both alleged criminals and civilians. Corruption 
was pervasive at all levels of government and throughout the 
security forces. Ethno-religious violence also resulted in 
deaths and displacement during the year. Jos and the 
surrounding farmlands were the site of two major attacks in 
January and March. Up to 1,000 individuals, mostly women, 
children, and the elderly, were murdered, hacked to death, or 
burned alive.
    Violence continued in Sudan throughout 2010. Nationwide 
elections held in April were not deemed fair and free by the 
international community, and observers noted numerous problems 
throughout the process. In Darfur, fighting involving 
government, government-aligned militias, rebel groups, and 
ethnic groups continued to kill, injure, and displace 
civilians. This violence killed 2,321 persons during the year, 
according to the UN, an increase compared with the 875 persons 
killed in 2009. The government continued to conduct aerial 
bombardment. Gender-based violence, the use of child soldiers, 
and the obstruction of humanitarian organizations and the 
United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur continued 
to be problems. The government harassed, arrested, and beat 
civil society members in the north. In Southern Sudan, 
interethnic fighting and Lord's Resistance Army attacks 
continued to kill and displace civilians. According to UN 
estimates, violence in the south resulted in an estimated 986 
deaths and the displacement of 223,708 persons during the year. 
Registration for the 2011 Southern Sudan self-determination 
referendum occurred in November and December. Lack of progress 
on preparations for a separate referendum on whether the border 
region of Abyei should be part of the north or the south led to 
sporadic violence and rising tensions in the area.
    In Zimbabwe, security forces, police, and Zimbabwe African 
National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)-dominated elements of 
the government continued to commit numerous, serious human 
rights violations with impunity, including torture, against 
non-ZANU-PF political activists and party members, student 
leaders, and civil society activists. ZANU-PF's dominant 
control and manipulation of the political process through 
trumped-up charges and arbitrary arrest, intimidation, and 
corruption effectively negated the right of citizens to change 
their government. Although there were fewer incidents in the 
first half of 2010, expectations that elections would be held 
in 2011 led to an increase in the number of cases of harassment 
and intimidation of civil society organizations and members of 
the media toward the end of the reporting period. The 
government continued to use repressive laws to suppress freedom 
of speech, including for members of the press, assembly, 
association, and movement. Military forces and other government 
agents also continued abuses in the Marange diamond fields.
East Asia and the Pacific
    Despite the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, over 2,100 
political prisoners remained in custody in Burma at the end of 
2010. Many civil society activists were detained indefinitely 
and without charges, and regime-sponsored organizations engaged 
in harassment and abuse of human rights and prodemocracy 
activists. The government routinely infringed on individual 
privacy and restricted the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, 
association, religion, and movement. The government did not 
allow domestic human rights NGOs to function independently, and 
international NGOs encountered a difficult environment. The 
fall 2010 elections were neither free nor fair. The government 
continued its tight control of the activities of Buddhist 
clergy. Military forces in Burma continued to commit egregious 
abuses and violations against civilians in ethnic minority 
regions. These abuses included rape, torture, forced 
relocation, and forced labor. Violence and societal 
discrimination against women and minority religious communities 
continued, as did unlawful recruitment of child soldiers and 
trafficking in persons, particularly of women and girls. 
Workers' rights remained restricted and forced labor, including 
that of children, also persisted.
    In Cambodia, members of security forces, acting with 
impunity, committed arbitrary killings. Human rights monitors 
reported arbitrary arrests and prolonged pretrial detention, 
underscoring a weak judiciary and denial of the right to a fair 
trial. Restrictions continued on freedom of assembly and 
expression, including for members of the press, and there was a 
growing abuse of defamation and disinformation lawsuits 
targeting opposition voices. Civil society expressed 
significant concern that the draft Law on Associations and NGOs 
could, if adopted, seriously constrain the ability of NGOs to 
operate. The draft law released in December included provisions 
that would impose burdensome reporting requirements on NGOs, 
prevent associations with fewer than 21(later reduced to a 
still-onerous 11) members from attaining legal status, erect 
burdensome barriers to the registration of foreign NGOs, 
require foreign NGOs to collaborate with the government, and 
outlaw unregistered NGOs. Anti-union activity by employers and 
weak enforcement of labor laws continued, and exploitative 
child labor in the informal sector remained a problem.
    In China, the negative trend in key areas of human rights 
continued. The government stepped up restrictions on lawyers, 
activists, bloggers, and journalists; tightened controls on 
civil society; and increased attempts to limit freedom of 
speech and control the press, the Internet, and Internet access 
in 2010. Authorities also increased the use of extralegal 
measures, including forced disappearances, strict house arrest, 
arbitrary detention in ``black jails,'' and other forms of 
``soft detention'' to silence independent voices and punish 
activists and their families. Legal activist Chen Guangcheng, 
along with his wife and child, remained under house arrest, as 
did other released political prisoners. Public interest 
lawyers, who operated within China's legal framework, were 
disbarred, beaten, or ``disappeared'' for taking on the defense 
of clients and issues deemed sensitive by the government. 
Bloggers and Web masters have been arrested and charged with 
``subverting state power'' for re-tweeting a post or operating 
a Web site where others posted comments. The government also 
continued its severe cultural and religious repression of 
ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and 
Tibetan areas.
    In North Korea, the human rights situation remained grim. 
During the year, the government maintained tight control over 
the flow of information into and out of the country. The 
government denied its citizens the right to due process and 
arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals, including for 
political crimes. Defectors and NGOs indicated that severe and 
systematic human rights abuses occurred throughout the 
country's extensive network of prisons and detention centers. 
In addition, the government continued to enforce rigid controls 
over the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, 
religion, and movement and worker rights. There were no 
independent domestic human rights monitoring organizations, and 
the government denied international organizations and foreign 
NGOs access, making it impossible to assess accurately the true 
scope of the abuses occurring in the country or the validity of 
these reports.
    The government of Vietnam continued to suppress dissent, 
tightened controls over the press, and limited the freedoms of 
expression, assembly, movement, and association. Individuals 
were arbitrarily detained for political activities and denied 
the right to fair and expeditious trials. The government 
arrested at least 25 political activists, convicted 14 
dissidents arrested in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and denied the 
appeals of another 10 dissidents convicted at the end of 2009. 
The judicial system was strongly distorted by political 
influence, endemic corruption, and inefficiency. Freedom of 
religion continued to be subject to uneven interpretation and 
protection, particularly at the provincial and village levels. 
Internet freedom was further restricted as the government 
orchestrated attacks against critical Web sites and spied on 
dissident bloggers. The government limited workers' rights to 
form and join independent unions.
Europe
    Authorities in Belarus arbitrarily arrested, detained, and 
imprisoned prodemocracy activists, journalists, and civil 
society representatives. In the wake of December 2010's flawed 
presidential election, authorities initiated a broad crackdown 
against demonstrators, detaining close to 700 persons and 
raiding offices and apartments belonging to members of 
independent media, NGOs, and the political opposition. Over 40 
individuals, including several presidential candidates, now 
face up to 15 years in jail. Through its detentions and trials, 
the government of Belarus continually is creating new political 
prisoners. The judiciary lacked independence and suffered from 
corruption, inefficiency, and political interference; trial 
outcomes were often predetermined, and many trials were 
conducted behind closed doors. Official corruption throughout 
the government continued to be a problem.
    In Russia, the government infringed on freedom of 
expression, assembly, and association, detaining certain 
demonstrators and continuing to pressure select NGOs, 
independent media, some religious minorities, independent labor 
unions, and political opposition. Attacks on and the murder of 
journalists and activists continued. There were reports of 
physical abuse by law enforcement, military hazing deaths, and 
harsh prison conditions. Rule of law and due process violations 
remained a problem, and government corruption was widespread. 
Xenophobic, racial, and ethnic attacks and hate crimes 
continued to be a significant problem. The conflict between the 
government and insurgents, Islamist militants, and criminal 
forces in the North Caucasus led to numerous human rights 
violations by all parties, which reportedly engaged in killing, 
torture, abuse, violence, and politically motivated abductions.
    In Ukraine, despite beginning with free and fair 
presidential elections, the overall trend for 2010 was negative 
due to problematic local elections, intimidation of the media, 
and perceived selective prosecution of opposition figures. 
International and domestic observers found the October local 
elections did not reach the same standards of the presidential 
election, citing the registration of fraudulent opposition 
candidate lists, government pressure against election monitors 
and candidates, and election officials selectively barring or 
removing candidates from ballots- all prompting concern about 
the government's planned next steps for election reform. In 
addition, there were numerous reports that authorities 
attempted to direct media content and intimidate journalists. 
Although the government took steps in 2009 to better combat 
corruption, the international community expressed concern that 
politics motivated the new government's 2010 criminal 
investigation of 30 members of the previous government for 
alleged corruption; several of these people were detained and 
subsequently charged.
Near East
    Political tensions flared in the weeks preceding the 
October elections in Bahrain. The government arrested more than 
200 Shia men it accused of inciting or involvement in street 
violence. Those arrested included some, but not all, of the 
leaders of two groups, Haq and Wafa', which reject the monarchy 
and had called for a boycott of the elections. The government 
charged 23 of those arrested with involvement in a ``terror 
network'' pursuant to the 2006 counterterrorism law. The 
electoral process also was marred by the government's banning 
of the two main legal opposition parties' Web sites and 
newsletters. The government did not allow international 
observers to monitor the elections. The government also 
continued to restrict freedom of assembly and association. 
Security forces intervened in demonstrations and limited and 
controlled political gatherings during the year. NGOs and civil 
society groups were required to register with the government 
and provide membership lists. In September, the Ministry of 
Social Development effectively shuttered a local human rights 
organization, Bahrain Human Rights Society, when a ministerial 
decree ordered the dissolution of the society's board of 
directors and appointed a ministry employee to be the group's 
interim head.
    According to multiple sources, the Government of Iran 
executed approximately 312 persons in summary executions during 
the year, many after trials that were conducted in secret and/
or did not provide due process. In many cases, persons executed 
supposedly for criminal offenses such as narcotics trafficking 
were actually political dissidents. Authorities held political 
prisoners and continued to crack down on women's rights 
reformers, ethnic minority rights activists, student activists, 
and religious minorities. There was little judicial 
independence and few fair public trials. The government 
severely restricted the right to privacy and civil liberties, 
including freedoms of expression, including for members of the 
press, assembly, association, and movement, and it placed 
severe restrictions on freedom of religion. Vigilantes 
continued to attack young persons considered ``un-Islamic'' in 
their dress or activities, invade private homes, abuse 
unmarried couples, and disrupt concerts. Violence and legal and 
societal discrimination against women, children, ethnic and 
religious minorities, and LGBT persons persisted.
    While the credible and legitimate national parliamentary 
elections in all 18 provinces on March 7 reflected a 
significant achievement in advancing the exercise of human 
rights, extremist violence, coupled with weak government 
performance in upholding the rule of law, resulted in 
widespread and severe human rights abuses in Iraq. There were 
reports that the government or its agents committed numerous 
arbitrary or unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, and acts 
of torture connected to its security operations, often with 
impunity. Attacks by al-Qaida in Iraq and other extremists 
continued against Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), government 
officials, and civilians, often targeting urban areas, 
Christian churches, Shia markets, and mosques. On May 10, 
coordinated bombings and shootings resulted in at least 119 
fatalities, including ISF and law enforcement personnel. On 
August 17, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of army 
recruits in Baghdad, killing 61 persons. During the year, 962 
Ministry of Interior personnel were killed and 1,347 were 
injured. Police officers, in particular, were targeted.
    In Libya, Colonel al-Qadhafi and his close associates 
monopolized every aspect of decision-making in the government. 
Continuing human rights problems included torture, arbitrary 
arrest, official impunity, and poor prison conditions. A large 
but unknown number of persons remained in detention or prison 
for engaging in peaceful political activity or for belonging to 
an illegal political organization. The government significantly 
restricted media freedom and continued to restrict freedom of 
expression, and routinely monitored telephone calls and 
Internet usage, including e-mail communication with foreign 
countries. There also was physical surveillance of political 
activists and foreign organizations. The government owned and 
controlled virtually all print and broadcast media, and 
government-controlled media neither published nor broadcast 
opinions inconsistent with official policy. The Internal 
Security Organization routinely harassed journalists, and 
overly broad provisions of the penal code served as the basis 
for frequent charges of criminal defamation. The government 
severely restricted freedom of assembly and permitted public 
assembly only with advance approval. The government restricted 
the right of association and generally only allowed 
institutions affiliated with the government to operate; no NGOs 
functioned in the country. In the early months of 2011, 
protests erupted across Libya. Because they occurred outside of 
the reporting period, they are not documented in the 2010 
report.
    In Syria, security forces committed unlawful killings, 
detained political and human rights activists, and tortured and 
physically abused prisoners and detainees with impunity. The 
government also imprisoned several high-profile members of the 
human rights and civil society communities, in addition to the 
estimated 2,500-3,000 political prisoners previously detained. 
Lengthy pretrial and incommunicado detention remained a serious 
problem, and the courts systematically used ``confessions'' 
extracted under duress as evidence. Defendants' claims of 
torture were almost never investigated. The government severely 
restricted universal freedoms of expression, assembly and 
association, religion, and movement.
South and Central Asia
    An increasingly difficult security situation in Afghanistan 
resulted in a number of serious human rights abuses. Civilians 
continued to suffer from intensified armed conflict as 
conflict-related deaths increased by 15 percent during the year 
compared to 2009. Government and progovernment international 
forces were responsible for civilian deaths, specifically 16 
percent of total civilian deaths. Human Rights Watch reported 
that timely and transparent inquiries or accountability of 
forces in the event of wrong-doing were often lacking when 
civilians were hurt or killed. Taliban and insurgent attacks, 
including politically targeted killings, escalated in both 
number and intensity. At least 30 individuals were killed on 
September 18, the day of parliamentary elections, and the 
Taliban claimed responsibility for killing three candidates 
during the campaign period between July and August. In August, 
five campaign workers supporting Fauwzia Gilani in Herat were 
abducted and killed. There were also attacks on election 
officials. The elections themselves were marred by electoral 
fraud and widespread irregularities, including the 
establishment of a special tribunal to investigate the election 
results and complaints; low voter turnout; and insufficient 
conditions for participation by women. The government was 
plagued by official impunity and corruption and often failed to 
conduct effective investigations of human rights abuses 
committed by local security forces. Arbitrary arrest and 
detention remained a problem, and the judiciary lacked 
independence. Freedom of religion, including the right to 
change one's religion, was severely restricted. Women continued 
to face pervasive human rights abuses, including violence, 
insurgent attacks on girls' education, limited access to 
justice, and other limitations on their rights.
    In Pakistan, allegations of extrajudicial killings and 
detention of civilians by the security forces were reported by 
several media outlets and NGOs. During the year, there was a 
significant increase in the total number of reported torture 
and rape cases of individuals in custody, almost double as 
compared to 2009. The Society for Human Rights and Prisoners' 
Aid reported 72 civilian deaths after encounters with police 
and 168 deaths in jails, an increase from the previous year. 
Militant and terrorist bombings in all four provinces and in 
Federally Administered Tribal Areas continued to result in 
deaths and injuries. According to the report, terrorist and 
extremist attacks and operations to combat terrorism and 
extremism resulted in 7,400 deaths, of which nearly 1,800 were 
civilians, over 450 were security forces, and over 5,100 were 
terrorists or insurgents. There were numerous reports of 
politically motivated killings in Karachi and Balochistan. 
According to a report by Dawn, 1,981 persons were killed in 
political violence in Karachi, of which 748 were targeted 
killings. According to Human Rights Watch, the targeted killing 
and disappearance of Baloch leaders, activists, and civilians 
increased in 2010. Religious freedom violations and violence 
and discrimination against religious minorities continued. Some 
people accused of blasphemy against Islam were sentenced to 
life imprisonment or capital punishment. One of them was Aasia 
Bibi, a Christian woman, who was sentenced to death in 
November, becoming the first woman to receive such a harsh 
sentence for blasphemy.
    Uzbekistan continued to incarcerate individuals on 
political grounds. While one political prisoner, human rights 
activist Farhad Mukhtarov, was released during the year, 13 to 
25 political prisoners remained in custody, and family members 
reported that many prisoners were tortured. Human rights 
activists, their family members, and members of certain 
religious groups reported harassment and arrest by police and 
other members of the security forces. Freedom of expression was 
severely limited and harassment of journalists increased during 
the year. Police and security services subjected print and 
broadcast journalists to arrest, intimidation, and violence, as 
well as to bureaucratic restrictions on their activity. The 
criminal and administrative codes imposed significant fines for 
libel and defamation and the government used charges of libel, 
slander, and defamation to punish journalists, human rights 
activists, and others who criticized the president or the 
government. Freedom of association also was restricted. The 
government tightly controlled NGO activity and regulated 
Islamic and minority religious groups with strict legal 
restrictions on the types of groups that could be formed and 
registered. Forced adult and child labor was used during the 
cotton harvest.
Western Hemisphere
    The government of Cuba released more than 40 political 
prisoners during the reporting period, including many notable 
human rights activists arrested in 2003, although most were 
released on the condition that they leave the country. Cuba 
continued to hold dozens of other political prisoners. The 
government suppressed human rights and fundamental freedoms, 
including freedom of speech, the press, assembly and 
association, movement, and religion. Human rights groups noted 
a marked increase in the use of short-term detentions designed 
to disrupt the work of civil society and harass activists. In 
addition, the government continued to stage public protests to 
harass and abuse activists and their families, particularly the 
Damas de Blanco (``Ladies in White''). Although the government 
characterized the mobs as spontaneous, participants frequently 
arrived in government-owned vehicles or were recruited by local 
Communist Party leaders from nearby workplaces or schools. In 
extreme cases, government-orchestrated mobs assaulted these 
individuals or damaged their homes or property. Members of the 
security forces monitored, harassed, and sometimes physically 
assaulted human rights and prodemocracy advocates, dissidents, 
independent journalists, detainees, and prisoners, and did so 
with impunity. The government did not recognize independent 
journalism, and subjected some independent journalists to 
travel bans, detentions, harassment, equipment seizures, and 
threats of imprisonment. Unauthorized assemblies of more than 
three persons can be punished by up to three months in prison 
and a fine, although these meetings were more likely to be 
broken up than prosecuted.
    Respect for human rights and democratic institutions 
deteriorated over the past year in Nicaragua. Protesting 
opposition party members were denied freedom of assembly. March 
2010 regional elections on the Caribbean coast were marred by 
allegations of widespread irregularities, and credible domestic 
NGOs were denied permission to monitor the election. Other 
issues include politicization of the judiciary and other 
government organs, substantial government interference with 
media freedom, and harassment of NGOs and journalists. Police 
did not protect demonstrators who protested government policies 
and allowed progovernment groups to engage in violent 
activities. The government continued to criticize religious 
leaders who expressed concerns about government practices and 
policies that affected public participation and democratic 
freedoms. Government officials publicly excoriated Catholic 
Church officials who denounced the manipulation of the 
electoral process.
    In Venezuela, the government used the judiciary to 
intimidate and persecute individuals and organizations that 
criticized government policies or actions, including peaceful 
protesters, journalists, a judge, members of opposition 
political parties, NGOs, union and business leaders, and 
ordinary citizens. Government officials also restricted freedom 
of expression, harassing and intimidating privately owned 
television stations, media outlets, and journalists through 
threats, property seizures, targeted regulations, and criminal 
investigations and prosecutions. In late December the National 
Assembly adopted a package of laws that further undermined 
democratic principles and practices in Venezuela, including a 
law delegating legislative authority to the executive that 
extended beyond the term of office of the outgoing National 
Assembly, in violation of the shared values of the Inter-
American Democratic Charter, and laws imposing new restrictions 
on the independent media, the Internet, political parties, and 
NGOs.

 
                                 AFRICA

                              ----------                              


                                 ANGOLA

    Angola is a constitutional republic with an estimated population of 
17.3 million. The ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola 
(MPLA), led by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos since 1979, has been 
in power since independence in 1975 and exercised tight, centralized 
control over government planning, policymaking, and media outlets. In 
2008 the Government held the first legislative elections since 1992. 
Domestic and international observers reported that polling throughout 
the country was peaceful and generally credible, despite a ruling party 
advantage due to state control of major media and other resources and 
serious logistical failures that marred polling in the capital of 
Luanda. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
    Human rights abuses included: the abridgement of citizens' right to 
elect officials at all levels; unlawful killings by police and military 
forces; torture, beatings, and rape by security forces; harsh and life-
threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lengthy 
pretrial detention; impunity for human rights abusers; judicial 
inefficiency, lack of judicial independence, and lack of due process; 
infringements on citizens' privacy rights and forced evictions without 
compensation; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, 
association, and movement; official corruption; restrictions on 
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); discrimination and violence 
against women; abuse of children; trafficking in persons; 
discrimination against persons with disabilities, indigenous people, 
and persons with HIV/AIDS; limits on workers' rights; and forced labor.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--There were no 
reports that the Government or its agents committed politically 
motivated killings. However, human rights activists and domestic media 
sources reported that security forces arbitrarily killed an unknown 
number of persons during the year. In 2009 security forces arbitrarily 
killed 61 persons.
    The Government made some progress prosecuting police officers 
responsible for human rights violations. However, impunity remained a 
problem, and the results of investigations into security force abuses 
were seldom released.
    Domestic media and local human rights activists reported that 
police use of excessive force resulted in killings.
    For example, on January 19, police in Luanda were accused of 
killing three male youths. Witnesses reported that a group of masked 
men entered the victims' homes without a warrant and abducted the 
individuals. According to the families' testimony, the three victims 
were shot and killed in a field adjacent to the Special Transit Police 
Station. Subsequently, police delivered the bodies to the local morgue.
    On May 9, police allegedly killed three persons in custody for 
their involvement in crimes, including armed robbery. The National 
Police commander promised to follow leads and arrest the perpetrators, 
but there were no developments by year's end.
    In January 2009 police shot and killed Joaquim Manuel Machado 
during a confrontation with a group of youths in Sambizanga, Luanda. 
Jose Inacio Rene, the police officer identified as Machado's killer, 
had not been tried by year's end.
    In August 2009 police officer Sebastiao Andre killed his son, 
Jeronimo Sebastiao, in Sambizanga, Luanda. No investigation had taken 
place by year's end.
    In September 2009 members of the Armed Forces of Angola (FAA) 
buried alive 45 persons in a tunnel in Lunda Norte after determining 
they were illegal diamond miners. No investigation had taken place at 
year's end.
    There were no developments in September 2009 cases: the case of 
Luandan police who tortured a citizen accused of selling drugs, while 
he was under arrest; he later died when police denied him medical 
assistance; and the arrest and torture by police of a man in Porto 
Amboim who died from serious contusions and cuts.
    In 2008 there were multiple media reports in Luanda that police 
deliberately targeted and killed persons suspected of gang-related 
violence and other criminal activity.
    On March 22, seven officers were sentenced to 24 years in prison 
and fined approximately 72,000 kwanzas ($800) each for shooting and 
killing eight teenagers in 2008. The judge also ordered each family of 
the victims to receive approximately 705,600 kwanzas ($7,840). The 
officers claimed to be part of a special gang task force tasked with 
ridding neighborhoods of gang members, but the National Police denied 
the existence of the task force and relieved the police officers of 
duty.
    On April 27, three National Police officers were sentenced to eight 
years in prison for the 2006 killing of Manuel Domingos in Talatona, 
Luanda.
    The FAA carried out counterinsurgency operations against the 
Military Position (MP) faction of the Front for the Liberation of the 
Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), which reportedly resulted in at least three 
deaths. The FAA responded to at least three attacks against civilian 
targets for which FLEC-MP claimed responsibility.
    On January 4, FLEC claimed responsibility for an attack on a 
Togolese national soccer team, which had been en route to Cabinda to 
participate in the African Cup of Nations. Three persons were killed 
and nine were injured in the attack. Six persons were arrested for 
tangential involvement, and another two were arrested for direct 
involvement. Of the latter two, one person had been sentenced by year's 
end. The six arrested for tangential involvement were released, and the 
remaining one person was still being tried at year's end.
    In May FLEC claimed responsibility for an attack on Chinese workers 
in Cabinda; one worker was killed and another was wounded.
    Land mines placed during the long civil war remained a threat. 
According to the National Commission for Demining and Humanitarian 
Assistance, land mine and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) 
accidents killed 12 and injured at least three individuals during the 
year. The Government continued to strengthen and expand national 
demining capacity during the year, and it partnered extensively with 
international NGOs on demining operations and mine-risk education.
    On October 3, four children were killed in Malange Province after 
finding a rocket propelled grenade, which exploded when they played 
with it. The accident occurred in an area that was not suspected to 
contain explosive remnants of war.
    On October 8, a 42-year-old woman was severely injured in Malange 
Province when she detonated an unexploded object.
    On October 19, two deminers were killed and two others injured when 
a land mine detonated. The four individuals were clearing ERW from a 
known hazard area.

    b. Disappearance.--Unlike in the previous year, there were no 
reports of politically motivated disappearances. Also unlike in the 
previous year, there were no media reports that persons taken into 
police or military custody disappeared.
    In May 2009 the president of a local movement for autonomy and 
independence, Jota Malakito, was taken into police custody and held 
incommunicado. On October 8, he was transferred from Viana Penitentiary 
Center to Dundo, Lunda Norte, where he was tried with 33 other persons 
accused of crimes against state security and instigating a rebellion. 
As of year's end, Malakito remained in prison.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
government security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused 
persons. Reports of beatings and other abuses in police stations during 
interrogations were common.
    According to Novo Jornal, on May 28, the Association for Justice, 
Peace, and Democracy (AJPD), a local NGO, reported that police 
intimidated citizens, used excessive force and guns against them, and 
used torture and cruel and degrading treatment against detainees. 
AJPD's publication documented examples of prisoners and detainees 
tortured while in police custody between 2006-09. The same NGO reported 
that cases of torture continued during the year.
    Police and other security forces rarely were held accountable for 
torture. Although the Government punished some violators 
administratively, few prosecutions occurred during the year.
    On March 24, a lawyer reported that several civilians awaiting 
trial for alleged participation in a FLEC attack in Cabinda showed 
visible signs of torture.
    The Government continued to conduct operations throughout the 
country to identify, detain, and expel illegal immigrants, particularly 
in the diamond-rich provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. Between 
September and December, police expelled approximately 12,000 illegal 
immigrants, most of them diamond workers in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. 
NGOs and the media reported acts of violence and degrading treatment, 
including rape and sexual abuse, associated with these operations. 
Based on an assessment mission among those returned to the Democratic 
Republic of Congo (DRC), a UN report cited 117 victims of sexual 
violence in October. The victims, illegal immigrants from the DRC, 
reported being detained and raped by military or police officers before 
being forcibly expelled into the DRC. The Government claimed that the 
allegations were unfounded and that its border police respected 
procedures to return illegal immigrants. The Government reported 
uncovering one case of rape, and was working to prosecute the alleged 
perpetrator at year's end (see section 1.d.).
    Police and immigration officials at border checkpoints and 
provincial airports extorted money from travelers and harassed 
returnees and refugees.
    In April three police officers were sentenced to eight years in 
prison for severely beating a citizen, leaving him partially blind.
    In October 2009 the media reported that seven former agents from 
the National Police claimed that they were tortured while undergoing 
interrogation in prison.
    Abuses by the army continued. In Cabinda FAA troops tortured, beat, 
and illegally detained citizens suspected of FLEC collaboration during 
anti-insurgency operations, according to human rights NGOs.
    In January 2009 a local NGO reported that security forces arrested 
three citizens in Cabinda for crimes against the state and 
collaboration with FLEC. Security forces beat and tortured them with 
cigarette burns, prolonged sun exposure, heavy weights tied to their 
testicles, and flogging until they bled from their ears, noses, eyes, 
and mouths. There were no updates on the case by year's end.
    In November 2009, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 
approximately 60 soldiers arrived in the village of Sassa Zau Velho and 
severely beat two elderly men. The soldiers pillaged the men's houses 
and stole money. Villagers reported that the military commander of the 
northern region in Cabinda later apologized. He also reportedly stated 
that if victims could identify the perpetrators, the soldiers would be 
punished. However, the victims were unable to identify the soldiers, 
and the FAA neither restored the stolen goods nor paid damages to cover 
the medical and hospital bills.
    Reports of abuses by private security companies continued, 
especially in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. According to reports from 
human rights activists, private security contractors hired by diamond 
companies to protect their concessions from illegal exploitation were 
responsible for most of the violence.
    Land mine and other ERW-related injuries continued during the year, 
as infrastructure improvements made possible increased movement of 
persons and goods in rural, war-affected areas. At least 12 persons 
were killed by unexploded ordnance (see section 1.a.) and at least 
three were injured.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions were 
harsh and life threatening. NGOs reported that prison officials 
routinely beat and tortured detainees.
    Overcrowding and lack of medical care, sanitation, potable water, 
and food caused some prison deaths. It was customary for families to 
bring food to prisoners, but guards demanded bribes as a precondition 
for food delivery. Some prisoners died of disease, especially in 
provincial prisons. Prison conditions varied widely between urban and 
rural areas. As of September 2009 there were 16,183 inmates in prison.
    During the year foreign government officials visited a model prison 
in Bengo that had sanitation, ventilation, lighting, medical care, 
potable water, and sufficient food for the number of prisoners.
    On August 14, Amnesty International (AI) reported that 34 prisoners 
in Lunda Norte suffered from a lack of sanitation, drinking water, and 
food. The same prisoners also suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, blood 
loss, malaria, and pneumonia, for which they received no medical 
treatment. No information was available at year's end on whether the 
prisoners eventually received medical treatment.
    Most prisoners were allowed visitors, and the law provides for 
prisoners to practice freedom of religion. The Government allowed 
prisoners to submit complaints to judicial authorities and to request 
investigation of conditions. The Government investigated and monitored 
prison and detention center conditions.
    The Government opened one new prison in Bengo Province during the 
year. Two facilities were under construction in Lunda Norte and Zaire 
provinces to alleviate the overcrowding that sparked riots in 2007 in 
which at least two persons were killed.
    According to a March 24 article in the Jornal de Angola, the 
N'dalatando prison in Kwanza Norte held 378 prisoners, 305 of whom had 
been sentenced; 73 were in pretrial detention.
    On May 1, the weekly independent newspaper Folho 8 reported that 
more than 2,000 prisoners either were being held nationwide in 
prolonged pretrial detention or were not being released after having 
completed their sentences.
    On June 1, the Kuando prison director reported that the prison, 
which originally was built for 36 prisoners, currently held 565 
inmates, of whom 350 prisoners were in pretrial detention. The prison 
reportedly lacked running water, electricity, a health clinic, and 
educational facilities. Female and male prisoners were housed together.
    Kwanza Sul's jail in Sumbe held 1,144 prisoners, 428 of whom were 
in pretrial detention.
    Chronically underpaid prison officials supported themselves by 
stealing from prisoners and extorting money from inmates' family 
members. Prison guards continued to demand that prisoners pay for 
weekend passes to which they were entitled. There were continued 
reports of prison officials operating an informal bail system, 
releasing prisoners until their trial dates for a fee.
    Female inmates informed the UN Working Group on Arbitrary 
Detentions that prison guards regularly raped them.
    On March 20, the progovernment newspaper Jornal de Angola reported 
that Jean Pierre Kindudi and another inmate, both residents of the DRC, 
had been imprisoned since 2007 in Kwanza Norte Province without contact 
with representatives of their home country.
    On April 17, Folho 8 reported that inmate Beatriz Antonia became 
pregnant while in prison and prison officials encouraged her to have an 
abortion. When she refused, she was placed in solitary confinement.
    Authorities at provincial prisons regularly housed juveniles, often 
incarcerated for petty theft, together with adults, and subjected the 
children to abuse by guards and inmates; however, authorities in urban 
prisons often separated juveniles from the main prison population. 
Juvenile detention centers existed in Luanda but were severely 
overcrowded.
    Authorities frequently held pretrial detainees with sentenced 
inmates and held short-term detainees with those serving long-term 
sentences for violent crimes, especially in provincial prisons. On 
April 30, prison officials released 41 prisoners who were held in 
pretrial detention.
    The Government permitted visits by independent human rights 
observers. The Government permitted foreign diplomatic personnel and 
local and international human rights observers to visit prisons during 
the year. In April a foreign diplomatic delegation visited the prison 
in Bengo Province. Diplomats reported that they were allowed to speak 
to the prisoners, who reported difficulty accessing justice. Some had 
completed their sentences but remained incarcerated because a 
magistrate had not reviewed their cases.
    An ombudsman existed to help ensure cases reached the justice 
system. The office addressed some human rights issues.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The law prohibits arbitrary 
arrest and detention; however, police legally can detain an individual 
under reasonable suspicion for six hours without evidence of a crime. 
Security forces often did not respect these prohibitions in practice.
    According to a local NGO, police arbitrarily arrested individuals 
without due process. For example, on September 11, five heavily armed 
police officers entered Mateus Manuel da Cunha's residence in Rangel, 
Luanda, without an arrest warrant. They accused the suspect of being a 
``dangerous antisocial element'' and detained him. No further 
information was available at year's end.
    An investigation continued at year's end into the February 2009 
case in which police arbitrarily detained two youths at police 
headquarters when they delivered an obituary notice about the youths' 
cousin, a victim of a gang killing in Luanda.
    Local human rights NGOs reported that authorities detained family 
members of individuals wanted by the police.
    During the year 24 Cabindans were detained for supposed crimes 
against the state, compared with 30 detained in 2009. HRW reported that 
40 individuals have been arbitrarily arrested in Cabinda since 2007.
    On August 21, the Cabinda Supreme Court freed four citizens, Joao 
Paulo Mombo, Joao Baptista Maiele, Zacarias Joao Zau, and Marcos Lubuca 
Malila Tovo, who were sentenced to 24 months in prison in 2008 for 
crimes against state security. The four were detained in 2008 by FAA 
soldiers, who accused them of involvement in a FLEC attack.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The National Police, 
controlled by the Interior Ministry, are responsible for internal 
security and law enforcement. The Internal Intelligence Service reports 
to the presidency and investigates sensitive state security matters. 
The FAA is responsible for external security but also has domestic 
security responsibilities, including border security, expulsion of 
illegal immigrants, and small-scale actions against FLEC separatists in 
Cabinda.
    Other than personnel assigned to elite units, police were poorly 
paid, and the practice of supplementing income through extortion of 
civilians was widespread. Corruption and impunity remained serious 
problems. Most complaints were handled within the National Police by 
internal disciplinary procedures, which sometimes led to formal 
punishment, including dismissal. However, the Government did not 
establish mechanisms to expedite investigations and punish alleged 
offenders, and it rarely disclosed publicly the results of internal 
investigations.
    The Government's closure of the UN Human Rights Office (UNHRO) in 
2008 hampered the Ministry of Interior's efforts to train police and 
army recruits. However, police participated in professional training 
with foreign law enforcement officials from several countries in the 
region.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--Prior to an 
arrest, the law requires a judge or magistrate to issue a warrant, 
although a person caught committing a crime may be arrested immediately 
without a warrant. However, security forces did not always procure 
arrest warrants before detaining persons. Police did not obtain 
warrants before conducting searches for illegal vendors and making 
sweeps of public markets. A local NGO estimated that as many as 75 
percent of searches were conducted without a warrant.
    The constitution provides the right to prompt judicial 
determination of the detention's legality, but authorities often did 
not respect this right in practice.
    The law mandates that detainees be informed of charges against them 
within five days, or the prosecutor may permit the suspect to return 
home and provide a warrant of surveillance to local police. This 
generally occurred in practice.
    If the crime is a misdemeanor, the suspect may be detained for 30 
days before trial. If the crime is a felony, the prosecutor may prolong 
pretrial detention up to 45 days. Pretrial detention may be prolonged 
by court order while officials build their case. The requests are not 
in the public domain, which made it difficult to determine whether 
authorities exceeded the limits.
    A functioning but ineffective bail system, widely used for minor 
crimes, existed. Prisoners and their families reported that prison 
officials demanded bribes to release prisoners. Prisoners are allowed 
access to a lawyer.
    Unlawful arrest and detention continued to be serious problems. 
NGOs continued efforts to secure the release of persons detained 
illegally. Detainees should not be held longer than 24 hours, but many 
are held for days. In 2009 NGOs reported more than 500 cases of illegal 
detentions.
    On August 11, AI reported that the 34 persons held in Dundo Prison 
for crimes against state security had been waiting nine months for a 
trial. The individuals participated in an NGO active in Lunda Norte to 
promote administrative and financial federalism for the province.
    In mining provinces such as Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul, and Bie, 
international organizations reported that government security forces 
detained illegal immigrants and their families in transit centers, 
where the security forces subjected them to systematic rape and body 
cavity searches, as well as depriving them of food and water.
    For example, between September and December, police expelled 
approximately 12,000 illegal immigrants, most of them diamond workers 
in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. NGOs and the media reported acts of 
violence and degrading treatment, including rape and sexual abuse, 
associated with these operations.
    Security officials arbitrarily arrested members of the opposition. 
On September 23, the online independent news source Club-K reported 
that police in Bie Province detained one person for attending a UNITA 
meeting. However, UNITA member Alcildes Sakala reported that the police 
detained 11 persons over two days for belonging to UNITA.
    Cabinda residents continued to report that security forces detained 
persons suspected of FLEC activity or collaboration.
    Between January 8 and 17, police arrested six individuals, 
Francisco Luemba, Belchior Lanso Tati, Raul Tati, Jose Benjamin Fuca, 
Andre Zeferino Puati, and Barnabe Paca Peso in Cabinda for ``Crimes 
against state security `` for collaborating with FLEC. The six 
individuals were formally charged in March. Andre Zeferino Puati was 
convicted for armed rebellion and homicide allegedly committed on 
January 8 and sentenced in early June to three years in prison for 
possessing documents calling for protest against the Government. On 
August 23, four of the detainees were convicted of ``other acts'' under 
the state security law, sentenced to between three and six years' 
imprisonment, and required to pay $600 to $1,200 fines. They were 
arrested for possessing documents about FLEC and for allegedly 
intellectually supporting the FLEC movement. Barnabe Paca Peso was 
acquitted in September. Luemba, Lanso Tati, Tati, Fuca, and Puati were 
released in late December.
    In early April, Felix Sumbo was detained for possessing T-shirts 
with the names of six detainees and the phrase, ``The truth will set 
them free'' printed on them. Sumbo was held for three days before being 
released.
    Also in early April, police raided Antonio Paca Pemba Panzo's 
residence to search for the same T-shirts. Although police did not find 
the T-shirts, they arrested and detained him for seven months. Panzo 
reported that police mistreated him while in prison. He was released in 
November after charges against him were dropped.
    The law mandates access to legal counsel for detainees and states 
that indigent detainees should be provided a lawyer by the state. These 
rights often were not respected, in part due to the shortage of legal 
professionals. The law also allows family members prompt access to 
detainees; however, this occasionally was ignored or made conditional 
upon payment of a bribe.
    Excessively long pretrial detention continued to be a serious 
problem. An inadequate number of judges and poor communication among 
authorities contributed to it. Police beat and then released detainees 
rather than prepare a formal court case. In some cases, authorities 
held inmates in the prison system for up to two years before their 
trials began. NGOs reported that more than 50 percent of inmates were 
pretrial detainees, most of whom had not been formally charged. The 
Government did not release detainees who had been held beyond the legal 
time limit, claiming that previous releases of pretrial detainees had 
resulted in an increase in crime.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution provides for an 
independent judiciary; however, the judiciary remained understaffed, 
inefficient, corrupt, and subject to executive and political influence 
(see section 4).
    The president appoints Supreme Court justices for life terms 
without confirmation by the National Assembly. The Supreme Court 
generally heard cases concerning alleged political and security crimes. 
The Ministry of Defense also tried civilians in military courts.
    There were long trial delays at the Supreme Court level. Criminal 
courts also had a large backlog of cases, which resulted in major 
delays in hearings.
    Informal courts remained the principal institutions through which 
citizens resolved conflicts in rural areas. Traditional leaders also 
heard and decided local cases. These informal systems did not provide 
citizens with the same rights to a fair trial as the formal legal 
system. Instead, each community in which they were located established 
local rules.
    Most municipalities did not have prosecutors or judges. Local 
police often served as investigator, prosecutor, and judge. Both the 
National Police and the FAA have internal court systems that generally 
remained closed to outside scrutiny. Although members of these 
organizations can be tried under their internal regulations, cases that 
include violations of criminal or civil laws can also fall under the 
jurisdiction of provincial courts.

    Trial Procedures.--The law provides for the right to a fair trial; 
however, the Government did not always respect this right. Suspects 
must be in the presence of a judge and defense attorney when charged. 
Defendants are presumed innocent until convicted. By law trials are 
usually public, although each court has the right to close proceedings. 
Juries are not used. Defendants have the right to be present and to 
consult with an attorney in a timely manner. The law requires that an 
attorney be provided at public expense if an indigent defendant faces 
serious criminal charges. Outside of Luanda, the public defender was 
generally not a trained attorney due to shortages in qualified 
personnel. Defendants do not have the right to confront their accusers. 
They may question witnesses against them and present witnesses and 
evidence on their own behalf. The Government did not always respect 
these rights in practice.
    Defendants and their attorneys have the right to access government-
held evidence relevant to their cases. In addition defendants have the 
right to appeal. Lawyers and prosecutors can appeal if the sentence is 
unsatisfactory, but only a higher court can modify the sentence. 
However, the Government did not always respect these rights in 
practice.
    The law extends to all citizens. A separate court under the 
Ministry of Justice is designated for children's affairs. It functions 
as part of Luanda's provincial court system. The Luanda juvenile court 
hears cases of youth under the age of 18 who are victims of a crime. 
The juvenile court also hears cases of minors between the ages of 12 
and 16 who are accused of committing a criminal offense. Minors over 
the age of 16 accused of committing a criminal offense are tried in the 
regular court system. In many rural provinces, there is no provision 
for juvenile courts, so offenders are tried as adults.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were reports of political 
prisoners. On September 23, an independent, online news outlet Club-K 
reported that police in Bie Province detained one person for attending 
a UNITA meeting. UNITA member Alcildes Sakala additionally reported 
that police detained 11 persons over two days for belonging to UNITA.
    In May 2009 the president of a local movement for autonomy and 
independence, Jota Malakito, was taken into police custody and held 
incommunicado. On October 8, he was transferred from Viana Penitentiary 
Center to Dundo, Lunda Norte, where he was tried with 33 other persons 
accused of crimes against state security and instigating a rebellion. 
As of year's end Malakito remained in prison.

    Regional Human Rights Court Decisions.--On May 12, the African 
Commission on Human Rights found the country in violation of several 
articles in the African charter in relation to a 2004 case in which 14 
Gambians were deported along with approximately 126,250 other 
foreigners, under a government program called Operacao Brilhante, a 
campaign whose aim was to rid the mining areas of foreigners. The 
commission recommended that the Government establish a commission of 
inquiry to investigate. Foreign Minister Assuncao dos Anjos responded 
that the country was being unjustly criticized, likely due to a 
misunderstanding of its law.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--Although the law provides 
for an independent and impartial judiciary in civil matters, the 
judiciary was subject to political interference. Civil courts 
functioned in some provinces but faced severe backlogs. In 2009 
Luanda's civil courts had more than 2,000 pending civil suits. The 
Ministry of Justice continued work with national and international 
partners to improve court clerk training and technical capacity in 
provincial and municipal civil courts. Damages for human rights 
violations could be sought in court, but no cases were tried during the 
year.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but 
the Government did not always respect these prohibitions in practice. 
For example, citizens widely believed that the Government maintained 
surveillance of certain groups, including government critics, 
opposition parties, and journalists.
    During the year the National Assembly approved a law dictating that 
citizens could not be relocated without being provided a fair 
indemnification. In practice, more than 6,000 persons were relocated 
during the year; most did not receive a fair indemnification. Under the 
new constitution, all land belonged to the state. The state claimed 
many of the former residents did not have clear title to the dwellings, 
which were constructed illegally.
    During the year there were numerous instances in which the 
Government exercised the right of eminent domain to destroy private 
homes. The former homeowners were not compensated at fair market value 
for the loss of their residences or land. The Government demolished 
housing in Cabinda, Benguela, Lubando, Malange, and Huila provinces and 
sometimes forcibly relocated residents to vacant sites.
    For example, on January 25, 12 houses in Benguela were destroyed 
and the residents were relocated to a nearby vacant area.
    On March 6, the Huila provincial government destroyed the homes of 
more than 3,000 persons. Seven persons were killed during the 
destruction, including one child. The individuals were relocated to a 
field in Tchavola approximately six miles outside of Huila. Initially, 
they were provided with tents in a muddy field although eventually the 
Government gave them food, water, medical services, and transportation. 
However, the individuals were not provided fair compensation for their 
homes.
    In August the Huila provincial government also destroyed the homes 
of more than 1,800 persons in Matala and Quipungo municipalities. Huila 
Governor Isaac dos Anjos told the weekly independent newspaper Novo 
Jornal on October 22 that he was following instructions when he ordered 
homes destroyed to make way for the Mocamides railway.
    On September 29, the Benguela provincial government destroyed 1,557 
houses in Lubango. The Government had originally earmarked 320 houses 
for demolition, but it had not warned residents about when the 
demolitions would begin. Residents also were not given land in 
compensation nor materials to construct another house. The new site was 
located four miles from Lubango, making it difficult for residents to 
work.
    During the year officials from the Jardims de Eden housing project 
threatened residents of Luanda's Baghdad and Iraq neighborhoods 
attempting to displace them from profitable building land. Residents 
successfully organized a campaign to resist attempts at intimidation 
and insist on receiving fair indemnification.
    In April 2009 the Government relocated approximately 1,500 families 
(9,000 persons) from downtown Luanda to Zango, 10 miles away. At year's 
end, according to the families' resident's association, only 24 
families had received land. Some individuals were given basic but 
insufficient construction material, resulting in poor quality 
dwellings. Most residents continued to live in tents with no running 
water, health clinics, sanitation services, education, transportation, 
or electricity.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press; however, government regulations 
and minimal independent media outside of Luanda limited these rights in 
practice. Human rights activists and journalists practiced self-
censorship.
    For example, journalist Antonio Freitas stated in a May 15 
interview with the BBC that a culture of self-censorship exists among 
journalists.
    Individual citizens reported practicing self-censorship but were 
generally able to criticize the Government without fear of direct 
reprisals. The Government engaged in subtle repression and economic 
coercion, often in the form of withdrawing business or job 
opportunities, to discourage criticism. For example, an NGO reported 
that citizens often curtailed their support of an opposition political 
party because they would suffer reprisal from MPLA supporters.
    There were 12 privately owned weekly newspapers and four Luanda-
based commercial radio stations. All but three of these publications--
Folha 8, Angolense, and Agora--were rumored to be owned by groups or 
individuals tied to the Government. The Government permitted state-
owned Radio Nacional to broadcast nationally, but all other stations 
could only broadcast in provinces where they opened radio stations. 
Authorities did not allow independent stations to use repeaters to 
expand their signal reach. As a result, most private radio stations 
only broadcasted in Luanda. Radio Mais, whose ownership included 
individuals associated with the ruling party, also broadcasted in 
Huambo and Benguela.
    On June 5, the firm Media Investments bought two major privately 
owned newspapers, Semanario Angolense and Semanario A Capital. 
According to a former owner of Semanario Angolense, he was forced to 
sell because the newspaper was no longer profitable, and advertising 
revenues had suddenly and suspiciously ceased. He suspected that 
government-linked officials objected to the newspapers' critical 
editorial line and forced or encouraged advertisers to end contracts 
with the newspaper.
    In August government officials reportedly confiscated and burned 
all 3,500 copies of Seminario Angolense due to an article criticizing 
the president as well as the recent increase in the price of gasoline 
and diesel fuel. The following week the newspaper printed an 
explanation stating that there had been ``technical issues'' with the 
printing of the newspaper.
    In October the new owner of the weekly newspaper A Capital, an 
alleged subsidiary of Media Investments, ordered copies to be burned at 
the press. According to some of the newspaper's editors, that week's 
edition criticized the president's project to build one million houses. 
The paper did not circulate for two weeks.
    Independent radio and print media criticized the Government openly 
and at times harshly, but at their peril. Local journalists were not 
able to criticize government officials, particularly the president, 
without fear of arrest or harassment.
    The Government also restricted nationwide independent broadcasting 
through licensing laws. However, despite such restrictive laws, Radio 
Mais broadcasted to three provinces outside Luanda. During the year 
Radio Ecclesia negotiated with the Ministry of Social Communication to 
expand its broadcast range to five provinces. Multiple community-based 
radio stations opened during the year, including the popular Radio 
Cazenga.
    During the year authorities arrested, harassed, and intimidated 
journalists.
    In January Jose Gimbi received death threats because of his 
reporting, specifically for VOA.
    On September 5, Alberto Graves Chakussanga, a journalist for Radio 
Despertar, was shot and killed in his home in Luanda. It was unclear if 
his death was related to his role as a journalist. An investigation was 
ongoing at year's end.
    In mid-September, there was a burglary at the home of Irene Mujoco, 
a reporter for the weekly newspaper O Pais. All his work-related 
equipment was stolen. A few days later the car of another O Pais 
reporter, Eugenio Mateus, was vandalized. All his belongings in the car 
were stolen.
    On September 23, Norberto Sateco, a reporter for the independently 
owned TV Zimbo, was shot in the legs by unknown assailants in Luanda. 
Sateco had worked for the VOA in Luanda until its multipress office 
closed in 2007.
    On September 30, three Luandan-based journalists travelling to 
Lubando, Huila Province, had their equipment confiscated by local 
police after reporting on the housing demolitions. A heavy police 
presence contributed to a climate of intimidation and hampered the 
media's normal activities at the demolition site.
    On October 22, Antonio Manuel Da Silva, journalist for Radio 
Despertar, a station critical of the Government and linked to the 
opposition party UNITA, was attacked and stabbed on his way home from 
work. An investigation was pending at year's end.
    There were reports that security forces interfered with 
journalists' attempts to take pictures or video during the year. In the 
period prior to the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament in 
Cabinda, journalists were detained for photographing the stadiums. 
Visitors were warned during the year not to take photographs of any 
government-affiliated buildings or persons because security forces 
might seize their cameras or detain them.
    For example, in December 2009 reporters Jose Gimbi and Benoit 
Falcao were detained for photographing a stadium in Cabinda.
    Defamation is a crime punishable by imprisonment or fine. Accuracy 
is not an acceptable defense against defamation charges; the accused 
must provide evidence proving the validity of the allegedly damaging 
material.
    In 2009 journalist Armando Chicoca was accused of defamation. The 
president of the provincial court of Namibe Province, Antonio 
Vissandule, accused Chicoca of four accounts of defamation. Chicoca was 
tried and awaiting sentencing at year's end. Chicoca also reported 
receiving death threats in January, which he felt were linked to two 
legal cases pending against him.
    The minister of social communications, the spokesperson of the 
presidency, and the national director of information, maintained 
significant decision-making authority over the media.
    Official news outlets, including Angolan Public Television (TPA), 
favored the ruling party and largely ignored the opposition in their 
reporting. Opposition parties were given limited access to state-owned 
media and were requested to pay in exchange for coverage of their 
events and statements.

    Internet Freedom.--Individuals and groups could engage in the 
peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. 
Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that the Government 
monitored Internet chat rooms, Web sites, or pressed for the removal of 
defamatory material. Availability of Internet service and Internet 
cafes increased during the year, but the high cost of Internet service 
put it beyond the reach of most citizens.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution and law provide for the right of assembly; 
however, the Government at times restricted this right. The police 
impeded peaceful demonstrations at least three times during the year.
    The law requires written notification to the local administrator 
and police three days before public assemblies are to be held, but it 
does not require government permission for such events. However, the 
Government at times prohibited events based on perceived or claimed 
security considerations. Participants potentially were liable for 
``offenses against the honor and consideration due to persons and to 
organs of sovereignty.'' Police and administrators did not interfere 
with progovernment gatherings. However, groups intending to criticize 
the Government often met a heavy police presence and government excuses 
preventing them from carrying out the event. Usually the Government 
claimed that the timing or venue requested was problematic or that the 
proper authorities had not received notification.
    On March 25, the NGO Omunga attempted to stage a peaceful 
demonstration in Benguela to protest housing demolitions. Authorities 
prevented the demonstration from taking place, citing various legal 
arguments. The demonstration eventually took place on April 10 but on a 
much smaller scale.
    On May 22, activists in Cabinda attempted to stage a protest about 
the prolonged pretrial detention of six individuals in prison since 
January. Authorities used a strong police presence to intimidate the 
protesters and prevent the demonstration.
    On November 3, two NGOs, ``Plataforma Mulheres em Accao'' and Open 
Society Institute, walked to the National Assembly to encourage the 
legislature to vote on a law against domestic and family violence. Five 
of the demonstrators were detained for five hours and later released. 
Police claimed that the public demonstration was not authorized. 
Organizers claimed they had notified authorities.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution and law provide for the 
right of association, and the Government generally respected this right 
in practice. Extensive and unexplained delays in the NGO registration 
process continued to be a problem. For example, four civil society 
associations (AJPD, the Human Rights Coordination Council, Maos Livres, 
and Omunga) constituted between 200006 remained without certificates to 
operate from the Ministry of Justice at year's end. According to the 
Government, there were 329 national and 133 international NGOs active 
in the country.
    The Government sometimes arbitrarily restricted the activities of 
associations it considered subversive by refusing to grant permits for 
organized activities. During the year opposition parties generally were 
permitted to organize and hold meetings; however, opposition officials 
continued to report minor obstructions to the free exercise of their 
parties' right to meet. For example, during the year local authorities 
in multiple provinces threatened to close UNITA's headquarters building 
as well as threatened members who attended meetings.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/drl/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation; however, the Government at times restricted these rights 
in practice. During the year the Government improved the road network 
and decreased checkpoints between provinces. The Government cooperated 
with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International 
Organization for Migration, and other humanitarian organizations in 
providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons 
(IDPs), returning refugees, asylum seekers, and other persons of 
concern.
    Extortion and harassment at government checkpoints in rural areas 
and at provincial and international border checkpoints interfered with 
the right to travel. Extortion by police was routine in cities on major 
commercial routes. The Government and private security companies 
restricted access to designated diamond concessions. Citizens living 
near concession areas regularly were denied access for any purpose, 
including obtaining water.
    For example, in November well-known journalist Rafael Marques 
reported that police detained him in Lunda Norte for no reason. After 
extricating himself from the situation, he later encountered another 
threatening road block.
    In May the National Criminal Investigation Department (DNIC) 
investigated William Tonet, the publisher of the weekly newspaper Folha 
8, for supposed crimes against the state; no trial had taken place by 
year's end. On May 9, authorities seized Tonet's passport when he 
attempted to visit Namibia. Police notified Tonet that he was on a list 
of persons forbidden to leave the country.
    NGOs reported that security forces often used excessive force in 
expelling illegal artisanal miners and their families. In late October, 
NGOs in the DRC reported that Angolan officials had subjected more than 
300 persons to lengthy detention in inhumane conditions in Angola, 
deprived them of food and water, and subjected them to sexual violence. 
Authorities then deported the refugees to the DRC and left them at the 
border naked. Angola expelled approximately 12,000 persons in the last 
three months of the year.
    Land mines and other ERW remaining from the civil war continued to 
impede freedom of movement in rural areas.
    The constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not 
employ it.

    Internally Displaced Persons.--Officially there were no IDPs. The 
majority of persons previously considered IDPs did not intend to return 
to their area of origin, as many considered their new locations to be 
home. Some of those yet to return to their homes stated that a lack of 
physical infrastructure and government services, such as medical care, 
and the presence of land mines, were major deterrents to their return.
    The Ministry of Assistance and Social Reinsertion (MINARS) has 
primary responsibility for returnees and any remaining IDPs, as well as 
housing and resettlement programs; however, its efforts remained 
inadequate. MINARS delegated primary responsibility to provincial 
governments to ensure safe, voluntary resettlement in areas cleared of 
mines and with access to water, arable land, markets, and adequate 
state administration.
    From January to November 2009, the Government forcibly expelled 
85,000 illegal Congolese immigrants to Bas-Congo, and the DRC 
retaliated by forcibly returning approximately 52,000 recognized 
Angolan refugees. However, smaller expulsions along the entire border 
between the two countries continued throughout the year. The United 
Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo 
verified that DRC authorities had conducted most of their expulsions in 
2009 peacefully. Nonetheless, expelled Congolese entering the DRC 
reported that Angolan security forces committed abuses against them. 
According to the UNHRO, between January and February 2009, 9,205 
Congolese allegedly were expelled from the country, including 1,943 
women of whom 304 allegedly were raped.
    By February all Angolan returnees who left the DRC in late 2009 had 
been settled in communities, mostly in Uige and Zaire provinces. 
Government officials and returnees reported in both February and 
September that they still needed legal assistance to regularize their 
status, supplies to restart their careers, education and language 
training, agricultural supplies, and housing materials.
    The Government did not usually restrict aid efforts by 
international humanitarian groups. However, the International 
Organization for Migration and other international organizations 
reported that the Government sometimes denied them access to camps for 
returnees in Zaire and Uige provinces before the returnees were settled 
in communities.

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's law provides for the 
granting of asylum or refugee status, and the Government has 
established a system for providing protection to refugees. There were 
14 refugee settlement areas, 10,537 refugees, and 3,936 asylum seekers 
during the year.
    The Government provided some protection against the expulsion or 
return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be 
threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership 
in a particular social group, or political opinion. In October 2009 the 
Government and the UNHCR resumed joint efforts to repatriate thousands 
of refugees remaining outside the country since the civil war. These 
efforts continued during the year.
    During the year Angolan refugees returned from Namibia, Zambia, the 
Republic of Congo, and the DRC. According to UNHCR statistics, 
approximately 85,000 Angolan refugees remained in neighboring countries 
at year's end.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution and law provide citizens with the right to change 
their government peacefully. Citizens were able to exercise the right 
to elect legislative representatives in 2008. The new constitution, 
adopted in February, designates the president as head of state, renamed 
the parliament the ``National Assembly,'' and replaced the prime 
minister with a vice president. However, the right to elect local 
leaders remained restricted and elections did not occur at the 
provincial or municipal levels.

    Elections and Political Participation.--After having postponed 
parliamentary elections for two years, the Government held the first 
postwar elections in 2008. The ruling MPLA won 81.6 percent of the 
vote. Domestic and international observers reported that polling 
throughout the country was peaceful and generally credible, although 
the ruling party enjoyed advantages due to state control of major media 
and other resources. Serious logistical failures marred polling in the 
capital, Luanda. Opposition parties criticized many aspects of the 
electoral process, including state control of the major media, late 
disbursement of public campaign funds, the National Electoral 
Commission's (CNE) failure to accredit some opposition and civil 
society electoral observers, and the CNE's last-minute decision to 
discard the legal requirement that a voter registry be used to verify a 
voter's identity and residence at polling stations. Despite these and 
other irregularities, election day was peaceful, and more than 87 
percent of registered voters participated. Opposition parties generally 
accepted the electoral results.
    Observers had expected a presidential election in 2009. However, 
elections did not occur due to a delay to accommodate constitutional 
reform. The new constitution calls for elections within five years of 
the previous elections. Voters will elect candidates from a party list, 
with the presidential candidate at the head of the list.
    The new constitution calls for a ``gradual'' dissemination of power 
to the provincial and municipal level.
    The ruling MPLA party dominated all political institutions. 
Political power was concentrated in the presidency and the Council of 
Ministers, through which the president exercised executive power. The 
council can enact laws, decrees, and resolutions, assuming most 
functions normally associated with the legislative branch. The National 
Assembly consists of 220 deputies elected under a party list 
proportional representation system. This body has the authority to 
draft, debate, and pass legislation, but in practice laws generally 
were drafted and proposed by the executive branch for the assembly's 
approval. After the 2008 legislative elections, opposition deputies 
held fewer than 20 percent of the parliamentary seats.
    In August the president of the National Assembly issued a decree 
that curtailed the National Assembly's ability to question certain acts 
of the executive branch. The power to hold the executive branch 
accountable had not been restored by year's end.
    There were five political parties represented in the National 
Assembly: the MPLA, UNITA, the National Liberation Front for Angola , 
the Social Renovation Party , and Novo Democracia. After the 2008 
elections, any of the 96 parties that failed to obtain a legislative 
seat or 0.5 percent of the vote ceased to exist. Under the new 
constitution, at least two new parties could seek legalization to run 
in the next elections, scheduled for 2012.
    Opposition parties stated that their members were subject to 
harassment, intimidation, and assault by supporters of the MPLA. UNITA 
continued to argue that the MPLA had not lived up to the terms of the 
2002 peace accord, and former combatants lacked the social services and 
assistance needed to reintegrate into society. Former combatants also 
reported difficulties obtaining pensions due to bureaucratic delays or 
discrimination. UNITA headquarters buildings in at least three 
provinces were denied access to public utilities, including electricity 
and water. During the year UNITA reported that its flags were defaced 
and its buildings vandalized.
    In July UNITA reported that a member was attacked and killed on the 
street while leaving a party meeting. The victim was wearing a UNITA T-
shirt. Party representatives believed the attack was politically 
motivated.
    On July 28, Jornal de Angola ran a full-page article titled, ``The 
Coup-ist Thesis of UNITA's Youth Movement (JURA).'' The article 
extracted statements from JURA's platform to portray the movement as 
trying to overthrow the Government. UNITA interpreted this article and 
two others highlighting the JURA youth conference as instances of 
intimidation and slander.
    On August 2, a woman wearing clothes that identified her as a UNITA 
member was beaten and killed as she was leaving a UNITA meeting. UNITA 
members believe she was killed because of her party affiliation.
    In September UNITA reported that one of its members, Soba Bernardo 
Samangomba, was detained by the Bie police for four days for attending 
a UNITA meeting.
    Opposition party members and civil society leaders cited examples 
of political intolerance during the 2008 election process.
    Of the 220 deputies in the National Assembly, 82 were women (38 
percent), exceeding the UN-recommended quota of 30 percent . Women also 
held three of the 18 governorships (16 percent) and led nine of the 31 
ministries (29 percent).
    The country has three dominant linguistic groups: the Ovimbundu, 
the Mbundu, and the Bakongo, which together constitute approximately 77 
percent of the population. All are represented in government. Other 
groups are also taking part in governing at the national level. There 
were six members of smaller ethnic groups in the National Assembly and 
one minority member in the cabinet who was Chokwe. Political parties 
must be represented in all 18 provinces; however, the majority of 
political parties had limited national constituencies. By law no 
political party could limit party membership based on ethnicity, race, 
or gender.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; 
however, the Government did not implement these laws effectively, and 
local and international NGOs and media sources reported that officials 
engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. The Financial Court was the 
Government agency responsible for combating government corruption; 
however, the DNIC also investigated some cases.
    The World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that 
corruption was a severe problem.
    Government corruption was widespread, and accountability was 
limited due to a lack of checks and balances, lack of institutional 
capacity, and a culture of impunity. Despite the widespread perception 
that government corruption at all levels was endemic, public 
prosecutions were rare.
    In October the president fired both the minister of the interior 
and the vice minister for immigration for authorizing the illegal 
extradition of a Portuguese citizen from Sao Tome and Principe. The 
media reported that the Portuguese man was accused of embezzling funds 
from a local businessman, who also was a business partner of the 
interior minister. Despite a presidential statement declaring the 
extradition illegal, no charges were brought against any government 
officials involved in the case.
    In March the National Assembly approved a new law on public 
probity, which required most government officials to declare their 
assets to the attorney general. However, the information was not made 
available to the general public during the year, and the president, 
vice president, and president of the National Assembly were exempt from 
the law's requirements.
    The judiciary is corrupt and subject to political influence and 
conflict of interest.
    In April five high-level immigration officials were convicted of 
embezzlement of public funds and accepting bribes. They were sentenced 
to prison terms of eight years. In September the Constitutional Court 
overturned the convictions. The court stated that the accused 
officials' right to due process and a fair trial had been violated. 
However, the press reported several conflicts of interest in the 
ruling; in particular, the president of court and one of its judges 
were both owners of the law firm that defended the accused and the lead 
defense lawyer had also worked as a consultant to the court.
    The Government made progress in improving transparency in its 
economic operations, in large part due to the measures implemented 
under a loan agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund 
(IMF) in November 2009.
    As a condition of the loan, the IMF required that the 2008 audit of 
the state-owned oil company, Sonangol, be completed by an audit firm of 
international reputation. The Government agreed to publish Sonangol's 
audited financial statements for 2007 and 2008 and to adopt this new 
transparency as part of normal standard practice for the future. In 
addition the Government committed gradually to phase out the quasi-
fiscal activities of Sonangol to concentrate better such operations in 
the central government. The Government continued to publish online a 
detailed block-by-block accounting of the monthly revenues it received 
from Sonangol's oil production. The Government also published its 
proposed budget online, prior to adoption by the National Assembly. 
However, there continued to be a significant lack of transparency in 
the overall process of the Government's procurement and use of loans, 
taken from both private banks and foreign governments.
    To monitor and control expenditures more effectively, the Ministry 
of Finance continued implementation of the Integrated Financial System, 
a system designed to record all central government expenditures.
    Parastatals, most notably Sonangol, were required to report 
revenues to the central bank and the Ministry of Finance, but 
inconsistent accounting practices hampered transparency.
    Audits of Endiama, the state diamond parastatal, were not made 
public. Serious transparency problems remained in the diamond industry, 
particularly regarding allocation of exploration, production, and 
purchasing rights.
    The business climate continued to favor those connected to the 
Government. Government ministers and other high-level officials 
commonly and openly owned interests in companies regulated by or doing 
business with their respective ministries. There are laws and 
regulations regarding conflict of interest, but they were not widely 
enforced. Petty corruption among police, teachers, and other government 
employees was widespread. Police extorted money from citizens and 
refugees, and prison officials extorted money from family members of 
inmates (see sections 1.c., 1.d., and 2.d.).
    There were credible reports of high-level officials receiving 
substantial bribes from private companies awarded government contracts.
    The law provides for public access to government information; 
however, the information posted on most government Web sites remained 
limited. The Government's limited technical capabilities restricted its 
ability to provide information. Laws are made public by being published 
in the official gazette; this publication can be purchased for a small 
fee but is not available online.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A variety of domestic and international human rights groups 
operated throughout the country. Some of those investigating government 
corruption and human rights abuses alleged government interference in 
their activities throughout the year.
    More than 320 domestic NGOs and 133 international NGOs operated in 
the country. An estimated 100 NGOs worked on human rights issues, 
although only a few were considered effective. Local NGOs actively 
promoted and defended human rights during the year by documenting 
prison conditions, protesting forced evictions, providing free legal 
counsel, lobbying government officials, and publishing investigative 
reports.
    The Law of Association requires NGOs to specify their mandate and 
areas of activity. The Government used this provision to prevent or 
discourage established NGOs from engaging in certain activities, 
especially those that were politically sensitive or related to election 
issues. Six NGOs did not have a registry certificate. Government 
officials threatened to ban those NGOs it determined to be operating 
outside their mandate or not effectively working on the specific issues 
they were created to address; however, NGO leaders suspected the motive 
was to silence their criticism. No new NGOs were banned during the 
year.
    Problems with governmental delays in processing registration 
applications for NGOs continued. At least four NGOs remained 
unregistered. One local NGO, AJPD, having not received the registration 
certificate,filed a case against the Ministry of Justice to court. The 
case had been pending since 2002, and there was no resolution by year's 
end.Despite the lack of certification, all four organizations continued 
to operate under a clause in the registration law that automatically 
granted legal operating status if authorities did not reject a group's 
application within 150 days, and the group continued to work closely 
with some ministries.
    The Government allowed local NGOs to exist and to carry out human 
rights-related work. However, many NGOs were forced to limit the scope 
of their work because they faced problems registering, were subject to 
subtle forms of intimidation, and risked more serious forms of 
harassment and closure.
    The Government arrested and harassed NGO workers. On April 20, 
Omunga Director Jose Patrocinio was detained in Luanda's airport. 
Officials stated they had to verify the authenticity of his passport. 
Others believe his detention was in retaliation for protesting the 
destruction of houses.
    Unlike in the previous year, the Government also criticized 
domestic and international NGOs.
    There were reports of police or military presence at community 
meetings with international NGOs, especially in Cabinda.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports of foreign human 
rights workers or researchers being detained.
    Mpalabanda, a civil society organization formerly based in Cabinda, 
remained banned. Its registration was rescinded in 2006 when it joined 
the Cabindan Forum for Dialogue, an umbrella organization that 
negotiated peace with the Government. The Government determined that 
Mpalabanda was acting as a political entity outside of its legal 
mandate as a civil society organization. Mpalabanda supporters 
continued to distribute statements through the Internet and to attend 
public forums throughout the year. Former leaders experienced low-level 
harassment and intimidation throughout the year. For example, four of 
the seven individuals detained in Cabinda for links with the attack on 
the Togolese team were previous members of Mpalabanda.
    The Government did not refuse visas to international NGO observers 
or otherwise restrict their access to the country. However, some 
international NGOs reported long delays in obtaining visas, although 
the delays were not significantly longer than those experienced by 
other foreigners.
    The Government cooperated with international governmental 
organizations and permitted visits by UN representatives; however, in 
2008 the UNHRO closed its office following a government decision not to 
grant a full mandate to the office. The decision to close the office 
directly contradicted government commitments to work more closely with 
the UNHRO, which were made when Angola won a three-year term on the UN 
Human Rights Council in 2007.
    The African Commission on Human Rights criticized the Government 
for the deportation of Gambian citizens (see section 1.e.).
    The National Assembly committee on human rights ostensibly focused 
on human rights in the legislature; however, it did not issue any 
reports.
    State Secretary for Human Rights Bento Bembe spoke frequently about 
human rights during the year. The position--a cabinet level minister 
dedicated to human rights--has helped focus attention on human rights 
in the country.
    The Government denied allegations that the FAA perpetrated human 
rights abuses in the DRC from 1993-2003 as reported in a UN Mapping 
Report released during the year.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, 
gender, religion, disability, language, or social status; however, the 
Government did not effectively enforce these prohibitions. Violence and 
discrimination against women, child abuse, child prostitution, 
trafficking in persons, and discrimination against persons with 
disabilities and indigenous persons were problems.

    Women.--Rape, including spousal rape, is illegal and punishable by 
up to eight years' imprisonment; however, limited investigative 
resources, poor forensic capabilities, and an ineffective judicial 
system prevented prosecution of most cases. The Organization of Angolan 
Women operated a shelter in Luanda that offered special services for 
rape victims. In 2009 the police commissioner in Luanda estimated that 
10 cases of rape occurred daily nationwide, 40 percent in Luanda. The 
Ministry of Justice worked with the Ministry of Interior to increase 
the number of female police officers and to improve police response to 
rape allegations. Police in Benguela were concerned with an increase in 
rape, especially rape of children, as reported in a November 7 article 
in the Jornal de Angola.
    On May 1, the newspaper Folho 8 reported that a police officer 
raped a 22-year- old woman.
    Domestic violence against women, including spousal abuse, was 
common and pervasive, particularly in urban areas. Domestic violence is 
not illegal; however, the Government occasionally prosecuted it under 
the law as rape or assault and battery. A 2007 preliminary study on 
domestic violence in Luanda indicated that 78 percent of women had 
experienced some form of violence since the age of 15. Twenty-seven 
percent of women reported abuse in the 12 months preceding the study; 
among women living in the poor outskirts of Luanda, 62 percent reported 
abuse in the same time period. During the year police recorded 831 
cases of domestic violence. The Ministry of Family and Promotion of 
Women (MINFAMU) registered 283 cases of domestic violence for 2008. 
Common-law husbands or boyfriends perpetrated the majority of violence. 
The MINFAMU maintained a program with the Angolan Bar Association to 
give free legal assistance to abused women; the ministry maintained 
counseling centers to help families cope with domestic abuse. 
Statistics on prosecutions for violence against women under these laws 
during the year were not available.
    Religious leaders in Lunda Norte and Uige reported that societal 
violence against elderly persons and rural and impoverished women and 
children occurred occasionally, with most cases stemming from 
accusations of witchcraft. Some women were killed, beaten, or expelled 
from their families, or died from mistreatment and malnourishment. The 
religious leaders, who offered church-run shelters to the victims, 
reported that police did not take action due to fears that the women 
might practice witchcraft against them. According to an April 2009 
article, priests killed more than 400 persons in ``faith-based'' cures 
that involve violent rituals, beatings, and poison.
    Sexual harassment was common and is not illegal. However, such 
cases may be prosecuted under assault and battery and defamation 
statutes.
    Information on government provisions for reproductive health 
services or diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, 
including HIV, was not available. Couples and individuals may decide 
freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their 
children, and have access to the information and means to do so free 
from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Women have access to 
contraception. According to a 2009 study published during the year, 
17.7 percent of women have used contraception. According to the same 
study, 47 percent of women who gave birth had four or more prenatal 
consultations. Approximately 67 percent of women saw a qualified person 
at least once, 49 percent of births were attended by a qualified 
person, and 42 percent gave birth in a medical center. There were no 
reports of coercive family planning practices, nor coercive 
sterilization. There were no legal, social, cultural, or other barriers 
that limit access to these services.
    Under the constitution and law, women enjoy the same rights as men; 
however, societal discrimination against women remained a serious 
problem, particularly in rural areas. There were no effective 
mechanisms to enforce child support laws, and women generally bore the 
major responsibility for raising children. In addition the Ministries 
of Labor and Health published an executive decree that listed the types 
of jobs prohibited to women.
    The law provides for equal pay for equal work; however, women 
generally held low-level positions in state-run industries and in the 
private sector or worked in the informal sector. In an interministerial 
effort spearheaded by the MINFAMU, the Government undertook multiple 
information campaigns on women's rights and domestic abuse and hosted 
national, provincial, and municipal workshops and training sessions 
during the year.

    Children.--The Government was committed to protect children's 
rights and welfare but lacked the human and logistical resources 
required to provide necessary programs. The National Institute for 
Children (INAC) had primary responsibility for coordinating government 
action concerning children's affairs.
    Citizenship is derived by birth within the country's territory or 
from one's parents. However, the Government does not register all 
births immediately, and activists reported that many urban and rural 
children remained undocumented. As many as 30 percent of children under 
five years old were undocumented, according to a 2009 study released 
during the year. The Government did not permit undocumented children 
access to the educational system, and fees for birth certificates and 
identification cards remained prohibitive for impoverished families. 
Although the official registration drive ended in 2004, the Government 
continued to partner with UN Children's Fund to identify and assist 
undocumented children and provided limited subsidies to cover fees for 
families with proven financial need. The Government implemented a 
previous plan to provide birth certificates in health clinics and 
maternity wards during the year.
    Education is free and compulsory for documented children until the 
sixth grade, but students often had significant additional expenses. 
The Ministry of Education had insufficient resources, and educational 
infrastructure remained in disrepair. There were insufficient schools 
and teachers to provide universal primary education. According to a 
study conducted during the year, 77 percent of children between the 
ages of six and 11 attended primary school. The same study reported 
that 21 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 17 attended 
secondary school. An independent study late in the year reported 18 
percent of boys and 13 percent of girls enrolled in secondary or higher 
education. The same study reported that 25 percent of the school-age 
population did not attend school, and the drop out rate was 30 percent.
    Children of any age in an urban area were more likely to attend 
school than children in a rural area. Children in rural areas generally 
lacked access to secondary education. Even in provincial capitals, 
there were not enough classroom spaces for all the children who needed 
school access. There were reports of families paying bribes to 
education officials to ensure their child got a place in a classroom. 
According to the UN Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization, 
enrollment rates were higher for boys than for girls, especially at the 
secondary level.
    The Government provided free medical care for children with 
identity documents at pediatric hospitals and health posts throughout 
the country; however, in many areas, health care was limited or 
nonexistent. Where medical care was available, boys and girls had equal 
access.
    Child abuse was widespread. Reports of physical abuse within the 
family were commonplace, and local officials largely tolerated abuse. 
Religion and superstitions played a role in child abuse. During the 
year abuse of children accused of witchcraft continued to be a problem. 
Children accused of witchcraft were subject to abuses such as isolation 
from their families, denial of food and water, ritualistic cuttings, 
and the placing of various caustic oils or peppers on their eyes or 
ears. Children were sometimes killed during ``exorcism'' rituals. Most 
cases of abuse relating to traditional beliefs occurred in Luanda, 
Uige, and Zaire provinces. Vulnerable children, such as orphans or 
those without access to health care or education, were more likely to 
be victims of practices involving witchcraft. Government and religious 
leaders called for an end to these practices, but the influence of 
these traditional beliefs remained strong.
    In September 55 children in Sanza-Pombo, Uige Province, were 
accused of being witches. A Congolese priest chained and tortured 12 
children for being witches and therefore dangerous to their families. 
Churches, many based in the DRC, convinced impoverished families living 
in rural areas and the outskirts towns that their children had 
supernatural powers--leading to allegations that these children were 
practicing witchcraft. According to the National Institute for Religion 
Affairs, some religious sects were closed last year because they 
endangered the health and welfare of citizens. Despite the lockout of 
these religious sects, sporadic information on children accused of 
practicing witchcraft continued especially in the northern provinces. 
However, INAC reports that incidents involving witchcraft have gone 
down 70 percent from 2003 through the end of the year. The INAC also 
reported that an unknown number of individuals had gone to jail for 
alleging children committed witchcraft.
    In 2007 the Government created the National Children's Council, an 
interministerial commission designed to define priorities and 
coordinate the Government's policies to combat all forms of violence 
against children, including unlawful child labor, trafficking, and 
sexual exploitation.
    The legal age for marriage, with parental consent, is 15 years old. 
The Government did not enforce this restriction effectively, and the 
traditional age of marriage in lower income groups coincided with the 
onset of puberty. Common-law marriage was regularly practiced.
    Child prostitution is illegal; however, local NGOs expressed 
concern over child prostitution, especially in Luanda and Cunene 
provinces. In February 2009 media sources reported on child 
prostitution cases in Luanda. In March 2009 NGO leaders appealed to the 
Government for a response; however, they did not receive one by year's 
end.
    Sexual relations between an adult and a child under the age of 12 
are considered rape. Sexual relations with a child between the ages of 
12 and 15 may be considered sexual abuse, with convicted offenders 
liable for sentences of up to eight years in prison; however, limited 
investigative resources and an inadequate judicial system prevented 
prosecution of most cases. There were no known prosecutions during the 
year.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental abduction, please see the Department of State's 
annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/abduction/
resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html as well as country-
specific information at http://travel.state.gov/abduction/country/
country--3781.html.)

    Anti-Semitism.--There is a Jewish community of approximately 350 
persons, primarily Israelis. There were no reports of anti-Semitic 
acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with disabilities in employment, education, and access 
to health care or other state services, but the Government did not 
effectively enforce these prohibitions. The constitution mentions 
persons with disabilities in articles 23 (principle of equality), 77 
(health and social protection), 80 (childhood), 83 (disabled citizens), 
and 84 (ex-combatants and veterans). Article 83 of the constitution 
grants persons with disabilities full rights without restrictions. The 
constitution permits the state to adopt a national policy to prevent, 
treat, rehabilitate, and integrate persons with disabilities, provide 
support for their families, remove obstacles to mobility, raise 
awareness in society, and foster special education and training 
opportunities. A law to address specific issues for persons with 
disabilities was drafted in 2004, but never passed. The law would have 
included access to essential services, social protection, and physical 
access to buildings.
    Persons with disabilities included more than 80,000 land mine 
victims. Persons with albinism were common victims of discrimination, 
although church groups worked to eliminate the abuse. The NGO Handicap 
International estimated that persons with disabilities constituted 10 
percent of the population. However, an August study estimated that 2.6 
percent of the population had a physical or mental disability. 
According to government statistics in 2005, there were 170,000 persons 
with disabilities, most of them between the ages of 25 to 44, and 56 
percent were male. Only 30 percent of persons with disabilities were 
able to take advantage of state-provided services such as physical 
rehabilitation, schooling, training, or counseling.
    There is no legislation mandating accessibility for persons with 
disabilities to public or private facilities, and it was difficult for 
such persons to find employment or participate in the education system. 
MINARS maintained an office to address problems facing persons with 
disabilities, including veterans with disabilities, and several 
government entities supported programs to assist individuals disabled 
by land mine incidents. During the 2008 election, the Government 
provided voting assistance to persons with disabilities. The country 
had not signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons 
with Disabilities by year's end.

    Indigenous People.--An estimated 3,500 San people lived in small 
dispersed communities in Huila, Cunene, and Kuando Kubango provinces. 
The San are traditional hunter-gatherers who are linguistically and 
ethnically distinct from their Bantu fellow citizens. Their very 
limited participation in political life has increased, and Ocadec, a 
local NGO advocate for the San people, worked with provincial 
governments to increase services to San communities and to improve 
communication between these communities and the Government.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--The law does not criminalize 
homosexuality or sodomy, although discussing homosexuality in society 
was highly taboo. The constitution defines marriage as between a man 
and a woman, but the law does not differentiate between male to male or 
female to female sex. NGOs have reported a small but underground 
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Luanda. On June 
25, the television station TPA broadcasted a program where a member of 
the gay community discussed discrimination and intimidation based on 
sexual orientation.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--Discrimination against 
those with HIV/AIDS is illegal, but lack of enforcement allowed 
employers to discriminate against persons with the disease. Local NGOs 
reported cases of discrimination against professionals with HIV/AIDS. 
There were no reports of violence against persons with HIV/AIDS. The 
Government's National Institute for the Fight Against HIV/AIDS 
conducted HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns. Local NGOs 
worked to combat stigmatization and discrimination against persons 
living with HIV/AIDS.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The constitution and law provide for 
the right of workers to form and join independent unions, and workers 
exercised this right in practice; however, government approval is 
required. The law provides for rights for trade unions. However, the 
Government admitted that unions were hampered by membership and 
legalization issues.
    The law allows unions to conduct their activities without 
government interference, although the Government did not protect this 
right. Labor unions independent of the Government-run unions worked to 
increase their influence, but the ruling MPLA continued to dominate the 
labor movement due to historical connections between the party and 
labor. There were unions for journalists, teachers, and taxi drivers, 
among others.
    Workers have the right to strike, although strict bureaucratic 
procedures must be followed for a strike to be considered legal, and 
the Government can deny the right to strike or obligate workers to 
return to work. According to the law all workers could strike, except 
government workers.
    Construction workers reportedly went on strike in Luanda because 
they were not paid for many months.
    In October taxi drivers marched to the Benguela government palace 
to protest an increase in fuel prices. The taxi drivers' association 
and government officials met on October 20 and reached an agreement. 
Subsequently, taxi drivers in Huambo, Huila, and Luanda provinces 
raised fares due to the increase in the price of fuel.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The 
constitution and law provide for the right of unions to conduct their 
activities without interference, but the Government did not always 
protect this right. The law protects the right to establish a union for 
the purpose of collective bargaining. The Government routinely thwarted 
union efforts at collective bargaining with long delays in processing.
    There are no legal restrictions on collective bargaining, but 
bargaining was restricted in practice. The Government is the country's 
largest employer, and the Ministry of Public Administration, 
Employment, and Social Security (MAPESS) centrally mandated wages.
    The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and stipulates that 
worker complaints be adjudicated in labor court. Under the law, 
employers are required to reinstate workers who have been dismissed for 
union activities; however, the judicial system did not enforce these 
provisions.
    The constitution grants workers the right to engage in union 
activities, but the Government may intervene in labor disputes that 
affect national security, particularly strikes in the oil sector. The 
Ministry of Labor has a hotline for workers who believe their rights 
have been violated. The law does not effectively prohibit employer 
retribution against strikers, and it permits the Government to force 
workers back to work for ``breaches of worker discipline'' or 
participation in unauthorized strikes.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The law prohibits 
forced or compulsory labor, including by children, but international 
NGOs reported that such practices occurred. The Ministry of Justice has 
effective enforcement mechanisms for the formal economic sector; 
however, most labor law violations occurred outside the formal economy 
and were not subject to legal sanctions. Men and boys were trafficked 
into the country for forced labor, especially in the construction 
sector. Forced labor occurred in the artisanal diamond mining sector. 
Migrant workers were employed in forced labor conditions in diamond 
mining areas, particularly in Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. The Government 
took steps to eliminate illegal immigration and illegal diamond mining 
activities during the year.
    See also the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--
Child labor in the formal sector was restricted under the law; however, 
child labor, especially in the informal sector, remained a problem. The 
law clearly prohibits children under 14 years old from working. 
However, children could work from age 14 to 16 with parental 
permission. Children could not work if it interfered with schooling. 
MAPESS had oversight of formal work sites and determined the age of the 
workers in all 18 provinces. If they determined a business was using 
child labor, they transferred the case to the Ministry of Interior to 
investigate and possibly press charges. An unknown number of businesses 
have been warned or fined for using child labor. However, MAPESS cannot 
regulate the informal sector.
    In 2007 in Kwanza Sul Province, independent newspaper journalists 
found children as young as 10 years old working full time on a 
plantation; they did not attend school and stated that they were often 
paid with food. The local manager was fired, but no charges were filed 
against the local or general managers.
    On October 30, the newspaper Agora published a study conducted in 
Benguela that found more than 70,000 children worked in the country. A 
living standards survey published during the year by Inquerito 
Integrado Sobre o Bem Estar da Populacao reported that 20.4 percent of 
children between the ages of five to14 worked; however, more children 
worked in rural than in urban areas. The study also reported that boys 
and girls were equally likely to work.
    Most work done by children was in the informal sector. Children 
engaged in wage-earning activities, such as agricultural labor on 
family farms and commercial plantations, fishing, charcoal production, 
domestic labor, and street vending. Exploitive labor practices included 
forced prostitution, involvement in the sale or transport of illegal 
drugs, and the offloading and transport of goods in ports and across 
border posts. Children reportedly were used as couriers in the cross-
border trade with Namibia.
    Street children were common, especially in the provinces of Luanda, 
Benguela, Huambo, and Kwanza Sul. Investigators found children working 
in the streets of Luanda, but many returned to some form of dwelling 
during the evening. Most of these children shined shoes, washed cars, 
carried water, or engaged in other informal labor, but some resorted to 
petty crime, begging, and prostitution.
    The MAPESS inspector general is responsible for enforcing all labor 
laws, including complaints of child labor. The Ministry of Family and 
Women's Promotion and the National Children Institute (INAC) play a 
significant role in coordinating the response to a case of child labor 
and protecting possible victims. Ultimately, the Ministries of Interior 
and Justice investigated and prosecuted a case of child labor.
    A separate court under the Ministry of Justice is designated for 
children's affairs. The Luanda juvenile court hears cases of youth 
under the age of 18 who are victims of a crime. The juvenile court also 
hears cases of minors between the ages of 12 and 16 accused of having 
committed criminal offenses. Regular courts hear the cases of minors 
between the ages of 16 and 18 who are accused of criminal offenses. 
There were no courts to hear cases involving children under the age of 
12. In many rural provinces, there was no separate structure to work 
with children's crimes. In these cases, minors could be either tried as 
adults or the case was dismissed.
    The Government, through INAC, worked to create, train, and 
strengthen child protection networks at the provincial and municipal 
levels in all 18 provinces. The networks reported cases in which they 
successfully identified and removed children from exploitative work 
situations, but no mechanism existed to track cases or provide 
statistics. The Government also dedicated resources to the expansion of 
educational opportunities for children.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--The minimum wage was 9,604 
Kwanza ($106) per month, which did not provide a decent standard of 
living for a worker and family. Most wage earners held second jobs or 
depended on the agricultural or other informal sectors to augment their 
incomes. The majority of citizens derived their income from the 
informal sector or subsistence agriculture and therefore fell outside 
of government protection of working conditions.
    By law the standard workweek is 40 hours with at least one unbroken 
period of 24 hours of rest per week. There is a limit on work of 54 
hours per week. Required premium pay for overtime is time and a half 
for up to 30 hours of overtime and time and three-quarters from 30 to 
40 hours. In the formal sector, there is a prohibition on excessive 
compulsory overtime, defined as more than two hours a day, 40 hours a 
month, or 200 hours a year. These standards were not enforced 
effectively unless employees lodged a formal complaint with MAPESS.
    In September the MPLA-linked labor union, Uniao Nacional dos 
Trabalhadores Angolana, published a report on working conditions that 
highlighted high unemployment, poor living conditions, and inequality 
as continuing problems despite various economic measures and new laws. 
Workers found they did not have job stability, employers violated 
workers' rights, and workers unable to find employment in the formal 
sector had to work in the informal labor market.
    The Government has set occupational health and safety standards; 
however, the Ministry of Labor's inspector general did not enforce 
these standards effectively. Inspections occurred, although rulings 
against labor violations found by inspectors were not effectively 
enforced. Workers have the right to remove themselves from situations 
that endanger health or safety without jeopardy to their employment, 
but the right was not exercised in practice.

                               __________

                                 BENIN

    Benin is a constitutional democracy with a population of 7.9 
million. In 2006 President Boni Yayi was elected to a five-year term in 
multiparty elections. In the 2007 legislative elections, President 
Yayi's supporting coalition, Cowry Force for an Emerging Benin (FCBE), 
won 35 of 83 seats in the National Assembly and formed a majority with 
a group of 13 National Assembly members from minor political parties 
(G-13). Eventually President Yayi lost his parliamentary majority when 
the G-13 joined the opposition parliamentary group in reaction to 
unfulfilled political promises. International observers viewed both the 
presidential and legislative elections as generally free and fair. 
However, municipal and local elections held in April and May 2008 were 
marred by numerous irregularities, protests, and credible allegations 
of fraud. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
    Human rights problems in some areas continued. There were reports 
that police occasionally used excessive force. Vigilante violence 
resulted in deaths and injuries. Harsh prison conditions and arbitrary 
arrest and detention with prolonged pretrial detention continued. 
Violations of press freedom occurred. Impunity and corruption were 
problems. Women were victims of violence and societal discrimination, 
and female genital mutilation (FGM) was practiced. Trafficking and 
abuse of children, including infanticide and child labor, occurred.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--The Government or 
its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings. Elements 
of security forces occasionally shot and killed armed robbers and 
claimed self-defense to justify the shootings. The police generally 
ignored vigilante attacks, and incidents of mob violence continued to 
occur, in part due to the perceived failure of local courts to punish 
criminals adequately. Such cases generally involved mobs killing or 
severely injuring suspected criminals, particularly thieves caught 
stealing. For example, on April 20, residents of Assanlin in the 
commune of Za-Kpota in central Benin killed two individuals who were 
said to be trying to ``steal two school boys.'' The head of the 
arrondissement was interrogating the two suspects in his office when a 
crowd broke in, brought out the two suspects, and burned them alive. 
The police did not investigate the killing or arrest those involved.
    On May 8, individuals stabbed to death and burned two young men in 
Dilly, a village in the Commune of Abomey, central Benin. The two 
victims were well-known artists in the area. They were suspected of 
belonging to a ring that kidnapped children. The police investigated 
the murder and arrested nine suspects.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
the Government did not always respect these prohibitions. Beatings in 
custody reportedly were commonplace.
    The Constitutional Court received complaints from citizens who were 
brutalized by the police. For example, on March 8, the Constitutional 
Court ruled that five elements of an Anticrime Brigade (BAC) violated 
provisions of the constitution prohibiting degrading treatment or 
punishment and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights when 
five policemen severely beat, arrested, and detained a truck driver who 
refused to give them a bribe during a routine road security check in 
February 2009 in Adjarra, a suburb of Porto-Novo.
    The Government completed payments to victims of torture under the 
previous military regime; however, a large group of citizens who had 
been detained and tortured under the previous military regime 
complained that the payments they received were discriminatorily 
insignificant compared with the payments that former political exiles 
received from the Government.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions 
continued to be extremely harsh. Overcrowding and lack of proper 
sanitation and medical facilities posed risks to prisoners' health. A 
Mediator of the Republic's (Ombudsman) July 6 report on the condition 
in the nine civil prisons indicated that prisons were overcrowded, and 
malnutrition and disease were common. Some prisoners suffered from 
mental illness. There were deaths due to lack of medical care and 
neglect. Prisoners at times died from lack of ventilation in cramped 
and overcrowded cells. Eight of the nine civil prisons were filled far 
beyond their capacity. The ombudsman published statistics in June 
indicating the total prison population (including pretrial detainees 
and remand prisoners) was 6,908; of that number, pretrial detainees and 
remand prisoners totaled 5,174. No breakdown of the number of juvenile 
and women prisoners in all nine prisons was available.
    In 2009 the Government increased prisoners' diet from one meal a 
day to two.
    Juveniles at times were housed with adults. Pretrial detainees were 
held with convicted prisoners, although not with the most violent 
convicts or those convicted of crimes subject to the death penalty. 
According to the ombudsman's report, pretrial detainees outnumbered 
convicts three or four to one during the reporting period.
    The Government permitted prison visits by human rights monitors. 
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and religious groups continued to 
visit prisons. Organizations that visited prisons during the year 
included the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty 
International, the local chapter of Prison Fellowship, Caritas, and 
Prisoners Without Borders.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, at times the 
authorities did not respect these prohibitions.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The police, under the 
Ministry of Interior, have primary responsibility for enforcing law and 
maintaining order in urban areas; the gendarmerie, under the Ministry 
of Defense, performs the same function in rural areas. The police were 
inadequately equipped, poorly trained, and ineffective in investigating 
gender-based crimes and preventing or responding to mob violence. The 
Government continued to respond to these problems by recruiting more 
officers, building more stations, and modernizing equipment during the 
year; however, serious problems remained, including widespread 
impunity.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--The 
constitution requires arrest warrants based on sufficient evidence and 
issued by a duly authorized official and requires a hearing before a 
magistrate within 48 hours, but this was not always observed in 
practice; under exceptional circumstances the magistrate may authorize 
continued detention not to exceed eight days. Detainees have the right 
to prompt judicial determination; this was generally observed in 
practice. They have the right to prompt lawyer access after being 
brought before a judge, also generally observed. They are allowed to 
receive family visits, which were generally observed in practice. After 
examining a detainee, the judge has 24 hours to decide whether to 
continue to detain or release the individual. Defendants awaiting 
judicial decisionsmay request release on bail; however, the attorney 
general must agree to the request. Warrants authorizing pretrial 
detention were effective for six months and could be renewed every six 
months until the suspect was brought to trial. The Government provided 
counsel to indigents in criminal cases.
    There were credible reports that gendarmes and the police exceeded 
the legal limit of 48 hours of detention in many cases, sometimes by as 
much as a week. Authorities often used the practice of holding a person 
indefinitely ``at the disposal of'' the public prosecutor's office 
before presenting the case to a magistrate. Approximately 75 percent of 
persons in prison were pretrial detainees. Inadequate facilities, 
poorly trained staff, and overcrowded dockets delayed the 
administration of justice.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution and law provide 
for an independent judiciary, but the Government did not always respect 
this provision. The judiciary remained inefficient in some respects.
    Military disciplinary councils deal with minor offenses by members 
of the military services; they have no jurisdiction over civilians. 
Civilian courts deal with crimes involving the military. The country 
has no military tribunal.

    Trial Procedures.--The constitution provides for the right to a 
fair trial; however, judicial inefficiency and corruption impeded 
exercise of this right.
    The legal system is based on French civil law and local customary 
law. A defendant is presumed innocent. Jury trials are used in criminal 
cases. A defendant has the right to be present at trial and to 
representation by an attorney; the court provides indigent defendants 
with counsel upon request. A defendant has the right to confront 
witnesses and to have access to government-held evidence. Defendants 
are allowed to present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. 
Defendants can appeal criminal convictions to the court of appeals and 
the Supreme Court, after which they may appeal to the president for a 
pardon. Trials are open to the public, but in exceptional circumstances 
the president of the court may decide to restrict access to preserve 
public order or to protect the parties. The Government extends the 
above rights to all citizens without discrimination.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--There is an independent, 
but not always impartial, judiciary in civil matters. If administrative 
or informal remedies are unsuccessful, any citizen may file a complaint 
concerning an alleged human rights violation with the Constitutional 
Court.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and 
the Government generally respected these prohibitions. The law requires 
police to obtain a judicial warrant before entering a private home, and 
they generally observed this requirement.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Government did not 
always respect these rights. There were radio and television broadcasts 
in which citizens openly criticized the president's policy without 
reprisal; however, the Government occasionally inhibited freedom of the 
press.
    For example, on October 13, the staff of the Governmental Office of 
Radio and Television (ORTB) sent a letter to the executive director of 
ORTB detailing numerous instances in which he had restricted broadcast 
of programs involving the opposition and/or which were counter to the 
Government's guidelines. ORTB's executive director denied those 
allegations.
    On August 3 and 4, the Government blocked the FM signal of the 
French state-owned broadcaster Radio France Internationale for 14 hours 
after it reported that deputies in the National Assembly attempted to 
impeach President Yayi for his alleged involvement in the ICC Ponzi 
scheme that had defrauded investors of billions of CFA and announced 
the broadcast of an interactive program on the case. The High Authority 
of Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC) denied any involvement in the 
interruption.
    On August 15, unidentified individuals bought thousands of copies 
of newspapers that published a former minister of finance's declaration 
on a high-profile corruption case (the CEN-SAD affair), disrupting the 
supply of those newspapers in Cotonou. Journalists alleged that the 
Government had ordered this maneuver.
    The law criminalizes libel, and numerous journalists faced pending 
libel charges. The law prohibits private citizens and the press from 
declaring or predicting election results. Journalists practiced self-
censorship.
    A 2008 report published by the NGO Human Rights, Peace, and 
Development (DHPD-ONG) stated that the Government awarded communication 
contracts to private media for propaganda purposes, adversely 
influencing the exercise of freedom of the press.
    The constitution provides for prison sentences involving compulsory 
labor for certain actions related to abuse of the right of free 
expression; penalties are for threats to public order or calls to 
violence, but the law is vaguely worded and susceptible to abuse. There 
were no reports that the law was invoked during the year.
    The independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of 
views without restriction. Publications criticized the Government 
freely and frequently, but their effect on public opinion was limited 
due to restricted circulation and widespread illiteracy. A 
nongovernmental media ethics commission continued to censure some 
journalists during the year for unethical conduct, such as reporting 
falsehoods or inaccuracies or releasing information that was under 
embargo by the Government.
    The Government continued to own and operate the most influential 
media organizations by controlling broadcast range and infrastructure. 
The majority of citizens are illiterate, live in rural areas, and 
generally receive their news via radio. The ORTB broadcast in French 
and local languages. There were an estimated 75 private, community, and 
commercial radio stations, and one government-owned and five private 
television stations. Rural community radio stations received support 
from the ORTB and broadcast several hours a day exclusively in local 
languages. Radio France International and the BBC broadcast in Cotonou. 
The Government granted 350 million CFA ($78,000) in financial 
assistance to the private media during the year.
    The 2007 ``National Report on Press Freedom,'' released by DHPD-
ONG, stated that judges were often lax in prosecuting libel cases. A 
judiciary source indicated that the court continued to receive libel 
cases against journalists during the year, but judges generally 
refrained from prosecuting them. Journalists continued to fight for the 
decriminalization of press-related offenses.
    There were no reports that the Government penalized journalists who 
published items counter to government guidelines.
    The HAAC oversaw media operations and required broadcasters to 
submit weekly lists of planned programs and publishers to submit copies 
of all publications; however, the media did not comply with these 
requirements in practice. The HAAC claimed that the information was 
used for administrative purposes; however, some journalists 
complainedthat it was a form of harassment.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the 
expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail.
    Internet access was widely available in cities, primarily in 
Internet cafes, but for many the cost of using the Internet was 
prohibitive. Due to a lack of infrastructure, Internet access was not 
available in most rural areas. According to the most recent 
International Telecommunication Union statistics, 1.66 percent of 
residents used the Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, 
and the Government generally respected these rights.
    The Government requires permits for use of public places for 
demonstrations and generally granted such permits; however, the 
authorities sometimes cited ``public order'' to deny requests for 
permits from opposition groups, civil society organizations, and labor 
unions.
    On September 30, security forces disrupted a demonstration of 
teachers at a training school in Abomey, Central Benin, and beat some 
of them while they were complaining about the delay in government 
payment of their allowances. On October 5, the Ministry of Secondary 
Education and Technical and Vocational Training declared that the 
Government would identify those responsible for the beatings and punish 
them, although there were no reports it had done so.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of association, and the Government generally respected this 
right. The Government requires associations to register and routinely 
granted registration.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the Department of State's 2010 International Religious 
Freedom Report at www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation, and the Government generally respected these rights; 
however, the presence of police, gendarmes, and illegal roadblocks 
impeded domestic movement. Although ostensibly meant to enforce vehicle 
safety and customs regulations, many checkpoints served as a means for 
police and gendarmes to exact bribes from travelers. The Government 
maintained previously implemented measures to combat such corruption at 
roadblocks, but they were not always effective, and extortion commonly 
occurred.
    The Government maintained documentary requirements for minors 
traveling abroad as part of its continuing campaign against trafficking 
in persons. However, this was not always enforced, and trafficking of 
minors across borders continued.
    The Government's policy toward the seasonal movement of livestock 
allowed migratory Fulani (Peul) herdsmen from other countries to enter 
and depart freely; the Government did not enforce designated entry 
points. Disputes sometimes arose between herdsmen and local landowners 
over grazing rights.
    The law prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not use it.

    Protection of Refugees.--The Government has established a system 
for providing protection to refugees. At year's end there were 
approximately 7,300 refugees, with an estimated 6,000 coming from Togo. 
In practice the Government provided protection against the expulsion or 
return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be 
threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership 
in a particular social group, or political opinion. The Government 
cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees 
(UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and 
asylum seekers. The Government did not provide temporary protection 
during the year. If individuals do not qualify as refugees under the 
1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its protocol, 
authorities direct them to the Immigration Office to apply for a 
residence permit.
    The Government continued to permit Togolese refugees residing in 
local communities and refugee camps to participate in most economic 
activities and to enroll their children in local schools. In 2007 the 
UNHCR and the Governments of Benin and Togo signed a tripartite 
agreement to organize the voluntary repatriation of Togolese refugees. 
In 2009 83 Togolese refugees returned to Togo through the program. 
There were no reported stateless populations in the country.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution and law provide citizens the right to change their 
government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right through 
periodic, free, and generally fair elections held on the basis of 
universal suffrage.

    Elections and Political Participation.--In 2006 President Boni Yayi 
was elected to a five-year term in multiparty elections. In the 2007 
legislative elections, President Yayi's FCBE won 35 of the 83 seats in 
the National Assembly. A group of 13 National Assembly deputies from 
minor political parties (the G-13) joined the FCBE to form a majority 
of 48 seats in the assembly. In 2008 the G-13 dissolved the coalition 
amid political tension, and the FCBE was left with its initial 35 
seats. The G-13sided with opposition parties and formed a blocking 
majority. Opposition groups declined President Yayi's invitation to 
join his government.
    International observers viewed both the presidential and 
legislative elections as generally free and fair. However, fraud 
allegations and irregularities marred the April and May 2008 local and 
municipal elections. Voters filed hundreds of appeals with the Supreme 
Court, which annulled results in a number of communes and ordered new 
elections and recounting of votes in constituencies where results were 
disputed.
    Individuals and parties could freely declare their candidacy and 
run for election. There were no government restrictions on the 
political opposition. No single party or group has recently dominated 
politics.
    There were nine women out of 83 members in the National Assembly 
and four female ministers in the 30-member cabinet. The Constitutional 
Court had two women among its seven justices.
    The country has no majority ethnic group. Diverse ethnic groups 
were well represented in government agencies, the civil service, and 
the armed forces. In the National Assembly, 11 members were from the 
Nago and Yoruba ethnic groups; 24 from the Bariba, Somba, and Dendi 
ethnic groups; and 34 from the Fon, Goun, Adja, and other smaller 
groups. Nine cabinet ministers were from the Bariba, Somba, and Dendi 
ethnic groups; 15 were from the Fon, Goun, and Adja ethnic groups; and 
three were from the Yoruba and Nago ethnic groups.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    Official corruption remained widespread. President Yayi continued 
his 2006 anticorruption initiative.
    On January 7, the president of the NGO Front for National Anti-
Corruption Organizations (FONAC) listed 32 corruption cases involving 
civil servants from 2006 to 2009 that remained unresolved. The FONAC 
investigation at the Ministry of Civil Service in September 2009 found 
that no disciplinary committee had been established to handle these 
corruption cases and no sanctions had been applied.
    On July 20, President Yayi reported to the president of the 
National Assembly, asking him to submit to parliamentarians for 
approval a request regarding the indictment of four former ministers 
involved in corruption cases. The opposition majority in the National 
Assembly rejected President Yayi's request.
    In July 2009 the Government released a State Audit Office's report; 
it detailed alleged corrupt practices including illegal awarding of 
public contracts, overbilling, mismanagement, and misappropriation of 
public funds for the renovation of two conference centers in 
preparation for the June 2008 CEN-SAD summit. The Government confirmed 
the involvement of high-ranking officials, including the former 
minister of finance and economy and officials in charge of public 
procurement. The Government dismissed the officials and requested 
disciplinary action against them pending legal action.
    Police corruption was widespread. Police continued to extort money 
from travelers at roadblocks.
    The Watchdog to Combat Corruption (OLC), a governmental 
anticorruption agency, launched a nationwide effort to publicize the 
National Strategic Plan to Combat Corruption and conducted a survey to 
gauge the magnitude of petty corruption and bribery in the public 
administration. To build its capacity to fight corruption, the OLC held 
training sessions to familiarize its staff with the new public 
procurement law, which went into effect in September 2009, and to train 
them on the observation of voter registration to prevent electoral 
fraud. On April 12, the OLC released its 2008 White Paper on Corruption 
to show the prevalence of corruption in the public administration.
    It was commonly believed, and acknowledged by some judicial 
personnel, that the judicial system at all levels was susceptible to 
corruption.
    On July 6, President Yayi fired Chief Prosecutor George Constant 
Amoussou and placed him in custody because he allegedly blocked a court 
complaint filed by the Government against the ICC, a microcredit 
institution that swindled citizens out of their deposits.
    The World Bank's most recent Worldwide Governance Indicators 
reflected that corruption continued to be a serious problem.
    Public officials were not subject to financial disclosure laws.
    There are no laws providing for public access to government 
information, and it was unclear whether requests for such access were 
granted.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A number of domestic and international human rights groups 
generally operated without government restriction, investigating and 
publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials 
often were cooperative and responsive to their views. The Government 
met with domestic NGO monitors through the Advisory National Human 
Rights Council and the Ministry of Justice, Legislation, and Human 
Rights' Department of Human Rights. The Ministry of Justice, 
Legislation, and Human Rights coordinated awareness campaigns to 
educate the populace on human rights.
    The Government cooperated with international organizations. In 2009 
representatives of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) 
and of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against 
Women visited the country. Following its visit, the CPT made wide-
ranging recommendations. In November 2009 the World Committee Against 
Torture and the International Federation of Action by Christians for 
the Abolition of Torture, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, 
Legislation, and Human Rights and local NGOs, held a follow-up seminar 
to consider the recommendations made by the CPT and to map out 
strategies for the implementation of these recommendations by the 
Government.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution and laws prohibit discrimination based on race, 
gender, disability, language, and social status; however, societal 
discrimination against women continued. Persons with disabilities were 
disadvantaged. The Government did not take concrete measures to address 
those abuses.

    Women.--The law prohibits rape, but enforcement was weak due to 
police ineffectiveness, victims' unwillingness to take cases to the 
police for fear of social stigma, and corruption. The penal code does 
not make a distinction between rape in general and spousal rape. 
Sentences for rape convictions range from one to five years' 
imprisonment. From January to October, civil society organizations 
reported 636 gender-based violence cases reported to courts and 1,316 
cases to police stations and brigades in the framework of an 
international NGO's project to combat gender-based violence in the 
country. These statistics, however, did not cover gender violence in 
the whole country. Statistics were not available on prosecutions or 
convictions. Because of police lack of training in collecting evidence 
associated with sexual assaults and victims' ignorance of their rights 
and inability to present evidence in court, judges reduced most sexual 
offenses to misdemeanors.
    Domestic violence against women was common. The penal code 
prohibits domestic violence, and penalties range from six to 36 months' 
imprisonment. However, NGO observers believed that women remained 
reluctant to report cases. Judges and police were reluctant to 
intervene in domestic disputes; society generally considered such cases 
to be internal family matters. The local chapter of a regional NGO, 
Women in Law and Development-Benin, the Female Jurists Association of 
Benin (AFJB), and the Women's Justice and Empowerment Initiative 
through Care International's Empower Project offered social, legal, 
medical, and psychological assistance to victims of domestic violence. 
The Office of Women's Promotion under the jurisdiction of the Ministry 
of Family and Solidarity is responsible for protecting and advancing 
women's rights and welfare.
    Female genital mutilation (FGM) was practiced on girls and women 
from infancy up to 30 years of age (although the majority of cases 
occurred before the age of 13, with half occurring before the age of 
five), and generally took the form of excision. Approximately 13 
percent of women and girls have been subjected to FGM; the figure was 
higher in some regions, especially the northern departments, including 
Alibori and Donga (48 percent) and Borgou (59 percent), and among 
certain ethnic groups; more than 70 percent of Bariba and Peul (Fulani) 
and 53 percent of Yoa-Lokpa women and girls had undergone FGM. Younger 
women were less likely to be excised than their older counterparts. 
Those who performed the procedure, usually older women, profited from 
it. The law prohibits FGM and provides for penalties for performing the 
procedure, including prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up 
to six million CFA ($13,000); however, the Government generally was 
unsuccessful in preventing the practice. Individuals who were aware of 
an incident of FGM but did not report it potentially faced fines 
ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 CFA ($110 to $220). Enforcement was 
rare, however, due to the code of silence associated with this crime.
    In one example, in September 2009 police arrested a woman on the 
strength of a denunciation by a local NGO that accused her of excising 
seven girls in the area of Kouande in the North. The police referred 
the case to the court in Natitingou. In October 2009 the court 
sentenced the woman to one-and-one-half year's imprisonment.
    NGOs continued to educate rural communities about the dangers of 
FGM and to retrain FGM practitioners in other activities. A prominent 
NGO, the local chapter of the Inter-African Committee, made progress in 
raising public awareness of the dangers of the practice, and the 
Government cooperated with these efforts. The Ministry of Family 
continued an education campaign that included conferences in schools 
and villages, discussions with religious and traditional authorities, 
and displaying banners. NGOs also addressed this problem in local 
languages on local radio stations.
    Prostitution, especially child prostitution, was a problem. There 
were credible reports that tourists visiting the Pendjari National Park 
in the far Northwest used the services of prostitutes, many of them 
minors. There is no specific law addressing sex tourism. It was not 
clear whether these tourists operated through a local or an 
international network, or whether they came to the region primarily for 
sex tourism. There was no evidence of government involvement or 
complicity. In March 2009 the Government, in conjunction with the UN 
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and a local bank, launched a seven-day 
campaign against sex tourism involving children ages eight to 17 to 
spread awareness of the dangers of sex tourism.
    Sexual harassment was common, especially of female students by 
their male teachers. The law prohibits sexual harassment and offers 
protection for victims. Under the law persons convicted of sexual 
harassment face sentences of one to two years in prison and fines 
ranging from 100,000 to one million CFA ($220 to $2,200). The law also 
provides penalties for persons who are aware of sexual harassment and 
do not report it. Enforcement of these laws was lax due to law 
enforcement agents' and prosecutors' lack of legal knowledge and 
necessary skills to pursue such cases and victims' fear of social 
stigma. Although this specific law was not enforced, judges used other 
provisions in the penal code to deal with sexual abuses involving 
minors.
    Article 26 of the constitution provides that the Government shall 
protect the family, particularly the mother and the child. The 
country's May 2006 Declaration on Population Policy promotes 
responsible fertility to reduce early and/or late childbearing and to 
promote family planning through the distribution of contraceptives. Act 
No. 2003-04 of March 2003 on Sexual and Reproductive Health guarantees 
couples and individuals reproductive rights, including access to health 
care, freedom to give birth, freedom of marriage, rights to 
nondiscrimination, access to contraception, and equal access to health 
care for people living with sexually transmitted infections including 
HIV. Article 19 of Act No. 2003-04 provides penalties for the 
commission of all acts prejudicial to the enjoyment of sexual and 
reproductive health. The Government in general respected these rights. 
An estimated 30 percent of women had an unmet need for family planning. 
The 2006 Benin Demographic and Health Survey (EDS) reported the 
maternal mortality ratio to be 397 per 100,000 live births. According 
to the 2006 Benin Demographic and Health Survey, 88 percent of women 
benefitted from prenatal care given by health personnel (80 percent by 
nurses and midwives, 4 percent other, and 4 percent by physicians). The 
proportion of women who had access to prenatal care provided by 
physicians was higher in Cotonou (18 percent) and in other cities (5 
percent), whereas the rate was lower in rural areas (3 percent).
    Although the constitution provides for equality for women in the 
political, economic, and social spheres, women experienced extensive 
discrimination because of societal attitudes and resistance to 
behavioral change.
    Women are no longer subject to customary law (Coutumier du 
Dahomey). The code of persons and the family abrogated customary law 
and other legislation unfavorable to women. The code of persons and the 
family bans all discrimination against women regarding marriage and 
provides for the right to equal inheritance.
    In response to a complaint filed by a woman being prosecuted for 
adultery in July 2009, the Constitutional Court ruled that adultery-
related provisions contained in the penal code are unconstitutional on 
the grounds that these provisions discriminate against women.
    In rural areas women traditionally occupy a subordinate role and 
are responsible for much of the hard labor on subsistence farms. In 
urban areas women dominated the informal trading sector in the open air 
markets. During the year the Government and NGOs continued to educate 
the public on the 2004 family code, which provides women with 
inheritance and property rights and significantly increases their 
rights in marriage, including prohibitions on forced marriage, child 
marriage, and polygamy.
    In practice women experienced discrimination in obtaining 
employment, credit, and equal pay, and in owning or managing 
businesses. Women do not face legal restrictions with respect to the 
code of persons and the family but may face societal restrictions and 
discrimination. During the year the Government granted microcredit to 
the poor, especially to women in rural areas, to help them develop 
income-generating activities. An estimated 675,000 women have benefited 
from these microcredit projects since they began in 2007.

    Children.--The Government has stated publicly its commitment to 
children's rights and welfare, but it lacked the resources to carry out 
that commitment. The Ministry of Family is responsible for the 
protection of children's rights, primarily in the areas of education 
and health. The National Commission for Children's Rights and the 
Ministry of Family have oversight roles in the promotion of human 
rights issues with regard to child welfare.
    Citizenship is derived by birth within the country's territory and/
or from one's parents. Particularly in rural areas, parents often did 
not declare the birth of their children, either out of ignorance or 
because they could not afford the fees for birth certificates. A 2001 
survey indicated that a quarter of children under 18 were not 
registered at birth. This could result in denial of public services 
such as education and health care. Several donors have taken action to 
increase the number of registered children. Over the last two years, 
the NGO PLAN International has supported the free registration of 
children who need to take the primary school leaving exam. (Without a 
birth certificate, children may attend primary school but cannot take 
the exam.) UNICEF and the NGOs Catholic Relief Services and World 
Education also supported the Government's campaign to register every 
birth.
    Primary education was compulsory for all children between six and 
11 years of age. It became tuition free for all children starting with 
the 2007-08 school year; however, in some parts of the country girls 
received no formal education. Parents often voluntarily paid tuition 
for their children because many schools had insufficient funds. 
According to UNICEF the net primary school enrollment rate in 2007 was 
approximately 93 percent for boys and 83 percent for girls. The 
enrollment rate for secondary education was much lower for girls. Girls 
did not have the same educational opportunities as boys, and female 
literacy was approximately 18 percent, compared to 50 percent male 
literacy.
    FGM was commonly practiced on girls (see section 6, Women.)
    Child marriage or precocious marriage existed. The practice 
included forced marriage, barter marriage, and marriage by abduction. A 
2008 gender-based violence survey conducted in 13 communes indicated 
that 23 percent of the 594 children interviewed were subjected to 
forced and precocious marriage.
    Although the family code prohibits marriage under 18 years of age, 
the practice continued in rural areas. Underage (14 to 17 years of age) 
marriage was permitted with parental consent. As part of forced 
marriage, there is a tradition in which a groom abducts and rapes his 
prospective child bride. The practice was widespread in rural areas, 
despite government and NGO efforts to end it through information 
sessions on the rights of women and children. Local NGOs reported that 
communities concealed the practice.
    Despite widespread NGO campaigns, the traditional practices of 
killing deformed babies, breech babies, babies whose mothers died in 
childbirth, and one of two newborn twins (because they were considered 
sorcerers) continued in some rural areas, and perpetrators acted with 
impunity.
    Through the traditional practice of vidomegon, which literally 
means ``placed child,'' poor, generally rural, families place a child 
in the home of a wealthier family. The child receives living 
accommodations but often faces long hours of work, inadequate food, and 
sexual exploitation. Sometimes the income generated by the child's 
activities is split between the child's parents and the urban family 
that raises the child. Vidomegon traditionally was intended to provide 
better educational opportunities and a higher standard of living for 
children of poor families; however, this practice has made children 
more vulnerable to labor exploitation and to trafficking. Up to 95 
percent of the children in vidomegon were young girls.
    Criminal courts meted out stiff sentences to criminals convicted of 
crimes against children, but many such cases never reached the courts 
due to lack of awareness about the law and children's rights, lack of 
access to the courts, or fear of police involvement.
    Child prostitution was a problem. Some children, including street 
children, engaged in prostitution to support themselves without third-
party involvement. The penal code prohibits child prostitution; 
however, enforcement was limited, and the commercial sexual 
exploitation of children was a problem. A 2009 report on the commercial 
exploitation of children in 11 communes indicated that 43.2 percent of 
surveyed children (ages 12-17) who engaged in prostitution were also 
subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.
    The penal code provides penalties for rape, sexual exploitation, 
corruption of minors, procuring, and prostitution, and increases 
penalties for cases involving women and children under 15 years old. 
Under the penal code, individuals involved in child prostitution, 
including those who facilitate and solicit it, face imprisonment of two 
to five years and fines of 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 CFA ($2,000 to 
$20,000). The law does not specifically prohibit child pornography. The 
family code sets the age of marriage at18 years. The de facto minimum 
age for consensual sex is 18 years.
    Child labor, although illegal, remained a problem.
    There were many street children, most of whom did not attend school 
and lacked access to basic education and health services.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international child abduction, please see the Department of State's 
annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/abduction/
country/country--3781.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--There were no reports of societal abuses or 
discrimination against members of religious groups. There was no known 
Jewish community, and no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--Discrimination against persons with 
physical and mental disabilities is not prohibited by law; however, the 
law provides that the Government should care for persons with 
disabilities. There were no legal requirements for the construction or 
alteration of buildings to permit access for persons with disabilities. 
The Government operated few institutions to assist persons with 
disabilities, and many such individuals were forced to beg to support 
themselves. The Office for the Rehabilitation and the Insertion of 
Persons with Disabilities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of 
Family coordinated assistance to disabled people through the Aid Fund 
for the Rehabilitation and Insertion of Persons with Disabilities 
(Fonds Ariph).
    The labor code includes provisions to protect the rights of workers 
with disabilities, which were enforced with limited effectiveness 
during the year. The Office of Labor under the Ministry of Labor and 
Civil Service and the Ministry of Family are responsible for protecting 
the rights of persons with disabilities.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--There were no reports of overt 
societal discrimination or violence based on a person's sexual 
orientation.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--There were no reports 
of overt discrimination or violence based on HIV/AIDS status. Since 
2006 it has been illegal to discriminate against a person, at any stage 
of hiring or employment, based on his or her HIV status.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The labor code allows workers to form 
and join independent unions of their choice without previous 
authorization or excessive requirements, and the Government generally 
respected these rights. Workers have the right to strike, and they 
exercised it during the year. New unions must register with the 
Ministry of Interior, a three-month process, or risk a fine.
    The labor force of approximately 3.2 million was engaged primarily 
in subsistence agriculture, with only a small percentage working in the 
formal wage sector. Although an estimated 75 percent of government 
workers belonged to labor unions, a much smaller percentage of workers 
in the private sector were union members.
    Workers must provide three day's notice before striking; however, 
authorities can declare strikes illegal for reasons such as threatening 
social peace and order and can requisition striking workers to maintain 
minimum services. The Government may prohibit any strike on the grounds 
that it threatens the economy or the national interest. Laws prohibit 
employer retaliation against strikers, except that a company may 
withhold part of a worker's pay following a strike. The Government 
enforced these laws effectively.
    The merchant marine code grants seafarers the right to organize, 
but they do not have the right to strike.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The labor code 
allows unions to conduct their activities without interference, and the 
Government generally protected this right. There are no restrictions on 
collective bargaining. The labor code provides for collective 
bargaining, and workers freely exercised this right with the exception 
of merchant shipping employees. The Government sets wages in the public 
sector by law and regulation.
    In December 2009 the Government created a National Consultation and 
Collective Bargaining Commission to facilitate collective bargaining 
and enhance social dialogue. The commission held sessions during the 
year to discuss workers' claims and propose solutions.
    The labor code prohibits antiunion discrimination. Employers may 
not take union membership or activity into account in hiring, work 
distribution, professional or vocational training, or dismissal; 
however, the Government did not always enforce these provisions, and 
there were reports that employers threatened individuals with dismissal 
for union activity.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The labor code 
prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, 
such practices occurred in the agricultural, fishing, commercial, and 
construction sectors, and trafficking in persons was a problem.
    The law provides for imprisonment with compulsory labor, and during 
the year judges sentenced convicts to forced labor for various crimes.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
labor code prohibits the employment or apprenticeship of children under 
14 years of age in any enterprise; however, children between 12 and 14 
years may perform domestic work and temporary or seasonal light work if 
it does not interfere with their compulsory schooling. Child labor 
remained a problem due in part to limited government enforcement of the 
law. To help support their families, children of both sexes--including 
those as young as seven--continued to work on family farms, in small 
businesses, on construction sites in urban areas, in public markets as 
street vendors, and as domestic servants under the practice of 
vidomegon. A majority of children working as apprentices were under the 
legal age for apprenticeship of 14. Children worked as laborers with 
adults in quarries in many areas. Forced child labor and prostitution 
by street children were problems. Children under 14 worked in either 
the formal or informal sectors in the following activities: 
agriculture, hunting and fishing, industry, construction and public 
works, trade/vending and food/beverage, transportation, and 
communication and other services, including employment as household 
staff.
    Some parents indentured their children to ``agents'' recruiting 
farm hands or domestic workers, often on the understanding that the 
children's wages would be sent to the parents. In some cases these 
agents took the children to neighboring countries for labor. Many rural 
parents sent their children to cities to live with relatives or family 
friends to perform domestic chores in return for receiving an 
education. Host families did not always honor their part of the 
bargain, and abuse of child domestic servants was a problem. The 
Government drafted a list of hazardous occupations forbidden for 
employment of minors according to ILO Convention 182, but by year's end 
the Government had not approved it. An interministerial decree of 2000 
provides that children under 18 are not allowed to work in the 
following fields: public and private slaughtering facilities, except 
for apprentices in their last year of apprenticeship; processing, 
handling, and transportation of toxic substances; processing and 
handling of engines or explosive devices; and work related to 
maintenance and surveillance of wild or venomous animals. The decree 
also prohibits employment of workers under 16 for the control and use 
of unprotected machinery powered by pedals, for digging wells, gas pipe 
works, and sewage-related works.
    For information on child trafficking, please see the Department of 
State's annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.
    The Labor Office under the Ministry of Labor and Civil Service 
enforced the labor code ineffectivelyand only in the formal sector due 
to the lack of inspectors. The Government took steps to educate parents 
on the labor code and to prevent compulsory labor by children, 
including through media campaigns, regional workshops, and public 
pronouncements on child labor problems. These initiatives were part of 
the Labor Office's traditional sensitization program. The Government 
also worked with a network of NGOs and journalists to educate the 
population about child labor and child trafficking. The Government 
began drafting a National Plan to Eliminate Child labor. A workshop was 
held in Porto-Novo from August 10 to 13 to discuss preparations. The 
Government undertook a nationwide awareness campaign as a key activity 
for the 2010 World Day of Action against Child Labor.
    In November 2009 the Government issued the International Labor 
Organization's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor-
sponsored National Survey on Child Labor. The survey provided 
comprehensive data and was expected to help the Government complete its 
National Policy for the Elimination of Child Labor.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--The Government set minimum wage 
scales for a number of occupations. The minimum wage was 30,000 CFA 
($66) per month; however, the minimum wage did not provide a decent 
standard of living for a worker and family. Many workers had to 
supplement their wages by subsistence farming or informal sector trade. 
Most workers in the wage sector earned more than the minimum wage; many 
domestics and other laborers in the informal sector earned less. The 
Office of Labor enforced the minimum wage; however, its efforts were 
impeded by the small number of labor inspectors. Significant parts of 
the work force and foreign workers were not covered by minimum wage 
scales.
    The labor code establishes a workweek of between 40 and 46 hours, 
depending on the type of work, and provides for at least one 24-hour 
rest period per week. Domestic and agricultural workers frequently 
worked 70 hours or more per week, above the maximum provided for under 
the labor code of 12 hours per day or 60 hours per week. The labor code 
also mandates premium pay for overtime and prohibits excessive 
compulsory overtime. The authorities generally enforced legal limits on 
workweeks in the formal sector.
    The code establishes health and safety standards, but the Ministry 
of Labor and Civil Service did not enforce them effectively. The law 
does not provide workers with the right to remove themselves from 
dangerous work situations without jeopardy to continued employment. The 
ministry has the authority to require employers to remedy dangerous 
work conditions but did not effectively do so. The Government did not 
effectively monitor or control foreign or migrant workers' conditions 
of work.

                               __________

                                BOTSWANA

    Botswana, with a population of 1.84 million, has been a multiparty 
democracy since independence in 1966. Its constitution provides for 
indirect election of a president and popular election of a National 
Assembly. In October 2009 the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 
won the majority of parliamentary seats in an election deemed generally 
free and fair. President Ian Khama, who has held the presidency since 
the resignation of President Festus Mogae in 2008, retained his 
position. The BDP has held a majority of National Assembly seats since 
independence. Security forces reported to civilian authorities.
    Some human rights problems remained, including abuse of detainees 
by security forces, poor prison conditions, and lengthy delays in the 
judicial process. There were reports of restrictions on press freedom. 
Societal problems included discrimination and violence against women; 
child abuse; trafficking in persons; and discrimination against persons 
with disabilities, gays and lesbians, persons with HIV/AIDS, and 
persons with albinism. There was societal discrimination against the 
San people, and the Government's continued narrow interpretation of a 
2006 high court ruling resulted in the majority of San who originally 
relocated from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) being 
prohibited from returning to or hunting in the CKGR. The right to 
strike was restricted, and child labor was a problem.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--The Government or 
its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings, and no 
unlawful killings by police or other security forces were reported 
during the year.
    During 2009 eight incidents of shootings by police forces were 
reported, in which 11 civilians were killed, allegedly while being 
apprehended. Four persons were investigated for possible murder 
charges, and seven coroner's investigations were opened. The four 
murder cases were submitted to the Directorate of Public Prosecution 
(DPP) for further action. Six of the seven coroner's investigations 
were also forwarded to the DPP; two were subsequently closed due to 
lack of evidence.
    In January 2009 a police officer mistakenly shot and killed 
Mothusinyana Moag, a 27-year-old man who fit the description of a man 
police were chasing. The victim ran from police when confronted and was 
shot during the chase. The inquest determined that the police officer 
involved was negligent. He was charged with manslaughter and was 
expected to appear before the High Court in early 2011.
    In March 2009 police fired shots while in pursuit of robbery 
suspects. One of the suspects, Edson Mark Gumbo, was killed. The 
inquiry into this case determined that the officers acted lawfully and 
the case was closed.
    In May 2009 Tshepo Molefe was shot by police during a robbery. The 
victim, or other suspects in his group, allegedly fired shots at 
police, and the victim ran toward the police officers, who shot him. He 
was pronounced dead at the hospital. After investigations into the 
shooting, police determined that the officers acted lawfully and closed 
the case.
    Also in May 2009, John Kalafitas was shot and killed by government 
security officers. Attorneys for the Kalafitas family alleged that he 
was killed by government agents while he sat in a parked car. The 
Government contended that Kalafitas was a wanted criminal who was 
killed during a lawful arrest. Four members of the Botswana Defense 
Force, Corporals Dzikamani Mothobi, Goitsemang Sechele, Ronny Matako, 
and Boitshoko Maifela, were charged with murdering Kalafitas, and the 
case was expected to be heard at the High Court in early 2011.
    In August 2009 two men were shot and killed in Kasane. Police 
investigations established that offenders were of Zambian origin and 
elephant poachers; investigations were ongoing with the help of Zambian 
police.
    During 2009 there were two reports of deaths of persons in police 
custody. In March 2009 a suspect, David Monggae, collapsed during 
interrogation related to accusations of cattle theft and subsequently 
died. Four police officers present during the interrogation were 
charged with murder and were awaiting trial at the High Court.
    In July 2009 Italy Setlampoloka was arrested as a suspect in a 
series of robberies and break-ins. He was detained at the Mogoditshane 
Police Station and subsequently found dead by a passerby in an 
uninhabited area near Mogoditshane. Police officers present during the 
investigation were charged with murder; the case was ongoing at year's 
end.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
there were reports that security forces occasionally beat and abused 
suspects to obtain evidence or elicit confessions. Investigations 
continued into the 2008 case in which Directorate on Intelligence and 
Security (DIS) personnel allegedly tortured four men, including two 
police officers and two soldiers, after a weapon in their possession 
went missing. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions was assessing 
evidence on the case at year's end.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Conditions in the 
country's 22 prisons and two detention centers for illegal immigrants 
remained poor due to overcrowding. The prison system held approximately 
5,063 prisoners as of December, exceeding the authorized capacity of 
4,219. Overcrowding, which was worse in men's prisons, constituted a 
serious health threat due to the high incidence of HIV/AIDS and 
tuberculosis. Rape of inmates by inmates occurred. Mistreatment of 
prisoners is illegal; there were no reports of abuse during the year.
    Mothers were allowed to bring their nursing babies under the age of 
two with them into the prison system, which lacked maternity 
facilities. In instances where a child is above two years in age, and 
no family is available to take care of the child, arrangements are made 
with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to care for the child until 
the mother is released. Juveniles were sometimes held with adults due 
to overcrowding in the two main juvenile prison facilities. In December 
2009, 63 juveniles were incarcerated in adult prisons. Pretrial 
detainees and convicts were held together.
    During 2009 officers of the courts, including magistrates and 
judges, conducted 13 visits to prisons to check on prison conditions. 
Government-appointed welfare and oversight committees visited prisons 
30 times during the year. Reports on such visits were not made public. 
In previous years the Government permitted the International Committee 
of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit prison facilities; however, the ICRC 
did not seek access to any prisoners during the year. Representatives 
of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a 
foreign embassy visited the Center for Illegal Immigrants during the 
year.
    Voluntary and free HIV testing and peer counseling were available 
to prisoners. In December the HIV infection rate was 5.5 percent for 
males and 10.4 percent for females. As of December, 106 prisoners were 
receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drug treatment. The Government did not 
provide ARV treatment to noncitizens in detention; however, those in 
long-term detention could receive such treatment without cost from a 
domestic NGO.
    The prison commissioner had the authority to release terminally ill 
prisoners in the last 12 months of their sentences and to allow citizen 
prisoners with sentences of 12 months or less to complete their 
sentences outside the prison by completing an ``extramural'' work 
release program at government facilities. Eligible prisoners must have 
served short-term sentences with at least half of their sentence 
completed and must not have been previously incarcerated. Prisoners 
convicted of violent and other serious felonies were ineligible. By 
December, to ease overcrowding, 580 male and 73 female prisoners had 
been released to complete their sentences in the program. The president 
pardoned an additional nine prisoners during the year.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally 
observed these prohibitions.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The Botswana Police 
Service (BPS), under the Ministry for Presidential Affairs and Public 
Administration, has primary responsibility for internal security. The 
merging of the Local Police Service and the BPS was completed in August 
2009. Previously customary or local police, under the Ministry of Local 
Government, had law enforcement responsibility in specified tribal 
areas. The army is responsible for external security and has some 
domestic security responsibilities.
    During the year 72 BPS officers received human rights training at 
the International Law Enforcement Academy located in the country.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--Police 
officers must produce an arrest warrant issued by a duly authorized 
magistrate upon the presentation of compelling evidence, except in 
certain cases, such as when an officer witnesses a crime being 
committed or discovers that a suspect is in possession of a controlled 
substance. In 2008 the Government established the Directorate on 
Intelligence and Security (DIS), a new intelligence agency with the 
power to enter premises and make arrests without warrants if the agency 
suspects a person has committed or is about to commit a crime. Elements 
of civil society continued to criticize the DIS, claiming that it was 
not subject to sufficient independent oversight and posed a potential 
threat to civil liberties.
    Suspects must be informed of their rights upon arrest, including 
the right to remain silent, and must be charged before a magistrate 
within 48 hours. Authorities generally respected these rights in 
practice; however, there were allegations in the media and by defense 
attorneys that the right to an attorney was often denied during the 
first 48 hours after arrest, prior to the suspect being brought before 
a magistrate. A magistrate may order a suspect held for 14 days through 
a writ of detention, which he may renew every 14 days. The law provides 
for a prompt judicial determination of the legality of a person's 
detention. However, this determination was occasionally delayed in 
practice. Authorities generally informed detainees of the reason for 
their detention, although there were some complaints that this did not 
always occur. There is a functioning bail system, and detention without 
bail was unusual except in murder cases, where it is mandatory. 
Detainees have the right to contact a family member and to hire 
attorneys of their choice; however, in practice most could not afford 
legal counsel. The Government provides counsel for the indigent only in 
capital cases, although attorneys are required to accept pro bono 
clients.
    Pretrial detainees waited from several weeks to several months 
between the filing of charges and the start of their trials. As of 
December, 900 of the 5,063 persons in custody were pretrial detainees. 
Pretrial detention in murder cases sometimes lasted beyond one year. 
Such delays were largely due to judicial staffing shortages.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution and law provide 
for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected 
judicial independence in practice. The civil courts remained unable to 
provide timely trials due to severe staffing shortages and a backlog of 
pending cases.
    In addition to the civil court system, a customary or traditional 
court system also exists. Small claims courts were established in 2009 
in Gaborone and some surrounding areas; there were some reports of 
heavy case loads and new procedures impacting the courts' 
effectiveness.

    Trial Procedures.--Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence. 
Trials in the civil courts are public, although trials under the 
National Security Act may be held in secret. There is no jury system. 
Defendants have the right to be present and consult with an attorney in 
a timely manner, but the state provides an attorney only in capital 
cases. Those charged with noncapital crimes are tried without legal 
representation if they cannot afford an attorney. As a result many 
defendants were not informed of their rights in pretrial or trial 
proceedings. Defendants can question witnesses against them and have 
access to government-held evidence relevant to their cases. Defendants 
can present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. Defendants have 
the right to appeal. The constitution asserts these rights extend to 
all citizens.
    Several organizations, such as the Botswana Law Society and The 
Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS, provided free legal 
services but had limited capacity. The University of Botswana Legal 
Assistance Center provided free legal services for some civil, but not 
criminal, matters.
    While customary or traditional courts enjoy widespread support and 
respect on the part of citizens, they often did not afford the same due 
process protections as the formal court system. Defendants do not have 
legal counsel, and there are no standardized rules of evidence. 
Defendants can confront, question, and present witnesses in customary 
court proceedings. Customary trials are open to the public and 
defendants can present evidence on their own behalf. Tribal judges, 
appointed by the tribal leader or elected by the community, determine 
sentences, which may be appealed through the civil court system. Many 
judges were poorly trained and ill equipped to make legal decisions. 
The quality of decisions reached in the customary courts varied 
considerably and often lacked a presumption of innocence. In some cases 
tribal judges may issue sentences that include corporal punishment such 
as lashings on the buttocks.
    There is a separate military court system; military courts do not 
try civilians. Military courts have separate procedures from civil 
courts. Defendants in military courts are able to retain attorneys and 
see evidence that will be used against them.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--In the formal judicial 
system, there is an independent and impartial judiciary in civil 
matters, including for human rights cases, which includes a separate 
industrial court for most labor-related cases. Administrative remedies 
were not widely available.
    Most civil cases were tried in customary courts. These courts 
handled land, marital, and property disputes and often did not afford 
due process.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and 
the Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice. 
However, the Government's continued narrow interpretation of a 2006 
High Court ruling resulted in the majority of San being prohibited from 
living or hunting in the CKGR. In 2002 the Government forcibly 
resettled the remaining indigenous San and other minority members 
living in the CKGR who had not voluntarily left to resettlement sites 
outside the reserve. Government officials maintained the resettlement 
program was voluntary and necessary to facilitate the delivery of 
public services, to provide socioeconomic development opportunities to 
the San, and to minimize human impact on wildlife (see section 6, 
Indigenous People).
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press, and the Government generally 
respected freedom of speech in practice. The Media Institute of 
Southern Africa (MISA) and other NGOs reported that the Government 
attempted to limit press freedom and continued to dominate domestic 
broadcasting. Individuals could generally criticize the Government 
publicly or privately without reprisal.
    In 2008 Parliament passed the Media Practitioners Act, establishing 
a new Media Council to register and accredit journalists, promote 
ethical standards amongst the media, and receive public complaints. 
Some NGOs, including MISA, the independent media, and opposition 
members of parliament (MPs) continued to criticize the law, stating 
that it restricted press freedom and was passed without debate after 
consultations between the Government and stakeholders collapsed.
    The Government owned and operated the Botswana Press Agency, which 
dominated the media through its free, nationally distributed newspaper, 
Daily News, and through two FM radio stations. State-owned media 
generally featured uncritical reporting on the Government and were 
susceptible to political interference. Opposition political parties 
claimed that state media coverage heavily favored the ruling party.
    The independent media were active and generally expressed a wide 
variety of views, which frequently included strong criticism of the 
Government; however, members of the media stated they were sometimes 
subject to government pressure to portray the Government and the 
country in a positive light. It was sometimes more difficult for 
private media organizations than for government-owned ones to obtain 
access to government-held information.
    Radio continued to be the most broadly accessible medium. 
Government-owned Radio Botswana and Radio Botswana 2 covered most of 
the country. Privately owned Yarona FM, Gabz FM, and Duma FM expanded 
their broadcasts from Gaborone to cover most of the major towns. They 
produced news and current affairs programs without government 
interference.
    State-owned Botswana Television was the primary source of televised 
news and current affairs programs. The privately owned Gaborone 
Broadcasting Corporation broadcast mostly foreign programs. 
International television channels were available through cable 
subscription and satellite.
    Some members of civil society organizations alleged the Government 
occasionally censored stories it deemed undesirable, and government 
journalists sometimes practiced self-censorship.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chatrooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the peaceful 
expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. Internet 
access was most common in urban areas, but has begun to expand to 
smaller cities and some rural areas. According to International 
Telecommunication Union statistics for 2009, approximately 6.15 percent 
of the country's inhabitants used the Internet. However, there were 
some reports during the year that the actual figure was significantly 
higher as citizens increasingly accessed the Internet through both 
mobile telephones and home and office Internet connections.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--The constitution 
and law provide for freedom of assembly and association, and the 
Government generally respected these rights in practice.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation, and the Government generally respected these rights in 
practice.
    The Government continued to restrict the freedom of indigenous San 
to return to the CKGR, despite a 2006 High Court ruling in a suit 
brought by 189 San declaring that the forced relocation of many San in 
2002 had wrongfully deprived them of their property and that government 
prohibitions against their returning to the reserve and hunting there 
were unconstitutional. The Government interpreted the High Court ruling 
to apply only to the 189 plaintiffs in the case and their families, and 
permitted only them to hunt or live in the CKGR. A few San had never 
left the reserve, and some moved back to the CKGR after the High 
Court's decision. Many of the 189 did not return to live in the CKGR, 
as lack of water made the CKGR an extremely inhospitable environment, 
and some who initially returned left again. The Government was not 
required to provide water in the CKGR per the 2006 ruling (see sections 
1.f. and 6). Visitors to the reserve, including relocated former 
residents not named in the 2006 case, must obtain a permit to enter the 
CKGR. During the year the San took the Government to the High Court, 
pleading for permission to use the borehole the Government disabled in 
2002. The High Court dismissed their case. The Government continued to 
hold discussions with groups of San to reach an amicable solution 
regarding terms of CKGR residency.
    The law prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not use it.

    Protection of Refugees.--The Government has established a system 
for providing protection to refugees. The Government granted refugee 
status or asylum. The Government's system for granting refugee status 
was accessible but slow. In practice the Government provided protection 
against the expulsion or return of persons to countries where their 
lives or freedom would be threatened on account of their race, 
religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or 
political opinion. The Government also provided temporary protection to 
individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 UN refugee 
convention or the 1967 protocol. During the year fewer than 100 persons 
were granted refugee status. The Government cooperated with the UNHCR 
and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and asylum 
seekers.
    The Government held newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers, 
primarily from Zimbabwe, in the Center for Illegal Immigrants in 
Francistown until the Refugee Advisory Committee (RAC), a governmental 
body whose chairperson is the district commissioner of Francistown, 
made a status recommendation; the UNHCR was present at RAC meetings in 
the status of observer and technical advisor. Once persons were granted 
refugee status, the Government transferred them to the Dukwe Refugee 
Camp until their resettlement or voluntary repatriation. Refugee 
applicants who were unsuccessful in obtaining asylum were nonetheless 
allowed to remain at Dukwe if they wished while the Government referred 
their cases to the UNHCR for possible resettlement. Refugees in Dukwe 
had access to education and health care. Although asylum seekers were 
housed separately from illegal immigrants, the UNHCR criticized the 
detention of asylum seekers at the Center for Illegal Immigrants on the 
grounds that asylum seekers should not be held in detention facilities. 
Conditions at the center were generally adequate, but children in the 
center did not have sufficient access to education during their 
detention, which in a few cases lasted many months.
    In June 2009 the Government changed its 1997 policy that allowed 
some registered refugees to obtain special residency permits allowing 
them to live and work outside the camp for one year with the 
possibility of renewal. As of December only 19 of the country's 3,185 
registered refugees were living and working outside Dukwe. The 
Government has stated that as a general policy all registered refugees 
must reside in the Dukwe camp, although it may permit residence outside 
the camp in a few exceptional cases, such as refugees enrolled at a 
university or with unique skills.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution and law provide citizens the right to change their 
government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right through 
periodic, free, and fair elections based on universal suffrage.

    Elections and Political Participation.--In October 2009 the ruling 
BDP won the majority of National Assembly seats in a general election 
deemed by international and domestic observers to be generally free and 
fair. President Ian Khama, who has held the presidency since 2008, when 
former President Festus Mogae resigned, retained his position. However, 
the BDP received preferential access to state-owned television during 
much of the campaign. The BDP won 45 of 57 competitive National 
Assembly seats, the Botswana National Front (BNF) won six seats, the 
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) won five seats, and an independent 
candidate won one seat. The BDP has won a majority of seats in the 
National Assembly in every election since independence. There are also 
four additional MPs who are nominated and elected by parliament.
    In May the BDP split, with five of its MPs forming a new opposition 
party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Other MPs switched 
parties during the year, including among opposition parties, from the 
ruling party to opposition, and from the opposition to the ruling 
party. At year's end, the BDP held 45 seats in parliament, the new BMD 
party led the opposition with six seats, the BNF controlled five seats, 
and the BCP had five seats.
    The House of Chiefs acts as an advisory upper chamber to the 
National Assembly on any legislation affecting tribal organization and 
property, customary law, and administration of the customary courts. It 
consists of eight paramount chiefs, five chiefs chosen by the 
president, and 22 elected chiefs from designated regions. The paramount 
chiefs are members of the House of Chiefs for life, while the chosen 
and elected chiefs serve five-year terms. The first election based on 
amendments made to the constitution in 2006 to expand the House of 
Chiefs was held later that year.
    Political parties operated without restriction or outside 
interference.
    There were four women in the 61-seat National Assembly, one of whom 
was the speaker; four in the 24-member cabinet; and four in the 
expanded 35-seat House of Chiefs.
    While the constitution formally recognizes eight principal ethnic 
groups of the Tswana nation, amendments to the constitution also allow 
minority tribes to be represented in the expanded House of Chiefs. 
Under the law members from all groups enjoy equal rights, and minority 
tribes have representation that is at least equal to that of the eight 
principal tribes. There are members of minority tribes in the assembly, 
in the cabinet, and on the High Court.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and 
the Government generally implemented these laws effectively. There were 
isolated reports of government corruption during the year. The minister 
of defense, justice and security resigned his cabinet position in 
August immediately preceding an official charge of corruption.
    There are no formal financial disclosure laws; however, in October 
2009 a presidential directive required all cabinet ministers to declare 
their interests, assets, and liabilities to the president. Critics 
contended the policy did not go far enough to promote transparency and 
that financial declarations by senior government officials should be 
available to the public.
    In 2009 the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) 
initiated investigations into 39 suspicious transactions. Of these, 18 
remained under investigation and 21 were concluded by year's end. Of 
the 21 cases, the directorate dismissed 18 after allegations of illegal 
conduct were disproved and found insufficient in three.
    During the year police initiated investigations into 20 cases of 
police corruption.
    Police officials acknowledged that corruption was a problem in the 
lower ranks; some officers took advantage of illegal immigrants and 
traffic violators. During the year 29 police officers were arrested for 
criminal offenses, with 12 brought before the courts by year's end. Of 
the 24 officers who were charged in 2009 and remained under 
investigation during the year, 18 were dismissed, two were acquitted, 
two resigned, and two cases remained under investigation.
    The security forces reported to civilian authorities, and the 
Government had effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and 
corruption, including investigation by police and referral to the 
criminal court system.
    In April portions of an anti-money-laundering law enacted in March 
2009 came into effect. The act created a new Financial Intelligence 
Agency (FIA), but the agency was still being formed during the year. 
Until the FIA is fully functioning, the DCEC retains responsibility for 
investigating suspected instances of money laundering, including the 
authority to demand access to bank records during the course of an 
investigation.
    The law does not provide public access to government information, 
and the Government generally restricted such access. Information that 
is made public is available for a fee from the Government Printing 
Office.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A number of domestic and international human rights groups 
generally operated without government restriction, investigating and 
publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials 
were generally cooperative and responsive to domestic NGO views on most 
subjects but were considerably less open to the involvement of some 
international NGOs on the issue of the CKGR relocations. The Government 
interacted with, and provided financial support to, some domestic 
organizations. Independent local human rights groups included 
Childline, a child welfare NGO; Emang Basadi, a women's rights group; 
the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and HIV/AIDS; and DITSHWANELO.
    Beginning in 2007 the Government required that certain foreign NGO 
workers obtain visas, a practice which continued during the year.
    The Government worked cooperatively with international 
organizations, including the ICRC and UN, during the year. The 
Government allowed visits from UN representatives and representatives 
from human rights and humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC.
    The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Persons visited the country 
in March 2009, and the UN issued a report on his visit in February. The 
UN noted that although the Government had undertaken many initiatives 
to address the conditions of disadvantaged and marginalized peoples and 
to celebrate their cultures, it needed to increase its efforts to 
tackle the challenges faced by indigenous groups, such as land rights. 
According to the UN report, ``Certain indigenous groups continue to 
suffer from a lack of secure land tenure, including access to and use 
of their ancestral lands and resources, in part due to the 
nonrecognition of these groups' customary land use practices.''
    An independent, autonomous ombudsman handled complaints of 
administrative wrongdoing in the public sector, and the Government 
generally cooperated with the ombudsman. The office suffered from a 
shortage of staff, and public awareness of the office and its services 
was low.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution and law prohibit governmental discrimination on 
the basis of ethnicity, race, nationality, creed, sex, or social 
status, and the Government generally respected these provisions in 
practice. As long as a job applicant is able to perform the duties of 
the position, he or she may not be discriminated against due to 
disability or language. However, the law does not prohibit 
discrimination by private persons or entities, and there was societal 
discrimination against women; persons with disabilities; minority 
ethnic groups, particularly the San; persons with HIV/AIDS; persons 
with albinism; and gays and lesbians.

    Women.--The law prohibits rape but does not recognize spousal rape 
as a crime. Laws against rape were effectively enforced when victims 
pressed charges; however, police noted victims often declined to press 
charges against the perpetrators. In some cases victims were afraid of 
losing financial support if perpetrators were found guilty and 
imprisoned. The number of reported rape cases decreased during the year 
from 1,539 as of December 2009 to 1,332 as of November 2010. The NGOs 
continued efforts to improve awareness of the crime. By law the minimum 
sentence for rape is 10 years in prison, increasing to 15 years with 
corporal punishment if the offender is HIV-positive, and 20 years with 
corporal punishment if the offender was aware of having HIV-positive 
status. Corporal punishment was used more often in the customary than 
in the formal courts and typically consisted of strokes to the buttocks 
with a stick. A person convicted of rape is required to undergo an HIV 
test before sentencing. However, police lacked basic investigative 
techniques in rape cases.
    The law prohibits domestic and other violence, whether against 
women or men, and it remained a serious problem. The police reported 
the following statistics related to domestic violence: defilement, 389 
cases; incest, 5 cases; indecent assault on females, 129 cases; common 
assault, 12, 367 cases; and assault occasioning bodily harm, 2,069 
cases. There were 90 reported cases of passion killings and 834 of 
death threats. Greater public awareness resulted in increased reporting 
of domestic violence and sexual assault.
    The law prohibits sexual harassment in both the private and public 
sectors. Sexual harassment committed by a public officer is considered 
misconduct and punishable by termination, with or without forfeiture of 
all retirement benefits, suspension with loss of pay and benefits for 
up to three months, reduction in rank or pay, deferment or stoppage of 
a pay raise, or a reprimand. However, sexual harassment continued to be 
a widespread problem, particularly by men in positions of authority, 
including teachers, supervisors, and older male relatives.
    Couples and individuals have the right, and were able in practice, 
to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of 
their children, and to have the information and means to do so free 
from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Contraception is widely 
available. According to the Population Reference Bureau, skilled 
attendance during childbirth averaged 94 percent across the country--
with higher rates in urban areas. Obstetric and postpartum care was 
generally available, and women had equal access to testing and 
treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The 
Government's program, Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of 
HIV, has effectively curtailed mother-to-child transmission. According 
to the Ministry of Health, the maternal mortality rate was 198 deaths 
per 100,000 births.
    By law women have the same civil rights as men, but in practice 
societal discrimination persisted. A number of traditional laws 
enforced by tribal structures and customary courts restricted women's 
property rights and economic opportunities, particularly in rural 
areas. Marriages can occur under one of three systems, each with its 
own implications for women's property rights. A woman married under 
traditional law or in ``common property'' is held to be a legal minor 
and required to have her husband's consent to buy or sell property, 
apply for credit, and enter into legally binding contracts. Under an 
intermediate system referred to as ``in community of property,'' 
married women may own real estate in their own names, and the law 
stipulates that neither spouse can dispose of joint property without 
the written consent of the other. Women increasingly exercised the 
right to marriage ``out of common property,'' in which they retained 
their full legal rights as adults. Polygamy is legal under traditional 
law with the consent of the first wife, but it was not common.
    Skilled urban women had increasing access to entry- and mid-level 
white collar jobs. According to a 2007 Grant Thornton International 
Business Report, 74 percent of businesses employed women in senior 
management positions, and women occupied 31 percent of such positions. 
Women occupied many senior-level positions in government agencies, such 
as speaker of the General Assembly, governor of the Bank of Botswana, 
attorney general, minister in the Office of the President, minister of 
education and skills development, and numerous permanent secretary 
positions. However, a 2007 UN report found that women's political 
participation was not equal to that of men. In 2008 the Botswana 
Defense Force (BDF) began to allow women to serve in the military. In 
2008 the first class of Batswana female officer candidates completed 
their training in Tanzania and joined the BDF. During 2009 women were 
included as officer candidates in the first integrated training class 
to be conducted in the country and they continued to be inducted as 
officer candidates during the year.
    The Women's Affairs Department in the Ministry of Labor and Home 
Affairs has responsibility for promoting and protecting women's rights 
and welfare. The department provided grants to NGOs working on women's 
issues. A local NGO reported that women were increasingly able to 
access credit markets and be paid as much as their male counterparts 
for similar work.

    Children.--The law provides for the rights and welfare of children, 
and the Government respected these rights in practice. In general, 
citizenship is derived from one's parents, although there are very 
limited circumstances in which citizenship can be derived from birth 
within the country's territory. The Government generally registers 
births immediately; however, there were some delays in the most remote 
locations. Unregistered children may be denied some government 
services.
    The Government continued to allocate the largest portion of its 
budget to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Local Government 
distributed books, food, and materials for primary education. Education 
was not compulsory. The Government reintroduced school fees in 2006. 
The fees could be waived for children whose family income fell below a 
certain amount. The Government also provided uniforms, books, and other 
fees for students whose parents were destitute. Students in remote 
areas received two free meals a day at school. Girls and boys attended 
school at similar rates.
    No law specifically prohibits child abuse. Sex with a child younger 
than 16 is known as defilement and is prohibited and punishable by a 
minimum of 10 years' incarceration. Police reported that through the 
end of November there were 1,332 cases of rape, 389 cases of 
defilement, 129 cases of indecent assault on girls and five cases of 
incest. There were defilement investigations and convictions during the 
year. Sexual abuse of students by teachers was reported to be a 
problem. Children were sometimes sexually abused by extended family 
members with whom they lived. The law considers incest a punishable act 
only if it occurs between blood relatives.
    Child marriage occurred infrequently and was largely limited to 
certain ethnic groups. Marriages that occur when either party is under 
the minimum legal age of 18 are not recognized by the Government.
    Child prostitution and pornography are criminal offenses. Media and 
NGO reports claimed that prostituted children had been made available 
to truck drivers along the main road linking the country with South 
Africa and that many of the girls and boys were thought to be orphans.
    There were reports of child labor. Of the children employed, 
approximately half were below the legal working age of 14. Two-thirds 
of employed children were working in rural villages, and more than 60 
percent worked in the agricultural sector, mostly on a subsistence 
level on family cattle posts or farms.
    In 2005 the UN Children's Fund estimated there were 150,000 orphans 
in the country, of whom approximately 120,000 had lost one or both 
parents due to HIV/AIDS. As of December the Government had registered 
37,233 children as orphans. The discrepancy between the two estimates 
is due to the fact that the Government has a more restrictive 
definition of when a child is orphaned than the UN. The Government 
requires both parents of a child to have died before considering the 
child an orphan, except in cases where the child is raised by only one 
parent. Once registered, the children received clothes, shelter, a 
monthly food basket worth between 216 pula (approximately $33) and 350 
pula ($54) depending upon location, and counseling as needed. Some 
relatives continued to deny inheritance rights to orphans.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/country/country--3781.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--There was no known Jewish community in the country, 
and no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with physical and mental disabilities in education, 
employment, access to health care, or the provision of other state 
services. The Government has an effective national policy that provides 
for integrating the needs of persons with disabilities into all aspects 
of government policymaking. The Government mandated access to public 
buildings or transportation for persons with disabilities. There was 
some discrimination against persons with disabilities, and employment 
opportunities remained limited. The Government did not restrict persons 
with disabilities from voting or participating in civil affairs, and 
some accommodations were made during elections to allow for persons 
with disabilities to vote. Although new government buildings were being 
constructed to assure access by persons with disabilities, most older 
government office buildings remained inaccessible. There is a 
Department of Disability Coordination in the Office of the President to 
care for persons with disabilities.
    The Department of Labor is responsible for protecting the rights of 
persons with disabilities and investigating claims of discrimination. 
Individuals can also bring cases directly to the Industrial Court. The 
Government funded NGOs that provided rehabilitation services and 
supported small-scale projects for workers with disabilities.

    Indigenous People.--An estimated 50,000-60,000 persons belong to 
one of the many scattered, diverse tribal groups known as San or 
Basarwa. The San represented approximately 3 percent of the population 
and were culturally and linguistically distinct from most other 
residents. The law prohibits discrimination against the San with 
respect to employment, housing, health services, and cultural 
practices; however, the San remained economically and politically 
marginalized and generally did not have access to their traditional 
land. The San continued to be geographically isolated, had limited 
access to education, lacked adequate political representation, and were 
not fully aware of their civil rights. In 2002 the Government forcibly 
resettled San who were living in the CKGR to the settlement areas of 
Kaudwane, New Xade, and Xere. The Government continued to maintain that 
the move was to enable the resettled San to have better access to 
education and health facilities.
    While the Government respected the December 2006 High Court ruling 
on a suit filed by 189 San regarding their forced relocation, it 
continued to interpret the ruling to allow only the 189 actual 
applicants and their spouses and minor children, rather than all San 
affected by the relocations, to return to the CKGR. The court ruled 
that the applicants were entitled to return to the CKGR without entry 
permits and to be issued permits to hunt in designated wildlife 
management areas, which are not located in the CKGR. The court also 
ruled that the Government was not obligated to resume providing 
services within the CKGR, and the Government did not reopen water wells 
in the CKGR during the year. Many of the San and their supporters 
continued to object to the Government's narrow interpretation of this 
ruling. Government sources confirmed that negotiations between San 
representatives and government regarding residency, water, and hunting 
rights were ongoing at year's end. However, a small group of San also 
filed suit in November 2009 seeking to force the Government to open a 
water well at a specific location inside the CKGR. San contend that 
this location had previously been a well, while the Government argued 
that it had never been a well and had been used for geological 
exploration. In July the High Court ruled against the plaintiffs. 
Attorneys for the San filed an appeal, which remained under 
consideration by the court at year's end.
    During the year there were no reports of the arrest of San for 
illegal hunting in the CKGR. In 2009 the Government made several 
arrests of San for illegally hunting in the CKGR. Although the law 
allows a fine or prison term for those found guilty of illegal hunting, 
none of the San arrested in 2009 were sanctioned.
    During the year there were no government programs directly 
addressing discrimination against the San. With the exception of the 
2006 court ruling, there were no demarcated cultural lands.
    A number of NGOs made efforts to promote the rights of the San or 
to help provide economic opportunities. However, the programs had 
limited impact. The NGO Survival International, along with other 
independent organizations, continued to criticize the decision by the 
Government to allow mining exploration in the CKGR. The NGOs argued 
that diamond exploration in the CKGR would have a devastating impact on 
the life and environment of the San.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--The country has no law 
criminalizing sexual orientation. However, what the law describes as 
``unnatural acts'' are criminalized, and there is widespread belief 
this is directed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender 
persons. The police do not target homosexual activity, and there were 
no reports of violence against persons based on their sexual 
orientation or gender identity during the year. However, there were 
reports of societal discrimination and harassment of gay, lesbian, 
bisexual, and transgender persons. An independent organization LEGABIBO 
(Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana) attempted to register as an 
NGO to advocate for the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender, and 
bisexual persons, but the Government refused to allow it to do so.

    Other Societal Discrimination.--Discrimination against persons with 
HIV/AIDS continued to be a problem, including in the workplace. The 
Government funded community organizations that ran antidiscrimination 
and public awareness programs. The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law, and 
HIV/AIDS continued to advocate for an HIV employment law to curb 
discrimination in the workplace.
    While persons with albinism were subject to some social 
discrimination, individuals were generally able to exercise their 
rights in practice.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows workers to form and 
join unions of their choice without excessive requirements, and workers 
exercised this right in practice. Only police, military, and prison 
personnel are prevented from forming or joining labor unions. However, 
members of those professions are represented by employee associations, 
which serve as a means to communicate collective needs and concerns to 
their government employer. In March 357,919 persons were employed in 
the formal sector, of whom 51 percent worked in the private sector, 28 
percent worked for the national government, 17 percent for local 
governments, and 4 percent for parastatal enterprises. Only 1.7 percent 
of formal sector employees worked in agriculture, 3 percent in mining, 
13 percent in retail sales, and 10 percent in manufacturing. Exact 
statistics regarding union membership were not available, but analysts 
estimated that trade unions had approximately 70,000 members, which 
would represent 20 percent of the formal sector workforce. Unions were 
concentrated largely in the public sector, mineral extraction, and to a 
lesser extent in the railway and banking sectors. The law requires that 
an organization have more than 30 employees to form a trade union.
    The law severely restricts the right to strike, and virtually all 
strikes are ruled illegal, leaving striking workers at risk of 
dismissal. Legal strikes theoretically are possible only after an 
exhaustive arbitration process. Sympathy strikes are prohibited.
    The 2006 case regarding a copper mine's dismissal of 178 workers 
for striking concluded with a lower court dismissal of the case, which 
was based on procedural errors by the plaintiffs' attorney. The case 
was appealed and had not been heard by the Industrial Court by year's 
end.
    In 2008 the Industrial Court dismissed a 2005 case in which 461 
workers were fired in 2004 after a strike against their employer, 
Debswana, the joint government-DeBeers diamond mine venture. The court 
found the case was not tried in a timely fashion. The 461 former 
employees appealed the dismissal; the appeal was dismissed by the 
Industrial Court early in the year.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The law allows 
unions to conduct their activities without interference, and the 
Government protected this right in practice. The law provides for 
collective bargaining for unions that have enrolled 25 percent of an 
organization's labor force.
    Civil service disputes were referred to an ombudsman for 
resolution. Private labor disputes were mediated by labor commissioners 
and, if not resolved, sent to the Labour Court. The average time to 
resolve a labor dispute dropped from 20 months to 11 months by year's 
end.
    Workers may not be fired for legal union-related activities. 
Dismissals on other grounds may be appealed to civil courts or labor 
officers, which rarely ordered more than two months' severance pay.
    The country's export processing zone (EPZ) exists on paper only. 
There are no special laws or exemptions from regular labor laws in the 
EPZ.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The constitution and 
law prohibit forced and compulsory labor, including by children; 
however, there were reports of child labor in cattle-herding.
    Some Zimbabwean women reported being exploited by employers for 
forced labor. Children were trafficked internally for domestic 
servitude and cattle herding.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
law sets the minimum age for basic employment at 14 years. Only an 
immediate family member may employ a child age 13 or younger, and no 
juvenile under age 14 may be employed in any industry without 
permission from the commissioner of labor. Children 14 years old who 
are not attending school may be employed by family members in light 
work that is not considered hazardous or as approved by the labor 
commissioner, but for no more than six hours per day or 30 hours per 
week. In industrial settings those under age 15 may only work up to 
three consecutive hours without the labor commissioner's approval, and 
those between ages 15 and 18 may work only up to four consecutive hours 
without such approval. Those under 18 may not be employed in work 
underground, at night, in work that is harmful to health and 
development, or that is dangerous or immoral. The law provides that 
adopted children may not be exploited for labor and protects orphans 
from exploitation or coercion into prostitution.
    According to the 2005-06 labor survey, slightly fewer than 38,000 
children between the ages of seven and 17 were employed in the formal 
sector in 2006. Approximately half of those were under 14. More than 60 
percent of employed children worked in agriculture, 20 percent in 
retail trade, and 4 percent in private homes. Children also worked as 
domestic laborers and in informal bars. Outside of supermarkets they 
sometimes assisted truck drivers with unloading goods and carried bags 
for customers. Many orphans also left school to work as caregivers for 
sick relatives. Most employed children worked up to 28 hours per week.
    The Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs was responsible for 
enforcing child labor laws and policies in all sectors, and it was 
generally effective, despite limited resources for oversight in remote 
areas of the country. District and municipal councils have child 
welfare divisions, which are also responsible for enforcing child labor 
laws. Other involved government entities included offices with the 
Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Local Government. Oversight 
of child labor issues was facilitated through the Advisory Committee on 
Child Labor, which included representatives of various NGOs, government 
agencies, workers' federations, and employers' organizations. One child 
was found to be working illegally in the agricultural sector during the 
year. The employer was charged and fined and the child was assisted by 
the Department of Social Services.
    The Government supported and worked with partners to conduct 
workshops to raise awareness of child labor. The Department of Labor 
partnered with the Department of Social Services to advocate against 
and raise awareness of exploitative child labor.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--The minimum hourly wage for most 
full-time labor in the private sector was 3.80 pula ($0.58), which did 
not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family. The 
cabinet determined wage policy based on recommendations from the 
National Economic, Manpower, and Incomes Committee, which consists of 
representatives of the Government, the private sector, and the Botswana 
Federation of Trade Unions. The Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs was 
responsible for enforcing the minimum wage, and each of the country's 
districts had at least one labor inspector.
    Formal sector jobs generally paid well above minimum wage levels. 
Informal sector employment, particularly in the agricultural and 
domestic service sectors, where housing and food were provided, 
frequently paid below the minimum wage. The minimum wage for domestic 
workers was two pula ($0.30) per hour. The minimum for workers in the 
agricultural sector was 408 pula ($62) per month; however, the cost of 
feeding a worker who lived on the employer's premises could be deducted 
from the wages.
    The law permits a maximum 48-hour workweek, exclusive of overtime, 
which is payable at time-and-a-half. The law does not specifically 
outline rest periods or prohibit excessive compulsory overtime. Most 
modern private sector jobs had a 40-hour workweek; the public sector, 
however, had a 48-hour workweek. The labor law applies to farm and 
migrant workers. The Department of Labor had inspectors to oversee and 
enforce labor regulations; however, the number was insufficient to 
allow for inspection of all relevant workplaces.
    The Government's ability to enforce its workplace safety 
legislation remained limited by inadequate staffing and unclear 
jurisdictions among different ministries. Nevertheless, there are 
limited requirements for occupational safety contained in the 
Employment Act, and employers in the formal sector generally provided 
for worker safety.
    The law provides that workers who complain about hazardous 
conditions may not be fired, and authorities in the Ministry of Labor 
and Home Affairs effectively enforced this right.

                               __________

                              BURKINA FASO

    Burkina Faso is a parliamentary republic with a population of 
approximately 15.7 million. In November President Blaise Compaore was 
reelected to a fourth term with more than 80 percent of the vote. 
Observers considered the election free and transparent, despite minor 
irregularities, but not entirely fair due to the ruling party's control 
of official resources. The president, assisted by members of his party, 
the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), continued to dominate 
the Government. The CDP won a majority in the 2007 legislative 
elections, which observers declared generally free and orderly despite 
irregularities, including fraud involving voter identification cards. 
There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted 
independently of civilian control.
    Human rights problems included security force use of excessive 
force against civilians, criminal suspects, and detainees; arbitrary 
arrest and detention; abuse of prisoners and harsh prison conditions; 
official impunity; judicial inefficiency and lack of independence; 
occasional restrictions on freedom of assembly; official corruption; 
societal violence and discrimination against women and children, 
including female genital mutilation; trafficking in persons; 
discrimination against persons with disabilities; and child labor.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--The Government or 
its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings; however, 
on June 30, Da Arnaud Some died in police custody several hours after 
being arrested for alleged drug possession. Some died under unclear 
circumstances in Gaoua hospital after police arrested him on drug 
possession charges in Danyoro. Some tried to escape and sustained 
injuries falling down a steep ravine. He died a few hours later while 
in the hospital receiving treatment. Human rights organizations, 
including the Burkina Faso Movement for Human and Peoples' Rights 
(MBDHP), investigated the death and concluded that Some died as a 
result of a severe police beating and not because of an alleged fall. 
The MBDHP called for an independent investigation and the arrest of 
those responsible for Some's death. The Government took rapid 
disciplinary action, arresting the three policemen involved in Some's 
death and reassigning the entire police staff, including the chiefs of 
police in Danyoro and Gaoua, to other police stations. Although the 
Government promised legal action against the perpetrators, by year's 
end there had been no trial. This death triggered violent 
demonstrations on July 1 in Gaoua (see section 2.b.).
    On July 1, security forces killed two young men in Gaoua after 
demonstrations organized to protest the June 30 killing turned violent. 
According to official reports, security forces used shotguns to restore 
order. Human rights associations collected empty cartridges after the 
incidents, and injuries were consistent with the use of live fire. 
Official post-incident reports referred to the causes of death as 
``accidental'' (see section 1.c.).
    In September 2009 prison guards shot and killed six prisoners and 
severely injured eight more while trying to quell prisoners protesting 
preferential treatment of wealthier prisoners. The Burkinabe Movement 
for the Emergence of Social Justice (MBEJUS) demanded an investigation; 
however, no action had been taken by year's end.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--Although the constitution and law prohibit such treatment, 
members of the security forces continued to abuse persons with 
impunity. Suspects reportedly were frequently subjected to beatings, 
threats, and occasionally torture to extract confessions. Government 
actions to prevent such treatment were weak, with only a few known 
cases when this behavior was punished.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions were 
harsh and could be life threatening. Prisons were overcrowded, and 
medical care and sanitation were poor. Diet was inadequate, and inmates 
often relied on supplemental food from relatives. Pretrial detainees 
were usually held with convicted prisoners.
    Deaths from prison conditions or neglect occurred, according to 
human rights organizations. The MBEJUS stated that approximately 150 
prisoners died during the year. Human rights activists believed that 
the majority of those deaths were the result of harsh prison 
conditions.
    There were 5,238 persons incarcerated countrywide, including 112 
women and 127 minors, of whom 2,519, including 73 women and 82 minors, 
were in pretrial detention. Generally juveniles and adults were not 
held together in Ouagadougou; however, in provincial prisons they were 
held together because no separate facilities existed there for 
juveniles.
    Prisoners and detainees had reasonable access to visitors and were 
permitted religious observance. Authorities permitted prisoners and 
detainees to submit complaints to judicial authorities without 
censorship and to request investigation of credible allegations of 
inhumane conditions. The Government investigated and monitored prison 
and detention center conditions. Prison authorities granted permission 
to visit prisons without requiring advance notice for representatives 
of local and international human rights groups, the media, foreign 
embassies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The 
International Red Cross visited prisons as did members of local 
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), foreign embassies, and the press.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, security forces did 
not consistently observe these prohibitions. The Government did not 
take steps to prevent such treatment and did not investigate and punish 
those responsible.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The National Police, 
under the Ministry of Security, and the municipal police, under the 
Ministry of Territorial Administration, are responsible for public 
security. Gendarmes, under the Ministry of Security, are responsible 
for restoring law and order during a disturbance, enforcing the penal 
code, and taking preventive action, such as checking if individuals are 
carrying required official documents.
    Human rights organizations cite the climate of impunity created by 
the Government's inaction as the largest obstacle to reducing abuse.
    Observers stated security forces were not very effective in 
preventing and responding to societal violence. The Human Rights 
Ministry did not conduct any seminars during the year to educate 
security forces on human rights because of a lack of funding. In 
addition, human rights organizations pointed to complicated government 
procedures for authorizing security forces to take action as hampering 
security forces from preventing and responding to societal violence.
    For example, authorities were not effective in addressing incidents 
between Fulani herders and Mossi, Gourounchi, and Gourmanche farmers, 
or cases in which elderly women were expelled from their homes or 
villages following accusations of witchcraft.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--By law, police 
must possess a warrant to search or arrest, arrests must be made 
openly, and warrants must be based on sufficient evidence and issued by 
a duly authorized official. However, authorities did not always respect 
this process. Detainees were not consistently informed of charges 
against them. The law provides the right to expeditious arraignment, 
bail, access to legal counsel after a detainee has been charged before 
a judge or, if indigent, access to a lawyer provided by the state after 
being charged; however, these rights were seldom respected. The law 
does not provide for detainees to have access to family members, 
although detainees generally were allowed such access.
    The law limits detention without charge for investigative purposes 
to a maximum of 72 hours, renewable for a single 48-hour period; 
however, police rarely observed these restrictions. The law permits 
judges to impose an unlimited number of six-month preventive detention 
periods. The average time of detention without charge (preventive 
detention) was one week. However, defendants without access to legal 
counsel often were detained for weeks or months before appearing before 
a magistrate. Ombudsmen are permitted to serve on behalf of prisoners 
and detainees to consider such matters as alternatives to incarceration 
for nonviolent offenders to alleviate inhumane overcrowding.
    Government officials estimated that 48 percent of prisoners 
nationwide were in pretrial status. In some cases detainees were held 
without charge or trial for longer periods than the maximum sentence 
they would have received if convicted of the alleged offense. A 
pretrial release (release on bail) system exists; however, the extent 
of its use was unknown. Human rights advocates stated that the justice 
system, including prisons, had unreliable mechanisms to track detainees 
and occasionally ``lost'' some of them.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution and law provide 
for an independent judiciary; however, NGOs reported that the judiciary 
was corrupt, inefficient, and subject to executive influence. The 
president has extensive appointment powers and used them to influence 
the judiciary. Constitutionally, the head of state also serves as 
president of the Superior Council of the Magistrature, which nominates 
and removes senior magistrates and examines their performance. Other 
systemic weaknesses in the justice system included the removability of 
judges, corruption of magistrates, outdated legal codes, an 
insufficient number of courts, and excessive legal costs.
    Military courts try cases only involving military personnel and 
provide rights equivalent to those in civil criminal courts. They hold 
public trials and publish verdicts in the local press. Traditional 
courts in rural areas were abolished in 1984 and no longer have legal 
standing.

    Trial Procedures.--Trials are public, but juries are not used. 
Defendants are presumed innocent and have the right to legal 
representation and consultation. Defendants have the right to be 
present at their trials, to be informed promptly of charges against 
them, to provide their own evidence, and to have access to government-
held evidence. Defendants can challenge and present witnesses and have 
the right of appeal. If indigent, they have the right to a lawyer 
provided by the state. However, these rights were not generally 
respected, due in part to popular ignorance of the law and a continuing 
shortage of magistrates. There were serious court backlogs.
    Formal law provides women with equal property and inheritance 
rights. In practice, however, many Burkinabe held widespread 
traditional views that do not recognize women's inheritance rights and 
regard women as property. In general in rural areas, for example, a 
wife's land is viewed as belonging to the family of her deceased 
husband.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--There is an independent 
judiciary in civil matters; however, due to the corruption and 
inefficiency of the judiciary, citizens sometimes preferred to rely on 
the ombudsman (see section 5) to settle disputes with the Government. 
The law provides for access to a court to bring lawsuits seeking 
damages for, or cessation of, a human rights violation, and both 
administrative and judicial remedies were available for alleged wrongs. 
Several such court orders were issued during the year. There were 
problems enforcing court orders in sensitive cases involving national 
security, wealthy or influential persons, and government officials.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and 
the Government generally respects these prohibitions. In cases of 
national security, the law permits surveillance, searches, and 
monitoring of telephones and private correspondence without a warrant. 
However, under normal circumstances, the law requires that the justice 
minister issue a warrant before homes may be searched.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press, and the Government generally 
respected these rights in practice.
    Individuals could criticize the Government publicly or privately 
without reprisal. During the year the Government did not attempt to 
impede criticism.
    The official media, including the daily newspaper Sidwaya and the 
Government-controlled radio and television stations, displayed a 
progovernment bias, but allowed significant participation in their 
programming from those representing opposition views. There were 
numerous independent newspapers, satirical weeklies, and radio and 
television stations, some of which were highly critical of the 
Government. Foreign radio stations broadcasted without government 
interference.
    All media are under the administrative and technical supervision of 
the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Communications, and the spokesman 
of the Government, which is responsible for developing and implementing 
government policy and projects concerning information and 
communication. The Superior Council of Communication (SCC), a 
semiautonomous body under the Office of the President, also regulates 
the media by overseeing the content of radio and television programs 
and newspapers to ensure they adhere to professional ethics standards 
and government policy on information and communication. The SCC ensured 
equal access to the media for all November presidential candidates. The 
SCC may summon a journalist to attend a hearing about his work, 
followed by a warning that it would not tolerate a repeat of 
``noncompliant behavior.'' Hearings may concern alleged libel, 
disturbing the peace, or violations of state security. Approximately 
five journalists received such summonses during the year.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the 
peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. 
However, poverty and the high rate of illiteracy limited public access 
to the Internet. According to International Telecommunication Union 
statistics for 2008, less than 1 percent of the country's inhabitants 
used the Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; 
however, the Government did not always respect this right.
    The Government did not make public information on any action taken 
against security forces responsible for injuring and killing 
demonstrators during demonstrations organized by the political 
opposition in 2008 against high fuel and food prices.
    Political parties and labor unions may hold meetings and rallies 
without government permission; however, advance notification is 
required for demonstrations on the streets that might impact traffic or 
threaten public peace. Penalties for violation of the advance-
notification requirement include two to five years' imprisonment. 
Denials or imposed modifications of a proposed march route or schedule 
may be appealed to the courts. Government agents sometimes infiltrated 
political meetings and rallies.
    On July 1, violent demonstrations erupted in the city of Gaoua to 
protest the June 30 death of Da Arnaud Some (see section 1.c.). Angry 
demonstrators burned a police station and looted property. The MBDHP 
reported that in response, security forces, including police, 
gendarmerie, and army personnel, were deployed across the city. They 
used teargas and shotguns to disperse the mob. According to the MBDHP, 
security forces accidentally shot and killed 17-year-old Boureima Sie 
Kambou as they were trying to restore order. They also shot Etienne Da 
in the stomach. He later succumbed to his injuries in a Bobo-Dioulasso 
hospital. The Government responded by reassigning implicated police 
officers, but there had been no trial by year's end (see section 1.a.).

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of association, and the Government generally respected this 
right. Political parties and labor unions could organize without 
government permission.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution provides for freedom 
of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation, and the Government generally respected these rights in 
practice. The Government cooperated with the Office of the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations 
to provide protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, 
refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and 
other persons of concern.
    The Government, in accordance with Economic Community of West 
Africa guidelines, required travel documents, such as identification 
cards, for regional travel.
    The law prohibits forced exile, and there were no reports that the 
Government used it during the year.

    Protection of Refugees.--In practice the Government provided 
protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to countries 
where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account of their 
race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, 
or political opinion. The Government granted refugee or asylum status 
and also provided temporary protection to individuals who may not 
qualify as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 
Protocol. Under law, refugees have equal access to employment, basic 
services, education, police, and court services. There were no reports 
that refugees were denied these rights during the year.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution provides citizens with the right to change their 
government peacefully through multiparty elections; however, the ruling 
party's control of official resources and dominance in government 
severely disadvantaged the opposition from mounting a credible 
challenge.

    Elections and Political Participation.--In November President 
Blaise Compaore won reelection with more than 80 percent of the vote. 
Opposition candidate Hama Arba Diallo, the runner-up, received 7.96 
percent. Despite some irregularities, international observers 
considered the election to have been free and transparent despite the 
resource advantage held by the president.
    Political parties operated freely. Individuals and parties may 
freely declare their candidacies and stand for election in presidential 
elections; however, individuals must be members of a political party to 
run in legislative or municipal elections.
    In the 2007 legislative elections, the ruling CDP won 73 seats in 
the 111-seat National Assembly. Of the 38 non-CDP deputies, 25 belonged 
to parties allied with the Government. Election observers declared the 
elections free and orderly, except in four cities where they noted 
irregularities, including several cases of fraud involving voter 
identification cards. Opposition leaders denounced the elections.
    CDP membership conferred advantages, particularly for businessmen 
and traders seeking ostensibly open government contracts.
    There were 13 women in the National Assembly and seven women in the 
34-member cabinet. One of the four higher courts was led by a woman, 
the national ombudsman was a woman, 18 elected mayors were women, and 
an estimated 40 to 45 percent of new communal councilors were women.
    There were 17 minority members in the cabinet and 61 in the 
National Assembly.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; 
however, the Government did not implement the law effectively, and 
officials engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Local NGOs 
denounced what they called the overwhelming corruption of senior civil 
servants. They reported that corruption was especially acute in the 
customs service, gendarmerie, taxing agencies, national police, 
municipal police, public health service, municipalities, the education 
sector, government procurement, and the Justice Ministry. In recent 
years, despite numerous instances of high-level corruption, no senior 
government officials were prosecuted for corruption.
    Corruption was widespread, particularly among lower levels of the 
police and gendarmerie. The 2008 report by the NGO National Network to 
Fight against Corruption stated that the police and gendarmerie were 
among the most corrupt institutions in the country. Corruption and 
official impunity were also a problem in the military. The gendarmerie 
is responsible for investigating abuse by police and gendarmes, but the 
results of their investigations were not always made public. The 
military court held a number of trials in which civilians pressed 
charges against military personnel. These trials were public, and 
verdicts were reported in the press. The Government took no known 
judicial action against representatives of security forces accused by 
human rights groups of being responsible for abuses and took 
disciplinary action in only a handful of cases.
    Some public officials are subject to financial disclosure laws, but 
those laws were not effectively enforced.
    No laws provide for public access to government information. While 
government ministries released some nonsensitive documents, local 
journalists complained that ministries generally were unresponsive to 
requests for information, ostensibly for reasons of national security 
and confidentiality. They also criticized government spokespersons for 
strictly limiting the scope of questions that can be raised during 
official press conferences. There is no procedure to appeal denials of 
requests for information.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A variety of domestic and international human rights groups 
operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing 
their findings on human rights cases. Government officials were mostly 
cooperative and responsive to their views.
    The Government permitted international human rights groups to visit 
and operate in the country; the International Red Cross visited during 
the year.
    The Ministry of Human Rights is responsible for the protection and 
promotion of human rights and coordinates relevant efforts of other 
ministries. The minister of human rights reports to the prime minister. 
During the year the ministry conducted education campaigns and produced 
human rights pamphlets for security forces.
    The ombudsman is appointed by the president for a nonrenewable 
five-year term and cannot be removed during the term. The public 
generally trusted the ombudsman's impartiality. In accordance with the 
law, the ombudsman presented its 2009 report to the president on 
November 25. During its 15 years of existence (1994-2010), the 
institution investigated 3,698 complaints related to conflicts between 
Burkinabe and non-Burkinabe nationals living in Burkina Faso and 
complaints involving government services. Approximately 3,500 cases, 
including 936 in 2009, were resolved.
    The Governmental National Commission on Human Rights serves as a 
permanent framework for dialogue on human rights concerns and included 
representatives of human rights NGOs, unions, professional 
associations, and the Government. The MBDHP did not participate on the 
commission and continued to charge that the commission was subject to 
government influence. The commission, which has never issued any 
reports, was inadequately funded.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, 
gender, disability, language, or social status; however, the Government 
did not effectively enforce these prohibitions. Discrimination against 
women and persons with disabilities remained problems.

    Women.--Rape is a crime. Although there were prosecutions during 
the reporting period; no official statistics were available on the 
number of rapes during the year. Article 417 of the Penal Code punishes 
rape with five to 10 years' imprisonment. Human rights associations 
reported that rape occurs frequently. There is no explicit mention of 
spousal rape in the law, and there have been no recent court cases. A 
number of organizations counseled rape victims, including Roman 
Catholic and Protestant missions, the Association of Women Jurists in 
Burkina, the MBDHP, the Association of Women, and Promofemmes (a 
regional network that works to combat violence against women). Once 
rape is reported, the police investigate the accusation and bring the 
case to court if the evidence warrants.
    Domestic violence against women, especially wife beating, occurs 
frequently, primarily in rural areas. No law specifically protects 
women from domestic violence, and cases of wife beating usually were 
handled out of court. There were no available statistics on how many 
persons were prosecuted, convicted, or punished for domestic violence 
during the year. It is believed that such legal actions were 
infrequent, because women were ashamed, afraid, or otherwise reluctant 
to take their spouses to court. Cases that involve severe injury were 
usually handled through the legal system.
    The Ministry for Promotion of Women, the Ministry for Social Action 
and National Solidarity, and several NGOs cooperated to protect women's 
rights. The legal section in the Ministry for the Promotion of Women 
has a legal affairs section that informs women of their rights and 
encourages them to defend those rights. It organized a number of 
workshops and led several sensitization campaigns to inform women of 
their rights. Although the fight to achieve effective rights for women 
is a longstanding process, increasing numbers of women, primarily in 
urban areas, voiced their demand for equal rights. The numbers of women 
occupying decision-making positions has increased, with many active in 
politics. There were no hotlines; however, NGOs operated shelters in 
Ouagadougou during the year. The Government provided counseling 
representatives at each of the 13 regional ``Maison de la Femme'' 
structures.
    On occasion, childless elderly women with no support, primarily in 
rural areas and often widowed, were accused of witchcraft, banned from 
their villages, and often accused of eating the soul of a relative or a 
child who had died. These women sought refuge at centers run by 
governmental or charitable organizations in larger cities.
    The Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity has recorded 
a total of 718 women accused of being witches and who had fled their 
villages. During the year 18 women fled their villages and were rescued 
by NGOs.
    The Roman Catholic-operated center Delwende housed approximately 
350 persons (including six men) during the year, including the 18 women 
accused of witchcraft. The Government and traditional authorities 
worked together to help citizens understand the error of both 
witchcraft claims, and the abuse of those accused of being witches. In 
particular the Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity 
initiated specific sensitization programs with villages and assisted 
with mediation efforts between suspected witches and village notables.
    The labor code explicitly prohibits sexual harassment in the 
workplace, but such harassment was common and considered by many as 
culturally acceptable. The law prescribes fines of 50,000 to 600,000 
CFA francs ($101 to $1,213) and prison terms varying from one month to 
five years for persons convicted of workplace harassment. There were no 
available statistics on how many persons were prosecuted, convicted, or 
punished for the offense during the year.
    Couples and individuals are legally entitled to decide freely and 
responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children. They 
have the right to access reproductive and family planning information 
and may do so without facing discrimination, coercion, or violence. In 
practice, however, a lack of access to information and medical care 
constrained these rights, especially in remote areas. Cultural norms, 
especially in rural areas that tend to have a less educated population, 
also limited the availability and use of these resources. Reproductive 
rights were usually respected and available in urban areas and among 
more educated populations. According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), 
contraceptive use among married women ages 15-49 for modern methods was 
approximately 17 percent. However, women often were subject to their 
husbands' decision regarding birth control. In 2008 the UNFPA estimated 
that the maternal mortality rate was 580 deaths per 100,000 live 
births. A woman's lifetime risk of maternal death was one in 28, and 
only 31 percent of births were attended by skilled personnel, according 
to the Population Reference Bureau.
    Both government and private health centers were open to all women 
for reproductive health services, including contraception, skilled 
medical assistance during childbirth (essential obstetric and 
postpartum care), and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted 
diseases, including HIV. However, remote villages often lacked these 
facilities or did not have adequate road infrastructure to permit easy 
access. To obtain specific treatment or deliver under medical 
supervision, women in rural areas sometimes had to travel to the 
closest large city for access to adequate health centers.
    Women continued to occupy a subordinate position in society and 
often experienced discrimination in education, jobs, property 
ownership, access to credit, management or ownership of a business, and 
family rights. Polygyny is permitted, but both parties have to agree to 
it prior to a marriage. A wife may oppose further marriages by her 
husband if she provides evidence that he has abandoned her and her 
children. Both spouses may petition for divorce, and the law provides 
that custody of a child may be granted to either parent, based on the 
child's best interests. In practice, however, the mother retained 
custody until the child reached the age of seven, at which time custody 
reverted to the father.
    Since 2007 women have been permitted to serve in the military as 
officers and noncommissioned officers, and have deployed on foreign 
peacekeeping missions. Women represented approximately 45 percent of 
the general workforce and were primarily concentrated in lower-paying 
positions. Although the law provides equal property rights for women 
and, depending on other family relationships, inheritance benefits, 
traditional law often denied women the right to own property, 
particularly real estate. For example, in rural areas, land owned by a 
woman becomes the property of the family of her husband after marriage. 
Many citizens, particularly in rural areas, clung to traditional 
beliefs that did not recognize inheritance rights for women and 
regarded a woman as property that could be inherited upon her husband's 
death.
    The Government continued media campaigns to change attitudes toward 
women, but progress was slow. The Ministry for Women's Promotion is 
responsible for promoting women's rights, and the minister was a woman. 
During the year the Government established community banks to promote 
economic development of grassroots organizations, including women's 
groups. The banks provided micro loans to fund cereal mills, shea 
butter production, market gardening, animal fattening, and other small 
businesses. The Government sponsored a number of community outreach 
efforts and sensitization campaigns to promote women's rights.

    Children.--Citizenship is derived either by birth within the 
country's territory or by blood. Not all births are registered 
immediately, particularly in rural areas where administrative 
structures are insufficient and rural parents do not know they are 
required. Such lack of registration sometimes resulted in denial of 
public services. To address the problem, the Government periodically 
organized registration drives and issued belated birth certificates.
    The law calls for compulsory, free, and universal education until 
the age of 16. The Government paid tuition, books, and supplies for all 
students under 16 years of age, although uniforms were the 
responsibility of the student's family. Children over 16 years of age 
were responsible for paying all education costs, unless they qualified 
for tuition assistance from merit- and need-based programs. The overall 
school enrollment was approximately 78 percent for boys and 71 percent 
for girls.
    The law prohibits the abuse of children under 15 and provides for 
the punishment of abusers. The penal code mandates a one- to three-year 
prison sentence and fines ranging from 300,000 to 900,000 CFA francs 
($606 to $1,820) for inhumane treatment or mistreatment of children; 
however, light corporal punishment was tolerated and widely practiced 
in society, although the Government conducted seminars and education 
campaigns against child abuse.
    Female genital mutilation (FGM) was practiced, especially in rural 
areas, despite being illegal, and usually was performed at an early 
age. According to a 2006 report by the National Committee for the Fight 
Against Excision (CNLPE), up to 81 percent of women age 25 and older, 
and approximately 34 percent of girls and women under 25, had undergone 
FGM. Although there has been no recent study on FGM, the CNLPE believed 
that the practice has decreased significantly. Perpetrators are subject 
to a significant fine and imprisonment of six months to three years, or 
up to 10 years, if the victim dies. During the year, security forces 
and social workers from the Ministry of Social Action arrested several 
FGM practitioners and their accomplices. In accordance with the law, 
they were sentenced to prison terms.
    As part of the Government's campaign against FGM in West Africa, 
the first ladies of Burkina Faso and Niger presided over a 2008 meeting 
on FGM in Ouagadougou. Noting that girls were sometimes taken across 
national borders to countries where excision is legal or law 
enforcement was weak, participants called on governments to coordinate 
and enforce national laws against FGM. There were no reports of 
increased enforcement efforts resulting from this meeting. The 
Government, through the Regional Committees to Combat Excision, 
continued to work with local populations to address FGM. These regional 
committees (presided over by government-appointed high commissioners) 
brought together representatives of the Ministries of Social Action, 
Basic Education, Secondary and Superior Education, Women's Rights, 
Justice, Health, the police and gendarmerie, and local and religious 
leaders; they actively campaigned against the practice.
    Several NGOs stated that child marriage was a problem, primarily in 
rural areas. A 2008 study conducted by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) 
and the Government concluded that 23.5 percent of girls and women 15-19 
years old were already married or living with a partner, with 30.9 
percent residing in rural areas and 9.5 percent in urban areas. On the 
other hand, 59.6 percent of girls and women were married at the legal 
age for marriage of 17 or older. The law prohibits forced marriage and 
prescribes penalties of six months to two years in prison for 
violation. The prison term may be increased to three years, if the 
victim is less than 13 years of age; however, there were no reports 
during the year of prosecutions of violators. The Government 
collaborated with the Government of Cote d'Ivoire to search for and 
repatriate a child taken across the border to be married forcibly. In 
addition the Government worked with the UNICEF and the UNFPA to carry 
out a project called, ``Putting a stop to early marriages in Burkina 
Faso.'' Five regions with high early-marriage rates were targeted for 
the pilot phase of the project.
    There were no statistics on child prostitution; however, government 
services and human rights associations believed it was a problem. 
Children from poor families relied on prostitution to meet their daily 
needs and, at times, to help their needy parents. Trafficked children, 
primarily Nigerian nationals, were also subject to sexual abuse and 
forced prostitution.
    The law prohibits the worst forms of child labor, including the 
commercial sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, and jobs 
that harm their health. The 2008 antitrafficking legislation provides 
for penalties of up to 10 years for violators and increases maximum 
prison terms from five to 10 years. The law also allows terms as high 
as 20 years to life imprisonment under certain conditions. The 
Government worked with local NGOs to monitor the opening of new gold 
mines to ensure no children were illegally employed there.There were 
numerous street children, primarily in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. 
Many children ended up on the streets after traveling from rural areas 
to find employment in the city or after their parents sent them to the 
city to study with a unregistered Qur'anic teacher or to live with 
relatives and go to school. Several NGOs assisted street children. Two 
directorates within the Ministry of Social Action also ran educational 
programs, including vocational training, for street children; funded 
income-generating activities; and assisted in the reintegration and 
rehabilitation of street children. Nevertheless, the number of street 
children far outstripped the capacity of these institutions.
    The law prohibits female infanticide, and there were no reports of 
such cases. Newspapers reported cases of abandonment of newborn babies 
following unwanted pregnancies.The country is a party to the 1980 Hague 
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For 
information on international child abduction, please see the Department 
of State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.htm as well as 
country-specific information at http://travel.state.gov/abduction/
country/country--3781.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts. There 
was no known Jewish community in the country.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with physical or mental disabilities in employment, 
education, access to health care, the provision of other state 
services, or other areas; however, the Government did not effectively 
enforce these provisions. There was no government mandate or 
legislation concerning access to buildings, information, or 
communication for persons with disabilities. Advocates reported that 
persons with disabilities often faced societal and economic 
discrimination. Such persons who were able to work found it difficult 
to find employment, including in government service, because of deeply 
entrenched societal attitudes that persons with disabilities should be 
under the care of their families and not in the workforce.
    Programs to aid persons with disabilities were limited. In 2009 and 
during the year, the National Committee for the Reintegration of 
Persons with Disabilities conducted sensitizing campaigns and 
implemented reintegration programs and capacity-building programs to 
manage income-generating activities better. High commissioners, 
teachers and NGOs worked together to inform citizens about the rights 
of persons with disabilities, specifically the rights of children with 
disabilities. A number of NGOs schooled and provided vocational 
training to children with disabilities.

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.--In past years there have been 
incidents of conflict over trampled fields involving cattle farmers of 
the Fulani ethnic group and farmers of other ethnic groups. Such 
incidents were fueled by the scarcity of grazing lands and Fulani 
herders allowing their cattle to graze on farming lands of the other 
groups, making them territorial disputes more than ethnic conflicts 
(see section 1.d., Role of the Police and Security Apparatus).

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--The law does not discriminate 
on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and occupation, 
housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care. However, 
societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity 
remained a problem. Religious and traditional beliefs do not tolerate 
homosexual conduct, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) 
persons were reportedly occasional victims of verbal and physical 
abuse. There were no reports that the Government responded to societal 
violence and discrimination against such persons.
    LGBT organizations had no legal presence in the country but existed 
unofficially. There were no reports of government or societal violence 
against such organizations.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--Societal discrimination 
against persons with HIV/AIDS was a problem. During the year 
approximately 130,000 persons tested HIV-positive in the country, 1.8 
percent of the population. Persons who tested positive were sometimes 
shunned by their families, and HIV-positive wives were sometimes 
evicted from their homes. Some landlords refused to rent lodgings to 
persons with HIV/AIDS. However, persons with HIV/AIDS were generally 
not discriminated against in employment practices or the workplace.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows workers to form and 
join independent unions of their choice without previous authorization 
or excessive requirements; however, ``essential'' workers such as 
police, army, and other security personnel may not join unions. 
Approximately 86 percent of the workforce was engaged in subsistence 
agriculture and did not belong to unions. Of the remainder, an 
estimated 25 percent of private sector employees and 60 percent of 
public sector workers were union members. The law provides unions the 
right to conduct their activities without interference, and the 
Government respected this right.
    The law provides for the right to strike; however, the law provides 
a very narrow definition of this right. For strikes that call on 
workers to stay home and that do not entail participation in a rally, 
the union is required to send an advance notice (eight to 15 days) to 
the Government. If unions call for a march, then the Government 
requires the same request and that a notice also is submitted to the 
city mayor. March organizers are held accountable for any damage or 
property destruction that occurs during the demonstration. Magistrates, 
police, military personnel, and gendarmes do not have the right to 
strike.
    There were no reports of strikebreaking during the year.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--Unions have the 
right to bargain directly with employers and industry associations for 
wages and other benefits. There was extensive collective bargaining in 
the formal wage sector; however, this sector included only a small 
percentage of workers.
    There were no reports of government restrictions on collective 
bargaining during the year.
    The 2008 collective bargaining agreement included private sector 
and civil service workers who participated in negotiations with 
employers; the agreement that was reached addressed their concerns, 
including better working conditions and higher salaries.
    There were no reports of antiunion discrimination during the year.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The law prohibits 
forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, there were 
reports that such practices occurred. Forced child labor is found in 
the country's agricultural (particularly cotton), informal trade, 
domestic servitude, and animal husbandry sectors as well as in gold 
panning sites and stone quarries.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
law sets the minimum age for employment at 16 and prohibits children 
under 18 years of age from working at night except in times of 
emergency; however, child labor was a problem, and children worked in 
the informal, agricultural (particularly cotton), and mining sectors 
outside their own families for little or no pay.
    The minimum age for employment was consistent with the age for 
completing educational requirements, which generally was 16 years. In 
the domestic and agricultural sectors, the law permits children under 
the age of 15 to perform limited activities for up to four and one-half 
hours per day; however, many children under the age of 15 worked longer 
hours. A 2006 study conducted by the country's National Institute of 
Demography and Statistics and the International Labor Organization-
funded Program for the Elimination of Child Labor estimated that 41 
percent of children worked, largely as domestic servants or under harsh 
conditions in the agricultural or mining sectors. Children commonly 
worked with their parents in rural areas or in family-owned small 
businesses in villages and cities. There were no reports of children 
under age 15 employed in either state-owned or large private companies.
    The Ministry of Labor and Social Security, which oversees labor 
standards, lacked the financial and transportation means as well as a 
sufficient number of inspectors to enforce worker safety and minimum 
age legislation adequately.
    Punishment for violating child labor laws included prison terms of 
up to five years and fines of up to 600,000 CFA francs ($1,213); 
however, the Government did not adequately enforce this law, and there 
were no confirmed statistics regarding the number of convictions during 
the year.
    The Government organized workshops during the year, and in 
cooperation with donors, undertook sensitization programs to inform 
children, parents, and employers of the dangers of exploitative child 
labor and sending children away from home to work.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--The law mandates a minimum 
monthly wage of 30,684 CFA francs ($62) in the formal sector; the 
minimum wage does not apply to subsistence agriculture or other 
informal occupations. The minimum wage did not provide a decent 
standard of living for a worker and family. Employers often paid less 
than the minimum wage. Wage earners usually supplemented their income 
through reliance on the extended family, subsistence agriculture, or 
trading in the informal sector. The Ministry of Labor and Social 
Security was responsible for enforcing the minimum wage.
    The law mandates a standard workweek of 40 hours for nondomestic 
workers and a 60-hour workweek for household workers, and it provides 
for overtime pay. There are also regulations pertaining to rest 
periods, limits on hours worked, and prohibition of excessive 
compulsory overtime, but these standards were not effectively enforced.
    Government inspectors under the Ministry of Labor and Social 
Security and the labor tribunals are responsible for overseeing 
occupational health and safety standards in the small industrial and 
commercial sectors, but these standards do not apply in subsistence 
agriculture and other informal sectors. The Government's Labor 
Inspector Corps did not have sufficient resources, including sufficient 
numbers of inspectors and offices and financial and transportation 
means, to fulfill its duties adequately. There were no reports of 
effective enforcement of inspection findings during the year. Every 
company with 10 or more employees is required to have a work safety 
committee. If the Government's Labor Inspection Office declares a 
workplace unsafe for any reason, workers have the right to remove 
themselves without jeopardizing continued employment. There were 
indications that this right was respected, although such declarations 
by the Labor Inspection Office were rare.

                               __________

                                BURUNDI

    Burundi is a constitutional republic with an elected government and 
a population of 8.6 million. From May to September, the country held 
elections for all public offices, including the first direct 
presidential elections since 1993. Following the May 25 Communal 
Council elections, which the international community characterized as 
generally free and fair, a coalition of 12 opposition parties alleged 
massive fraud and called for the annulment of the results and new 
elections. When the parties' demands were not met, they withdrew their 
candidates from the subsequent presidential, legislative, and 
``colline'' elections. President Pierre Nkurunziza, of the ruling 
National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of 
Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party, ran unopposed in the June presidential 
election and was reelected to a second term. International observers 
characterized the elections as generally free and fair, although there 
were reports of political violence leading up to and throughout the 
five-month election season. Security forces reported to civilian 
authorities. There were instances in which elements of the security 
forces acted independently of civilian control.
    Human rights abuses during the year included security force 
killings, torture, and mistreatment of civilians and detainees; 
official impunity; societal killings and vigilante justice; harsh, 
life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; prolonged 
pretrial detention and arbitrary arrest and detention; detention and 
imprisonment of political prisoners and political detainees; lack of 
judicial independence and efficiency; official corruption; restrictions 
on privacy and freedom of speech, assembly, and association; sexual 
violence and discrimination against women and children; discrimination 
against gays and lesbians and persons with albinism; and restrictions 
on labor rights.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--Human rights 
organizations and the media reported numerous cases in which the 
Government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, 
including extrajudicial killings, some of which appeared to be 
politically motivated. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human 
Rights (OHCHR) in the country reported 35 killings by security forces 
during the year, including 25 perpetrated by police, nine by the 
military (FDN), and one by the national intelligence agency (SNR). Of 
these, the OHCHR reported 11 cases of extrajudicial killings.
    Police officer Jackson Ndikuriyo was killed on August 26 while in 
the custody of Bubanza Province Police Commissioner Remegie Nzeyimana 
and four police officers. In December 2009 Ndikuriyo and seven police 
colleagues complained in a letter to Minister of Public Security Alain 
Guillaume Bunyoni that police were not receiving their housing 
allowances. On January 11, Ndikuriyo and Severin Misago, another of the 
complainants, were fired without explanation. When Ndikuriyo and Misago 
indicated that they planned to file a lawsuit, Ndikuriyo began 
receiving threats, including from Deputy Director General of Police 
Gervais Ndirakobuca. On August 26, police detained Ndikuriyo and Misago 
in Musigati Commune, Bubanza Province. Later that day Police 
Commissioner Nzeyimana picked up Ndikuriyo from Musigati police 
custody. En route between Musigati and Bubanza city, Ndikuriyo was 
killed. The police claimed that Ndikuriyo was shot by bandits during an 
ambush. The police acknowledged, however, that no bullets hit the 
vehicle or any of the police officers during the alleged attack. No 
arrests occurred by year's end. On September 27, Ndikuriyo's lawyer, 
Francois Nyamoya, was jailed (see section 2.a.).
    On September 7, while executing a search warrant for presumed 
bandits in Buganda Commune, Cibitoke Province, police arrested and 
summarily executed Japhet Bigirimana (alias Kadura), Boniface Mahungu, 
Nsabiyaremye (alias Zairois), and Niyonkuru. Members of the police, 
including local Police Chief Eugene Bizindavyi, took the four men in a 
pick-up truck ostensibly to find their arms caches and accomplices. 
Instead, at approximately 5:30 p.m. the four men were taken to a manioc 
field and killed. By year's end no suspects had been arrested.
    Also on September 7, soldiers shot and killed Fabien Mpfubusa, a 
member of the National Liberation Forces (FNL) party. Mpfubusa 
attempted to flee when the military encircled his home in the Kanyosha 
quarter, Bujumbura. Following the shooting the soldiers searched the 
house without providing a search warrant. They seized only medication. 
No investigation occurred by year's end.
    Although not numbered among the extrajudicial killings, the 
following murders appeared politically motivated:
    On January 10, a man armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle shot 
and killed Sylvestre Niyonzima, a critic of the ruling CNDD-FDD party 
and the Bubanza Province financial manager for the Union for Peace and 
Development (UPD-Zigamibanga). Niyonzima, who had defected from the 
CNDD-FDD party and had just returned from opening a new UPD office, was 
shot eight times at close range. The killer departed without attempting 
to steal anything. Witnesses alleged that the killer was an ex-
combatant from the CNDD-FDD's former armed wing. The killing occurred 
within five yards of a police station, but police did not respond to 
the shooting, and no arrests occurred by year's end.
    On July 14, the first court hearing took place in the April 2009 
political killing of Ernest Manirumva, vice president of the local 
nongovernmental organization (NGO) Observatory for the Struggle against 
Economic Corruption and Embezzlement (OLUCOME). During the preliminary 
hearing, the 11 men arrested in 2009 requested release on their own 
recognizance; the judges subsequently declared themselves unable to 
rule on the request because five other suspects, who remained at large, 
had not been properly summoned to appear before the court. At year's 
end the 11 remained in jail, and the five remained at large. Local and 
international human rights organizations and the international 
community called on General Prosecutor of the Republic Elysee Ndaye to 
expand the case to include all suspects and to pursue all possible 
leads, including high-level officials in the security forces who 
allegedly arranged and carried out Manirumva's killing.
    Beyond the political killings, security forces were responsible for 
other arbitrary killings during the year.
    On June 10, a policeman killed six persons in the Kirundo Province 
police camp. The following week the High Court sentenced him to life 
imprisonment. He remained in prison at year's end.
    During the year there were developments in the following 2009 
killings by security forces:
   On August 10, five policemen, including local police commander 
        Nestor Niyukuri, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the 
        May 2009 shooting of boy scouts in Kayagoro, Makamba Province, 
        which resulted in the death of one scout and the injuring of 
        three. The policemen remained in prison at year's end. The 
        court acquitted the Kayagoro communal administrator on the 
        grounds that he did not have the authority to order police to 
        shoot. The prosecutor appealed the administrator's acquittal; 
        the appeal was pending at year's end.
    The three policemen accused of beating to death a man in Kayanza 
        Province in October 2009 were acquitted on August 9. According 
        to witnesses and police, Kayanza Governor Senel Nduwimana 
        ordered the beating because the victim would not give him land 
        for free. Nduwimana remained the governor of Kayanza after the 
        killing and in July assumed a seat in the National Assembly.
    During the year a soldier was found guilty and sentenced to life 
        imprisonment for the 2008 killing of two persons with a grenade 
        in Ruyigi Province.
    There were no developments in the 2008 killing of a civilian by a 
policeman in a bar in Ngozi Province; the policeman remained in prison, 
awaiting trial.
    There were no further developments in the 2008 killing by FNL 
rebels of the head of a family in Muhuta, Bujumbura Rural Province.
    Large quantities of arms circulated among the population, and 
general lawlessness prevailed in many areas, resulting in numerous 
deaths and injuries.
    Election-related violence resulted in numerous deaths (see section 
3).
    Numerous persons involved in personal disputes died as a result of 
grenade attacks. For example, on January 3, in Itaba, Gitega Province, 
a grenade attack resulted in the death of Come Matama and his one-year-
old child; Matama's wife was seriously injured. According to the Itaba 
communal administrator, the killing resulted from a land dispute with 
the victim's brother. Three persons were detained by local police but 
later released for lack of evidence. No further arrests occurred.
    There were no developments in the following 2009 grenade attacks: 
the February grenade attack, reportedly due to a land dispute, that 
killed a man in Itaba, Gitega Province; and the September death of one 
person and serious injury of six others when a grenade was thrown into 
a cafe in Gihanga, Bubanza Province. No arrests were made in either 
case.
    The two suspects arrested for the December 2009 grenade attack in 
Bujumbura's central market, which killed two and seriously wounded 10, 
were released after they provided alibis. No other suspects were 
arrested.
    There were reports of killings usually perpetrated by unknown 
persons, of individuals accused of sorcery. For example:
    On May 3, a mob killed a man in Ruyigi Province; three suspects 
        were arrested but later released for lack of evidence.
    On June 6, a mob with machetes killed a man in Cibitoke Province. 
        By year's end no suspects had been arrested.
    On July 26, in Nyanza-Lac, Makamba Province, a mob beat to death 
        Appollinaire Ngendabanka. By year's end no suspects had been 
        arrested.
    There were no arrests in the following 2009 killings of individuals 
accused of sorcery: the March killing of a woman from Gisuru and a man 
from Butaganzwa, Ruyigi Province; the May killing of three elderly 
women in Gishingano, Bujumbura Rural Province; and the May death of a 
man burned by a mob in Rumonge, Bururi Province.
    There were no further developments in the 2008 sorcery-related 
death by mutilation of a 14-year-old girl in Muyinga Province.
    There was no further development in the 2008 burning and killing of 
four persons in Ruyigi Province; those arrested were still awaiting 
trial at year's end.
    Sporadic killings of persons with albinism, in which the victims' 
body parts were removed for use in witchcraft, continued.
    On May 2, in Cendajuru, Cankuzo Province, approximately 10 persons 
armed with guns, grenades, and machetes attacked the household of a 
Mr.Vyegura, who lived with his daughter and grandson, both of whom were 
persons with albinism. The attackers went directly to the daughter and 
grandson's room, shooting Vyegura when he tried to protect his family. 
The attackers then killed the daughter and grandson, dismembered their 
bodies, and took the body parts. On May 3, nine suspects--eight 
Burundians and one Tanzanian--were arrested in connection with the 
killings. Following their trial two of the nine received life 
sentences; the others received sentences of 12, 10, and three years' 
imprisonment. All nine appealed. They remained in prison at year's end.
    On September 30, five attackers raided the home of a widow in 
Nyamurenza, Ngozi Province, killed her eight-year-old son, and severed 
his hands and legs. At year's end one Burundian suspect was detained in 
the Ngozi prison and the investigation continued. Four Rwandan 
nationals remained at large; the country's authorities were working 
with their Rwandan counterparts on the case.
    During the night of December 30, four unidentified assailants armed 
with rifles and machetes attacked a family with three children with 
albinism in Gahweza colline in Kiganda, Muramvya Province. According to 
the local official, the bandits cut off the left arm of the family's 
12-year-old son, Ephraim Havyarimana, before they were forced to flee 
by the family's screams. Ephraim died before he could reach a hospital. 
No arrests were made by the end of the year.
    During the night of December 31, a five-month-old girl with 
albinism was kidnapped from her family in Vumwe colline in Kinyinya, 
Ruyigi Province. Police arrested the girl's father and two other 
individuals; they remained in detention at year's end. According to the 
authorities, the father had never accepted his paternity of the girl 
with albinism.
    Widespread public dissatisfaction with the security force's 
inability to control crime, or complicity in it, resulted in vigilante 
killings.
    For example, on April 30, when three thieves armed with rifles 
attempted to rob a house in Mwiruzi, Cankuzo Province, the local 
population intervened. They pursued the thieves, caught one, and beat 
him to death. No one was arrested for the killing.
    No arrests were made in the following 2009 cases of mob killings: 
the September stoning to death of two police officers suspected of 
theft by a mob in Muhindo, Ruyigi Province; and the September killing 
by a mob of a man caught stealing in the Cibitoke neighborhood of 
Bujumbura.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no confirmed reports of politically 
motivated disappearances.
    As of the end of the year, more than eight families requested that 
the domestic NGO Association for the Protection of Human Rights and 
Detained Persons (APRODH) help them locate relatives arrested by 
security forces during the year.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
UN human rights monitors, Amnesty International, and the APRODH 
reported that members of the police and the SNR tortured detainees 
during the year, the first reported cases of torture in two years. The 
UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) Human Rights and Justice 
Division (HR&J) reported that members of the police, SNR, and local 
administrations tortured 30 detainees during the year. Although the 
perpetrators were known in many cases, no action was taken against them 
by year's end.
    According to BINUB HR&J, police tortured 14 detainees, the SNR 13, 
and local administration officials two; police and local officials 
together tortured one individual. All 30 cases occurred between June 
and November. Methods included forcing a gun into victims' ears and 
noses; whipping, beating their heads, feet, and buttocks; digging mock 
graves; and threatening the victims with machetes. While this occurred, 
the perpetrators demanded that victims confess to planning to 
``destabilize institutions'' or ``threaten state security.'' The OHCHR 
and international human rights organizations named the following 
individuals as perpetrators in some cases: SNR Internal Intelligence 
Director General Leonard Ngendakumana, Chief of Internal Security Jean 
Claude Sindayigaya, SNR Cabinet Chief Agricole Mwumba Ntirampeba, 
Western Region Police Commissioner David Nikiza, and Deputy Director 
General of the Police Gervais Ndirakobuca.
    A police commissioner accused of torturing a detainee in the 
Bubanza provincial jail in 2008 remained in his position without any 
administrative sanctions.
    In May the Muramvya Province High Court sentenced three policemen 
for the 2007 torture of more than 20 detainees in Rutegama. Desire 
Uwamahoro, Apollinaire Sindikubwayo, and Nestor Niyukuri received 
sentences of five, four, and three years of imprisonment, respectively, 
and fines of 10, six, and three million francs ($8,045, $4,827, and 
$2,413), respectively. Despite the sentences Uwamahoro and Sindikubwayo 
remained free and in the police force at year's end. Uwamahoro 
commanded the Second Quick Reaction Police Unit, an elite unit in 
Bujumbura that responds to urgent situations nationwide. Niyukuri was 
in prison, serving a life sentence for the May 2009 boy scout shooting 
(see section 1.a.). All three appealed their convictions in the 
Rutegama torture case.
    BINUB HR&J and domestic NGOs also reported that members of the 
security forces and local administration officials often manhandled and 
beat civilians and detainees. The HR&J Division documented 105 cases of 
mistreatment during the year.
    During the May to September election season, incidents of 
mistreatment increased particularly of detainees affiliated with 
political parties. The OHCHR reported 32 cases of such treatment 
between May and July, committed primarily by the SNR and police as well 
as one case perpetrated by FDN members. As of December there had been 
no arrests of perpetrators.
    No disciplinary action occurred in the following 2009 incidents: 
the January beating of an 80-year-old woman by the local police 
commander in Kamenge, Bujumbura; and the June beating of a female 
police officer by a male police officer in Kibenga, Bujumbura.
    The two policemen arrested in connection with knocking a pregnant 
woman off a bicycle taxi in Bujumbura in August 2009 were released and 
returned to duty.
    During the year it was reported that in September 2009 the Bururi 
High Court sentenced a policeman to 20 years' imprisonment for firing 
live ammunition into an unruly crowd in Bururi Province in 2007. He 
remained in prison at year's end.
    There were reports that security force members raped women and 
girls during the year. For example, according to the APRODH's 
statistics for June and September, police committed six cases of rape 
in June and four cases in September, and military personnel committed 
one case of rape in September.
    There were no further developments in the August 2009 rapes of two 
15-year-old girls in Mutimbuzi, Muramvya Province by two armed men in 
military uniforms.
    There were no further developments in the following rape cases 
involving security forces from 2008: the 36 victims recorded by the UN; 
a 16-year-old girl at a cantonment camp in Randa; a nine-year-old girl 
at a camp for displaced persons in Buhiga; and a woman in Busoni.
    Widespread public dissatisfaction with the security force's 
inability to control crime, or complicity in it, resulted in vigilante 
violence.
    For example, 41-year-old Albert Muyeberi was caught in the act of 
raping an eigthth-grade girl in Songa, Bururi Province in January. When 
local residents confronted Muyeberi, he admitted she was his fifth 
victim. Local elders prevented residents from lynching the man and 
burning him alive. After spending time in the hospital, Muyeberi was 
sent to pretrial detention in the Bururi prison. He remained in 
detention and awaiting trial at year's end.
    On February 18, residents of Kikuza, in Rumonge Commune, Bururi 
Province, severely beat a man suspected of raping a young local girl. 
According to media reports, when a local APRODH representative 
condemned the act, local residents responded that incidents of rape 
were increasing and that the perpetrators were never punished.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prisons were overcrowded, 
and prison conditions remained harsh and sometimes life threatening. 
Physical abuse and prolonged stays in solitary confinement were 
problems. The director of prison administration in the Office of 
Penitentiary Affairs reported that as of December, 9,844 persons were 
held in 11 prisons built to accommodate a total of 4,050 inmates. 
According to government officials and human rights observers, prisoners 
suffered from digestive illnesses and malaria; some died as a result of 
disease. Families often had to supplement meager prisoner rations.
    Each prison had at least one qualified nurse and at least a weekly 
visit by a doctor; however, prisoners did not always receive prompt 
access to medical care. Serious cases were sent to local hospitals. The 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was the sole provider 
of medicines.
    Conditions in detention centers and communal lockups were generally 
worse than in prisons. Torture and abuse occurred, the Government did 
not feed detainees in detention centers or communal lockups, and severe 
overcrowding was common. Proper sanitation and medical care were 
limited or nonexistent.
    As of December there were 345 women in prisons and 77 children 
under three-years-old, some of whom were born there. There were 257 
juveniles between 16 and 18 years old in pretrial detention and 115 
convicted juveniles. Most women detainees and prisoners were held in 
the same facilities as men; however, as of September a separate area 
for female inmates had been established in each prison. A small prison 
in Ngozi Province was reserved for women only. Juvenile prisoners were 
held in the same prisons as adults. Ten of the 11 prisons were 
rehabilitated during the year to accommodate juvenile prisoners in 
separate areas; however, adult prisoners were often allowed in those 
areas as well due to overcrowding. Juveniles were generally held 
together with adults in detention centers and communal lockups. 
Pretrial detainees were often held together with convicted prisoners, 
and political prisoners were often held with convicted criminals.
    There were unconfirmed allegations that the SNR maintained illegal 
detention centers across the country.
    Prisoners were permitted religious observance without 
discrimination toward any religions or practices. Prisoners were 
permitted to submit complaints to judicial authorities without 
censorship; however, authorities rarely investigated prisoner 
complaints. No ombudsmen served on behalf of prisoners and detainees.
    The Government monitored prison and detention center conditions.
    During the year the Government permitted all visits requested by 
international and local human rights monitors, including the ICRC; 
visits took place in accordance with the ICRC's standard modalities.
    In an effort to reduce prolonged pretrial detentions, on January 
25, the then minister of justice Ndikumana granted release on their own 
recognizance (``provisional liberty'') to certain categories of 
pretrial detainees: those who had spent 12 months or more in 
``preventive detention'' for crimes with penalties no greater than five 
years in prison, pregnant or breastfeeding women, minors (less than 18 
years old), those diagnosed with advanced incurable diseases, and those 
whose cases were before the court but had not been heard for three or 
more years. Persons detained for crimes such as murder, armed robbery, 
attacking state security, and similar crimes were ineligible for 
provisional liberty.
    In an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons, a March 24 
presidential decree commuted life sentences to 20 years and all others 
to half the sentence given by the court with some exceptions (see below 
section 1.d., Amnesty).
    To improve prison conditions, Penitentiary Affairs requested a 
budget increase from 3.068 billion francs ($2.47 million) to 3.884 
billion francs ($3.12 million). In December parliament approved 
3,436,734,950 francs ($2.76 million) for Penitentiary Affairs.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, but security forces arrested 
and detained persons arbitrarily.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The national police are 
responsible for internal security, but the FDN may assume such 
responsibilities in time of war. The police deal with criminal matters, 
and the FDN fulfills external security and counterinsurgency roles. In 
practice the FDN also detains suspects. The Ministry of National 
Defense and War Veterans oversees the FDN; the Ministry of Public 
Security oversees the national police. The SNR, which gathers 
intelligence on domestic and international issues and has the authority 
to arrest and interrogate suspects, reports directly to the president.
    Members of the security forces were poorly trained. Corruption, 
disregard for limits on detention, and mistreatment of prisoners and 
detainees remained problems. An internal affairs unit within the police 
force investigated only administrative violations committed by police 
and had no authority to discipline violators; punishment was rare. 
BINUB and NGOs provided human rights training to police. Impunity and 
lack of accountability for members of the security forces who committed 
human rights abuses remained problems.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--In most cases 
the law requires arrest warrants issued by presiding magistrates. 
Police can make arrests without a warrant but are required to notify 
their supervisor before doing so. The police have seven days to finish 
their investigation and to transfer the suspect to the magistrate. The 
police can request seven more days if additional investigation time is 
required. However, police rarely respected these provisions in practice 
and routinely violated the requirement that detainees be charged and 
appear before a magistrate within seven days of arrest. A magistrate 
can order the release of suspects or confirm the charges and continue 
detention, initially for 14 days, then for seven more days as necessary 
to prepare the case for trial. Magistrates ignored this requirement and 
often detained suspects for longer. Police are authorized to release 
suspects on bail, but this provision was rarely exercised. Suspects are 
permitted lawyers at their own expense in criminal cases, but the law 
does not require, and the Government did not provide, attorneys for 
indigents at government expense. The law prohibits incommunicado 
detention, but reportedly it sometimes occurred. Authorities on 
occasion denied family members prompt access to prisoners.
    Unlike in the previous year, security forces arbitrarily detained 
journalists (see section 2.a.) and political party members (see section 
3), sometimes for prolonged periods of time.
    Juvenal Rududura, the vice president of the Justice Ministry's 
administrative workers union, who was detained from September 2008 to 
July 2009, remained on ``provisional liberty'' (see section 7.b.).
    Prolonged pretrial detention remained a problem; detainees were 
often held beyond the statutory limit. According to the director of 
Prison Administration, 56.4 percent of inmates were pretrial detainees 
held without charge. Lengthy legal procedures, large case backlogs, 
judicial inefficiency, corruption, and financial constraints often 
caused trial delays.
    For example, the former director general of the state-owned tea 
company, Elysee Ntiranyibagira, was jailed in 2006 for embezzling 
public funds and fraudulent management. In 2007 the general prosecutor 
of the republic requested the Supreme Court schedule Ntiranyibagira's 
hearing. In December 2008 the case was heard and the judges entered 
into deliberation. Deliberation, which should last no more than 60 days 
according to the law, continued for 21 months until he was acquitted in 
October.
    The law provides that detainees in the country's 400 communal 
lockups be held no longer than two weeks; however, many such detainees 
were held for months, particularly in provinces without prisons, such 
as Cankuzo, Cibitoke, Karuzi, Kayanza, Kirundo, Makamba, and Mwaro.

    Amnesty.--On March 24, President Nkurunziza granted amnesty to 
prisoners sentenced for less than or equal to five years who also met 
one of the following conditions: pregnant or breastfeeding, diagnosed 
with an advanced stage incurable disease, 60 years or older at the date 
of the amnesty decree, or a minor (under 18 years old). The 
presidential decree excluded persons convicted for crimes such as rape, 
assassination, armed robbery, misappropriation of public funds, 
attacking state security, drug trafficking, and arson. It also excluded 
convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, 
voluntary homicide, sexual assault, and torture. By the end of July 
1,350 prisoners were released due to the amnesty.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--Although the constitution and law 
provide for an independent judiciary, the judiciary was not independent 
in practice and was inefficient and corrupt. Political interference 
compromised judicial impartiality, and there were problems with 
enforcement of court orders.
    For example, in July a court in Kinama, Bujumbura, ruled that eight 
members of the UPD and FNL opposition parties detained during election 
disputes on June 28 and 29 should be released. However, the prosecutor 
and the Mpimba Prison director refused to follow the court's ruling, 
and the eight remained in jail until December, when they were released 
among a group of 20 political prisoners. The charges against them were 
dropped.
    The law provides for an independent military judicial system, which 
in practice was influenced by the executive and higher-ranking military 
officers. Military courts have jurisdiction over military offenders and 
over civilians accused of offenses implicating members of the military. 
Military courts provide the same rights as criminal courts.
    The Government officially recognizes the traditional system of 
community arbitration known as ``abashingantahe,'' which functions 
under the guidance of community members recognized for their conflict 
resolution skills. A ``mushingantahe,'' or community mediator, presides 
over deliberations, and no lawyers are involved. The abashingantahe 
system was limited to civil and minor criminal matters.

    Trial Procedures.--All trials are publicly conducted by panels of 
judges. In theory defendants are presumed innocent and have a right to 
counsel, but not at the Government's expense, even in cases involving 
serious criminal charges. Defendants have a right to defend themselves, 
including to question the prosecution's witnesses, call their own 
witnesses, and examine evidence against them. Defendants can also 
present evidence on their own behalf and did so in the majority of 
cases. Few defendants had legal representation because few could afford 
the services of one of the 131 registered lawyers in the country. Some 
local and international NGOs provided juridical assistance but could 
not assist in all cases. The law extends the above rights to all 
citizens.
    All defendants, except those in military courts, have the right to 
appeal their cases to the Supreme Court. In practice the inefficiency 
of the court system extended the appeals process for long periods, in 
many cases for more than a year. This effectively limited the 
possibility of appeals, even by defendants accused of the most serious 
crimes.
    Procedures for civilian and military courts are similar, but 
military courts typically reached decisions more quickly. Military 
trials, like civilian trials, generally failed to meet internationally 
accepted standards of fairness. The Government does not provide 
military defendants with attorneys to assist in their defense, although 
NGOs provided some defendants with attorneys in cases involving serious 
charges. Military trials generally are open to the public but can be 
closed for compelling reasons, including for national security or when 
publicity can harm the victim or a third party, such as in cases 
involving rape or child abuse. Defendants in military courts are 
allowed only one appeal.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--The incarceration of political 
prisoners and detainees remained a problem. According to human rights 
observers, the number of political prisoners and detainees increased 
compared with the previous year, but specific numbers varied. BINUB 
HR&J reported 375 politically motivated arrests during the year, of 
which 202 individuals remained in detention at year's end. On December 
30, the spokesperson of the political opposition coalition Alliance des 
Democrates pour le Changement-Ikibiri (ADC-Ikibiri) welcomed the 
release near the end of the year of 20 opposition party members but 
deplored the continued detention of an estimated 200 others. As of 
December 31, the APRODH reported 156 political prisoners and detainees.
    The Government generally afforded international organizations and 
local human rights NGOs access to political prisoners.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--The judiciary was neither 
independent nor impartial. Media reports alleged that the judiciary 
included many individuals beholden to the Government. The execution of 
court decisions, including payment of damages, was slow, sometimes 
taking years.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law provide for the right to 
privacy, but the Government did not always respect this right in 
practice. Authorities did not always respect the law requiring search 
warrants.
    Warrants for searches of opposition figures' homes and opposition 
parties' offices appeared politically motivated (see section 3). Human 
rights observers were concerned that the Bujumbura prosecutor general 
issued politically motivated warrants during the year.
    Sources in the media and civil society believed that security 
forces monitored telephone calls.
    CNDD-FDD party membership was needed in some cases to obtain or 
retain employment, housing, education, and access to health services 
(see sections 2.b. and 3).
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Government 
generally did not respect these rights in practice.
    The Government did not tolerate public criticism in the media or at 
public gatherings, particularly perceived insults to the president, 
security forces, and other high-level public officials. Individuals who 
criticized the Government publicly or privately sometimes faced 
reprisal.
    In a radio talk show on September 19, attorney and Movement for 
Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) party spokesperson Francois Nyamoya 
claimed that SNR Chief Adolphe Nshimirimana and the deputy director of 
police should be removed from office for poor performance and not 
serving national interests. Nshimirimana filed a lawsuit for 
defamation, and on September 23 Nyamoya was served with a warrant to 
appear in the prosecutor's office. On September 27, the prosecutor 
questioned Nyamoya and then sent him directly to Mpimba Central Prison; 
he was released on his own recognizance on October 14 and was awaiting 
trial at year's end. The Burundi Bar Association questioned the use of 
preventive detention in this case since defamation is a misdemeanor 
that does not warrant pretrial detention.
    The media consisted of print, broadcast, and Internet-based 
organizations. The Government controlled several of the major media 
outlets, including Le Renouveau, the only daily newspaper, and the 
National Radio and Television of Burundi. There were seven private 
weekly publications and 23 private Internet- and fax-based newsletters. 
Radio remained the most important medium of public information. The 
Government-owned radio station broadcast in Kirundi, French, and 
Kiswahili and offered limited English programming. There were 13 
privately owned radio stations. There were two private television 
stations, including a station with primarily Muslim programming and 
strong ties to the ruling CNDD-FDD party.
    Journalists were arrested during the year, and prominent members of 
the media reported being threatened and harassed by the SNR, police, 
and members of the ruling party. Journalists practiced self-censorship. 
The Government pressured media outlets for perceived association with 
opposition parties.
    On November 5, two journalists of the investigative newspaper 
Iwacu, Elyse Ngabire and Dieudonne Hakizimana, were detained after 
visiting a prominent FNL party member in Mpimba Central Prison and 
allegedly accepting unauthorized items. Prisoners are prohibited from 
giving visitors documents, letters, or other items that are not 
authorized by prison administrators. The two journalists were 
reportedly interrogated for several hours without access to an attorney 
and then detained without formal charges by Bujumbura's municipal 
police chief until November 7. Ngabire, a breastfeeding mother, was not 
permitted access to her baby during her detention. The journalists were 
required to return on November 9 for further questioning by the police 
chief and released after two hours of interrogation.
    On April 10, violence erupted between FNL and CNDD-FDD youth in 
Kinama, Bujumbura, after the FNL opened several local offices. CNDD-FDD 
supporters attacked Radio and Television Renaissance journalists 
covering the violence and the arrest of the FNL party members. The 
CNDD-FDD supporters chased the journalists, throwing stones and 
damaging the windshield of their vehicle. The media and NGOs expressed 
concern that police on the scene did not act quickly to protect the 
journalists from political violence perpetrated by ruling party's 
supporters.
    On April 27, local police officers and CNDD-FDD supporters in 
Nyanza-Lac, Makamba Province, allegedly threatened Bonesha FM 
correspondent Eric Nzigamasabo for reporting that the CNDD-FDD was 
distributing arms to residents of Nyanza-Lac. Nzigamasabo, who remained 
in hiding for several weeks for fear of arrest, returned to work for 
the radio at the end of May.
    The Government restricted media content during the year by 
preventing the broadcast of political debates. On March 18, Minister of 
the Interior Edouard Nduwimana sent a letter to the National 
Communications Council (CNC) president stating that the media synergy 
of independent and government news outlets formed for the elections 
could not broadcast political debates because it would allow parties to 
advertise their platforms outside campaign periods. Nduwimana's letter 
added that each synergy member would be fined from 40,000 to 200,000 
francs ($32 to $161) if the broadcasts were aired on their stations. In 
a meeting on April 12, the CNC and political party leaders told the 
minister that prohibiting the broadcasts inhibited the freedom of 
expression; however, the minister reaffirmed the Government's position, 
and the debates were cancelled.
    The law criminalizes certain media activities, such as defining 
criticism of political figures as defamation, and provides fines and 
criminal penalties of six months' to five years' imprisonment for 
insults directed at the president, as well as writings that are deemed 
defamatory, injurious, or offensive to public or private individuals. 
The crime of treason, which includes knowingly demoralizing the 
military or the nation in a manner that endangers national defense 
during a time of war, carries a criminal penalty of life imprisonment.
    During the year the Government arrested journalists for defamation 
of public figures and treason. On August 10, police arrested Thierry 
Ndayishimiye, chief editor of the private weekly Arc-en-Ciel newspaper, 
on defamation charges related to an article on July 30 alleging 
embezzlement and the use of substandard materials at the state energy 
authority. The state prosecutor summoned Ndayishimiye to court in 
Bujumbura and then sent him to Mpimba Central Prison. Ndayishimiye was 
released after two days of detention when the charges were dropped.
    The Government cited national or public security as grounds to 
arrest journalists who expressed views that were politically 
embarrassing. For example, on July 17, journalist Jean Claude Kavumbagu 
was arrested for treason and abuse of freedom of expression by the 
press after he published an article in his online newsletter Net Press 
that claimed security forces would be unable to prevent an attack by al 
Shabaab. On September 6, a panel of judges denied Kavumbagu's request 
for release on his own recognizance, claiming that detention assured 
Kavumbagu would remain available to the court; in Kavumbagu's previous 
court cases, however, he was not detained and appeared in court when 
required. Kavumbagu was previously jailed in 2008 on charges of 
insulting the president; he was cleared of those charges in March 2009. 
Kavumbagu remained in pretrial detention at year's end.
    During the year the CNC dropped the 2009 defamation case against 
editing director of African Public Radio (RPA) Eric Manirakiza for 
defamation of the minister of planning and the case against RPA for 
allegedly endangering national security with a report on a border 
conflict with Rwanda. Manirakiza also agreed to drop countersuits 
against the CNC.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no reports of government restrictions 
on access to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-
mail or Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the 
peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by email. Jean 
Claude Kavumbagu was the only case during the year of government 
prosecution based on information distributed via the Internet or by 
email (see section 2.a., Freedom of Speech and Press). According to 
International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2009, less than 1 
percent of the country's inhabitants used the Internet. Lack of 
infrastructure limited public access to the Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no governmental 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; 
however, the Government at times restricted this right. The Government 
requires political parties to notify local authorities before 
assembling. Failure to provide advance notice of political meetings to 
local officials can result in a fine but does not provide grounds for 
arrest. However, security forces arrested opposition members for 
holding meetings, and provincial governors and communal administrators 
disallowed and disrupted numerous meetings of opposition political 
parties.
    Local NGOs reported that the police, SNR, Ministry of the Interior, 
and ruling party's youth league (the Imbonerakure) prevented and 
disrupted opposition party meetings. The OHCHR and international and 
local human rights organizations repeatedly expressed concern that the 
Government suppressed opposition parties and civil society during the 
election period, including by restricting their right to public 
assembly and peaceful demonstration.
    On January 31, four MSD party members were arrested in the Mugoboka 
neighborhood of Bujumbura for holding ``an illegal meeting.'' The MSD 
supporters were held in the Rohero commune jail overnight.
    On May 26, Mayor of Bujumbura Evrard Giswaswa refused to permit a 
march organized by the Association for the Defense of Women's Rights 
(ADDF) to commemorate the death of Revocate Manishantse, a recent 
victim of domestic violence; the mayor claimed the demonstration would 
be inappropriate during the election period.
    On June 6, the Ngozi provincial governor prevented 12 opposition 
parties from meeting in Gashikanwa to explain their motives for 
withdrawing from the presidential election. Government authorities 
argued that the new coalition ADC-Ikibiri was not registered with the 
Government and could not hold meetings. The member parties of the 
coalition were registered, and coalitions are not required to register. 
Two days later the interior minister claimed that only the CNDD-FDD had 
the right to hold meetings during the June 12 to 25 presidential 
elections since the CNDD-FDD was the only party with a presidential 
candidate. Local and international NGOs objected that it was 
undemocratic for the minister of the interior to forbid opposition 
parties from holding meetings.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution provides for freedom of 
association; however, the Government sometimes restricted this right in 
practice.
    Private organizations were required to present their articles of 
association to the Ministry of the Interior for approval. There were no 
reports that the Government failed to complete the approval process for 
private organizations whose purposes the Government opposed. During the 
year, however, the Ministry of the Interior investigated the articles 
of association of existing civil society associations and media outlets 
in an apparent attempt to harass or threaten those organizations with a 
perceived association with opposition parties or who advanced causes 
unpopular with the Government.
    There were reports that some government officials denied national 
identity cards, employment, and access to social programs to members of 
opposition parties. For example, there were reports of fraud or abuse 
of power in the distribution of the identity cards that were required 
for citizens to participate in the 2010 elections. Opposition parties 
claimed that local administrators used their authority to deny the 
identity cards to members of opposition parties, but the Government 
denied there had been fraud or abuse of power in the distribution of 
the cards.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
see the Department of State's 2010 International Religious Freedom 
Report at www.state.gov/g/drl/irf.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation; however, the Government sometimes restricted these rights 
in practice. Government checkpoints, the threat of violence by armed 
criminals, and possible regional terrorist threats restricted citizens' 
movements.
    The Government cooperated with the Office of the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations 
in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, 
refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and 
other persons of concern.
    The Government continued to restrict movement into and out of 
Bujumbura and other cities at night. Restrictions heightened after al 
Shabaab claimed responsibility for the July 11 bombings in Kampala, 
Uganda, following Uganda's participation in the African Union Mission 
to Somalia.
    According to local and international NGOs and opposition parties, 
the Government restricted the movement of prominent opposition party 
leaders after the ADC-Ikibiri coalition decided to boycott the June 
presidential elections. On June 27, Democratic Alliance for Renewal 
(ADR) leader Alice Nzomukunda was stopped at Bujumbura International 
Airport when boarding a flight to Nairobi; her travel documents and 
ticket were confiscated. Border police also stopped UPD leader 
Pascaline Kampayano and Charles Niyungeko, leader of the National 
Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD), a separate political party 
from CNDD-FDD, at land borders between the Democratic Republic of Congo 
(DRC) and the country and confiscated their passports.
    The law does not provide for forced exile, and the Government did 
not practice it; however, many persons remained in self-imposed exile. 
Opposition political leaders including Agathon Rwasa of the FNL, 
Leonard Nyangoma of the CNDD, Pascaline Kampayano of the UPD, Alice 
Nzomukunda of the ADR, and Alexis Sinduhije of the MSD fled the 
country, alleging they felt threatened after their boycott of the 
presidential elections. They remained in self-imposed exile at year's 
end.
    During the year the UNHCR facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 
approximately 3,400 refugees who had previously fled to neighboring 
countries. Among the returnees were 689 repatriated from Tanzania, 
2,647 from the DRC, and 80 from Rwanda, South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, 
and Europe. This brought the total number of returned refugees to 
509,061since 2002. The UNHCR and the Government Project for the 
Reintegration of War-Affected Persons (PARESI) assisted in the 
repatriation and reintegration of these returnees and internally 
displaced persons (IDPs). PARESI did not register any expelled persons 
during the year.
    The UNHCR has returnee transfer centers in Muyinga, Ngozi, 
Bujumbura City, and Ruyigi, as well as two in Makamba Province. The 
UNHCR, the Government, and NGO partners provided repatriated 
individuals and families a six-month food ration and nonfood items that 
included domestic and hygiene goods, agricultural tools, and cash 
grants. Returnees also received school assistance in the form of school 
kits and language acquisition classes. In an attempt to increase 
voluntary repatriation from the Mtabila Camp in Tanzania, the UNHCR 
increased the cash grant from $40 to $150 for those who returned 
voluntarily between September 15 and December 31.
    The repatriates, who returned mostly to the southern and eastern 
provinces, often found their land occupied. During the year there were 
still reports of disputes over land holdings between returnees, local 
residents, and the Government, particularly in Rutana and Bururi 
provinces. The Department for Territory and Land Management, along with 
the UNHCR, was responsible for the preparation of integrated village 
sites for refugees, IDPs, and other vulnerable groups. Seven integrated 
villages for more than 5,500 persons had been established in the 
provinces of Ruyigi, Makamba, and Rutana since 2008. Poor living 
conditions and a lack of food and shelter remained problems for some 
returnees.

    Internally Displaced Persons.--According to a 2009 Ministry of 
National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender (Ministry of Solidarity) 
provisional report, there were approximately 157,000 IDPs in the 
country. Despite improved security these IDPs remained in what appeared 
to be increasingly permanent settlements throughout the country. Most 
were Tutsi who fled their homes during internal conflict in 1993. Some 
attempted to return to their places of origin, but the majority 
relocated to urban centers. According to the UN Office for the 
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, most were living at 160 sites, 
the majority in Kayanza, Ngozi, Kirundo, Muyinga, and Gitega provinces.
    During the year the Government took no action on behalf of the 
approximately 600 IDP families who were violently beaten and forcibly 
evicted from their land in 2008. The families attempted to integrate 
themselves into other IDP camps and local communities with little 
success.
    The Government generally permitted IDPs to be included in the 
UNHCR's and other humanitarian groups' activities benefiting returning 
refugees, such as shelter and legal assistance programs.

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's laws provide for the 
granting of asylum or refugee status, and the Government has 
established a system for providing protection to refugees. According to 
the UNHCR, by year's end the Government had granted refugee status and 
asylum to more than 40,000 persons. In practice the Government provided 
some protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to 
countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account 
of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social 
group, or political opinion. The UNHCR reported that the Government 
fulfilled its obligations to provide asylum and refugee protections and 
cooperated with international organizations involved in refugee issues.
    As of December 1, according to the UNHCR, there were approximately 
40, 940 Congolese refugees and 800 Rwandan refugees in the country. The 
majority of the Congolese were sheltered in three UNHCR-run refugee 
camps: Bwagiriza in Ruyigi Province, Gasorwe in Muyinga Province, and 
Musasa in Ngozi Province. Approximately 250 Rwandans were sheltered in 
Butare camp in Rutana Province. The remaining 21,000 refugees and 
asylum seekers, who are overwhelmingly Congolese, were integrated into 
urban centers. During the year the UNHCR and the Government assisted in 
the voluntary return of 653 refugees to their country of origin, 
including 642 Congolese refugees. The National Office for the 
Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons in the Ministry of the 
Interior formally took over all asylum-related tasks in March 2009; the 
office moved to the Ministry of Public Security during the year.
    While the UNHCR and the Government reported no attacks on refugees 
or restriction of refugees' movement during the year, there was 
evidence of gender-based violence in camps, including rape or 
exploitation of refugee women and girls. The UNHCR reported that, 
despite some Congolese refugees' fears about moving to Bwagiriza camp 
in October 2009 due to security concerns related to the camp's 
proximity to the Tanzania border, no security incidents occurred during 
the year. Some school-age urban Congolese refugees reportedly changed 
their names to avoid discrimination and harassment in local schools.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that national 
police organized raids to round up illegal immigrants from the DRC, 
Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
    During the year a number of cases of vandalism, assault, and 
killings were associated with land conflicts, primarily in the 
provinces of Ruyigi, Muyinga, and Bururi. The National Commission for 
Land and Other Goods (CNTB) is responsible for resolving land and 
property disputes, including those resulting from the repatriation of 
more than 500,000 refugees since 2002, some of whom had been in 
Tanzania since 1972. According to the UNHCR, 9,976 of the 19, 541 land 
disputes registered between January 2007 and August were resolved by 
year's end. However, some returnees were unable to reclaim their land 
or to find alternative farmland to support their families due to lack 
of cooperation from local judicial and administrative authorities. In 
February the Government suspended the CNTB's mediation of a conflict 
between residents with ties to the National Office of Palm Oil and 
returnees in Rumonge Commune, Bururi Province, and changed the 
commission's composition.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The law and constitution provide citizens the right to change their 
government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice 
through elections based on universal suffrage.

    Elections and Political Participation.--Between May and September 
the Government held presidential, parliamentary, Communal Council, and 
local elections. Presidential elections in June resulted in the 
reelection of President Nkurunziza, the candidate of the ruling CNDD-
FDD party. While the elections were generally described as free and 
fair by international observers and the election days themselves were 
peaceful, political parties engaged in intimidation and violence 
leading up to the elections. The ruling CNDD-FDD party and their 
affiliates were particularly active. In the run-up to the elections, 
there were widespread reports that the CNDD-FDD's Imbonerakure youth 
wing committed abuses, such as threatening and assaulting opposition 
party members, with impunity. A coalition of parties alleged massive 
fraud in the May 24 Communal Council elections; all six of the 
opposition parties that had registered for the June presidential 
election withdrew their candidates. Only a few parties participated in 
the July parliamentary elections, in which the president's CNDD-FDD 
increased its majority, winning 81 of the 106 seats in the National 
Assembly. The Union for National Progress (UPRONA) won 17 seats, the 
Front for Democracy ``Genuine'' (FRODEBU Nyakuri) won five seats, and 
the Twa ethnic group received three seats. In the Senate the CNDD-FDD 
won 32 of the 41 seats and UPRONA two. The Twa ethnic group received 
three seats; the four living former presidents of the country received 
the remaining seats. International and domestic observers released 
statements that noted instances of electoral irregularities in these 
parliamentary elections but did not substantiate claims of massive, 
systemic fraud.
    Police searches of opposition parties' headquarters and homes, 
particularly those targeting the FNL, MSD, and UPD parties, increased 
significantly during the elections and their aftermath. Major 
opposition party leaders left the country and went into hiding (see 
section 2.d.). On August 9, police allegedly found a grenade, a pair of 
army boots, and a set of military binoculars during a raid on the MSD's 
national headquarters. On September 16, after MSD President Alexis 
Sinduhije fled the country, police searched his residence and allegedly 
found a box of 20 military uniforms. Human rights organizations and 
opposition parties suggested that the items found in the two raids were 
likely planted by police or the SNR to entrap MSD members and to 
discredit the party and its president.
    Election violence resulted in numerous deaths.
    For example, on May 13, an MSD member was shot and killed in front 
of his house in Nyakabiga, Bujumbura. By year's end no suspects had 
been arrested.
    On June 19, a CNDD-FDD member was shot and killed in Kanyosha, 
Bujumbura. No further information was available by year's end.
    On July 9, two members of the CNDD-FDD were killed by machetes and 
a grenade in Ruziba, Kanyosha Commune, Bujumbura Rural. Fifteen 
persons, all FNL members, were arrested in connection with the 
killings. Seven remained in detention at year's end.
    From June 11 to July 14, 123 grenade attacks resulted in 10 deaths 
and 65 injuries. These attacks targeted high-profile hotels and 
restaurants, political party headquarters, and the homes of political 
party members.
    Members of various political party youth movements engaged in group 
exercises to intimidate other parties and the local populations; such 
exercises led to violent clashes prior to and during the year's 
electoral period.
    On January 7, in Rugombo Commune, Cibitoke Province, an FNL youth 
member was beaten by members of the CNDD-FDD Imbonerakure, who were 
heard yelling anti-FNL slurs during the beating. Three suspects were 
arrested but fled after being released on bail. One was subsequently 
rearrested and again released.
    On February 1, the minister of the interior officially banned 
political party youth exercises in Kirundo province after an incident 
in which CNDD-FDD youth injured FNL youth supporters.
    On June 26, SNR agents accompanied by 40 policemen arrested five 
MSD party members, including the secretary general, the treasurer, and 
the administrative advisor. Police Deputy Director General Gervais 
Ndirakabuca assisted with the arrest of the administrative advisor, 
whose house was searched without a search warrant. In order to extract 
confessions, members of the Municipal Police of Bujumbura abused the 
arrestees. According to Ligue Iteka, a local human rights NGO, an MSD 
driver, who was among those arrested, was kicked and hit with rifle 
butts. All five were released without charges within a week.
    On December 11, Haruna Sibomana, a member of the UPD opposition 
party and head of Buyenzi quarter in Bujumbura, was held responsible 
for a mob lynching of a thief on December 10. Although Sibomana had 
immediately involved the communal administrator and the local police 
chief when the crowd became a mob, they were unable to prevent the 
lynching. On December 11, police arrested Sibomana for failing to 
assist a person in danger. He informed Ligue Iteka that the police 
officer in charge of his case pressured him to implicate well-known UPD 
members as instigators of the killing. He was detained for 19 days and 
released after the public prosecutor dismissed the case.
    There were no developments in the following 2009 cases of political 
violence: the January beating of an FNL supporter by police in Kinama, 
Bujumbura; the February killing of Frederick Misago after he left the 
CNDD-FDD for the FRODEBU party in Kamenge, Bujumbura; or the August 
arson of the UPD leader's property in Kayogoro Commune, Makamba 
Province.
    As of October no one had been charged in the 2008 grenade attacks 
on four politicians' homes; the investigation stalled.
    Some local administrators made CNDD-FDD membership a prerequisite 
to obtain public benefits such as education, employment, health-care 
benefits, or civil documents. On August 23, an elementary school 
director in Mubimbi, Bujumbura Rural Province, refused to register 
students unless their parents presented voter cards showing they had 
voted in the presidential election. As the CNDD-FDD had the only 
candidate in the election, a parent who voted was presumed to be a 
ruling party member; the school director would register his or her 
children. Those parents who refused to show their voter cards or did 
not vote in the presidential election were assumed to belong to an 
opposition political party and were not allowed to register their 
children.
    In Gashikanwa, Ngozi Province, a woman requested a certificate from 
the local administrator declaring her destitute in order to qualify for 
public assistance. Her request was denied because she was not a CNDD-
FDD party member.
    The constitution reserves 30 percent of the positions in the 
National Assembly, the Senate, and the cabinet for women. There were 34 
women in the 106-seat National Assembly and 19 women in the 41-seat 
Senate. Women held nine of 21 ministerial seats, including the new 
minister of justice who was the Supreme Court president in the former 
government. There were eight women on the 17-seat Supreme Court and 
three women on the seven-seat Constitutional Court, including the chief 
justice.
    The law imposes ethnic quotas, requiring that 60 percent of the 
seats in both houses of parliament be filled by Hutus, the majority 
ethnic group, and 40 percent by Tutsis, who constitute an estimated 15 
percent of the citizenry. The Batwa ethnic group, which makes up less 
than 1 percent of the population, is entitled to three seats in each 
house. By law military and police positions should be divided equally 
between Hutus and Tutsis. The Government fulfilled this mandate with 
respect to the military; however, inequalities continued to exist 
within the police force. While Hutus make up 51percent of the police 
force and Tutsis make up 49 percent, disparities existed at the higher 
ranks. Eighty percent of police commissioners at the national level 
were Tutsi, while Hutus made up 66 percent at the provincial district 
level.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for corruption; however, the 
Government did not implement the law effectively. Widespread corruption 
in the public and private sectors and a culture of impunity remained 
problems. Several respected private-sector representatives and trade 
association officials reported that corruption remained a major 
impediment to commercial and economic development. The World Bank's 
2009 Worldwide Governance Indicators indicated that corruption was a 
severe problem.
    By the end of 2009 OLUCOME estimated the state had lost more than 
306 billion francs ($246 million) since 2003 due to embezzlement. 
Losses for the first six months of the year were estimated at 20 
billion francs ($16.1 million).
    The Ministry of Good Governance and the State Inspector General are 
responsible for combating governmental corruption. The Ministry of Good 
Governance includes the Anti-Corruption General Prosecutor's Office and 
the Anti-Corruption Brigade. The brigade has the authority to act on 
its own initiative to investigate, arrest, and refer offenders to the 
general prosecutor.
    According to the latest figures available, between September 2009 
and August, the Anti-Corruption General Prosecutor's Office 
investigated and closed 181 files, 106 cases were scheduled for trial 
at the Anti-Corruption Court, 95 cases were tried, and 74 cases 
sentenced with possibility of appeal.
    Certain government entities cracked down on corruption, while 
others protected the guilty. For example, early in the year customs 
agents at the Gatumba border with the DRC were illegally charging 3,000 
francs ($2.41) per driver and 8,000 francs ($6.44) per vehicle to enter 
or leave the country. The Burundian Income Authority halted this 
practice after OLUCOME publicized it.
    On September 28, the Anti-Corruption Brigade arrested Alexis 
Ntaconzoba, director general of SOSUMO, the state-owned sugar company, 
for fraudulent misuse of public funds. At year's end Ntaconzoba 
remained in detention in Mpimba Central Prison and had not had a 
hearing.
    On September 30, the director general and the director of 
administration at the state-owned Public Transportation Company were 
jailed. Both Director General Jean Pierre Manirakiza and Director of 
Administration Ferdinand Bacanamwo were accused of misappropriation of 
the company's funds. Media reports cited losses of 150 million francs 
($120,675). At year's end Manirakiza and Bacanamwo remained in 
detention in Mpimba Central Prison.
    In 2009 the Anti-Corruption Court sentenced Jean de Dieu 
Hatungimana, director of the state-owned real estate company, to 15 
years in prison for intentionally wrongly approving payments to a road 
construction company, and ministry of finance spokesperson Donatien 
Bwabo to 10 years in prison for authorizing payment to a fictitious 
garage. Both men remained free and in high-level government positions 
while they appealed their cases at year's end.
    Former central bank governor Isaac Bizimana, who had been in jail 
since August 2007 for illegal transfer of government funds to the 
private company, Interpetrol, was released during the year. Earlier in 
the year his case and the cases of his alleged accomplices, two former 
finance ministers in exile, were dismissed for lack of evidence. The 
new minister of justice stated in December that she disagreed with the 
general prosecutor's dismissal of the case, and the case was reopened.
    The law requires financial disclosure by government officials, but 
it was not consistently enforced. Some top officials, including 
President Nkurunziza, voluntarily released copies of their finances 
after the August 26 presidential inauguration. However, anticorruption 
watchdogs reported that many government officials transferred 
questionable assets and financial accounts to immediate family members 
whose financial records were not disclosed.
    In August the then minister of the environment Deogratias Nduwimana 
granted more than 180 acres of public land to the wife and child of the 
then second vice president of the republic, Gabriel Ntisezerana, who 
became president of the Senate on August 20. When the transfers became 
public knowledge, Ntisezerana stated that a mistake had been made, and 
the transfer to his child was rescinded. However, Ntisezerana's wife 
retained possession of the land.
    The law does not provide for access to government information, and 
information was difficult to obtain. The law does not allow the media 
to broadcast or publish information in certain cases relating to 
national defense, state security, or secret judicial inquiries. Human 
rights observers criticized the law for its poorly defined restrictions 
on the right to access and disseminate information.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    Domestic and international human rights groups generally operated 
without government restriction, investigating and publishing their 
findings on human rights cases. Government officials were somewhat 
cooperative and responsive to their views.
    Human rights observers generally were allowed to visit government 
facilities such as military bases, prisons, and detention centers, 
including those run by the SNR. Human rights groups continued to 
operate and publish newsletters documenting human rights abuses. While 
well-established groups with international linkages and a presence in 
Bujumbura had a measure of protection from governmental harassment, 
indigenous NGOs were more susceptible to pressure from authorities and 
often subject to intimidation and threats from the SNR. Some government 
officials and members of the ruling CNDD-FDD party indicated that they 
considered domestic civil society organizations, including human rights 
groups, to be part of the political opposition.
    The following major local independent human rights NGOs operated 
during the year: Ligue Iteka, the APRODH, the ADDF, Centre Seruka, the 
Association of Women Jurists, Action by Christians for the Abolition of 
Torture, and the Observatory of Government Action. No major local human 
rights NGOs were closely aligned with the Government or political 
parties.
    Although several international NGOs expressed frustration at the 
formidable bureaucratic hurdles they faced when registering with 
government offices, governmental attitudes toward international 
humanitarian NGOs remained generally favorable; however, the Government 
expelled the representative of Human Rights Watch (HRW) during the 
year.
    On May 18, Minister of Foreign Affairs Augustin Nsanze informed HRW 
that the Government had canceled agrement for HRW representative Neela 
Ghoshal due to HRW's report on preelection period political violence 
(We'll Tie You Up and Shoot You). Nsanze claimed the report was biased 
against the Government and the ruling party. The Government demanded 
that Ghoshal cease her work immediately and depart the country by June 
5; Ghoshal departed on June 2.
    The Government cooperated with international governmental 
organizations and permitted visits by UN representatives and other 
organizations, such as the ICRC.
    In 2008 the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN 
Independent Expert (IE) on the Situation of Human Rights in Burundi 
with the provision that the IE's mandate would continue until the 
Government established a National Independent Human Rights Commission 
(CNIDH). Since 2008 the Government has taken the position that the IE 
has no mandate to report to the Human Rights Council until the CNIDH is 
established. In December parliament passed legislation authorizing 
creation of the CNIDH, but President Nkurunziza did not promulgate the 
law by year's end.
    In a June press statement, the then IE Akich Okola noted increasing 
reports of election-related human rights violations and security 
concerns since his previous visit in May, including arbitrary arrests, 
detention and harassment of opposition politicians and their 
supporters, and grenade attacks by unknown perpetrators during the 
presidential campaign. In a press conference on November 17, new IE 
Fatsah Ouguergouz encouraged the Government to investigate and 
prosecute those responsible for torture and extrajudicial killings. He 
also pressed the Government to conduct credible, swift, fair trials in 
the cases of murdered OLUCOME vice president Ernest Manirumva and 
imprisoned journalist Jean Claude Kavumbagu (see sections 1.a. and 
2.a., respectively).
    On January 25, the Government created the Office of the Ombudsman, 
as required by the 2000 Arusha Accords. On November 12, in a 
noncompetitive process parliament selected Mohamed Rukara as the 
country's first ombudsman. Civil society members, human rights 
observers, and political opposition leaders expressed concern that 
influential CNDD-FDD member Rukara could not be the neutral, 
independent ombudsman envisioned in the law. As of year's end, the 
Office of the Ombudsman lacked support staff, a workplace, and office 
equipment.
    Parliament established human rights committees in 2005 in both 
houses: a Committee for Justice and Human Rights in the National 
Assembly and a Committee for Judicial and Institutional Issues and 
Fundamental Rights and Liberties in the Senate. The National Assembly 
committee was dominated by the CNDD-FDD party and the Senate committee, 
which, while well intentioned and well informed, lacked influence. At 
the end of the year, both committees reviewed and made recommendations 
on the draft legislation to create a CNIDH, which passed both houses of 
parliament in December. The committees do not issue reports or 
recommendations on human rights.
    From July 2009 to March, ``Popular Consultations on Transitional 
Justice'' took place in country and with diaspora communities. A 
tripartite government-UN-civil society steering committee managed the 
consultations to gauge the population's perspective on how a Truth and 
Reconciliation Commission and Special Tribunal should function. The 
committee forwarded the report of the consultation results to the 
Office of the President of the Republic on April 20. On December 7, the 
report was released to the public. The Government did not establish a 
commission, tribunal, or other national transitional justice mechanisms 
by year's end.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution provides equal status and protection for all 
citizens, without distinction based on sex, origin, ethnicity, 
disability, language, or social status; however, the Government failed 
to implement these provisions effectively, and discrimination and 
societal abuses continued.

    Women.--The law prohibits rape, which is punishable by up to 30 
years' imprisonment; however, the Government did not enforce the law 
effectively, and rape and other sexual violence against women and girls 
were problems. The rape of minors, or rape committed by persons who 
infect their victim with an incurable sexually transmitted disease, is 
punishable by life imprisonment. Spousal rape is punishable by fines of 
10,000 to 50,000 francs ($8 to $40) and eight days' imprisonment.
    Many women were reluctant to report rape for cultural reasons, fear 
of reprisal, and the unavailability of medical care. Men often 
abandoned their wives following acts of rape, and rape victims were 
ostracized. Police and magistrates regularly required that victims 
provide food for and pay the costs of incarceration of those they 
accused of rape. According to a March 2009 report by Medecins Sans 
Frontieres de Belgique (MSF-Belgium), many victims who sought judicial 
redress faced an unresponsive judicial system, and courts often refused 
to act on cases without witnesses. Some victims were reportedly 
required to pay 15,000 francs ($12.07), a large sum for most victims, 
to obtain a certified medical report. Other problems included judges 
who did not regard rape as a serious crime and a lack of medical 
facilities to gather medical evidence. According to women's rights 
organizations, at times families or communities forced victims to 
withdraw their complaints and negotiate settlements with the 
perpetrator or his family outside of the formal judicial system. In 
other cases the victims were forced by their families and local 
arbiters to marry their attackers. According to the local NGO Centre 
Seruka, 60 percent of persons responsible for rape were arrested, and 
of these 30 percent were prosecuted. As of September the APRODH 
recorded 61 rapists arrested. Of the limited number of cases that were 
investigated, successful prosecutions of rapists were rare.
    During the year the Ministry of Solidarity began compiling rape 
statistics through decentralized family development centers (CDF) 
throughout the country. According to CDF reports, there were 1,556 
reported cases of gender-based violence as of July. The ADDF received 
reports of 3,701 cases of rape and domestic violence as of September, 
most of which occurred in Bujumbura and its outlying areas. Centre 
Seruka, equipped in part by MSF-Belgium and funded by the UN, received 
742 victims during the year at its center for rape victims in 
Bujumbura. Of the victims they assisted, 60 percent were raped by 
persons they knew, including members of their families, cooks, and 
neighbors. Local and international NGOs, the Government, and the UN 
claimed the number of rape victims was likely much higher.
    Civil society and religious communities worked to overcome the 
cultural stigma of rape to help victims reintegrate into families that 
had rejected them. Ligue Iteka, the APRODH, the ADDF, and BINUB 
continued to encourage rape victims to press charges and to seek 
medical care, and international NGOs provided free medical care, mostly 
in urban areas. The Government also raised awareness of the problem 
through seminars and local initiatives describing the kinds of medical 
care available.
    The law prohibits domestic abuse of a spouse or child, with 
punishment ranging from fines to three- to five-years' imprisonment; 
however, domestic violence against women was common. As of December the 
ADDF had received 1,650 cases of domestic violence. Many victims did 
not report crimes of domestic violence, fearing retaliation, loss or 
economic support for their children, or a lack of support from the 
justice system. Police occasionally arrested persons accused of 
domestic violence but usually released suspects within a few days 
without further investigation. During the year the Government, with 
financial supported from international NGOs and the UN, continued to 
sponsor civic awareness training on domestic and gender-based violence 
as well as the role of police assistance in 12 of the country's 17 
provinces.
    The media reported many instances of domestic violence, including 
severe beating, mutilation, and murder. For example, on May 17, Fabien 
Barutwanayo assaulted and killed his pregnant wife with a hoe due to a 
land dispute. The local women's association was banned from holding a 
funeral procession to highlight the problem of domestic violence (see 
section 2.b.). Barutwanayo fled his home and at year's end had not been 
located by police.
    The suspects who allegedly severely burned his wife with hot water 
in January 2009 in Cibitoke Province, who allegedly killed his wife 
with a machete in September 2009 in Makamba Province, and who allegedly 
burned his wife's genitals in 2008 in Cankuzo Province remained in 
detention awaiting trial at year's end.
    The law prohibits sexual harassment, including the use of orders, 
severe pressure, or threats of physical or psychological violence, to 
obtain sexual favors. The sentence for sexual harassment ranges from 
fines to penalties of one month to two years in prison. The sentence 
for sexual harassment doubles if the victim is less than 18 years old. 
There were no known prosecutions during the year.
    The Government recognized the right of couples and individuals to 
decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their 
children, although for cultural reasons, husbands often made the final 
decisions about family planning. Local NGOs reported that women who 
attempted to assert their right to decide such matters independently 
sometimes became victims of domestic abuse. Cultural and religious 
norms made limiting the number of childbirths per family generally 
unpopular, although family planning and birth spacing were more openly 
discussed than in previous years. Health clinics and local health NGOs 
were permitted to operate freely in disseminating information on family 
planning under the guidance of the Ministry of Public Health. There 
were no restrictions on access to contraceptives, but, according to the 
local NGO Burundian Association for Family Wellbeing, only 11.4 percent 
of citizens used these measures.
    The Government provided free childbirth services, but the lack of 
sufficient doctors meant most women used nurses or midwives during 
childbirth as well as for prenatal and postnatal care, unless the 
mother or child suffered serious health complications. According to the 
United Nations Population Fund, less than 34 percent of all births took 
place with skilled attendants. The maternal mortality rate remained 
high at 620 deaths per 100,000 live births.
    Men and women received equal access to diagnosis and treatment for 
sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, but local health NGOs 
and clinics reported that women were more likely than men to seek 
treatment and refer their partners. Only 16 percent of health 
facilities provided services to prevent mother-to-child HIV/AIDS 
transmission.
    Despite constitutional protections, women continued to face legal, 
economic, and societal discrimination and were often victims of 
discriminatory practices with regard to credit and marital property 
laws. By law women must receive the same pay as men for the same work, 
but in practice they did not. Some enterprises suspended the salaries 
of women while they were on paid maternity leave, and others refused 
medical coverage to married female employees. Women were less likely to 
hold mid- or high-level positions in the workforce. However, there were 
many women-owned businesses, particularly in Bujumbura. While 
representation of women in decision-making roles remained low, women 
constituted approximately 20 percent of public administration roles in 
the country.
    The Government had a department dedicated to the empowerment of 
women and promotion of women's rights within the Ministry of 
Solidarity. Several local groups also worked to support women's rights, 
including the Collective of Women's Organizations and NGOs of Burundi, 
and Women United for Development.

    Children.--Although the constitution states that citizenship can be 
derived from the mother or father, in practice and according to the law 
on nationality, citizenship is derived from the nationality of the 
father only. The failure of the Government to record all births 
resulted in denial of some public services for unregistered children, 
as the Government requires a birth certificate for access to free 
public schooling and free medical care for children under five. 
Approximately half of all children were not registered at birth. 
According to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), approximately 40 percent 
of births of children currently under five years old were not 
registered. The Government registered without charge the births of all 
children up to the age of five. The urban and rural poor and citizens 
of western provinces traditionally were less likely to register the 
birth of a child.
    Schooling is compulsory up to the age of 12; primary school was the 
highest level of education attained by most children. The Government's 
declaration of free and universal primary education in 2005 
substantially increased net enrollment rates; however female illiteracy 
remained a particular problem.
    The law prohibits child abuse, and the problem was not reportedly 
widespread. Corporal punishment in public schools is prohibited; 
however, the Government acknowledged that corporal punishment existed 
in many homes and schools.
    The law prohibits child prostitution, and penalties for those who 
use child prostitutes ranged from fines from five to 10 years' 
imprisonment; however, the number of children engaged in prostitution 
for survival reportedly increased compared with the previous year.
    The minimum marriage age for women is 18 and 21 for men, although 
recently men were allowed to begin marrying at 18. Child marriage 
reportedly was not widespread, although informal marriages of young 
girls sometimes occurred when victims were forced by their families to 
marry after rape or other forms of sexual exploitation. For example, 
the brother of a 13-year-old girl in Butihinda, Muyinga Province, 
reportedly arranged her marriage after she was raped by a local 
businessman during the year. If there was no such agreement, victims 
and their families were sometimes intimidated by perpetrators living in 
their community.
    The penalty for rape of a minor is 10 to 30 years' imprisonment, 
and the minimum age for consensual sex is 18. The law prohibits child 
pornography, which is punishable by fines and three to five years' 
imprisonment. While child pornography was not prevalent, the rape of 
minors was a widespread problem. Local hospitals, NGOs, and human 
rights associations highlighted a particularly high number of rape and 
sexual abuse cases against children in Rumonge, Burambi and Buyengero 
communes of Bururi Province during the year; there were also several 
reported cases from Ngozi, Muyinga, Bujumbura, and Bujumbura Rural 
provinces, although exact statistics were unavailable. According to 
UNICEF, approximately 60 percent of reported rapes were of children 
under 18 years old, 20 percent of whom were children under 12 years 
old.
    During the year Centre Seruka reported that 15 percent of the 
sexual violence cases it handled were of children less than five years 
old. The UN Development Fund for Women reported that many rapes of 
minors were motivated by the rapist's belief that they would prevent or 
cure sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Centre Seruka 
reported that 95 percent of the rape victims who visited its facility 
during the year were female; the average victim assisted by Seruka was 
11.5 years old. Local NGOs reported providing services to secondary 
school students who were coerced into performing sexual acts or raped 
by schoolteachers, community leaders, or other authority figures.
    Rape cases of very young girls were more likely to be investigated 
than rape of women, often due to community pressure. For example, on 
March 25, after a one-and-a-half-year-old girl was raped by a teenage 
boy in Mutimbuzi Commune, Bujumbura Rural Province, her neighbors held 
demonstrations condemning the rape. The community challenged the local 
administration and judiciary to punish the perpetrator. Neighbors also 
claimed the perpetrator's parents attacked the victim's family.
    Children with albinism sometimes faced discrimination in school and 
within their families. For example, three students with albinism 
reportedly abandoned their schooling in Makamba Province after their 
teacher discriminated against them. Officials of Albinos Without 
Borders (ASF) mediated the conflict between the teacher and students, 
convincing the students to reenroll. Fathers sometimes sent away women 
who gave birth to children with albinism.
    According to a January report by the Ministry of Solidarity and the 
Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of Burundi in conjunction 
with local and international NGOs and UNICEF, more than 3,250 street 
children lived in the country's three largest cities of Bujumbura, 
Gitega, and Ngozi. The Ministry of Solidarity stated that many of these 
children are HIV/AIDS orphans. The number of street children nationwide 
was higher, according to UNICEF. The Government provided street 
children with minimal educational support and relied on NGOs to provide 
basic services such as medical services or economic support.
    According to UNICEF, 626 child soldiers were demobilized in 2008 
and 2009; most were already adults, and only 22 were under 18 years of 
age at the time of their demobilization. Local NGOs continued to work 
with these demobilized children during the year to ensure their 
reintegration. According to the UN and the Government, there were no 
known cases of children associated with armed groups at year's end.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--The Jewish population was very small, and there 
were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The constitution prohibits 
discrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities; 
however, the Government does not have the resources to protect the 
rights of persons with disabilities with regard to employment, 
education, or access to healthcare. Although persons with disabilities 
were eligible for free healthcare services through social programs 
targeting vulnerable groups, the benefits were not widely publicized or 
provided. The employment practice of requiring health certification 
from the ministry of public health sometimes led to discrimination 
against persons with disabilities.
    The Ministry of Solidarity is the Government agency in charge of 
coordinating assistance and protecting the rights of persons with 
disabilities. The ministry reported an increase from 500 million francs 
to one billion francs ($402,252 to $804,505) in its budget for 
disability programs for the year after President Nkurunziza proposed 
the increase in his December 2009 remarks on the International Day for 
the Disabled. Despite increased funding for assistance, the Government 
did not enact legislation or otherwise mandate access to buildings, 
information, or government services for persons with disabilities.
    The Government supported a center for physical therapy in Gitega 
and a center for social and professional reinsertion in Ngozi to assist 
individuals with physical disabilities. Handicap International reported 
14 other institutions for persons with disabilities sponsored by 
religious institutions and NGOs, including four schools for children 
with sensory disabilities and two for children with mental 
disabilities. Many schools for children with sensory or mental 
disabilities were not recognized by the Ministry of Education, making 
it impossible for students to progress in the educational system. Local 
and international NGOs expressed concern that persons with disabilities 
were more vulnerable to rape, assault, and other forms of exploitation 
than other groups within their communities.
    While there were no government restrictions on voting by persons 
with disabilities, most such individuals could not participate in 
elections during the year due to issues of access. In February the 
National Independent Electoral Commission denied a request to make 
polling stations more accessible, claiming limitations in funding and 
time.

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.--The constitution requires 
ethnic quotas for representation within the Government and in the 
security forces. Hutus, who constitute an estimated 85 percent of the 
population, significantly increased their presence and power in the 
Government following the 2005 and 2010 elections; however, the minority 
Tutsis have historically held political and economic advantages.

    Indigenous People.--The Batwa, believed to be the country's 
earliest inhabitants, represent less than 1 percent of the population. 
They generally remained economically, socially, and politically 
marginalized and were victims of violence during the year. However, the 
Government instituted several measures to address the Batwa's 
traditional isolation. Local administrations must provide free 
schoolbooks and health care for all Batwa children. The Government also 
provided small acreages, when possible, for Batwa who wished to become 
farmers and allocated approximately two acres of land per family, the 
average size of farmstead of the country's rural poor.
    The Union for the Promotion of Batwa reported that on October 23, 
three Batwa were killed and 32 houses of Batwa families were 
systematically burned in Gahombo Commune, Kayanza Province. The 
families fled the area to avoid further attack from the local 
population. Despite widespread media coverage of the attack, no 
suspects were arrested in the case at year's end.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--The law criminalizes 
homosexual acts, and anyone who has sexual relations with a person of 
the same sex can be fined or sentenced to between three months' and two 
years' imprisonment. At year's end no one was prosecuted under this 
provision.
    Although discrimination existed, it was not always overt or 
widespread. Families sometimes disowned children who refused to deny 
their homosexual identity, and gays and lesbians often entered 
opposite-sex marriages due to social pressure. The lesbian, gay, 
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights organization Humure reported 
that 90 percent of the men they surveyed who engaged in male-to-male 
sex were married. Representatives of the LGBT community stated that 
after the 2009 passage of the revised penal code criminalizing same sex 
relations, they were subjected to more discrimination, but the number 
of cases remained small. The Government took no steps to counter 
discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--The constitution 
specifically outlaws discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS or 
other ``incurable'' illnesses. There were no reports of government-
sponsored discrimination against such individuals, although some 
observers suggested the Government was not actively involved in 
preventing societal discrimination.
    Sporadic killings of persons with albinism occurred during the year 
(see section 1.a.). In January the ASF reported that persons with 
albinism were still seeking protection near communal administrative 
centers because they were afraid to return to their homes after a 
series of attacks and killings in 2009 and during the year. One woman 
fled her home for a safer location after her child with albinism was 
threatened in Makamba Province (see section 6, Children). Health issues 
involving eyesight or prolonged sun exposure often affected the ability 
of persons with albinism to participate fully in school or the 
workforce. The ASF reported that efforts to educate the population 
about the issues affecting persons with albinism helped to improve the 
situation.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The constitution and the labor code 
protect the right of workers to form and join unions without previous 
authorization or excessive requirements. According to the Confederation 
of Burundian Labor Unions (COSYBU), less than 10 percent of the formal 
private sector workforce was unionized, while an estimated 50 percent 
of the public sector was unionized. Although most civil servants 
exercised their right to unionize, the armed forces and foreigners 
working in the public sector are prohibited from participation in 
unions. The law also prevents workers under the age of 18 from joining 
unions without the consent of their parents or guardians. According to 
COSYBU, many private sector employers systematically worked to prevent 
the creation of trade unions, and the Government failed to protect 
private sector workers' rights in practice. Relations between COSYBU 
and the Government remained poor.
    Local human rights NGOs continued to report widespread 
discriminatory hiring practices for government jobs based on 
applicants' political affiliations, despite a law prohibiting such 
practices.
    Most citizens worked in the unregulated informal economy, which is 
not protected by the labor law. COSYBU stated that virtually no 
informal sector workers had written employment contracts; according to 
government statistics, only 5 percent had them.
    The law provides workers with a conditional right to strike but 
bans solidarity strikes and sets strict conditions under which a 
general strike may occur. All peaceful means of resolution must be 
exhausted prior to the strike; negotiations must continue during the 
action, mediated by a mutually agreed-upon party or by the Government; 
and six days' notice must be given to the employer and the Ministry of 
Civil Service, Labor, and Social Security. Before a strike is allowed, 
the ministry must determine whether strike conditions have been met. 
The ministry has a de facto veto power over all strikes.
    The labor code prohibits retribution against workers participating 
in a legal strike, but labor leaders continued to suffer abuse.
    In February a committee member of the SOSUMO trade union was 
demoted after publicizing illicit practices by the company's 
management. Prior to civil society intervention and ensuing media 
coverage in the case, he was threatened with termination.
    The leaders of teacher's trade unions recorded widespread 
harassment throughout the country during and after their strike in 
March to April.
    For example, on March 17, in both Mutambu Commune and Kabezi 
Commune in Bujumbura Rural, communal administrators using megaphones 
urged the population to attack striking teachers. On April 19, at 
numerous schools throughout the country, when teachers withheld final 
exam results as a means of protesting the Government's failure to pay 
salary arrears, school principals encouraged students to retaliate with 
violence.
    Ligue Iteka stated that a teacher named Athanase Mashandali was 
fired because he refused to join the CNDD-FDD party and, as teachers' 
trade union president in Bubanza Province, had encouraged teachers to 
strike. In 2008 Mashandali, provincial representative of the Bubanza 
teachers' trade union, was approached by the CNDD-FDD to join the 
party, but he declined. In April 2009 the school director (a CNDD-FDD 
member) accused Mashandali of stealing two dictionaries. Mashandali was 
subsequently indicted by the Bubanza High Court. He appeared before the 
court three times, most recently on April 1. On May 27, the school 
director suspended Mashandali from all teaching activities. On July 27, 
the court acquitted him. At year's end Mashandali was seeking a meeting 
with the new minister of basic and secondary education to seek 
reinstatement. Mashandali stated that the school director fabricated 
the charges against him and that he was fired because of his political 
affiliation and his trade union activities.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The law allows 
unions to conduct their activities without interference, but the 
Government frequently interfered with unions and intimidated or 
harassed their leaders. The law also recognizes the right to collective 
bargaining, and it was freely practiced. Wages, however, are excluded 
from the scope of collective bargaining in the public sector; instead, 
wages were set according to fixed scales, following consultation with 
unions.
    Since most salaried workers were civil servants, government 
entities were involved in almost every phase of labor negotiations. 
Both COSYBU and the Confederation of Free Unions represented labor 
interests in collective bargaining negotiations, in cooperation with 
individual labor unions. Civil servant unions must be registered with 
the Ministry of Labor. There were no reliable statistics on the 
percentage of workers covered by collective agreements.
    The law prohibits antiunion discrimination; however, the Government 
often failed to respect this right in the public sector. The Government 
often retaliated against union members through the use of transfers, 
demotions, and reduced responsibility under false pretenses.
    According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), 
the Government often failed to protect workers in the private sector 
from discrimination by employers.
    In 2008 the vice president of the Justice Ministry's Administrative 
Workers Union, Juvenal Rududura, was arrested for allegedly lying 
during a television interview in which he criticized government 
policies. Following prolonged detention without trial, he was released 
on his own recognizance in July 2009. However, his movements were 
restricted, he was not permitted to leave the city, and his activities 
were closely monitored by the Government. In September 2009 his trial 
entered the deliberation phase. Under the law deliberations cannot last 
longer than 60 days. At year's end the case continued under 
deliberation. Rududura was not able to move about freely and had to 
appear before a judge every three months.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The law prohibits 
forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, reports 
continued that it occurred. Most reports involving adults concerned 
cases of domestic servitude. Forced labor by children involved domestic 
servitude and agriculture. There were no reported cases of forced child 
labor in the production of goods as defined in the Trafficking Victims 
Protection Reauthorization Act.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
labor code states that enterprises may not employ children under the 
age of 16, barring the exceptions permitted by the Ministry of Labor. 
These exceptions include light work or apprenticeships that do not 
damage children's health, interfere with their normal development, or 
prejudice their schooling. In accordance with the labor code, the 
minister of labor may permit children ages 12 and up to be employed in 
``light labor,'' such as selling newspapers, herding cattle, or 
preparing food. Under the penal code the legal age for most types of 
``nondangerous'' labor is 18. The Government did not effectively 
enforce these laws, and child labor remained a problem. Children less 
than age 16 in rural areas regularly performed heavy manual labor in 
the daytime during the school year, primarily in the agriculture 
sector. According to the ITUC, the vast majority of children in the 
country worked during the year.
    Children were legally prohibited from working at night, although 
many did so in the informal sectors noted below. Most of the population 
lived by subsistence agriculture, and children were obliged by custom 
and economic necessity to participate in the farming of crops, 
primarily bananas, cassava, maize, and beans; family businesses; and 
other informal sector activity such as street vending. Children also 
worked in small, local brick-making enterprises.
    There continued to be reports of children performing household 
domestic labor. As in previous years, there was no indication that 
children were trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation or labor on 
an organized or widespread basis.
    The Ministry of Labor was charged with enforcing child labor laws 
and had multiple enforcement tools, including criminal penalties, civil 
fines, and court orders. However, in practice the laws were seldom 
enforced. Due to a lack of inspectors, the ministry enforced the law 
only when a complaint was filed. The Government acknowledged no cases 
of child labor in the formal sector of the economy during the year and 
had conducted no child labor investigations.
    During the year the Government supported international 
organizations, several NGOs, and labor unions engaged in efforts to 
combat child labor; these efforts included care and training of 
demobilized child soldiers.
    For information on trafficking in persons, please see the 
Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons Report at 
www.state.gov/g/tip.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--Although the cost of living rose 
significantly during the year, the legal minimum wage for unskilled 
workers remained 160 francs ($0.13) per day. While some employers 
voluntarily paid their unskilled laborers a minimum of 1,500 francs 
($1.20) a day, this was far from standard practice. In general 
unskilled workers' incomes did not provide a decent standard of living 
for a worker and family. Most families relied on second incomes and 
subsistence agriculture to supplement their earnings. The Department of 
Inspection within the Ministry of Labor is charged with enforcing 
minimum wage laws, but there were no reports of enforcement in recent 
years. The legal minimum wage had not been revised in many years, and 
there were no known examples of employer violations. These regulations 
apply to the entire workforce and make no distinction between domestic 
and foreign workers or between the informal and formal sectors.
    The labor code stipulates an eight-hour workday and a 40-hour 
workweek, except for workers involved in national security activities; 
however, this stipulation was not always enforced in practice. 
Supplements must be paid for overtime work. There is no statute 
concerning compulsory overtime; opportunities for compulsory overtime 
were all but nonexistent. Rest periods include 30 minutes for lunch. 
There are no differences for foreign or migrant workers.
    The labor code establishes health and safety standards that require 
safe workplaces. Enforcement responsibility rests with the Ministry of 
Labor, which was responsible for acting upon complaints; however, there 
were no reports of complaints filed with the ministry during the year. 
Workers did not have the right to remove themselves from situations 
that endangered health and safety without jeopardizing their 
employment.
    Small numbers of persons from the neighboring DRC, Tanzania, and 
Rwanda worked in the country but did not constitute a significant 
presence. They were typically undocumented and worked in the informal 
sector.

                               __________

                                CAMEROON

    Cameroon, with a population of approximately 19 million, is a 
republic dominated by a strong presidency. The country has a multiparty 
system of government, but the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement 
(CPDM) has remained in power since it was created in 1985. The 
president retains the power to control legislation and rules by decree. 
In 2004 CPDM leader Paul Biya won reelection as president, a position 
he has held since 1982. The election was flawed by irregularities, 
particularly in the voter registration process, but observers concluded 
that the irregularities did not significantly affect election results. 
The 2007 legislative and municipal elections had significant 
deficiencies, including barriers to registration and inadequate 
safeguards against fraudulent voting, according to international and 
domestic observers. There were instances in which elements of the 
security forces acted independently of civilian control.
    Human rights abuses included security force killings; security 
force torture, beatings, and other abuses, particularly of detainees 
and prisoners; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; and 
arbitrary arrest and detention of citizens advocating secession, local 
human rights monitors and activists, persons not carrying government-
issued identity cards, and others. There were incidents of prolonged 
and sometimes incommunicado pretrial detention and of infringement on 
privacy rights. The Government harassed and imprisoned journalists, 
restricted freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association, and 
impeded freedom of movement. Official corruption was pervasive at all 
levels. Societal violence and discrimination against women, female 
genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking in persons (primarily children), 
and discrimination against pygmies and gays and lesbians occurred. The 
Government restricted worker rights and the activities of independent 
labor organizations. Child labor, hereditary servitude, and forced 
labor, including forced child labor, were problems.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--The Government or 
its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings; however, 
security forces killed persons during the year. The Government 
sometimes investigated and disciplined those responsible for such 
killings.
    On February 11, in Bandjoun, West Region, two gendarmes shot and 
killed Francine Laure Kamdem Kamga, a student from the bilingual high 
school. On April 15, the secretary of state in charge of the 
gendarmerie issued a press release noting the arrest and detention of 
the two gendarmes. The military tribunal subsequently charged the two, 
who remained in Bafoussam Central Prison awaiting trial at year's end.
    In early March an assistant superintendent of the Garoua Central 
Police Station shot and killed his wife after she returned home late at 
night; neighbors held the superintendent and handed him over to police. 
An investigation was ongoing at year's end.
    According to the Report by the Ministry of Justice on Human Rights 
in Cameroon in 2009, released during the year, the Government 
prosecuted at least four security force members for arbitrary killings 
in 2009; it was unclear when the killings occurred or the identity of 
victims since the report provides neither. In January 2009 the Military 
Tribunal of Yaounde sentenced Private Emmanuel Ahidjo to death for 
capital murder. In May 2009 Major Emile Bankou was sentenced to 18 
months in prison for an unintentional murder. Also in 2009 Police 
Inspector Ernest Ngomsia was sentenced to three years in prison for an 
unintentional killing, and a fourth security force member was acquitted 
of murder; no further details were available.
    There were no developments in the investigation of the October 2009 
killing of Jean Baptiste Kamgaing by a gendarme.
    Former police officer Olivier Villot Ehongo, wanted for the 
November 2009 killing of his wife Martine Virginie Ehongo, remained at 
large.
    The Government took no action regarding killings by security forces 
during the 2008 riots, which resulted in more than 200 deaths, 
according to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
    On August 10, the Yaounde High Court resumed hearings on the 2006 
killing of Gregoire Diboule, allegedly by Ni John Fru Ndi, chairman of 
the Social Democratic Front (SDF), and 21 other SDF officials who 
belonged to a competing party faction. However, the trial was postponed 
because none of the 21 accused were present, although their lawyers 
appeared for them. The case was postponed four times in 2009.
    Vigilante violence against persons suspected of theft resulted in 
four deaths; 18 persons died from such violence in 2009. Public 
frustration over police ineffectiveness and the release without charge 
of many individuals arrested for serious crimes contributed to 
vigilante violence.
    On March 8, inhabitants of the Bonapriso neighborhood of Douala, 
Wouri Division, Littoral Region, beat to death a bandit who tried to 
strangle a motorbike taxi rider. An investigation was ongoing at year's 
end.
    On July 2, residents of Wone Bakundu, a village in Meme Division, 
South West Region, buried to death Martin Njumbe Ikose, whom residents 
accused of using witchcraft to kill his nephew. Gendarmes arrested the 
perpetrators. An investigation was ongoing at year's end.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances during the year.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
there were credible reports that security forces tortured, beat, 
harassed, and otherwise abused citizens, prisoners, and detainees, 
although there were fewer such cases than in previous years. Security 
forces also reportedly subjected women, children, and elderly persons 
to abuse.
    Security forces reportedly detained and tortured persons at 
specific sites, including temporary holding cells within police or 
gendarme facilities and cells located at the Directorate General of 
External Security (DGRE).
    On February 20, a fight between fishermen and three officers of the 
elite Delta Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) occurred at Down Beach, 
Limbe, a major station of the BIR; the fishermen had allegedly molested 
one of the soldiers, according to military officials. On February 21, 
BIR troops raided the Church Street neighborhood where the fishermen 
lived and confiscated several cell phones belonging to fishermen. On 
February 23, BIR troops returned to the fishermen's neighborhood and 
indiscriminately beat residents and smashed cars; 24 persons were 
injured, including three who were transferred to an intensive care 
unit. On March 15, Minister of Defense Mebe Ngo'o dismissed 19 BIR 
members for indiscipline and violence against civilians: three of the 
19 also were sentenced to 60 days in prison for their role as 
instigators of acts of brutality against civilians. The minister also 
announced that 13 other soldiers were sentenced to 45 days in jail and 
that their three commanding officers were sentenced to 20 days in jail.
    According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), security 
agents in February used torture to force a journalist to reveal his 
sources (see section 2.a.).
    On May 3, police beat several journalists on their way to a sit-in 
(see section 2.b.).
    On May 9, soldiers Eric Bago and Sadiou (citizens often have only 
one name) of the Fifth BIR, based in Ngaoundere, Vina Division, 
Adamaoua Region, severely beat a motorbike taxi driver who asked to be 
paid after transporting the soldiers. Police arrested the two soldiers, 
who were subsequently detained and transferred to the Garoua Military 
Tribunal, North Region, where they remained in detention at year's end, 
pending an investigation.
    On July 23, six soldiers of the BIR in Yaounde, Mfoundi Division, 
Center Region, severely beat a vendor, who was on a street where an 
altercation occurred between a soldier and residents. A mob intervened 
and subdued two of the soldiers, who police subsequently transferred to 
the neighborhood gendarmerie brigade. The case was forwarded to the 
department of military justice for further investigation, and the two 
soldiers were released pending the results of the ongoing 
investigation.
    There were no developments in the following 2009 security force 
beatings: the January beatings by newly recruited soldiers of 
approximately two dozen residents of Nsoh (Bafut), North West Region; 
and the police beating of Freddy Nkoue, a cameraman working for a 
Douala-based private television station.
    NGO efforts to compile information for a formal complaint against 
security forces involved in use of excessive force during the 2008 
riots were stalled due to inability to obtain the identities of 
perpetrators.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions remained 
harsh and life threatening. Numerous international human rights 
organizations and some prison personnel reported that torture was 
widespread. In Douala's New Bell Prison and other minimum security 
detention centers, prison guards inflicted beatings, and prisoners were 
reportedly chained or at times flogged in their cells. During a May 
2009 visit, foreign government officials found that prison guards 
chained disobedient and violent prisoners in a tiny disciplinary cell, 
where they were reportedly beaten and denied access to food. Security 
forces reportedly stripped prisoners and detainees, confined them in 
severely overcrowded cells, denied them access to toilets or other 
sanitation facilities, and beat them to extract confessions or 
information about alleged criminals.
    Guards and local NGOs reported rapes among inmates. Individuals 
incarcerated in the New Bell Prison for homosexual acts suffered 
discrimination and violence from other inmates.
    Prisoners were kept in dilapidated, colonial-era prisons, where the 
number of inmates was as much as four to five times intended capacity. 
Overcrowding was exacerbated by the large number of pretrial detainees. 
At the end of 2009, the country's 72 prisons, with a capacity of 
15,250, housed 23,368 detainees. Government statistics released in May 
indicated that 12,510 prisoners were held in the 10 central prisons, 
which were intended to hold 4,242. The Yaounde Kondengui Prison, 
originally built for approximately 1,000 inmates, held 3,964 in May, 
according to penitentiary administration statistics.
    Deficiencies in health care and sanitation, which were common in 
all prisons, remained a significant problem. Health and medical care 
were almost nonexistent in detention cells located in gendarmeries and 
police stations. In 2008 the National Commission on Human Rights and 
Freedoms (NCHRF) reported that the daily food allocation per prisoner 
was less than 100 CFA francs (approximately 20 cents). Prisoners' 
families were expected to provide food for them in prison. New Bell 
Prison contained seven water taps for approximately 2,813 prisoners, 
contributing to poor hygiene, illness, and death.
    Corruption among prison personnel was widespread. Pretrial 
detainees reported that prison guards sometimes required them, under 
threat of abuse, to pay ``cell fees,'' money paid to prevent further 
abuse. Prisoners bribed wardens for special favors or treatment, 
including temporary freedom.
    On June 29, the penitentiary administration confirmed harsh prison 
conditions in a document presented to diplomatic missions. The document 
noted overcrowding, poorly maintained and unsound facilities with 
leaking roofs, insufficient toilets and beds, lack of water and 
electricity, scarcity of pharmaceuticals, lack of appropriate kitchens, 
absence of drainage for grey water, and lack of disinfectants.
    Some prisoners were kept in prison after completing their sentences 
or receiving court orders of release due to inability to pay their 
fines. In 2009 for example, more than 100 prisoners remained in New 
Bell Prison despite completing their sentences. Prisons in Buea and 
Kumba also held inmates who had completed their sentences.
    As of May, 480 minors were detained in the country's 10 central 
prisons, 406 of them in pretrial detention; 234 women also were 
detained, 163 of them in pretrial detention.
    There were two separate prisons for women and a few pretrial 
detention centers for women; however, women routinely were held in 
police and gendarmerie complexes with men, occasionally in the same 
cells. Mothers sometimes chose to be incarcerated with their children 
if the children were very young or if they had no other child care 
option. Juvenile prisoners were often incarcerated with adults, 
occasionally in the same cells or wards. There were credible reports 
that adult inmates sexually abused juvenile prisoners. Pretrial 
detainees routinely were held in cells with convicted criminals. Some 
high-profile prisoners, including officials imprisoned for corruption, 
were separated from other prisoners and enjoyed relatively lenient 
treatment.
    In temporary holding cells within police or gendarme facilities, 
adult men, juveniles, and women were held together. Detainees usually 
received no food, water, or medical care; detainees whose families had 
been informed of their incarceration relied on their relatives for food 
and medicine. Overcrowding was common. Detention center guards accepted 
bribes from detainees in return for access to better conditions, 
including permission to stay in an office instead of a cell.
    Many citizens in the North and Far North regions turned to 
traditional chiefs, or lamibe, for dispute resolution, and the 
Government continued to permit lamibe to temporarily detain persons 
until they transferred them to the police or gendarmerie and the 
judicial system. Such detentions could last several weeks or months, 
depending on the availability of lamibe, the gravity of the offense, 
the distance to the nearest security office, and the availability of 
security officers, complainants, and transportation. Within the palaces 
of the traditional chiefdoms of Rey Bouba, Gashiga, Bibemi, and 
Tcheboa, there were private prisons that had reputations for serious 
abuse. For example, those incarcerated were often tied to a post with 
chains attached to their wrists and ankles. During an April visit in 
the North and Far North regions, lamibe claimed to foreign diplomats 
that such detention facilities no longer existed, although incriminated 
subjects were often held under the veranda of a hut and could be seen 
by passersby.
    Prisoners were permitted religious observance. Authorities 
permitted prisoners and detainees to submit complaints to judicial 
authorities without censorship. During a May 2009 visit to the Buea 
Prison, diplomatic mission employees observed prisoners talking to the 
prosecutor and complaining about their conditions. The secretary of 
state for penitentiary administration and the inspector general in 
charge of penitentiary administration investigated credible allegations 
of inhumane conditions and acknowledged the existence of such 
conditions publicly; however, no action was taken during the year. The 
NCHRF also conducted investigations during the year and publicly 
denounced poor detention conditions. The NCHRF also acted on behalf of 
prisoners or detainees to alleviate overcrowding, address the status of 
juvenile offenders, improve pretrial detention conditions, and other 
matters.
    The Government permitted international humanitarian organizations 
access to prisoners. Both the local Red Cross and the NCHRF made 
infrequent, unannounced prison visits during the year. The Government 
continued to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 
to visit prisons. ICRC visits were conducted during the year in 
accordance with standard modalities.
    The Government took steps to improve prison conditions. Phase two 
of the Improvement of Detention Conditions and Respect for Human Rights 
initiative resulted in 22 new wells, 732 new mattresses, and medical 
equipment for the country's prisons. In addition, the 10 medical 
doctors, 30 nurses, and 40 nurse aides that the Government recruited in 
late 2009 to work full-time in prisons became fully operational during 
the year. The Government also increased prison nutrition allowances 
during the year, which resulted in the provision of two daily meals 
instead of one in some prisons. In May the secretary of state in charge 
of penitentiary administration organized a workshop for 100 
penitentiary officials and prison superintendants on respect for 
prisoner rights.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, security forces 
continued to arrest and detain citizens arbitrarily.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The national police, 
DGRE, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Territorial Administration, and, 
to a lesser extent, Presidential Guard are responsible for internal 
security. The Ministry of Defense, which includes the gendarmerie, the 
army, the army's military security unit, and the DGRE, reports to an 
office of the presidency, resulting in strong presidential control of 
security forces. The national police include the public security force, 
judicial police, territorial security forces, and frontier police. The 
national police and the gendarmerie have primary responsibility for law 
enforcement, although the gendarmerie alone has responsibility in rural 
areas.
    Police were ineffective, poorly trained, and corrupt (see section 
4). Citizens viewed police as ineffective and often resorted to 
vigilante violence rather than calling police (see section 1.a.).
    Impunity was a problem; however, some abusers were sanctioned.
    According to media reports, during the year authorities sanctioned 
at least 41 security officers, including 21 soldiers and gendarmes and 
20 police officers; offenses included harassment of citizens, 
corruption, extortion of funds, disregard of orders, forgery, and 
dangerous use of firearms.
    According to the Report by the Ministry of Justice on Human Rights 
in Cameroon in 2009, a total of 599 police officers and 18 gendarmes 
were sanctioned in 2009 for acts ranging from failure to follow orders 
to corruption, falsification of official documents, abuse of authority, 
use of excessive force, extortion of money, arbitrary arrest, 
blackmail, aggravated theft, and dangerous use of arms; sanctioned acts 
included those committed in 2009 and in previous years. Preliminary 
administrative punishments--actions taken immediately after the 
perpetration of the offense--ranged from written warnings to 
suspensions of up to six months and imprisonment for 10 to 12 days. 
More serious cases were transferred to the judiciary for prosecution 
and sentencing, which could take months or even years.
    According to the Report by the Ministry of Justice on Human Rights 
in Cameroon in 2009, at least 10 security officers were prosecuted in 
2009 for torture; however, no details were provided. Twenty others were 
prosecuted in 2009 for physically harming citizens, including the 
following: Senior Warrant Officer Jean Abanda Abanda, who was sentenced 
in December to two years' imprisonment for ``slight harm;'' Police 
Superintendant Afana Akomezoa, who was sentenced in December to one 
year in prison for ``simple threats and slight harm;'' and Warrant 
Officer Bertin Ateba, who was fined 25,000 CFA francs ($50) in December 
for assault on a superior and others. While not providing the date of 
sentencing in the following cases, the report also noted that Police 
Constable Theophile Ouaboube Zengoba was sentenced to five years in 
prison for ``dangerous carriage of arms and simple harm,'' and Police 
Constable Michel Mbock Mbock was fined 50,000 CFA francs ($100) and 
court costs for unspecified charges.
    In 2009 the Military Tribunal of Yaounde tried 15 soldiers and 
gendarmes for crimes ranging from corruption to murder; 13 of the 15 
were sentenced to at least one year in prison, and one was sentenced to 
death (see section 1.a.). Another 55 soldiers and gendarmes were being 
detained and awaiting trial for crimes, including false arrest, 
assault, torture, and murder.
    In May the penitentiary administration of the Ministry of Justice 
organized a four-day workshop for penitentiary officials and prison 
superintendents on respecting prisoner rights.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--The law 
requires that police obtain a warrant for an arrest, except when a 
person is caught in the act of committing a crime; however, police 
often did not respect this requirement. The law provides that detainees 
be brought promptly before a magistrate; however, this frequently did 
not occur. Police legally may detain a person in connection with a 
common crime for up to 48 hours, renewable once. This period may, with 
the written approval of the State Counsel, be exceptionally extended 
twice before bringing charges; however, police occasionally exceeded 
these detention periods. The law permits detention without charge--or 
renewable periods of 15 days--by administrative authorities such as 
governors and civilian government officials serving in territorial 
command. The law also provides for access to legal counsel and family 
members; however, detainees were frequently denied access to both. The 
law permits bail, allows citizens the right to appeal, and provides the 
right to sue for unlawful arrest, but these rights were seldom 
exercised.
    Police and gendarmes frequently arrested persons on Friday 
afternoons, although the number of such cases decreased during the 
year, according to NGOs and legal practitioners. Although the law 
provides for judicial review of an arrest within 24 hours, the courts 
did not convene on weekends, so individuals arrested on a Friday 
typically remained in detention until Monday at the earliest. According 
to some reports, police and gendarmes occasionally made such ``Friday 
arrests'' on spurious charges after accepting bribes from persons who 
had private grievances. Security forces and government authorities 
reportedly continued to arbitrarily arrest and detain persons, often 
holding them for prolonged periods without charges or trial and, at 
times, incommunicado.
    Police arbitrarily arrested persons without warrant during 
neighborhood sweeps for criminals and stolen goods. Citizens were 
required to carry identification with them at all times, and police 
frequently arrested persons without identification during sweeps. On 
September 8, October 8, October 23, and October 26, police conducted 
such sweeps in the Yaounde neighborhoods of Obobogo, Mimboman, Nsam, 
Elig Edzoa, and Manguier; hundreds of persons were arrested. While 
security forces subsequently released some detainees, others were kept 
and transferred to the Prosecutor's Office on various charges, 
including theft, aggression, and evasion.
    The Delegate General for National Security (DGSN) claimed a policy 
of zero tolerance for police harassment; however, police and gendarmes 
subjected undocumented immigrants from Nigeria and Chad to harassment 
and imprisonment. During raids members of the security forces extorted 
money from those who did not have regular residence permits or who did 
not have valid receipts for store merchandise. Some members of the 
country's large community of Nigerian immigrants complained of 
discrimination and abuse by government officials.
    During the year the Government arrested Southern Cameroons National 
Council (SCNC) activists for participating in SCNC activities (see 
section 3).
    Security forces arrested a human rights activist during the year 
(see section 5).
    Security forces arbitrarily arrested leaders of the Cameroonian 
Union of Journalists during a demonstration during the year (see 
section 2.b.).
    Unlike in the previous year, police did not arbitrarily arrest 
women on the street suspected of prostitution.
    Approximately 220 persons arrested during the 2008 riots remained 
imprisoned at year's end; all had been tried and convicted. An 
estimated 500 prisoners with lesser sentences were released during the 
year and in 2009 as a result of presidential amnesties; 951 detainees 
were released several days after their 2008 arrest.
    In 2008 the Government claimed it arrested 1,671 persons during the 
riots, although NGOs claimed the number was higher and that security 
forces arrested scores of onlookers not directly involved in 
demonstrations or rioting.
    In the North and Far North regions, the Government continued to 
permit traditional chiefs, or lamibe, to detain temporarily persons 
outside the Government penitentiary system, in effect creating private 
prisons, until they transferred them to the police or gendarmerie and 
the judicial system (see section 1.c.). During the year the Government 
sentenced traditional ruler Jean Claude Enyegue Atanga to 20 years' 
imprisonment for false arrest.
    The law provides for a maximum of 18 months' detention before 
trial; however, lengthy pretrial detention was a serious problem. 
According to government statistics released in May, pretrial detainees 
represented 68 percent of the approximately 12,510 inmates in the 
country's 10 central prisons; 2009 statistics indicated that 62 percent 
of inmates in the country's main and secondary prisons were pretrial 
detainees. Many pretrial detainees had been awaiting trial for five to 
10 years, according to a 2008 statement by the Cameroon Bar 
Association. The law precludes holding juvenile detainees more than 
three months after the conclusion of an investigation; however, 
juveniles were sometimes held for more than a year. The high number of 
pretrial detainees was due to judicial inefficiency, staff shortages, 
and corruption. The bar association attributed lengthy pretrial 
detention to a shortage of lawyers and lost files due to an inadequate 
tracking system.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution and law provide 
for an independent judiciary; however, the judiciary remained corrupt, 
inefficient, and subject to political influence. The court system is 
subordinate to the Ministry of Justice. The constitution names the 
president as ``first magistrate,'' thus ``chief'' of the judiciary and 
the theoretical arbiter of any sanctions against the judiciary, 
although the president has not publicly played this role. The 
constitution specifies that the president is the guarantor of the legal 
system's independence. He also appoints all judges with the advice of 
the Higher Judicial Council.
    On at least one occasion during the year, however, the judiciary 
demonstrated independence. On November 4, the Military Chamber of the 
Yaounde Court of Appeal overruled a decision of the military tribunal, 
which in March 2009 had sentenced journalists Jacques Blaise Mvie and 
Charles New and soldier Jeremie Doko to five years in jail following a 
complaint filed by former minister of defense Remy Ze Meka. The charges 
included calumny, offense to a government member, and the divulging of 
defense secrets. According to the Court of Appeal, the facts 
incriminating the three accused had not been established.
    The legal system includes both national and customary law, and many 
criminal and civil cases can be tried using either one. Criminal cases 
were generally tried in statutory courts.
    Customary courts served as a primary means for settling domestic 
cases, such as succession, inheritance, and child custody. Customary 
courts may exercise jurisdiction in a civil case only with the consent 
of both parties. Either party has the right to have a case heard by a 
statutory court and to appeal an adverse decision by a customary court 
to the statutory courts. Customary court convictions involving 
witchcraft are automatically transferred to the statutory courts, which 
act as the court of first instance.
    Customary law is deemed valid only when it is not ``repugnant to 
natural justice, equity, and good conscience.'' However, many citizens 
in rural areas remained unaware of their rights under civil law and 
were taught that they must abide by customary laws. Customary law 
ostensibly provides for equal rights and status; however, men may limit 
women's rights regarding inheritance and employment, and some 
traditional legal systems treat wives as the legal property of their 
husbands. Customary law practiced in rural areas is based upon the 
traditions of the ethnic group predominant in the region and 
adjudicated by traditional authorities of that group.
    Military tribunals may exercise jurisdiction over civilians when 
the president declares martial law and in cases involving civil unrest 
or organized armed violence. Military tribunals also have jurisdiction 
over gang crimes, banditry, and highway robbery. The Government 
interpreted these guidelines broadly and sometimes used military courts 
to try matters concerning dissident group members who used firearms.
    In May the Ministry of Justice organized a refresher course for all 
magistrates on ways of effectively applying international norms 
relating to human rights.

    Trial Procedures.--The law provides for a fair public hearing in 
which the defendant is presumed innocent. There is no jury system. 
Defendants have the right to be present and to consult with an attorney 
in a timely manner, and the Government generally respected this right. 
Defendants generally were allowed to question witnesses and to present 
witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. Defendants had access to 
government-held evidence relevant to their cases and could appeal their 
cases. Because appointed attorneys received little compensation, the 
quality of legal representation for indigent clients often was poor. 
The bar association and some voluntary organizations such as the 
Cameroonian Association of Female Jurists offered free assistance in 
some cases. The European Union-funded program for the improvement of 
the condition of detainees and human rights (PACDET II) also allowed 
lawyers to continue to offer free assistance to 3,000 detainees.The 
April 2009 legal aid bill to facilitate judicial access for all 
citizens was not implemented during the year. In April 2009 the 
president signed into law a legal aid bill to facilitate judicial 
access for all citizens. The new law establishes legal aid commissions 
at the courts of first instance, high courts, military tribunals, 
courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court. The law also specifies the 
conditions for legal aid applications, explains the effects of legal 
aid, and identifies the conditions for withdrawal of such aid. In 2009 
lawyers and human rights organizations observed several violations of 
the criminal procedure code in the Government's response to the 
February 2008 unrest. Some detainees in police or gendarmerie cells did 
not receive medical assistance or access to an attorney. Jean de Dieu 
Momo, a human rights lawyer, and Madeleine Afite, a representative of 
Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture, publically denounced 
these violations. Afite stated that arrested minors received no 
assistance from their parents, attorneys, or human rights 
organizations, as the code mandates.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were reports of political 
detainees, which included citizens purportedly advocating secession 
through an illegal organization (see section 3).
    During the year the Yaounde High Court repeatedly postponed the 
trial of two detainees widely considered by human rights NGOs to be 
political prisoners. Titus Edzoa, former minister of health and long-
time aide to President Biya, and Michel Thierry Atangana, Edzoa's 1997 
campaign manager, were arrested in 1997, three months after Edzoa 
resigned from the Government and launched his candidacy for president. 
They were convicted on charges of embezzling public funds and sentenced 
to 15 years in prison. Both Edzoa and Atangana complained of 
irregularities in their trials and restricted access to counsel. At the 
end of 2009, the prosecutor filed new charges against both men for 
embezzlement, and hearings started a few weeks later.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--The constitution and law 
provide for an independent civil judiciary; however, the judiciary 
remained subject to executive influence, and corruption and 
inefficiency remained serious problems. Citizens have the right to seek 
redress for alleged wrongs through administrative procedures or through 
the legal system, although both options involved lengthy delays. There 
were problems enforcing civil court orders due to bureaucratic 
inefficiency and delay.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions; 
however, these rights were subject to restriction by the ``higher 
interests of the state,'' and there were credible reports that police 
and gendarmes harassed citizens, conducted searches without warrants, 
and opened or seized mail with impunity. The Government continued to 
keep some opposition activists and dissidents under surveillance. 
Police sometimes detained family members and neighbors of criminal 
suspects.
    The law permits a police officer to enter a private home during 
daylight hours without a warrant if he is pursuing a criminal suspect. 
A police officer may enter a private home at any time in pursuit of a 
person observed committing a crime.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that police put 
the houses of SCNC officials and activists under surveillance, searched 
the houses of SCNC leaders, or disrupted SCNC meetings in private 
residences. The SCNC is an anglophone group the Government considers 
illegal because it advocates secession. The group does not have legal 
status as it has never filed an application to become either a 
political party or other legally recognized organization.
    An administrative authority, including a governor or prefect, may 
authorize police to conduct neighborhood sweeps without warrants. Such 
sweeps at times involved forced entry into homes in search of suspected 
criminals or stolen or illegal goods. Security forces sometimes sealed 
off a neighborhood, systematically searched homes, arrested persons, 
sometimes arbitrarily, and seized suspicious or illegal articles (see 
section 1.d.). Citizens without identification cards were detained 
until their identity could be established and then released. There were 
several complaints that police arbitrarily confiscated electronic 
devices and cell phones.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that traditional 
chiefs arbitrarily evicted persons from their land.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The law provides for freedom of 
speech and of the press; however, the Government severely restricted 
these rights in practice. Security forces allegedly tortured and 
arrested, detained, harassed, and intimidated journalists during the 
year, particularly those that covered official corruption. One such 
journalist died in prison during the year as a result of inadequate 
medical care. The Government enforced media regulations irregularly, 
often implementing arduous requirements selectively for regime critics. 
Government officials used expansive libel laws to arraign journalists 
who criticized them. Attacks on journalists dramatically increased 
during the year, according to members of the African Federation of 
Journalists, the Union of Communication Professionals in Africa, and 
the National Syndicate of Cameroon Journalists. Journalists and media 
outlets practiced self-censorship.
    Government officials threatened, harassed, and denied equal 
treatment to individuals or organizations that criticized government 
policies or expressed views at odds with government policy.
    For example, information surfaced during the year that in January 
2009 a security officer arrested Roland Fube Fonwi Tita, a chemistry 
teacher at the English High School in Yaounde, for plotting to 
assassinate the president and some ministers; the security official had 
overheard Fube criticize the president during a taxi ride with other 
passengers. Fube was taken to a gendarmerie and later released. On 
February 4, Fube was detained and charged with making disparaging 
remarks about the president. On March 3, he was released on bail, and 
the case remained pending at year's end.
    On March 8, gendarmes arrested and detained Bertrand Teyou for 
talking about the president in ``insidious terms'' during the 
dedication ceremony on the same day of his book The Antecode Biya. 
Teyou was subsequently charged with conspiracy, incitement to 
rebellion, attempt to disturb public order, and perilous activity. 
Teyou, who was detained for eight days, was again arrested and detained 
on November 9 in connection with the release of another book, The 
Beauty of the Banana Republic: Chantal Biya, From the Street to the 
Palace. On November 19, the Douala Court of First Instance found Teyou 
guilty of defamation, insult, and illegal protest, and sentenced him to 
pay a fine of two million CFA francs ($4,000). Teyou, who could not pay 
the fine, remained in jail at year's end.
    During the year approximately 200 privately owned newspapers were 
published; however, only an estimated 25 had sufficient funds to 
publish regularly. Independent newspapers continued to criticize the 
Government and report on controversial issues, including corruption, 
human rights abuses, homosexual practices, and economic policies. The 
Government continued to disburse official funds to support private 
press outlets, although it dispersed funds selectively to outlets that 
were less critical of the Government and with instructions to provide 
reporting favorable to the regime.
    Security forces arrested numerous journalists during the year.
    On February 5, DGRE officers arrested without charge and detained 
incommunicado Serges Sabouang, editor of the bi-monthly La Nation, and 
Simon Herve Nko'o, a reporter with the weekly Bebela, for one week for 
illegally possessing a document that could tarnish the image of 
government officials. The document allegedly implicated Laurent Esso, 
the secretary general of the presidency and board chairman of the 
state-run National Hydrocarbons Company, in secret payouts totaling 1.3 
billion CFA francs ($2.6 million) to three government officials 
involved in the 2008 purchase of an offshore vessel, reportedly 
purchased to entertain potential investors. According to the CPJ, which 
obtained a copy of a February 22 medical certificate detailing the 
condition of Nko'o upon release, security agents used torture to force 
Nko'o to reveal his sources. The certificate revealed that Nko'o had 
bruises on the soles of his feet, and the journalist told the doctor 
that he had been subjected to water boarding, sleep deprivation, and 
exposure to cold. Sabouang was interrogated, but not tortured.
    Also on February 5, DGRE agents briefly detained and interrogated 
for 12 hours Robert Mintya, editor of the weekly Le Devoir, and Germain 
Ngota (Bibi) Ngota, editor and founder of the independent bimonthly 
Cameroon Express, in connection with the same document. Ngota 
subsequently went into hiding.
    On February 26, police in Yaounde rearrested Mintya, Ngota (who had 
resurfaced), and Sabouang for forging the signature of a government 
official on the same document; the charge constitutes a criminal 
offense and is punishable by up to 15 years' imprisonment. Police 
released the three journalists a few days later; however, on March 10, 
they were rearrested and detained at Kondengui Prison in Yaounde. On 
April 22, Ngota, who suffered from gout, joint pain, high blood 
pressure, and a hernia, died from lack of medical attention. According 
to local media, Ngota's mother tried unsuccessfully to get relevant 
authorities to pay attention to Ngota's medical situation. A subsequent 
government investigation claimed Ngota died of AIDS-related 
complications. Following strong international pressure, the Government 
on November 25 released Mintya and Sabouang on their own recognizance, 
although both journalists still faced sentences of up to 20 years' 
imprisonment.
    According to information made public during the year and released 
by the CPJ, the Government in 2009 lodged criminal charges against four 
leading journalists and an academic for commenting during a 2008 
television program on the case of Yves Michel Fotso, a former executive 
at the national airline charged with corruption. Among those named was 
Spectrum TV Editor-in-Chief Thierry Ngogang, freelance journalist Alex 
Gustave Azebaze, Canal 2 International reporter Anani Rabier Bindze, 
and Jean-Marc Soboth, a prominent journalist and leading press freedom 
activist charged with ``biased commentary'' and ``unauthorized 
disclosure of a confidential document.'' In January Soboth went into 
hiding after receiving anonymous death threats, according to local 
journalists.
    Security forces obstructed journalists from reporting on the cases 
of former officials indicted in Operation Sparrowhawk, an official 
investigation of former officials accused of mismanaging public funds. 
According to the CPJ, for example, on January 17, officers at the State 
Secretariat for Defense in Yaounde briefly detained Nadege Christelle 
Bowa and confiscated her notes from an interview with Thierry Michel 
Atangana, a former presidential adviser, on corruption charges. On 
February 24, police detained reporter Justin Blaise Akono and forced 
him to delete courtroom photos taken during a hearing in the trial of 
Titus Edzoa, a former presidential adviser accused of embezzlement.
    According to the CPJ, the trial continued of Editor-in-Chief Charly 
Ndi Chia and Yaounde Bureau Chief Yerima Kini Nsom of the English-
language biweekly The Post over an October 2009 story referencing the 
criminal case of Doh Gah Gwanyin III, a former local official convicted 
of involvement in the murder of an opposition politician in 2006. 
Following the first hearing in November 2009, the trial was repeatedly 
delayed due to the plaintiff's health.
    Press freedom is constrained by strict libel laws that suppress 
criticism. These laws authorize the Government, at its discretion and 
the request of the plaintiff, to criminalize a civil libel suit or to 
initiate a criminal libel suit in cases of alleged libel against the 
president and other high government officials. Such crimes are 
punishable by prison terms and heavy fines. The libel law places the 
burden of proof on the defendant. Government officials abused this law 
to keep local journalists from reporting on corruption and abusive 
behavior.
    There were developments in several 2009 libel cases.
    On January 13, Jean Bosco Talla, editor of the independent weekly 
Germinal, was released from Kondengui Prison after he paid a three 
million CFA francs ($6,000) fine. In December 2009 Talla was sentenced 
to the fine and a suspended one-year prison term for alleged libel 
against President Biya, who Talla claimed had betrayed a ``secret 
homosexual pact'' with former president Ahidjo.
    On January 30, the Yaounde Court of Appeals confirmed the October 
2009 sentence imposed by a lower court of 14 months in prison and a 
fine of one million CFA francs ($2,000), damages of five million CFA 
francs ($10,000), and costs of 265,000 CFA francs ($530) against Michel 
Mombio, editor of the independent newspaper L'Ouest Republicain; Mombio 
was charged with fraud, attempted blackmail, and libel after he wrote 
an article criticizing cabinet officials. On February 15, the court 
released Mombio on bail after he paid the fines.
    Also on January 30, the Douala Court of Appeals confirmed the 
three-year prison sentence imposed by a lower court in January 2009 on 
Lewis Medjo, publisher of La Detente Libre, who was arrested in 2008. 
Medjo was released on May 26, following a meeting between President 
Biya and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
    On September 25, the Union of Press Editors of Central Africa 
issued a press release on behalf of Guy Constantin Moussi, publisher of 
the Indices newspaper; Moussi was tried during the year for publishing 
an article in March that accused Elajeli Musbah of trafficking in 
foreign currency. According to the union's press release, Elajeli 
Musbah, the local representative of Libyan airline Afriqiyah, had 
exerted strong pressure on magistrates to condemn the publisher. The 
December 16 hearing on the case in the Douala first instance court was 
postponed to January 2011.
    Radio remained the most important medium and reached most citizens. 
There were approximately 70 privately owned radio stations operating in 
the country, three-fourths of them in Yaounde and Douala. Television 
had lower levels of penetration than print media but was more 
influential in shaping public opinion in urban areas. There was one 
private cable television network. The five independent television 
stations skirted criticism of the Government, although their news 
broadcasts sometimes focused on poverty, unemployment, and poor 
education, pointing to the role of government neglect and corruption. 
The state-owned Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) broadcast on both 
television and radio. The Government levied taxes to finance CRTV 
programming, which gave CRTV a distinct advantage over independent 
broadcasters.
    The Government required nonprofit rural radio stations to submit 
applications to broadcast, but they were exempt from licensing fees. 
Potential commercial radio and television broadcasters must submit a 
licensing application and pay an application fee with the application. 
After a license is issued, stations must pay an annual licensing fee, 
which was expensive for some stations. Although the Government did not 
issue new broadcast licenses during the year, companies operated 
without them under a government policy of administrative tolerance.
    On January 3, the minister of communication authorized the 
reopening of the Sky One FM Radio station, which he closed in August 
2009 after the station refused to stop broadcasting the program Le 
Tribunal, which allowed listeners to air grievances and seek 
assistance. The radio station complied with the minister's demands, 
which included cancelling Le Tribunal.
    Several rural community radio stations functioned with funding from 
the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and foreign 
countries. The Government prohibited these stations from discussing 
politics.
    The law permits broadcasting by foreign news services that partner 
with national stations. The BBC, Radio France International, and 
Africa1 broadcast in partnership with CRTV.
    The Government was the largest advertiser in the country. Some 
private media enterprises reported that government officials used the 
promise of advertising (or the threat of withholding it) to influence 
reporting of the Government's activities.
    On March 9, the CPJ wrote a letter to President Biya expressing 
concern about ongoing abuses against press freedom. The CPJ called on 
the president to hold members of his administration accountable for 
using security forces and criminal laws to settle scores with the media 
and urged the president to initiate reforms that would refer matters of 
defamation to civil courts.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the 
peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. 
According to International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2009, 
Internet penetration in the country was approximately 2.2 percent.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--Although there were no legal 
restrictions on academic freedom, state security informants reportedly 
operated on university campuses. Professors said that participation in 
opposition political parties or public criticism of the Government 
could affect their professional opportunities.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The law provides for freedom of assembly; however, the 
Government restricted this right in practice. The law requires 
organizers of public meetings, demonstrations, and processions to 
notify officials in advance but does not require prior government 
approval of public assemblies and does not authorize the Government to 
suppress public assemblies that it has not approved in advance. 
However, officials routinely asserted that the law implicitly 
authorizes the Government to grant or deny permission for public 
assembly. Consequently, the Government often refused to grant permits 
for assemblies organized by persons or groups critical of the 
Government and used force to suppress public assemblies for which it 
had not issued permits.
    Authorities refused to grant the SCNC permission to hold rallies 
and meetings, and security forces arrested and detained SCNC activists 
(see section 3). Security forces forcibly disrupted demonstrations, 
meetings, and rallies of citizens, trade unions, and political 
activists throughout the year. The use of excessive force by security 
forces resulted in numerous injuries.
    The Government banned some union activities during the year (see 
section 7.a.).
    On May 3, security forces prevented approximately 200 members of 
the Union of Cameroonian journalists (UCJ) from holding a sit-in near 
the Office of the Prime Minister; the journalists were assembling to 
protest the harassment, arrest, and detention of their colleagues and 
the death in prison of Bibi Ngota (see section 2.a.). Police used 
batons on the journalists, several of whom sustained minor injuries 
along with damage to their clothes and loss of personal property. In 
justifying the ban, police claimed the UCJ had not provided ample 
notice of the event to the appropriate authority.
    On August 25, security officers disrupted a press conference that 
the Republican Forum, a newly created opposition party, organized at 
the Djeuga Palace in Yaounde. The officers harassed the organizers, 
while claiming that the conference was illegal. Party Chairman Roland 
Romain Kouotou denied the allegations and brandished an authorization 
letter issued by the sous-prefet of Yaounde I.

    Freedom of Association.--The law provides for freedom of 
association, but the Government limited this right in practice. The law 
prohibits organizations that advocate any type of secession, resulting 
in the disruption of SCNC meetings on the grounds that the purpose of 
the organization rendered any meetings illegal.
    On October 1, which the SCNC commemorates as independence day for 
``Southern Cameroons,'' security forces disrupted SCNC meetings and 
rallies in Tiko, Buea, Bamenda, and Kumbo.
    The conditions for government recognition of political parties, 
NGOs, or associations were arduous, interminable, and unevenly 
enforced. The process forced most associations to operate in 
uncertainty, in which their activities were tolerated but not formally 
approved.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--Although the constitution and law 
provide for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, 
emigration, and repatriation, security forces routinely impeded 
domestic and international travel during the year. The Government 
cooperated with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other 
humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees and asylum seekers.
    Security forces at roadblocks and checkpoints in cities and on most 
highways extorted bribes and harassed travelers. Police frequently 
stopped travelers to check identification documents, vehicle 
registrations, and tax receipts as security and immigration control 
measures. There were credible reports that police arrested and beat 
individuals who failed to carry their identification cards as required 
by law (see section 1.d.).
    The law prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not use it; 
however, some human rights monitors and political opponents remained in 
self-imposed exile because they felt threatened by the Government.

    Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).--In 2005 between 10,000 and 
15,000 persons in and around the Adamaoua Region villages of Djohong 
and Ngaoui were displaced following attacks and looting by unidentified 
armed groups from the Central African Republic (CAR). Officials in the 
Adamaoua Region administration reported that hundreds of IDPs remained.
    During the year the Government worked with UNHCR to protect and 
assist IDPs.

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's laws provide for the 
granting of asylum or refugee status, and the Government has 
established a system of providing protection to refugees. The 
Government granted refugee status or asylum. In practice the Government 
provided protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to 
countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account 
of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group, 
or political opinion.
    The Government provided temporary protection under the 1951 UN 
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and 
provided it to more than 101,000 persons, including 80,000 from CAR, 
3,000 from Chad, and 4,000 from Nigeria.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The law provides citizens with the right to change their government 
peacefully; however, President Biya and the CPDM party controlled the 
political process, including the judiciary and agencies responsible for 
the conduct and oversight of elections.
    In 2008 the National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment 
that removed presidential term limits and added provisions for 
presidential immunity. Although considerable national discussion of the 
proposal ensued, the National Assembly ultimately passed the revisions 
in a manner that allowed no debate and underscored the CPDM's 
unfettered control of all government branches. Neither the electorate 
nor its elected representatives had an opportunity to affect the 
outcome of the constitutional exercise.

    Elections and Political Participation.--During the 2007 legislative 
elections, observers witnessed poor supervision at the polling stations 
and lax application of the electoral law. An unnecessarily complex 
registration process effectively disenfranchised numerous voters. The 
Government failed to implement promised electoral improvements, such as 
the provision of indelible ink--an internationally recognized safeguard 
against multiple voting--to many polling stations. In addition, despite 
efforts to computerize voter registration, the lists still included 
numerous errors.
    The Supreme Court received more than 130 complaints from political 
parties after the elections, but dismissed the majority of them on 
technical grounds. However, the court ordered new elections in five 
constituencies for 17 parliamentary seats, which were held in 2007; the 
CPDM won 13 seats and opposition parties four. Observers noted some 
irregularities and low voter turnout.
    In 2008 the Government's National Elections Observatory, which was 
responsible for ensuring electoral fairness, published its assessment 
of the 2007 legislative and municipal elections. The report cited 
shortcomings due to lack of coordination between the various electoral 
commissions and a lack of clear, uniform procedures for the various 
stages of the electoral process, particularly the registration process.
    In 2004 President Biya, who has controlled the Government since 
1982, was reelected with approximately 70 percent of the vote in an 
election that was poorly managed and marred by irregularities, in 
particular in the voter registration process, although widely viewed as 
more free and fair than previous elections. Although most international 
observers agreed that it reflected the will of the voters, the 
Commonwealth Observer Group maintained that the election lacked 
credibility.
    All members of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), the electoral body 
responsible for the preparation and organization of elections, were 
appointed by the president. Most board members were active CPDM 
members. Many in the international community publicly questioned the 
independence and credibility of ELECAM, given the partisan nature of 
its council membership.
    The right of citizens to choose their local governments remained 
circumscribed. The Government greatly increased the number of 
municipalities run by presidentially appointed delegates, who have 
authority over elected mayors, effectively disenfranchising the 
residents of those localities. Delegate-run cities included most of the 
provincial capitals and some division capitals in pro-opposition 
regions; however, this practice was almost nonexistent in the southern 
regions, which tended to support the ruling CPDM party. In 
municipalities with elected mayors, local autonomy was limited, since 
elected local governments relied on the central government for most of 
their revenue and administrative personnel.
    There were more than 253 registered political parties. Fewer than 
10, however, had significant levels of support, and only five had seats 
in the National Assembly. The CPDM held an absolute majority in the 
National Assembly. Opposition parties included the SDF, based in the 
anglophone regions and some major cities, the National Union for 
Democracy and Progress, the Cameroon Democratic Union, and the Union of 
the Peoples of Cameroon.
    Membership in the ruling political party conferred significant 
advantages, including in the allocation of key jobs in parastatals and 
the civil service. The president appoints all ministers, including the 
prime minister, and also directly appoints the governors of each of the 
10 regions. The president has the power to appoint important lower 
level members of the 58 regional administrative structures as well. 
Onerous requirements for registration of parties and candidates 
restricted political activity.
    Natives of the North West and South West regions tended to support 
the opposition SDF party and consequently suffered disproportionately 
from human rights abuses committed by the Government and its security 
forces. The anglophone community complained of being underrepresented 
in the public sector. Although citizens in certain francophone areas--
the East, Far North, North, and Adamaoua Regions--voiced similar 
complaints about under-representation and government neglect, 
anglophones claimed they had not received a fair share of public sector 
goods and services within their two regions. Many residents of the 
anglophone regions sought greater freedom, equality of opportunity, and 
better government by regaining regional autonomy rather than through 
national political reform, and have formed several quasipolitical 
organizations in pursuit of their goals.
    Authorities sometimes refused to grant opposition parties 
permission to hold rallies and meetings.
    During the year the Government arrested SCNC activists for 
participating in SCNC activities. The Government considered the SCNC 
illegal because it advocates secession and has never registered as a 
political party or organization.
    On September 29, security forces in Kumbo, North West Region, 
arrested and briefly detained five SCNC activists who were gathering 
material to commemorate the 49th anniversary on October 1 of the 
independence of West Cameroon, an anniversary not recognized by the 
Government.
    On October 1, police in Tiko, South West Region, arrested and 
briefly detained an SCNC activist for hoisting the SCNC flag in 
commemoration of October 1. Police later released him.
    Women held 23 of 180 seats in the National Assembly, six of 61 
cabinet posts, and a few of the higher offices within the major 
political parties, including the ruling CPDM.
    Pygmies were not represented in the National Assembly or in the 
higher offices of government.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; 
however, the Government did not implement the law effectively, and 
officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. The 
World Bank's 2009 Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that 
corruption was a severe problem. The public perception was that 
judicial and administrative officials were open to bribes in almost all 
situations. Corruption was pervasive at all levels of government. 
During the year the Government sanctioned dozens of government 
employees, particularly those from previous administrations, for 
corruption and mismanagement.
    The National Anticorruption Commission (CONAC) is the country's 
principal independent anticorruption agency; however, it was 
subservient to the president. In 2009 CONAC received 312 petitions 
concerning corruption and related offenses, of which 238 resulted in 
prosecution. The National Financial Investigations Unit (ANIF), a 
separate financial intelligence unit that tracks money laundering, has 
referred to judicial authorities 104 of 450 reports received of 
suspicious transactions since ANIF's creation in May 2005; the ANIF has 
been informed of no trials or hearings addressing any of the 104 
reports referred.
    Police were corrupt. Individuals reportedly paid bribes to police 
and the judiciary to secure their freedom. Police demanded bribes at 
checkpoints, and influential citizens reportedly paid police to make 
arrests or abuse individuals involved in personal disputes.
    Police were sanctioned for corruption during the year.
    For example, on January 18, DGSN Director Emmanuel Edou suspended 
Police Inspector Eric Brice Essama, who served at the public security 
office in Nkoteng, Center Region, for three months without pay for 
extortion and indiscipline; legal action was pending at year's end.
    On May 5, Edou suspended Second Grade Police Officer Zaza Mahamat 
for three months without pay for embezzlement of public funds and 
breach of trust; the case was pending prosecution at year's end.
    Judicial corruption was a problem. According to several press 
reports, judicial authorities accepted illegal payments from detainees' 
families in exchange for a reduction in sentence or the outright 
release of their relatives. Political bias by judges (often instructed 
by the Government) frequently stopped or delayed judicial proceedings. 
Many powerful political or business interests enjoyed virtual immunity 
from prosecution, and politically sensitive cases sometimes were 
settled through bribes.
    During the year security forces arrested for corruption several 
former government officials, who generally were held in separate 
quarters and received preferential treatment.
    On January 6, police arrested and detained Haman Adama, former 
minister of basic education, and Roger Ntongo Onguene, former general 
manager of Cameroon Airports, on corruption charges. Both former 
officials, who were accused of embezzling public funds worth hundreds 
of millions of CFA francs, were in pretrial detention at year's end.
    On January 12, police arrested and detained Catherine Abena, former 
secretary of state for secondary education, on embezzlement charges. At 
year's end Abena was being detained in Kondengui Prison awaiting trial.
    On August 12, CONAC informed the public that the corruption 
investigations of 47 officials in the Ministry of Agriculture had been 
completed and that the cases had been transferred to the judiciary for 
prosecution; the 47 were allegedly involved in the embezzlement of 
public funds intended to boost corn production.
    On October 6, the Wouri High Court opened hearings in the trial of 
Paul Ngamo Hamani, former general manager of Cameroon Airlines, who was 
arrested in March 2009 for embezzlement. The trial was ongoing at 
year's end.
    According to the Report by the Ministry of Justice on Human Rights 
in Cameroon in 2009, dozens of judicial proceedings were instituted 
against persons for alleged misappropriation of public funds in public 
and semi-public enterprises in 2009. For example, in the Yaounde High 
Court, preliminary inquiries were opened into 49 cases of 
misappropriation of public funds; 64 cases were pending hearing and 
determination; and 31 judgments were delivered, of which 16 were 
appealed.
    According to the Report by the Ministry of Justice on Human Rights 
in Cameroon in 2009, in June 2009 the Douala Court of Appeals sentenced 
Alphonse Siyam Siwe and two other defendants to life imprisonment for 
embezzlement; the lower court had issued 30-year sentences. Among 
others accused in the case, one was sentenced to 25 years in prison, 
eight to 15 years, and another to one year. In addition, the court 
reversed the Wouri Higher Court's acquittal of seven defendants and 
sentenced six to 15 years' imprisonment and the seventh to one year in 
prison.
    Jerome Mendouga, a former ambassador who was arrested in April 2009 
for embezzlement in connection with the purchase of a presidential 
plane, remained in pretrial detention at year's end.
    There were no developments in the 2009 corruption case of Dieudonne 
Ambassa Zang, a CPDM deputy whose parliamentary immunity was lifted in 
August 2009. Ambassa Zang had not been arrested by year's end and was 
believed to have fled the country.
    There were no developments in the August 2009 arrest and detention 
of Jean-Baptiste Nguini Effa, former general manager of the Government-
owned National Petroleum Distribution Company, along with six of his 
close collaborators, for embezzlement. Nguini and the other six 
remained in pretrial detention at year's end.
    The following developments occurred in 2008 corruption cases.
    On February 16, the Yaounde High Court began the trial of Urbain 
Olanguena Awono, former minister of public health, who was arrested in 
2008 on embezzlement charges. The trial was ongoing at year's end.
    On March 17, the Yaounde High Court began the trial of Polycarpe 
Abah Abah, a former minister of finance who was arrested in 2008 for 
allegedly embezzling more than two billion CFA francs ($4 million) 
while in charge of collecting taxes. The ongoing trial has been 
postponed numerous times due to the defendant's health and a pending 
government appeal of a judge's decision to dismiss some of the charges 
against him.
    On July 29, the Yaounde High Court began the trial of Jean Marie 
Atangana Mebara, a former secretary general of the presidency, who was 
arrested in 2008 for embezzlement in connection with the purchase of an 
airplane for President Biya that resulted in the loss of more than 15 
billion CFA francs ($30 million) to the treasury. Mebara's trial has 
been postponed several times because only one out of the required three 
judges was present.
    On October 28, the Douala High Court sentenced Zacchaeus Mungwe 
Forjindam, former general manager of the Cameroon Shipyard and 
Engineering Company, to 12 years in jail and confiscation of personal 
property for embezzling public funds. Forjindam, who was arrested in 
2008, had appealed a lower court's decision. The court also imposed an 
850 million CFA francs ($1.7 million) fine in damages on Forjindam and 
his co-accused.
    There were no developments in the 2008 corruption case of Paulin 
Abono Moampamb, a former secretary of state and mayor of Yokadouma, who 
was arrested and detained for embezzlement.
    The constitution and law require senior government officials, 
including members of the cabinet, to declare their assets; however, the 
president had not issued the requisite decree to implement the law by 
year's end.
    There are no laws providing citizens with access to government 
information, and such access was difficult to obtain. Most government 
documents, such as statistics, letters exchanged between various 
administrations, draft legislation, and investigation reports, were not 
available to the public or the media.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A number of domestic and international human rights groups 
investigated and published findings on human rights cases; however, 
government officials repeatedly impeded the effectiveness of local 
human rights NGOs during the year by harassing their members, limiting 
access to prisoners, refusing to share information, threatening 
violence, and using violence against NGO personnel.
    Despite these restrictions, numerous independent domestic human 
rights NGOs operated, including the National League for Human Rights, 
the Organization for Human Rights and Freedoms, the Association of 
Women against Violence, the Movement for the Defense of Human Rights 
and Freedoms, and the Cameroonian Association of Female Jurists. The 
Government collaborated with domestic NGOs to address child labor, 
women's rights, and trafficking in persons.
    Although the NCHRF remained hampered by a shortage of funds, during 
the year it conducted a number of investigations into human rights 
abuses, visited prisons, and organized several human rights seminars 
for judicial officials, security personnel, and other government 
officials. Although the commission rarely criticized the Government's 
human rights abuses publicly, its staff intervened with government 
officials in specific cases of human rights abuses by security forces. 
During the year the NCHRF continued its efforts to stop ``Friday 
arrests'' (the practice of detaining individuals on Friday to prolong 
the time before court appearance) and sought to obtain medical 
attention for jailed suspects. Government officials also attended 
several seminars organized by the commission.
    On June 24, in Douala, gendarmes in the Ndogbong neighborhood 
arrested and detained Mboua Massock, a political and human rights 
activist who was distributing tracts in the street; Massock was 
released after two hours. According to the gendarmes, the message in 
the tracts was likely to disturb public order. Massock had been 
arrested twice in 2009 for defacing public property (disfiguring a 
monument), a charge he did not contest.
    There were no developments in the case of Aicha Ngo Eheg, a human 
rights activist who was arrested, beaten, and stripped naked by Douala 
antiriot police in February 2008; Ngo Eheg, along with other 
demonstrators, had gathered in the Douala neighborhood of Bepanda to 
march against constitutional changes to expand presidential power.
    The Government cooperated with international governmental 
organizations and permitted visits by UN representatives and other 
organizations, including the ICRC.
    Unlike in the previous year, when the Government denied visas to an 
Amnesty International (AI) team following the release of the annual AI 
report, the Government issued visas to two AI officials who visited the 
country in August. During their 10-day visit, the two officials met 
with senior government officials, including the prime minister and the 
minister of justice. They also held meetings with the NCHRF and local 
human rights NGOs.
    The National Assembly's Constitutional Laws, Human Rights and 
Freedoms, Justice, Legislation, Regulations, and Administration 
Committee is charged with reviewing any human rights legislation the 
Government submits for consideration.
    On November 2, the Government published the Report by the Ministry 
of Justice on Human Rights in Cameroon in 2009, which focused primarily 
on enumerating government actions to address human rights issues, such 
as judicial and disciplinary action taken against officials accused of 
corruption or other inappropriate conduct. The report documented 
hundreds of investigations, disciplinary actions, and prosecutions in 
2009 (see sections 1.c., 1.d., and 4).
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The law does not explicitly forbid discrimination based on race, 
language, or social status, but does prohibit discrimination based on 
gender and mandates that ``everyone has equal rights and obligations.'' 
The Government, however, did not enforce these provisions effectively. 
Violence and discrimination against women, trafficked persons, ethnic 
minorities, and gays and lesbians were problems.

    Women.--The law criminalizes rape and provides penalties of between 
five and ten years' imprisonment for convicted rapists; however, police 
and the courts rarely investigated or prosecuted rape cases. The law 
does not address spousal rape. A study conducted in 2009 reported the 
rapes of hundreds of thousands of young girls and women between 1970 
and 2008 (see also section 6, Children.). Due to social taboos 
associated with sexual violence, most rapes went unreported, and the 
media reported only four rape cases during the year. It was unknown 
whether any of the four cases resulted in prosecution. In June 2009 the 
German Agency for International Cooperation, in collaboration with 
local NGOs, launched a national campaign against rape, which continued 
during the year.
    The law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence, although 
assault is prohibited and punishable by imprisonment and fines. In 2008 
a study from La Maison des Droits de l'Homme, a Douala-based NGO, 
reported that approximately 39 percent of women suffered from physical 
violence. A 2005 survey cited by the Cameroon Tribune newspaper also 
indicated that 39 percent of women living with a man (married or 
unmarried) were victims of physical violence, and 28 percent were 
victims of psychological violence. Women's rights advocates asserted 
that penalties for domestic violence were insufficient. Spousal abuse 
is not a legal ground for divorce.
    The law does not prohibit sexual harassment. The Government did not 
conduct any public education campaigns on the subject, and there were 
no statistics available on its occurrence.
    In rural northern areas, societal pressures continued to reinforce 
taboos on discussing contraception and all other sex-related issues. 
However, the Government, in cooperation with NGOs, conducted programs 
designed to educate couples, especially men, to better understand the 
positive aspects of responsible spacing between childbirths. In May, 
during the launch of a campaign against maternal mortality, the 
minister of public health revealed that 12 women a day in the country 
lost their lives in childbirth and that the maternal mortality rate was 
669 per 100,000 births. Prenatal care, skilled attendance during 
childbirth, and postpartum care were not available to all women, 
particularly to those living in rural areas. For several years the 
Ministry of Public Health has produced radio and televised information 
programs on responsible parenthood, including encouraging couples to 
use contraception to space the timing of their children. Couples were 
also encouraged to get HIV/AIDS testing prior to conception, and 
efforts continued to increase HIV/AIDS testing for all pregnant women 
at health clinics. Women were equally diagnosed and treated for 
sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, and all government 
and civil society campaigns against the disease targeted men and women.
    Despite constitutional provisions recognizing women's rights, women 
did not enjoy the same rights and privileges as men, and some 
provisions of civil law were prejudicial to women. For example, the law 
allows a husband to deny his wife's right to work, and a husband may 
also end his wife's right to engage in commercial activity by notifying 
the clerk of the commerce tribunal. Customary law imposes further 
strictures on women since in many regions a woman was regarded as the 
property of her husband. Because of the importance of custom and 
tradition, civil laws protecting women often were not respected. For 
example, in some ethnic groups women were precluded from inheriting 
from their husbands. The Ministry of Women's Empowerment and the Family 
worked with other government agencies to promote the legal rights of 
women.

    Children.--Citizenship is derived from the parents, and it is the 
parents' responsibility to register births. Parents must obtain a birth 
declaration from the hospital or health facility in which the child was 
born and complete the application. The mayor's office subsequently 
issues the birth certificate once the file is completed and approved. 
Because many children were not born in formal health facilities, and 
many parents were unable to reach local government offices, many births 
were unregistered; statistics on unregistered births were unavailable. 
In recent years the Government created special civil status centers in 
remote areas to enable rural residents to register their children. 
Citizens unable to avail themselves of these resources often turned to 
a thriving fabrication industry for birth certificates, which were 
required to register children for school or obtain a national 
identification card. The Government continued its program begun in 2005 
to issue birth certificates to Baka, most of whom did not have birth 
certificates (see section 6, Indigenous People.) The program also 
assisted Baka in registering for school.
    Schooling is mandatory through the age of 14; however, parents had 
to pay uniform and book fees for primary school students and tuition 
and other fees for secondary school students, rendering education 
largely unaffordable for many children. The Government continued its 
efforts under a three-year program to improve access to schools, such 
as the construction of new classrooms, recruitment of new teachers, and 
provision of water fountains.
    According to 2008 UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) statistics, 77 
percent of girls between the ages of six and 14 were enrolled in 
primary school, compared with 88 percent of boys in the same age group. 
According to a 2006 report from the presidency, the secondary school 
enrollment ratio was 38 percent for boys and 37 percent for girls. The 
low school enrollment rate was attributed to cost, with girls' 
participation further reduced by early marriage, sexual harassment, 
unwanted pregnancy, prejudice, and domestic responsibilities.
    Child abuse was a problem, although no statistics were available. 
Newspaper reports often cited children as victims of kidnapping, 
mutilation, and even infanticide. There were credible stories of 
mothers (usually young, unemployed, and unmarried) abandoning their 
newborns in streets, garbage cans, and pit toilets.
    The law does not prohibit FGM, which was practiced in isolated 
areas of the Far North, East, and Southwest regions; statistics on its 
prevalence were unavailable. Internal migration contributed to the 
spread of FGM to different parts of the country. The majority of FGM 
procedures were clitorectomies. The severest form of FGM, infibulation, 
was performed in the Kajifu area of the Southwest Region. FGM usually 
was practiced on infants and preadolescent girls. Public health centers 
in areas where FGM was frequently practiced counseled women about the 
harmful consequences of FGM; however, few perpetrators were caught in 
the act, and the Government did not prosecute any persons charged with 
perpetrating FGM. According to the Association to Fight Violence 
against Women, FGM practitioners frequently conducted secret, rather 
than open, ceremonies following the subjection of a girl to FGM.
    Breast ironing, a procedure to flatten a young girl's growing 
breasts with hot stones, victimized numerous girls in the country, 
according to press reports. The procedure was considered a way to delay 
a girl's physical development, thus limiting the risk of sexual assault 
and teenage pregnancy. Girls as young as nine were subjected to the 
practice, which resulted in burns, deformities, and psychological 
problems.
    While the minimum legal age for a woman to marry is 15, many 
families facilitated the marriage of young girls by the age of 12. 
Early marriage was prevalent in the northern regions of Adamaoua, 
North, and particularly the remote Far North, where many girls as young 
as nine faced severe health risks from pregnancies. There were no 
statistics on the prevalence of child marriage.
    Children under the age of 18 were engaged in prostitution, and the 
problem was believed to be pervasive, although no statistics were 
available.
    A 2009 study conducted by the German development organization GTZ 
reported that an estimated 432,000 women and girls have been raped in 
the past 20 years: 20 percent of rapes were perpetrated by family 
members, and the average age of victims was 15 years. According to 
Flavien Ndonko, the head of GTZ's HIV/AIDS program, rape has steadily 
increased, and only about one in 20 rapists was convicted. A campaign 
led by GTZ in 2009 encouraged victims to speak publicly about rape. In 
September the Ministry of Social affairs, UNICEF, and the Ecole 
Instrument de Paix, a local NGO, organized a workshop in Douala to 
address the growing problem of the sexual abuse of children.
    Approximately 2,000 children lived on the streets of the major 
urban centers. The Project to Fight the Phenomenon of Street Children, 
a governmental project in partnership with NGOs, gathered information 
on street children and offered healthcare, education, and psychosocial 
care; the project also bolstered the intake capacities of specialized 
centers.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--The Jewish community was very small, and there were 
no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--In April the president promulgated a 
new law to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities 
due in part to the scarcity of facilities for persons with disabilities 
and lack of public assistance. The new law provides that both new and 
existing government and private buildings be designed to facilitate 
access by persons with disabilities. While all children were entitled 
to tuition-free primary school, the new law also provides for free 
secondary public education for persons with disabilities and children 
born of parents with disabilities. The law also provides for initial 
vocational training, medical treatment, employment ``when possible,'' 
and public assistance ``when needed.''
    On February 1, the Ministry of Social Affairs released a guide to 
educate persons with disabilities on their legal rights and the 
services available to them. The UN provided some of the financing for a 
new guide that was released in November.
    Society largely treated those with disabilities as outcasts, and 
many felt that providing assistance was the responsibility of churches 
or foreign NGOs.

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.--The population consists of more 
than 250 ethnic groups, among which there were frequent and credible 
allegations of discrimination. Ethnic groups commonly gave preferential 
treatment to fellow ethnic group members in business and social 
practices. Members of the president's Beti/Bulu ethnic group from 
southern areas held key positions and were disproportionately 
represented in the Government, state-owned businesses, security forces, 
and the ruling CPDM party.
    Northern areas continued to suffer from ethnic tensions between the 
Fulani (or Peuhl) and the Kirdi, who remained socially, educationally, 
and economically disadvantaged relative to the Fulani in the three 
northern regions.
    Traditional Fulani rulers, called lamibe, continued to wield great 
power over their subjects, who often included Kirdi, and sometimes 
subjected them to tithing and forced labor. Isolated cases of slavery 
were reported, largely Fulani enslavement of Kirdi. Many Fulani hired 
Kirdi at exploitive wage levels to perform tasks that the Fulani 
considered menial and beneath them.
    The 40 persons detained in connection with 2008 ethnic violence 
following a soccer game between Bamileke and Yebekolo members remained 
in detention.
    Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that Alhadji Baba 
Ahmadou Danpullo, a wealthy businessman with ties to the Government, 
deceived M'Bororo women into sexual situations, forcibly displaced 
M'Bororo and seized their land and cattle, or used his money and 
influence with the Government to order the beating and false 
imprisonment of M'Bororo.

    Indigenous People.--An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 Baka, including 
Bakola, and Bagyeli (Pygmies), primarily resided (and were the earliest 
known inhabitants) in the forested areas of the South and East regions. 
While no legal discrimination exists, other groups often treated the 
Baka as inferior and sometimes subjected them to unfair and 
exploitative labor practices. The Government did not effectively 
protect their civil and political rights, but has made an effort to 
assist Baka with national registration, which is a critical first step 
to participation and representation in institutions that can better 
advance Baka rights. Baka reportedly continued to complain that the 
forests they inhabit were being logged without fair compensation. Some 
observers believed that sustained logging was destroying the Baka's 
unique, forest-oriented belief system, forcing them to adapt their 
traditional social and economic systems to a more rigid modern society 
similar to their Bantu neighbors.
    Local Baka along the path of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline continued 
to complain that they were not compensated fairly for their land and 
had been cheated by persons posing as Baka representatives.
    An estimated 95 percent of Baka did not have national identity 
cards; most Baka could not afford to provide the necessary 
documentation to obtain national identity cards, which were required to 
vote in national elections. In 2005 the Ministry of Social Affairs 
launched the Project to Support the Economic and Social Development of 
Baka in South Region. The project goal was to facilitate the issuance 
of birth certificates and national identity cards to 2,300 Baka, as 
well as help register hundreds of students in school. In August 2009 
the regional coordinator of the National Program for Participative 
Development, the implementing agency, indicated that they were able to 
assist with approximately 2,000 birth certificates and 1,000 national 
identity cards. The program continued during the year.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--Homosexual activity is illegal 
and punishable by a prison sentence of six months to five years and a 
fine ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 CFA francs ($40 to $400). During 
the year three persons in Douala and two in Yaounde were arrested for 
suspected homosexual activity. Authorities prosecuted at least four 
persons under this law during the year. Homosexual persons generally 
kept a low profile because of the pervasive societal stigma, 
discrimination, and harassment as well as the possibility of 
imprisonment. Gays and lesbians suffered from harassment and extortion 
by law enforcement officials. False allegations of homosexuality were 
used to harass enemies or to extort money.On December 28, the Douala 
first instance court released from pretrial detention Alain Nje Penda, 
who was arrested for alleged homosexual acts in November 2009.
    Several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations 
operated. There was a pattern of discrimination against members of such 
groups; however, no official cases were available for citation.

    Other Societal Discrimination.--1Persons infected with HIV/AIDS 
were often discriminated against and isolated from their families and 
society due to the societal stigma and lack of education about the 
disease.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows workers to form and 
join trade unions; however, the Government imposed numerous 
restrictions in law and in practice. The labor code does not apply to 
the agricultural or informal sectors, and thus to the majority of the 
workforce. The country had an estimated ten million workers, although 
less than 700,000 were in the formal sector. Seventy percent of the 
country's workforce was in the agricultural sector, 13 percent in the 
industrial sector, and 17 percent in the service sector. The law does 
not permit the creation of a union that includes both public and 
private sector workers or the creation of a union that includes 
different or even closely related sectors.
    The law requires that unions register with the Government, 
permitting only groups of no fewer than 20 workers to organize a union 
by submitting a constitution, bylaws, and nonconviction certifications 
for each founding member. Although registered trade unions may no 
longer be dissolved by administrative authorities, and may only be 
dissolved through the judicial process, the law provides for prison 
sentences and heavy fines for workers who form a union and carry out 
union activities without registration. Such penalties are in breach of 
International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. Trade unions or 
associations of public servants may not join a foreign occupational or 
labor organization without prior authorization from the minister 
responsible for ``supervising public freedoms.''
    Government interference reportedly took various forms, including 
selectively recognizing certain trade unions and inconsistently 
applying the laws. Government officials stated that the Government 
provided union certification within one month of application; however, 
independent unions, especially in the public sector, found it difficult 
to register. For example, the Syndicat National des Enseignants du 
Superieur was not officially registered but operated without government 
interference.
    Registered unions were also subject to government interference. The 
Government chose the unions with which it would bargain; some 
independent unions accused the Government of creating small 
nonrepresentative unions amenable to government positions and with 
which it could negotiate more easily. Some sections of labor law had no 
force or effect because the presidency had not issued implementing 
decrees.
    The labor code explicitly recognizes workers' right to strike, but 
only after mandatory arbitration, and workers generally exercised this 
right during the year. During the year strikes occurred at some 
universities, hospitals, the national water company, the Cameroon Bar 
Association, the Civil Engineering Equipment company, the national 
railroad company, and among motorcycle taxi drivers.
    Security forces used excessive force to disperse a demonstration by 
members of the Cameroonian Union of Journalists (see section 2.b.).
    Arbitration decisions are legally binding but often unenforceable 
when the parties refuse to cooperate. It was not uncommon for such 
decisions to be overturned or simply ignored by the Government or 
employers. The provision of the law allowing persons to strike does not 
apply to civil servants, employees of the penitentiary system, or 
workers responsible for national security. Instead of strikes, civil 
servants were required to negotiate grievances directly with the 
minister of the appropriate department in addition to the minister of 
labor and social insurance.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The 
constitution and law provide for collective bargaining between workers 
and management as well as between labor federations and business 
associations in each sector of the economy.
    On January 27, the minister of labor and social insurance presided 
over the signing of a collective bargaining agreement in the port 
sector. On November 24, he presided over the signing of a collective 
bargaining agreement for the banking sector. In 2009 the minister 
presided over collective bargaining agreements in the graphic arts and 
agricultural sectors.
    Once agreements were negotiated, there was no mechanism to enforce 
implementation; some agreements between the Government and labor unions 
were ignored by the Government.
    The constitution and law prohibit antiunion discrimination, and 
employers guilty of such discrimination were subject to fines of up to 
approximately one million CFA francs ($2,000). However, employers found 
guilty were not required to compensate workers for discrimination or to 
reinstate fired workers. The Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance 
(MINLESI) did not report any complaints of antiunion discrimination by 
private employers during the year, although there were credible press 
reports of harassment of union leaders.
    Industrial free zones are subject to labor law except for the 
following provisions: the right to determine salaries according to 
productivity, the free negotiation of work contracts, and the automatic 
issuance of work permits for expatriate workers.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The constitution and 
law prohibit forced or compulsory labor, including by children; 
however, there were reports that such practices occurred.
    Slavery is illegal in the country, and the law provides punishment 
of 10 to 20 years' imprisonment for persons accused of slavery or 
trafficking in persons for the purposes of forced labor; however, there 
were credible reports of slavery and hereditary servitude by former 
slaves in some chiefdoms in the North Region. For example, there were 
reports that the Lamido (traditional chief) of Rey Bouba in the North 
Region had hereditary servants inside his compound. Although the Lamido 
was replaced by his son in 2004, the hereditary servants remained. It 
was unclear whether hereditary servants stayed out of fear, a paucity 
of options, or because they knew no other life than the lamibe system, 
which is traditionally hierarchical and authoritarian.
    Prison authorities arranged for prison inmates to be contracted out 
to private employers or used as communal labor for municipal public 
works. Money generated from these activities was usually pocketed by 
prison administrators and not given to detainees.
    In the South and East regions, some Baka, including children, 
continued to be subjected to unfair and exploitative labor practices by 
landowners, including forced work without payment on the landowners' 
farms during harvest seasons.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
law generally protects children from exploitation in the workplace and 
specifies penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment for 
infringement; however, child labor, particularly in informal sectors, 
remained a problem. The Government specifically prohibits forced and 
compulsory labor by children, but there were reports that it occurred 
in practice.
    The law sets a minimum age of 14 for child employment, prohibits 
children from working at night or longer than eight hours a day, and 
enumerates tasks that children under the age of 18 cannot legally 
perform, including moving heavy objects, dangerous and unhealthy tasks, 
working in confined areas, and prostitution. Employers were required to 
train children between the ages of 14 and 18, and work contracts must 
contain a training provision for minors. These provisions of the law 
were not adequately enforced.
    According to 2008 government statistics on child labor, 85.2 
percent of working children were employed in the agriculture sector, 
either on family subsistence plots or on tea, banana, and palm oil 
plantations. In the urban informal sector, children worked as street 
vendors, car washers, and domestic workers. Some children also worked 
in mines and quarries. Many urban street vendors were less than 14 
years of age. Children worked as household help, and some children were 
involved in prostitution. In the North there were credible reports that 
children from needy homes were placed with other families to do 
household work for pay, which normally went to the child's family.
    There were reports that some parents gave their children to 
``marabouts'' (traditional religious figures) in Maroua in the Extreme 
North, to learn the Qur'an and to prepare them to become marabouts 
themselves. However, there were reports that some of these children 
were kept in leg chains and subjected to forced labor.
    Parents viewed child labor as both a tradition and a rite of 
passage. Relatives often employed rural youth, especially girls, as 
domestic helpers, and these jobs seldom allowed time for the children 
to attend school. In rural areas, many children began work at an early 
age on family farms. The cocoa industry also employed child laborers. 
These children originated, for the most part, from the three northern 
and the North West regions.
    The Ministry of Social Affairs and MINLESI were responsible for 
enforcing existing child labor laws through site inspections of 
registered businesses; although sporadic inspections occurred during 
the year, the Government did not allocate sufficient resources to 
support an effective inspection program. Moreover, the legal 
prohibitions do not include family chores, which in many instances were 
beyond a child's capacity. The Government employed 58 general labor 
inspectors, whose responsibilities included investigating child labor.
    The ILO continued to work with various ministries and agencies 
involved in ant-trafficking activities; it also conducted nationwide 
investigations and cooperated with local organizations.
    During the year the Prime Minister's Office established an 
interagency working group to coordinate and enhance the Government's 
efforts to curb trafficking in persons.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--In 2008 the Government increased 
the minimum wage in all sectors to 28,246 CFA francs ($56) per month. 
However, the minimum wage did not provide for a decent standard of 
living for a worker and family. MINLESI was responsible for enforcing 
the minimum wage nationally.
    The law establishes a standard workweek of 40 hours in public and 
private nonagricultural firms and 48 hours in agricultural and related 
activities. There are exceptions for guards and firemen (56 hours a 
week), service sector staff (45 hours), and household and restaurant 
staff (54 hours). The law mandates at least 24 consecutive hours of 
weekly rest. Premium pay for overtime ranges from 120 to 150 percent of 
the hourly pay depending on amount and whether it is for weekend or 
late-night overtime. There is a prohibition on excessive compulsory 
service. MINLESI inspectors were responsible for monitoring these 
standards; however, they lacked the resources for a comprehensive 
inspection program.
    The Government sets health and safety standards. MINLESI inspectors 
and occupational health physicians were responsible for monitoring 
these standards; however, they lacked the resources for a comprehensive 
inspection program. In September 2009 the National Commission on Health 
and Safety in the Workplace expanded the list of occupational diseases 
from 44 to 99. The law does not provide workers with the right to 
remove themselves from situations that endanger health or safety 
without jeopardizing their continued employment.

                               __________

                               CAPE VERDE

    Cape Verde, with a population of approximately 492,000, is a 
multiparty parliamentary democracy in which constitutional powers are 
shared between the elected head of state, President Pedro Verona 
Rodrigues Pires, and Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves. Pires was 
reelected for a second five-year term in 2006 in generally free and 
fair elections. The Supreme Court of Justice and the National Electoral 
Commission also declared the 2006 nationwide legislative elections 
generally free and fair. There were instances in which elements of the 
security forces acted independently of civilian control.
    Problems were reported in the following areas: police abuse of 
detainees, police impunity, poor prison conditions, lengthy pretrial 
detention, excessive trial delays, violence and discrimination against 
women, child abuse, and some instances of child labor.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--There were no 
reports that the Government or its agents committed arbitrary or 
unlawful killings.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
there were credible reports that in some instances police beat persons 
in custody and detention. In most cases, authorities took action 
against the abusers. However, there were credible reports that police 
failed to report to their superiors some of the abuses that occurred in 
police stations.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Sao Martinho is the 
largest prison in the country, housing more than 55 percent of the 
national prison population. During the year there were no known deaths 
in prison from adverse conditions. There were approximately 1,300 
prisoners and detainees in the country's eight prisons.
    In prisons other than Sao Martinho, juveniles were sometimes held 
together with adults, but pretrial detainees generally were held 
separately from convicted prisoners.
    In 2008 a prisoner alleged to be a professional killer, hired by 
drug traffickers, murdered a convicted drug trafficker who was 
collaborating with authorities. The case remained under investigation.
    The 2005 prisoner riot case at Sao Martinho Prison, in which one 
prisoner was killed and three persons (including a guard) injured, was 
pending final resolution at year's end. The prison director, a military 
officer, who left for another country after being formally accused of 
allowing the mistreatment of prisoners under his supervision, 
subsequently was sentenced in that country to three years' imprisonment 
for perjury related to his immigration status. He returned to Cape 
Verde in October and was facing a court martial, which had not been 
scheduled by the end of the reporting period. He is detained in a 
military jail, awaiting trial.
    Each municipality has police stations capable of holding detainees 
until they are transferred to prison. There were no deaths as a result 
of adverse conditions in jails and detention centers, but separation of 
prisoners based on trial status, gender, and age was not always 
possible due to space limitations.
    Authorities did not permit prisoners and detainees to submit 
complaints to judicial authorities without censorship or to request 
investigation of allegations of inhumane conditions. The Government did 
not investigate and monitor prison and detention center conditions.
    The Government permitted formal visits by international human 
rights monitors to prisons and visits to individual prisoners. Local 
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and media representatives 
frequently visited the prisons and reported on prison conditions. There 
is no ombudsman to serve on behalf of prisoners and detainees.
    In January the Government concluded a project improving conditions 
in the main prison center on Sao Martinho by inaugurating additional 
facilities and extending the prison's capacity from 800 to 830 
prisoners. In the new unit, prisoners are divided by gender, age, and 
nature of crime (with separation between convicted prisoners and those 
awaiting trial); there are 18 disciplinary cells and two rooms for 
spouses' visits. The facility has spaces for guards, lawyers, and 
educational and social reinsertion trainers. There is a classroom 
equipped with television, DVD player, and computers; a space for adult 
education; medical facilities; canteens for guards and prisoners; a 
library; and a space for professional training, within the scope of a 
social reinsertion program. In addition the prison in Sao Vicente saw 
minor improvements, including a new security camera system, funded by 
the Portuguese government. Other prisons throughout the country, 
however, still awaited funding for proposed improvements, and 
conditions there remained poor.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally 
observed these prohibitions.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The Public Order Police 
are under the Ministry of Internal Administration and are responsible 
for law enforcement. The Judicial Police are under the Ministry of 
Justice and are responsible for major investigations. Logistical 
constraints--including lack of vehicles, limited communications 
equipment, and poor forensic capacity--limited police effectiveness. 
Police abuses were investigated internally, and these investigations 
resulted occasionally in legal action against the perpetrators. The 
Government provided training to increase police effectiveness. Police 
impunity, however, remained a problem.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--Police may not 
make arrests without a warrant issued by an authorized official unless 
a person is caught in the act of committing a felony. The law 
stipulates that a suspect must be brought before a judge within 48 
hours of arrest. The law provides a detainee with the right to prompt 
judicial determination of the legality of the detention, and the 
authorities respected this right in practice. Attorneys inform 
detainees of the charges against them. There was a functioning bail 
system. Detainees were allowed prompt access to family members and to a 
lawyer of their choice and, if indigent, to one provided by the 
Government.
    Nonetheless, the length of pretrial detention was a serious 
problem. One concern arose from differing interpretations of the law 
authorizing extended pretrial detention in certain circumstances. Some 
courts have read this provision broadly, while others have opted for a 
narrower interpretation. This interpretative difference resulted in 
situations where detainees facing identical charges were held for 
different lengths of time based on the prosecutor's and the judge's 
interpretation of the law. At year's end, no standard timelines had 
been set for pretrial detentions. The judicial system also was 
overburdened and understaffed, and criminal cases frequently ended when 
charges were dropped by the citizen before a determination of guilt or 
innocence was made.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The law provides for an 
independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this 
provision in practice. However, the judicial system lacked sufficient 
staffing and was inefficient.
    In addition to civil courts, there is also a military court; it 
cannot try civilians. The military court provides the same protections 
as civil criminal courts.

    Trial Procedures.--Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence. The 
law provides for the right to a fair and public nonjury trial. 
Defendants have the right to be present and to consult with an attorney 
in a timely manner; free counsel is provided for the indigent. 
Defendants have the right to confront or question witnesses against 
them and have the right to present witnesses in their defense. 
Defendants also can present evidence on their own behalf. Defendants 
and their attorneys have access to government-held evidence relevant to 
their cases and can appeal regional court decisions to the Supreme 
Court of Justice (SCJ). The law extends the above rights to all 
citizens.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--The ordinary courts are 
impartial and independent and handle civil matters including lawsuits 
seeking damages for, or an injunction ordering the cessation of, a 
human rights violation. Both administrative and judicial remedies are 
available for alleged wrongs.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and 
the Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press, and the Government generally 
respected these rights. The independent press was active and expressed 
a variety of views without direct restriction.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in peaceful 
expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. According to 
International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2008, 
approximately 21 percent of the country's inhabitants used the 
Internet. Citizens in the cities had access to the Internet at 
cybercafes.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--The constitution 
and law provide for freedoms of assembly and association, and the 
Government generally respected these rights in practice.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a complete description of religious 
freedom, please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl//irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and laws provide for 
freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation, and the Government generally respected these rights in 
practice. The Government cooperated with the Office of the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in 
assisting refugees and asylum seekers.
    The constitution and law prohibit forced exile, and the Government 
did not employ it.

    Protection of Refugees.--The law provides for the granting of 
asylum or refugee status, and the Government has established a system 
for providing protection to refugees. The Government grants refugee 
status and asylum when petitioned under the established system. In 
practice the Government provided protection against the expulsion or 
return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be 
threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership 
in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution and law provide the right for citizens to change 
their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in 
practice through periodic, free, and fair elections held on the basis 
of universal suffrage.

    Elections and Political Participation.--In the 2006 legislative 
elections, individuals and parties were free to declare their 
candidacies. The ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape 
Verde won 41 seats in the National Assembly with 52 percent of the 
vote; the main opposition party, Movement for Democracy (MPD), won 29 
seats; and the Union for a Democratic and Independent Cape Verde won 
the remaining two seats. International observers characterized the 
elections as generally free and fair, despite some irregularities. 
Alleging fraud the MPD unsuccessfully contested the results by filing 
suit with the SCJ to annul the elections.
    Presidential elections were also held in 2006, and individuals and 
parties were free to declare their candidacies. International observers 
characterized the conduct of the election as free and fair. The 
incumbent, President Pires, won a second term with 51 percent of the 
vote; MPD candidate Carlos Veiga obtained 49 percent of the vote. Veiga 
then petitioned the SCJ to annul the presidential election results, 
stating that the elections were not free or transparent. The SCJ ruled 
there were no legal grounds for annulment and confirmed President Pires 
as the winner.
    Although the National Electoral Commission (CNE) and the SCJ 
declared the legislative and presidential elections generally free and 
fair, they also recognized some irregularities in both elections. The 
CNE noted that the electoral code needed to be amended to provide 
greater security and transparency. It also cited needs for stricter, 
more consistent voter identification and registration processes and the 
adoption of indelible ink on ballots.
    Political parties could operate without restriction or outside 
interference.
    There were 11 women in the 72-seat National Assembly, eight women 
in the 20-member cabinet, and three women on the SCJ.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides a penalty of up to 15 years' imprisonment for 
official corruption. There were no new reports of government corruption 
during the year. The World Bank's 2009 Worldwide Governance Indicators 
reflected that government corruption was a problem. There were also 
unofficial reports of instances of corruption among state prosecutors, 
judges, and justice officials. Police corruption was not a significant 
problem.
    The law provides for freedom of access to governmental information 
without restriction, provided that privacy rights are respected. The 
Government in practice frequently granted access.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A number of domestic human rights groups generally operated without 
government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on 
human rights cases. Government officials generally were cooperative and 
responsive to their views.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, religion, 
disability, language, or social status; however, the Government did not 
enforce these provisions effectively, and violence and discrimination 
against women and abuse of children were serious problems.

    Women.--Rape, including spousal rape, is a criminal offense, but 
the Government generally did not enforce the law effectively. The 
penalty for rape is eight to 16 years' imprisonment. Penalties are 
higher if the victim is under the age of 16 or if the offender took 
advantage of job responsibilities in a prison, hospital, school, or 
rehabilitation center, or with persons under his or her authority.
    Domestic violence against women, including wife beating, was 
widespread. The Government and civil society encouraged women to report 
criminal offenses such as spousal abuse, which is punishable by two to 
13 years' imprisonment; however, longstanding social and cultural norms 
as well as lack of shelter housing inhibited victims from doing so.
    While there were mechanisms such as legal counseling, psychological 
care, specific police attention, and family courts to deal with spousal 
abuse, these mechanisms neither effectively prevented violence nor 
provided for the punishment of those responsible. Women claimed that 
police often ignored the legal complaints they filed against their 
husbands. Nevertheless, reports to police of domestic violence 
continued to increase during the year. Police and judicial system 
sometimes delayed acting on abuse cases. Violence against women was the 
subject of extensive public service media coverage.
    The Government-run Cape Verdean Institute of Equity and Gender, the 
Women Parliamentarians Network, and local women's organizations with 
foreign diplomatic support promoted legislation to address gender-based 
violence. As a result of this action, in July the parliament approved a 
bill that, for the first time in the country's history, addressed 
gender-based violence. The new law focuses on three main objectives: 
improving protections afforded to victims, strengthening sanctions 
against offenders, and raising awareness of the problem. The law was 
designed to protect both male and female victims, but was expected to 
protect mostly women. According to a 2005 study by the Ministry of 
Health and National Institute of Statistics, approximately 22 percent 
of women and girls have been victims of gender-based violence.
    Sex tourism was a growing problem, and there are no laws to address 
it. There were no indications of governmental involvement or 
complicity.
    Sexual harassment was common but not culturally perceived as a 
crime. It is prohibited by law with a penalty of one year in prison, 
but the Government did not effectively enforce this law.
    The civil code grants all citizens the freedom to make decisions 
regarding the number, spacing, and timing of their children without 
discrimination, coercion, or violence. All citizens have access to 
contraception. Family planning centers throughout the country 
distribute some contraceptives free of charge to the public. These 
centers provide skilled assistance and counseling both before and after 
childbirth and for cases of sexually transmitted infections, including 
HIV. Prenatal counseling and care is available, including ultrasound 
screening and tetanus vaccines. Prenatal blood tests are conducted, 
including HIV screening, and treatment for sexually transmitted 
diseases (including HIV) is made available if warranted. Postnatal 
services include family planning and free oral/injection 
contraceptives. The reported incidence of maternal mortality was 53.7 
per 100,000 live births, according to the 2009 Ministry of Health 
Statistical Report. Women are equally diagnosed and treated for 
sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
    Women enjoy the same legal rights as men, including rights under 
family law, property law, and in the judicial system. Despite legal 
prohibitions against sex discrimination and provisions for full 
equality, including equal pay for equal work, discrimination against 
women continued. The Cape Verdean Institute of Equity and Gender worked 
for the protection of legal rights of women. The Women Jurists' 
Association provided free legal assistance to women throughout the 
country suffering from discrimination, violence, and spousal abuse.

    Children.--Citizenship can be derived either by birth within the 
country or from one's parents. The Government registered all births 
immediately after they were reported. Failure to register did not 
result in denial of public services.
    The Government provided free and universal education for all 
children between the ages of six and 12. Education was compulsory until 
the age of 11; however, secondary education was free only for children 
whose families had an annual income below 147,000 escudos 
(approximately $1,950).
    Child abuse and sexual violence against children were serious 
problems, and the media regularly reported on those issues. Child labor 
was also a problem (see section 7.d.). Government efforts to address 
these problems were inadequate. In 2007 the Institute of Children and 
Adolescents (ICCA), a government organization, carried out a study on 
the child labor situation and concluded that the practice of using 
children to collect sand for use in construction should be considered 
as one of the worst forms of child labor.
    The ICCA also found that children tended to work at the behest of 
their families, and that child labor was intimately linked to the need 
to supplement family income. It was believed, however, that the vast 
majority of these children performed work outside of school hours and 
attended school.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html .

    Anti-Semitism.--There was no known Jewish community and no reports 
of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--In 2009 there were no confirmed reports 
that persons were trafficked to, from, or within Cape Verde.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental 
disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or in the 
provision of other state services, and the Government effectively 
enforced these provisions. There are no laws or programs to provide for 
access to buildings, information, and communications for persons with 
disabilities. Several NGOs, including an association for the blind, 
actively advocated for the rights of persons with disabilities. The 
Government did not restrict the right of persons with disabilities to 
vote or participate in civic affairs.
    The Ministry of Labor, Family, and Social Solidarity (MTSS) is the 
Government agency responsible for protecting the rights of persons with 
disabilities. The National Council for Persons with Disabilities works 
under the MTSS as a consulting body and has the role of proposing and 
overseeing the implementation of the Government's policies.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--Legal provisions helped 
provide protection for homosexual conduct; however, societal 
discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity continued 
to be a problem. There were no lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender 
persons' organizations active in the country.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--There were no reports 
of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows workers to form and to 
join unions of their choice without previous authorization or excessive 
requirements, and workers exercised this right in practice. There are 
no restrictions except for employees of diplomatic missions. The 
country's workforce was estimated at 194,358, 22 percent of whom were 
unionized. Updated data on the percentage of workers in the 
agricultural, nonagricultural, public, and private sectors were not 
available. The laws allow unions to conduct their activities without 
government interference. The law provides union members with the right 
to strike. Nonetheless, the Government may invoke a ``civil request'' 
through which it may require the striking union to continue providing 
specified minimum services in an emergency or if provision of basic 
services is threatened.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The law allows 
unions to conduct their activities without interference, and the 
Government protected this right in practice. The law provides for the 
right of workers to bargain collectively; however, there was very 
little collective bargaining. There were no collective bargaining 
agreements and no collective labor contracts completed during the year.
    The law prohibits antiunion discrimination, and the Government 
effectively enforced this provision. There were no reports of such 
discrimination by employers during the year.
    There are no special laws or exemptions from regular labor laws 
within the export processing zone that encompasses the entire country.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The law prohibits 
forced or compulsory labor, including by children, and there were no 
reports that such practices occurred.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--
There are laws and policies to protect children from exploitation in 
the workplace, but the Government did not implement them effectively. A 
revised labor code was approved in 2008, which lowered the legal 
minimum age for employment from 16 to 15 years. The code also states 
that children under 15 years old may be allowed to work as apprentices 
under specific conditions that do not jeopardize the child's health and 
development; however, the Government rarely enforced either provision. 
For children under the age of 15, only apprentice contracts are 
allowed.
    The most recent statistics available (2000 census) indicated that 
an estimated 8,000 children were working as street vendors and car 
washers in urban centers and in agriculture, animal husbandry, and 
fishing in the countryside. It is believed, however, that the vast 
majority performed work outside of school hours and attended school.
    In 2007 the ICCA concluded a study analyzing the child labor 
situation in the country. The goals of the study were to raise public 
awareness, create an action plan to prevent children from entering 
exploitive work situations, and encourage children engaged in such 
labor to stop. The study concluded that child labor was a limited 
reality in the country and, in most cases, it was a result of poverty 
and closely tied to the activities of the entire family.
    The Ministries of Justice and Labor were responsible for enforcing 
child labor laws. In practice, however, they seldom did so. There were 
no government programs to address child labor.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--As the country's largest 
employer, the Government continued to play the dominant role in setting 
wages. It did not fix wages for the private sector, but salary levels 
for civil servants provided the basis for wage negotiations in the 
private sector. For a typical entry-level worker, this wage was 
approximately 12,000 escudos ($163) per month. The majority of jobs 
paid wages that did not provide a worker and family with a decent 
standard of living; most workers also relied on second jobs and support 
from their extended family for income.
    The law sets the maximum workweek for adults at 44 hours, prohibits 
excessive compulsory overtime, and requires that a premium be paid for 
whatever overtime is worked. The law also mandates required rest 
periods, which vary according to sector; the minimum period of rest is 
12 hours. While large employers generally respected these regulations, 
many domestic servants and agricultural laborers worked longer hours. 
The labor code applicable to seamen and merchant marines was updated in 
May. By legislative decree, the rest period for maritime workers was 
increased from 2.5 days per 30 working days to 10 consecutive days per 
30 working days.
    The director general of labor conducted sporadic inspections to 
enforce the labor code and imposed fines on private enterprises that 
were not in conformity with the law. Nonetheless, the Government did 
not enforce labor laws systematically, and much of the labor force did 
not enjoy legal protection.
    The Government has not set occupational health and safety 
standards; however, there is a general provision in the law that 
requires employers to provide a healthy and safe work environment. Few 
industries employed heavy or dangerous equipment. The law provides 
workers the right to remove themselves from situations that endanger 
health or safety without jeopardizing their continued employment. There 
were no exceptions in the law for foreign or migrant workers.

                               __________

                      THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

    The Central African Republic (CAR) is a constitutional republic of 
approximately 4.5 million that is governed by a strong executive 
branch; the legislative and judicial branches are weak. Former armed 
forces Chief of Staff General Francois Bozize seized power in a 
military coup in 2003 and was elected president in 2005 elections. 
National and international observers judged the elections to be 
generally free and fair despite some irregularities. Bozize's term as 
president was stipulated under the constitution to expire on June 11. 
However, on May 10, the National Assembly passed a constitutional 
amendment that extended the terms of the office of the president and 
the National Assembly until elections. Poor preparations and a lack of 
funding led the Government to delay the constitutionally mandated 
presidential and legislative elections scheduled during the year; as of 
year's end, the elections were scheduled for early 2011. Fighting 
between nonstate armed entities, as well as between nonstate armed 
entities and government security forces, increased, and much of the 
northwestern, northeastern, and extreme southeastern regions remained 
outside of government control. The illegal trade in diamonds 
contributed to conflict and human rights abuses in some parts of the 
country. Banditry remained a serious threat to civilians throughout the 
northern provinces. There were instances in which elements of the 
security forces acted independently of civilian control.
    Principal human rights abuses included security forces continuing 
to commit extrajudicial executions in the North, torture, beatings, 
detention, and rape of suspects and prisoners; impunity, particularly 
among the armed forces ; harsh and life-threatening conditions in 
prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrest and detention, 
prolonged pretrial detention, and denial of fair trial; occasional 
intimidation and restrictions on the press; restrictions on freedom of 
movement; official corruption; and restrictions on workers' rights. Mob 
violence resulted in deaths and injuries. Societal abuses included 
female genital mutilation (FGM), discrimination against women and 
Pygmies; trafficking in persons; forced labor; and child labor, 
including forced child labor. Freedom of movement remained limited in 
the North because of actions by state security forces, armed bandits, 
and other nonstate armed entities. Sporadic fighting between government 
forces and nonstate armed entities continued to displace persons 
internally and increase the number of refugees.
    Nonstate armed entities, some of which were unidentified, continued 
to kill, beat, and rape civilians and loot and burn villages in the 
North. Nonstate armed entities kidnapped, beat, raped, and extorted 
money from local populations. There were reports of children as young 
as 12 years old serving as fighters in nonstate armed entities.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--Unlike the previous 
year, there was one allegation that the Government or its agents killed 
a member of opposing political groups. Soldiers, particularly the 
presidential security forces (presidential guard), killed civilians 
they suspected of being road bandits or supporting nonstate armed 
entities. Both government security forces and nonstate armed entities 
killed civilians in the course of conflict in the North (see section 
1.g.).
    During the year there were numerous credible reports that elements 
of the security forces, including the Central African Armed Forces 
(FACA), and particularly the presidential guard, committed unlawful 
killings while apprehending suspects and, allegedly, in connection with 
personal disputes or rivalries. Authorities appeared unwilling to 
prosecute personnel of the presidential guard for extrajudicial 
killings (see sections 1.d. and 1.g.).
    There were no further developments in the following 2009 killings: 
the February beating death of Police Commissioner Daniel Sama by a 
senior member of the presidential guard; the April killing of suspected 
thieves Maxime Banga and Adam Demori, allegedly by members of the 
Central Office for the Repression of Banditry (OCRB); and the June 
killing of a butcher in Bangui by a gendarme and a member of the 
Research and Investigation Services (SRI).
    Security forces continued to commit extrajudicial killings (see 
section 1.g.).
    Unlike the previous year, the Permanent Military Tribunal (PMT) did 
not adjudicate crimes committed by armed forces personnel (see section 
1.d.). The PMT did not meet during the year as President Bozize 
declined to fill vacancies on the tribunal.
    There were no reports of the Government prosecuting any OCRB 
personnel for killings committed in 2008.
    There were no developments in the case of presidential guard member 
Boris Namsene, who shot and killed five persons in 2008 in Bangui 
before his apparent murder three days later.
    In May villagers in Dissikou, located in Kaga Bandoro Province, 
killed two Mbororo men after the Mbororo accused the villagers of 
stealing their cattle. No intervention by the gendarmes based in the 
village took place, and there were no further developments by year's 
end.
    In mid October residents of Bozoum, Ouham Pende Province, killed a 
suspected thief. According to a humanitarian worker, local gendarmes 
took part in the killing. Gendarmes claimed that they had no way of 
knowing who was responsible for the killing and did not plan on 
prosecuting anyone.
    In November a member of the presidential guard, Elian Ngouyombo, 
shot and killed a 13-year-old boy in the eighth district of Bangui 
after a night guard who was watching a neighbor's house claimed the boy 
was trying to break into a bar owned by a member of the presidential 
guard. The soldier was arrested but was released a week later. No 
further information was available at year's end.
    Armed bandits have contributed to instability for many years and 
continued to kill civilians. In the central part of the country, 
nonstate armed entities known as ``zaraguinas'' engaged in kidnappings, 
at times killing family members of individuals who could not or would 
not pay ransom. Although information about these armed entities was 
difficult to obtain, aid workers and UN officials described them as a 
combination of common criminals and remnants of insurgent groups from 
the recurring conflicts in the region.
    There was no investigation into the 2008 death of Nganatouwa 
Goungaye Wanfiyo, a leading human rights activist near Sibut.
    Civilians reportedly continued to kill persons suspected of being 
sorcerers or witches.
    There was no additional information regarding the killing of two 
individuals suspected of witchcraft by members of a nonstate armed 
entity, Popular Army for the Restoration of the Republic (APRD), in 
June near Kaga Bandoro.

    b. Disappearance.--Hassan Ousman, leader of the National Movement 
for the Salvation of the People, and member of the Follow-up Committee 
of the 2008 Inclusive Political Dialogue--which brought together the 
Government, rebel groups, civil society, and the democratic opposition 
in an effort to negotiate a power-sharing agreement and end a number of 
insurgencies underway since 2005--disappeared in December 2009. 
According to family members, the last time Ousman communicated with 
them was the day prior to his disappearance. Two family members who 
travelled to Bossembele to collect information about his possible 
detention were arrested and detained without charge for several weeks 
before being released. As of year's end, no further information about 
his disappearance was available.
    During the year several nonstate armed entities kidnapped Mbororo 
children and young adults and held them for ransom.
    The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continued to abduct men, women, 
and children in the southeastern part of the country (see section 
1.g.).
    The two foreign resident nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers 
taken hostage in November 2009 in Birao were released in March.
    No further information was available on the December 2009 
disappearance of Charles Massi, a member of the nonstate armed entity 
Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) and a former 
minister (see section 1.g.).

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--Although the law and the constitution prohibit torture and 
specify punishment for those found guilty of physical abuse, police and 
security services continued to torture, beat, and otherwise abuse 
criminal suspects, detainees, and prisoners, according to local human 
rights groups such as the Central African Association Against Torture 
(ACAT) and the Central African Human Rights League (LCDH).
    The Government did not punish police who tortured suspects, and 
impunity remained a serious problem (see section 1.d.). Family members 
of victims and human rights groups, including the Central African Human 
Rights Monitoring Group (OCDH), filed complaints with the courts, but 
authorities took no action. Members of the armed forces raped, robbed, 
and abused civilians in conflict and nonconflict areas. Human rights 
lawyers reported that victims of abuse by authorities were often 
pressured by relatives not to pursue their cases out of fear of 
reprisal.
    According to ACAT, torture and beating of detainees occurred 
frequently in detention centers run by the SRI and the OCRB. Police 
employed several forms of torture, including ``le cafe,'' which 
entailed the repeated beating of the soles of an individual's feet with 
a baton or stick. Immediately after administering the beating, police 
would sometimes force the victim to walk on badly bruised feet and, if 
the individual was unable to do so, they continued the beating (see 
section 1.g.).
    For example, on April 9, authorities arrested Abdelsalem Doungouss, 
a lieutenant in the Water and Forest Ranger Service in Ndele, on 
accusations of complicity with the CPJP militia. During his initial 
arrest, members of the armed forces tortured him before transferring 
him to the SRI prison in Bangui, where he spent two months before being 
released on June 10 for lack of evidence. There were no reports of 
authorities taking action against those responsible.
    Authorities tortured an individual suspected of being a member of 
the CPJP (see section 1.d.).
    Authorities took no action in the following 2009 cases: the 
severing of three fingers of a man accused of stealing electrical cable 
by a presidential guard member in Bossangoa, and the June beating and 
burning of 15-year-old Angele Ndarata, accused of witchcraft by the 
parents of a boy who drowned in the Oubangui river and a court clerk 
who authorized the torture.
    Authorities took no action in any of the following cases of abuse 
by members of security forces in Bangui in 2008: the severe beating of 
a man in Bangui by Corporal Zilo and five of his FACA colleagues in 
July; the beating of a man and his sister by Lieutenant Olivier 
Koudemon, a member of the presidential guard, in August; the severe 
beating of a suspect at OCRB and SRI police headquarters in October; or 
the beating of several individuals by Koudemon in December.
    Civilians continued to suffer mistreatment in territories 
controlled by nonstate armed entities (see section 1.g.).
    Members of security forces, particularly the armed forces, 
reportedly raped civilians, although throughout the country sexual 
assaults were rarely reported. Security personnel rarely were punished.
    There were no further developments in the ongoing International 
Criminal Court investigation into the 2005 charges against former 
president Ange-Felix Patasse and others for crimes against humanity, 
including rape, committed prior to and during the 2003 coup.
    Civilians continued to take vigilante action against suspected 
thieves, poachers, and ``witches.''
    Civilians reportedly continued to injure and torture persons 
suspected of being sorcerers or witches. Mob violence was widespread 
and cases were underreported.
    In April villagers in the town of Pende burned to death a women 
accused of witchcraft. There were no further developments by year's 
end.
    In July a prison official in Mobaye, Basse-Kotto Province, accused 
Angele Ndarata, a 15-year-old girl, of using witchcraft to cause the 
death of his wife. He subsequently ordered detainees to pour kerosene 
on her arms and set them on fire. The girl suffered severe burns. This 
was the second time the girl had been accused and tortured due to 
witchcraft claims. There were no further developments by year's end.
    In early September, villagers in Bocaranga murdered a man accused 
of bewitching and causing the death of another man. There were no 
further developments by year's end.
    In September the High Court in Bangui found four persons, including 
two children, respectively 10 and 13 years old, guilty of witchcraft 
and charlatanism. No further information about their fate was known at 
year's end.
    In October the APRD arrested and detained four persons in 
Mbereguili village after being accused of witchcraft. All four were 
tortured before being released.
    Authorities took no action in the following 2009 sorcery-related 
cases: the June beating of a woman in the village of Ngoumourou and the 
June beating of a woman and her child in Kaga Bandoro.
    No action was taken against the mob that beat 13-year-old Vivian 
Ngoupande in August 2009. At year's end, Vivian was living with her 
aunt in another town.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions were 
extremely harsh and, in some cases, life threatening. Prison conditions 
outside Bangui generally were even worse than those in the capital. 
Police, gendarme investigators, and presidential guards assigned as 
prison wardens continued to subject prison inmates to torture and other 
forms of inhuman, cruel, and degrading treatment. Many prisons in the 
country lacked basic sanitation and ventilation, electric lighting, 
basic and emergency medical care, and access to potable water.
    Prison cells were overcrowded, and basic necessities, including 
food, clothing, and medicine, were inadequate and often confiscated by 
prison officials. Prisoners depended on family members to supplement 
inadequate prison meals and sometimes were allowed to forage for food 
near the prison. According to a number of international observers and 
prison officials, prison detainees outside Bangui received no food from 
prison authorities and sometimes had to pay bribes to prison guards to 
secure food brought to them by their relatives. As in previous years, 
there continued to be reports of deaths in prison due to adverse 
conditions and negligence, including lack of medical treatment and 
inadequate food. According to the director of prisons at the Ministry 
of Justice, two deaths attributed to adverse conditions were reported 
in Bangui's Ngaragba prison during the year.
    Prisoners and detainees had reasonable access to visitors and were 
permitted religious observance. The Attorney General's Office granted 
visitation privileges, but in practice those wishing to visit prisoners 
often had to bribe prison guards and officials.
    According to several human rights lawyers, prison detainees have 
the right to submit complaints in the case of ill treatment during 
their detention; for the minority of detainees who had lawyers, it was 
generally their lawyers who apprised judicial authorities about ill 
treatment of their clients. Victims hesitated to lodge formal 
complaints out of fear of reprisal from prison officials. Authorities 
rarely initiated investigations of abuses in the prison system.
    Prison administrators submitted reports describing the poor 
detention conditions, but these reports did not result in any action.
    A census conducted by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Bozoum 
Prison in January and February 2009 indicated 80 percent of prisoners 
complained of food shortages.
    Prisoners frequently were forced to perform uncompensated labor 
(see section 7.c.).
    Male and female prisoners were held in separate facilities in 
Bangui. Elsewhere, male and female prisoners were housed together, but 
in separate cells. Juveniles were sometimes held with adult prisoners.
    Pretrial detainees were not held separately from convicted 
prisoners. As of December, there were 1,320 prisoners in the country. 
The country's prison population decreased by 38.46 percent from 2009 
levels, largely as result of a decree signed by President Bozize on the 
anniversary of the country's independence on December 1. President 
Bozize granted amnesty to prisoners with sentences that ranged from a 
few months to no more than five years.
    There were two prisons in Bangui, Ngaragba for men and Bimbo 
Central Prison for women. Inmates with infectious diseases were not 
segregated from other inmates. A nurse was available at the two prisons 
for inmates needing medical care. Detainees and inmates at both prisons 
received one meal per day. Food was insufficient, and prisoners 
complained of inferior ingredients. Inmates slept on the floor or on 
thin matting provided by families or charities. Authorities at the 
Bangui prison permitted detainees' families to make weekly visits.
    As of December, there were 152 inmates in Ngaragba Prison; 102 of 
them were pretrial detainees. Several detainees had been held for seven 
months without appearing before a judge. Five prisoners were detained 
on accusations of sorcery. The more crowded cells each held 
approximately 30 to 40 inmates. Prisoners usually slept on bare 
concrete and complained that water supplies were inadequate. In the 
section reserved primarily for educated prisoners and former government 
officials suspected or convicted of financial crimes, cells held four 
to eight persons.
    On January 23, Ngaragba prison closed for three weeks as a result 
of damages caused to the building by detainees rioting against the new 
prison director's disciplinary rules. For three days, prisoners tore 
apart their cells and threw rocks and chunks of concrete at riot police 
standing outside the prison walls. Authorities emptied the prison 
during the period of repairs and housed prisoners at various Bangui 
police stations, gendarmerie centers, and the OCRB's and SRI's 
detention centers. Reports suggested that the perceived ring leaders of 
the riot received ``special treatment,'' indicating rougher than usual 
punishment, while in detention at the OCRB. After the rehabilitation, 
all the detainees were returned to Ngaragba.
    As of December, Bimbo Central Prison held 33 female inmates, 21 of 
whom were pretrial detainees. Several had been detained for months and 
had not appeared before a judge; few had lawyers. Prison officials 
allowed sick detainees to be treated by a nurse who visited regularly. 
Overcrowding was reportedly not a problem, and children younger than 
five years old were allowed to stay with their mothers at the prison. 
In December a prison guard at Bimbo Central Prison, Andre Mangai, 
attempted to rape prisoner Ivonne Paki and left her with several 
injuries. Ivonne Paki's lawyer filed a complaint with the general 
prosecutor, and the case is currently followed by OCDH. The guard was 
immediately assigned to another prison, and the case was still under 
review by the court at the end of the year.
    On September 11, a military guard at the prison in the town of 
Boda, Corporal Armand Ngagouni, sexually assaulted Ivonne Kokombe, who 
was being detained for sorcery. The sexual assault resulted in serious 
injuries. The case was reported by OCDH and taken to court, although no 
decision had been made by year's end.
    Conditions in detention centers were worse than those in prisons 
and, in some cases, were life threatening. Bangui's police detention 
centers consisted of overcrowded cells with very little light and leaky 
buckets for toilets. Poor sanitation and negligence by authorities 
posed a serious health risk to detainees. According to local human 
rights groups, lack of training and poor supervision at detention 
centers were serious problems and continued to result in torture and 
beatings. Suspects in police and gendarmerie cells had to depend on 
family, friends, religious groups, and NGOs for food. Detainees with 
infectious diseases were not segregated from other detainees, and 
medicine was not available. Suspects generally slept on bare cement or 
dirt floors. Corruption among guards was pervasive. Guards often 
demanded between 200-300 CFA francs ($0.40--$0.60) to permit showers, 
delivery of food and water, or family visits.
    International observers noted that the detention center in the 
gendarmerie in Bouar had neither windows nor a toilet, only a bucket 
that was emptied every other day. Detainees at the police facility in 
Bouar slept chained to each other, a measure the police justified by 
alleging the detainees were recidivists and undisciplined.
    In Bangui male and female detainees were separated; however, this 
was reportedly not the case in jails and temporary detention facilities 
in the countryside. There were no separate detention facilities for 
juvenile detainees, who routinely were housed with adults and often 
subjected to physical abuse.
    According to a June report by the UN Secretary-General to the UN 
Security Council, escapes by detainees, including incarcerated members 
of the armed forces, have become prevalent, critically affecting the 
fight against impunity.
    The Government restricted prison visits by human rights observers. 
Although international observers were not entirely denied visits, the 
Government delayed responses to visit requests, often for weeks or 
months. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and 
religious groups routinely provided supplies, food, and clothes to 
prisoners. The ICRC had unrestricted access to prisoners; however, 
access for some other observers was at times limited to certain areas 
of a given facility. There was no ombudsman system in the country.
    Adopted by the National Assembly during the year, the Government 
budget included an increase of 1.7 percent for the Ministry of Justice. 
However, this action did not translate into a significant increase of 
resources devoted to prisons or detention centers.
    In its national report submitted in February 2009 to the UN Office 
of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (UNOHCHR's) Universal Periodic 
Review Working Group (UPRWG), the Government claimed the following 
improvements: construction or renovation of prisons in Sibut, Kaga-
Bandoro, Bossangoa, Batangafo, Berberati, Bossembele, and Bozoum; 
training for prison wardens and directors; demilitarization of prison 
facilities; and separation of the sexes in Bangui prisons. By year's 
end, rehabilitation work was completed at all of the locations 
according to the Ministry of Justice. The prisons constructed in Bria 
and Bouca hold 120 and 100 persons respectively.
    In April approximately 15 domestic NGOs, with assistance from the 
UNDP, created the coordinated prison action (CAP), an awareness-
building mechanism designed to increase monitoring of prison and 
detention center conditions. The Ministry of Justice said it supported 
the body in principle but demanded that representatives from the 
Government be included, causing some NGOs to express concern about the 
CAP's independence. At year's end, the Ministry of Justice had not yet 
agreed to the proposed monitoring framework through which prisons could 
be accessed.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The law provides protection 
against arbitrary arrest and detention and accords detainees the right 
to a judicial determination of the legality of their detention; 
however, security forces frequently ignored such provisions, and 
arbitrary arrest and detention remained problems.
    On April 23, a FACA detachment arbitrarily arrested Balala Fotour 
in Zoukoutouniala, near Ndele, on allegations of being a member of 
CPJP. After severely torturing and making death threats against Fotour, 
the FACA transferred him to the SRI in Bangui, where he spent three 
months before being transferred to Ngaragba prison where he remained in 
detention at year's end. According to Fotour, he travelled to a CPJP 
controlled area to visit a sick family member and had nothing to do 
with CPJP.
    On June 9, the burning of Rayan Supermarket in Bangui resulted in 
the arrests of 11 persons, including Bienvenu Ngaro, Prosper Gbanga, 
Michelle Bengba, Lin Maximin, Crozin Cazin, Austin Moudjikem, Michael 
Boda Makpevode, Mathurin Ngozoua Mamadou, Ngere Koundangba, and 
Mathurin Francisco Willibona without due process. The two main 
suspects, Symphorien Balemby, president of the Central African Bar 
Association and Jean Daniel Ndengou, first vice president of the 
Economic and Social Council attached to the National Assembly, remained 
at large at year's end. On June 10, authorities arrested Albertine 
Kalayen Balemby, wife and secretary of Symphorien Balemby, and Gabin 
Ndengou, brother of Jean Daniel Ndengou and driver for the World Health 
Organization. The prisoners were transferred without due process to 
Bossembele Presidential Guard Detention Center located 91 miles from 
Bangui. According to Amnesty International, the detainees were reported 
to have been charged with arson, inciting hatred, and criminal 
association. In an act described as illegal by the Central African Bar 
Association, security forces searched Balemby's office without the 
presence of a lawyer. To protest against these practices, the Central 
African Bar Association went on strike on June 12 but resumed 
activities on August 7 after the attorney general agreed to conduct an 
investigation. At year's end, 11 persons remained in custody, and the 
investigation was ongoing.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The Ministry of the 
Interior and Public Security, through the director general of police, 
oversees the activities of the national police, including the OCRB. The 
Ministry of Defense oversees armed forces, including the presidential 
guard, the national gendarmerie, and the SRI. The police and the armed 
forces share responsibility for internal security.
    Police were ineffective; they severely lacked financial resources, 
and their salaries were often in arrears. Citizens' lack of faith in 
police led at times to mob violence against persons suspected of theft 
and other offenses.
    During a visit to the country in February, UN High Commissioner for 
Human Rights Navi Pillay identified impunity for human rights abuses as 
one of the most daunting challenges facing the country. ``Summary 
executions, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests, and detention are 
all issues that have surfaced in connection with state security and 
defense institutions,'' she said, ``and strenuous efforts need to be 
made to put an end to these extremely serious abuses of power.''
    Mechanisms existed for redress of abuses by members of the police 
and armed forces. Citizens filed complaints with the public prosecutor. 
The most common complaints involved theft, rape, brutality, and 
embezzlement. Impunity remained a severe problem. Although the 
prosecutor had the ability to exercise authority and order the arrest 
of police officers suspected of committing abuses, the prosecutor's 
staff was small and severely underfunded. There was at least one 
prosecution of a police officer during the year, according to the 
deputy prosecutor.
    In October a police officer was caught stealing money from a person 
under arrest at a police station in Bangui. The incarcerated person's 
lawyer took the case to court, but no further action was taken by 
year's end.
    The PMT did not meet during the year, although it normally holds 
two yearly sessions. According to an official from the Ministry of 
Justice, the PMT did not hold any sessions because the positions of the 
president, prosecutor, and deputy prosecutor of the tribunal remained 
unfilled.
    In June the country's delegation at the UNOHCHR told the UPRWG the 
country faced challenges implementing military justice, particularly 
because prison guards who belonged to the armed forces allowed or 
facilitated escapes for detained armed forces personnel (see section 
1.c.).
    During the year, in cooperation with the Government, the Human 
Rights Section of the UN's Integrated Office in the Central African 
Republic (BINUCA) continued to collect complaints of human rights 
abuses committed by members of the security forces, including FACA 
soldiers, and by nonstate actors. It continued to investigate abuses 
and share information with the public prosecutor to facilitate the 
fight against impunity. In addition BINUCA provided more than 120 
members of the security forces, including police officers and 
gendarmes, with international humanitarian law and human rights 
training; it also provided similar training for 100 armed forces 
personnel of the multinational Mission for the Consolidation of Peace 
(MICOPAX).
    BINUCA maintained UN human rights observers in three regional UN 
offices in the northwestern and central regions. While BINUCA reported 
on human rights and worked with the local human rights community, local 
and international observers have criticized its human rights section in 
recent years for its inability or refusal to bring such abuses to light 
or demand redress.
    As part of its efforts to protect citizens and safeguard property, 
the Government continued to conduct joint security operations with 
several hundred regional armed forces peacekeepers in the capital and 
selected cities in the Northwest. The Government also conducted joint 
operations with the UN Mission in the CAR and Chad in the northeastern 
Vakaga Province.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--Judicial 
warrants are not required for arrest. The law stipulates that persons 
detained in cases other than those involving national security must be 
informed of the charges against them, and brought before a magistrate 
within 48 hours. This period is renewable once, for a total of 96 
hours. In practice authorities often did not respect these deadlines, 
in part due to inefficient judicial procedures and a lack of judges. In 
several police detention centers, including the SRI, detainees were 
held for more than two days and often for weeks before authorities 
brought their cases before a magistrate. The head of the SRI stated 
that the SRI lacked the human resources and basic equipment such as 
computers to process cases in a timely manner.
    The law allows all detainees, including those held on national 
security grounds, to have access to their families and to legal 
counsel. Indigent detainees may request a lawyer provided by the 
Government, although it was not known if this right was often invoked. 
Detainees are allowed to post bail or have family members post bail for 
them. In most cases, lawyers and families had free access to detainees, 
but incommunicado detention occasionally occurred.
    There were different standards for treatment of detainees held for 
crimes against the security of the state. National security detainees 
may be held without charge for up to eight days, and this period can be 
renewed once, for a total of 16 days. However, in practice such persons 
were held without charge for longer periods.
    In September 2009 the National Assembly adopted revised penal and 
criminal procedure codes. Under these reforms, detainees gained the 
right to have access to attorneys immediately after arrest. However, 
many detainees were not able to exercise this right because of the 
costs of hiring a lawyer and a lack of understanding of their rights 
under the law.
    According to BINUCA's human rights section, arbitrary arrest was a 
serious problem and was the most common human rights abuse committed by 
security forces during the year.
    During the year authorities continued to arrest individuals, 
particularly women, and charge them with witchcraft, an offense 
punishable by execution, although no one received the death penalty 
during the year. Prison officials at Bimbo Central Prison for women 
stated that accused witches were detained for their own safety, since 
village mobs sometimes killed suspected witches. Near the end of the 
year, Bangui prison officials estimated that 18 percent of female 
detainees had been arrested for purported witchcraft.
    During a visit in February, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 
Pillay voiced deep concern over the targeting of women accused of being 
witches, ``a gender-based calumny that has no place in any society in 
the 21st century.''
    Prolonged pretrial detention was a serious problem. At year's end, 
pretrial detainees constituted approximately 67 percent of Ngaragba 
Central Prison's population and an estimated 63 percent of Bimbo 
Central Prison's population. Detainees usually were informed of the 
charges against them; however, many waited in prison for several months 
before seeing a judge. Judicial inefficiency and corruption, as well as 
a shortage of judges and severe financial constraints on the judicial 
system, contributed to pretrial delays. Some detainees remained in 
prison for years because of lost files and bureaucratic obstacles.
    In December President Bozize granted amnesty to prisoners with 
sentences that ranged from a few months to no more than five years (see 
section 1.c.).

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution provides for an 
independent judiciary; however, the judiciary remained subject to 
executive branch influence and, despite government efforts to improve 
its capacity, the judiciary was inadequate to meet its tasks.
    During a visit in February, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 
Pillay expressed concerns about the judiciary's lack of independence. 
However, she praised the National Assembly's revision during the year 
of penal and criminal procedure codes, which she said would help 
bolster the independence of the judiciary and bolster the fight against 
impunity for human rights abuses.
    The courts continued to suffer from inefficient administration, a 
shortage of trained personnel, growing salary arrears, and a lack of 
material resources. Less than 1 percent of the annual national budget 
was devoted to the Ministry of Justice. According to a Ministry of 
Justice source, during the year there were 124 magistrates working in 
the entire country. Many citizens effectively lacked access to the 
judicial system. Citizens often had to travel more than 30 miles to 
reach one of the 38 courthouses. Consequently, traditional justice at 
the family and village level retained a major role in settling 
conflicts and administering punishment.
    There were numerous reports that, in reaction to judicial 
inefficiency, citizens in a number of cities organized to deal with 
cases through parallel justice and persecution, such as mob violence, 
or resorted to neighborhood tribunals and appeals to local chiefs. 
Citizens also sought such resort in cases of alleged witchcraft.

    Trial Procedures.--According to the penal code, defendants are 
presumed innocent until proven guilty. Trials are public, and 
defendants have the right to be present and to consult a public 
defender. Criminal trials use juries. If an individual is accused of a 
serious crime and cannot afford a lawyer, the Government has an 
obligation to provide one. In practice the Government provided counsel 
for indigent defendants, although this process was often slow and 
delayed trial proceedings due to the state's limited resources. 
Defendants have the right to question witnesses, to present witnesses 
and evidence on their own behalf, and to have access to government-held 
evidence. Defendants have the right to appeal. The law extends these 
rights to any citizen, including women. The Government generally 
complied with these legal requirements. The judiciary, however, did not 
enforce consistently the right to a fair trial, and there were many 
credible reports of corruption within the court system. One indigenous 
ethnic group in particular, the Ba'Aka (Pygmies), reportedly was 
subject to legal discrimination and unfair trials.
    Authorities occasionally tried cases of purported witchcraft in the 
regular courts. Witchcraft is punishable by execution although the 
state imposed no death sentences during the year. Most individuals 
convicted of witchcraft received sentences of one to five years in 
prison; they could also be fined up to 817,800 CFA francs ($1,636). 
Police and gendarmes conducted investigations into alleged witchcraft. 
During a typical witchcraft trial, authorities called practitioners of 
traditional medicine to give their opinion of a suspect's ties to 
sorcery, and neighbors occasionally served as witnesses. The law does 
not define the elements of witchcraft, and the determination lies 
solely with the magistrate.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees.
    Authorities granted BINUCA's human rights unit and human rights and 
humanitarian NGOs limited access to prisoners and detainees, although 
bureaucratic requirements for visits and delays significantly 
restricted their frequency during the year.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--The constitution provides 
for an independent judiciary in civil matters, and citizens had access 
to a court to bring lawsuits seeking damages for, or cessation of, a 
human rights violation; however, there was a widespread perception that 
judges were bribed easily and that litigants could not rely on courts 
to render impartial judgments. Many courts were understaffed, and 
personnel were paid poorly.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The law prohibits searches of homes without a warrant 
in civil and criminal cases; however, police sometimes used provisions 
of the penal code governing certain political and security cases to 
search private property without a warrant.
    Further developments in the June 2009 attack on the house of 
Minister of Regional Development Marie Reine Hassen were hindered by 
the PMT's inability to meet before year's end. The PMT has not met 
since April 2009.
    Local journalists claimed that the Government tapped their 
telephones and harassed them regularly by telephone.

    g. Use of Excessive Force and Other Abuses in Internal Conflicts.--
Internal conflict continued in seven northern provinces and the 
Southeast. Despite the signing of the comprehensive peace accord in 
2008 between the Government and four nonstate armed entities--the APRD, 
the Democratic Front of the Central African People (FDPC), the Movement 
of Justice for Central African Liberators, and the Union of Democratic 
Forces for Unity (UFDR)--and a 2008 inclusive political dialogue 
between the Government, nonstate armed entities, the political 
opposition, and civil society, which resulted in the formation of a 
government of national unity in January 2009, violence continued to 
increase during the year. Government and opposition forces engaged in 
numerous serious human rights abuses in the course of their struggle 
for control of the North, where soldiers, nonstate armed entities, and 
bands of unidentified armed men attacked civilians. Observers estimated 
that the Government controlled little more than half of the country 
during the year.
    Although government forces and nonstate armed entities maintained a 
ceasefire for much of the year, one notable nonstate armed entity, the 
CPJP, remained outside the peace process at year's end and continued to 
fight government forces in the provinces of Bamingui Bangoran, Vakaga, 
Ouaka, and Haute Kotto, causing many civilians to flee. Civilians were 
caught in the crossfire during fighting between the CPJP and the armed 
forces, which often accused them of supporting the nonstate armed 
entities. The CPJP has reportedly employed rape and murder as 
intimidation tactics.
    During the year there was deliberate restriction of the free and 
safe passage of humanitarian organizations' assistance. During the 
first seven months of the year, the Government denied humanitarian 
access north of the town of Ndele. In addition on October 2, 
humanitarian missions, led by the UN Educational, Scientific and 
Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-UNDP and MICOPAX, were blocked at an 
unofficial check point near Bozoum and threatened by APRD elements. 
These missions were ultimately allowed to continue after payment of 
money.
    According to Dangerous Little Stones: Diamonds in the Central 
African Republic, a December report by the International Crisis Group, 
``rampant smuggling [of diamonds] fosters illicit trading networks that 
deprive the state of much needed revenue, while the Government's 
refusal to distribute national wealth fairly has led jealous factions 
to launch rebellions. Profits from mining and selling diamonds 
illegally enable armed groups to collect new recruits and create a 
strong incentive not to disarm.'' During the year the CPJP, which was 
active around the northeastern town of Ndele, frequently targeted 
diamond producing zones, killing those who worked in the diamond pits 
and trading the rough stones.
    In addition attacks on civilians by the LRA in the Southeast 
contributed to the humanitarian crisis, increasing the number of 
internally displaced persons in LRA-affected areas.
    The UN-led Security Sector Reform process continued to outline the 
restructuring and redeployment of the armed forces. The disarmament, 
demobilization, and reintegration of nonstate armed entities began in 
2008 and continued in some provinces after suffering numerous delays.
    The Ugandan Peoples Defense Force, in the eastern sector of the 
country, cooperated with the FACA in operations against LRA guerillas.
    Armed entities, including unidentified ones, took advantage of 
weakened security and continued to attack, kill, rob, beat, and rape 
civilians and loot and burn villages in the North. Kidnappings by such 
groups continued at an alarming rate during the year, contributing 
significantly to the massive population displacement. However, 
according to the ICRC, improved security in the Northwest encouraged 
some of the thousands displaced by conflict in recent years to return 
home.

    Killings.--Extrajudicial killings continued. During operations 
conducted by state armed forces against nonstate armed entities 
(including highway bandits), government forces did not distinguish 
between nonstate armed entities and civilians in the villages. 
Government forces often burned houses and sometimes killed villagers 
accused of being accomplices of nonstate armed entities.
    UN, press, and NGO observers noted several extrajudicial killings 
by security forces and the use of disproportionate force against 
suspected bandits and other members of nonstate armed entities.
    In December 2009 the family of Charles Massi, a member of the CPJP 
and a former minister, reported him missing. His wife and members of 
his party told international media that Chadian officials arrested 
Massi and transferred him to CAR authorities; his wife and members of 
his party also claimed that CAR authorities tortured and murdered him 
in Bossembele prison. Early in the year, the press widely reported the 
same thing, but the Ministry of Defense denied the claims. In August 
the attorney general found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Government, 
but strong suspicions remained about the extrajudicial murder of 
Charles Massi.
    Authorities took no action in any of the following four killings by 
members of the FACA.
    On January 10, the FACA detachment in Noufou arrested, tied up, and 
then killed three suspected cattle thieves from Cameroon.
    In April an international NGO reported that the FACA summarily 
executed a Chadian migrant farmer they claimed to be a member of the 
FDPC militia north of Kabo.
    On May 2, the FACA tortured and killed a suspected CPJP combatant 
found on the road between Ndele and Kaga Bandoro. The FACA allegedly 
displayed his body in Ndele shortly thereafter.
    On August 18, according to Le Democrate newspaper, a group of FACA 
based in Bang killed a local butcher who refused to serve them meat 
free of charge. The newspaper reported that on August 25, the local 
population killed three members of the FACA and one police commissioner 
in reprisal for the killing of the butcher.
    There were no further developments in the following 2009 cases: the 
February attack by the FACA on the village of Sokoumba that resulted in 
the death of at least 18 male civilians, including the village chief, 
or the March execution of four men suspected of banditry outside the 
northwestern town of Bozoum by government forces.
    There were no further developments in the June 2009 death of two 
civilians as a result of fighting between the FACA and the FDPC on the 
Kabo-Moyenne Sido road in Ouham Province.
    UN, press, and NGO observers noted numerous killings by nonstate 
actors and the use of disproportionate force against civilians.
    From January to the end of November, the total number of attacks 
the LRA launched over the year was at least 54, in which at least 128 
civilians were killed, more than 300 persons were abducted, and 20 were 
wounded. Approximately 80 persons detained by the LRA were released and 
another 39 escaped. As of November, the UN High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR) estimated 5,724 Congolese refugees and approximately 
21,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in the southeast.
    On March 27, the CPJP attacked Yangoungale village. During this 
attack, insurgents took the village chief and the primary school 
director hostage. They reportedly shot and killed the school director's 
wife as she tried to escape the attack.
    On April 6, gunmen killed a pastor from Sido who was working for 
the local Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) office. Members of the 
FDPC were suspected in the slaying.
    On April 16, attackers identified only as ``armed bandits'' killed 
a member of the FACA who was escorting a convoy of IEC vehicles on the 
road between Birao and the border with Sudan.
    In mid-April, CPJP members reportedly burned the village chief of 
Mbollo alive.
    On May 3, the CPJP attacked Gadaye and Haoussa villages. In Gadaye 
the CPJP beat to death Abba Abdoulaye Hissen, the village patriarch, 
allegedly because he ordered villagers to leave the area and to settle 
in Ndele. In Haoussa the CPJP kidnapped and tortured Adamou Aroun, the 
village chief, for the same reason.
    On May 4, the CPJP murdered the deputy village chief of a village 
12 miles north of Ndele.
    On May 13, CPJP rebels invaded Diki in search of food. The village 
self-defense group killed one member of the CPJP. The next day, a group 
returned to the village, and looted and burned many houses. They also 
killed the chief of the village and wounded many villagers.
    On October 15, the CPJP attacked the town of Ippy in Ouaka 
Province. After looting several stores and destroying official 
buildings, CPJP attackers killed one secondary school student. No 
further developments were available at year's end.
    There were also killings resulting from tensions over land use 
during the year. On March 16, local residents of Batangafo fought with 
migrant Chadian cattle herders, leaving at least 17 persons dead. The 
UN reported 13 villages were burned and at least 1,500 persons 
displaced by the fighting. Gendarme and FACA in the town failed to 
intervene in the fighting; there were no further developments by year's 
end.
    There were no further developments in the following 2009 conflict-
related killings: the March killing by APRD members of the chief of 
Tchoulao village in the Ouham Pende; the April killing by an APRD 
officer in the northwestern town of Paoua of the local national herders 
organization representative; and the April deaths of 25 persons, 
following street battles between Mbororo cattle raisers and beef 
wholesalers in Bangui.
    There were no further developments in the June 2009 torture and 
killing of two persons, relating to alleged witchcraft, by APRD members 
near Kaga Bandoro.

    Abductions.--The Popular Front for Redressing of Grievances, an 
exiled armed entity of Chadian origin, reportedly took civilians 
hostage during the year near Kaga Bandoro to extort money from their 
families.
    Human Rights Watch reported that between July 2009 and July 2010, 
the LRA abducted more than 300 persons, many of them children, in 
southeastern CAR.
    There was little or no response by local authorities to multiple 
kidnappings of civilians by armed entities considered to be bandits or 
zaraguinas (see section 1.a.).
    On October 28, a group of CPJP rebels operating in Sam Ouandja in 
Haute Kotto Province took 21 electoral workers hostage. The electoral 
workers were released a few days later after the CPJP rebels took all 
of their belongings.
    In November 2009 unidentified bandits in Birao abducted two foreign 
resident NGO employees. Kidnappers released the two in Darfur, Sudan, 
on March 14 (see section 1.b.).

    Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture.--Government forces and 
nonstate armed entities mistreated civilians, including through 
torture, beatings, and rape, in the course of the conflicts. During 
operations conducted by armed forces against nonstate armed entities 
(including highway bandits), the armed forces often burned homes and 
did not distinguish between nonstate armed entities and local civilian 
populations they regarded as accomplices, although less often than in 
the previous year.
    During the week of March 8, the mayor of Ndim reportedly authorized 
the public torture of a woman accused of adultery. No action was taken 
against those responsible by year's end.
    On April 26, Jojo Bozize, one of President Bozize's sons, ordered 
the arrest of two of his domestic employees, Betty Kibembe and Serge 
Tkpoba, on suspicion of stealing clothes from his residence. Gendarmes 
imprisoned the two for two days at the SRI detention center where they 
were severely tortured. Bozize later learned that his partner had taken 
the clothes to the cleaners and, as a result, he took Kibembe and 
Tkpoba to a private clinic for medical treatment. Kebembe suffered 
serious leg wounds. Authorities took no action against Bozize, and 
human rights lawyers stated the two victims refused to press charges.
    On June 6, Abdoulaye Amat, a member of the presidential guard, 
threatened Price Telo with a rifle and then cut off Telo's ear after he 
complained about a merchant and friend of Amat not paying full price 
for a motorcycle. Telo's parents informed senior figures of the 
presidential guard who told them they would arrest Amat, but at year's 
end, Amat remained free.
    Civilians continued to suffer mistreatment in armed territories 
controlled by nonstate armed entities.
    In April a member of the APRD killed a 12-year-old boy in 
Kounmbame. The APRD's local commander offered to execute the killer if 
the boy's family desired but, in the end, senior figures in the APRD 
paid the boy's family 100,000 CFA francs ($200).
    In April near Kaga Bandoro, the APRD arrested and tortured a man 
for allegedly practicing witchcraft. Members of the APRD tied the man 
to a tree, beat him, and cut off two of his toes to force a confession. 
After confessing, the man escaped, and the APRD responded by arresting 
his mother and torturing her. No further information was available at 
year's end.
    In May near Kaga Bandoro the APRD arrested a man for alleged shape 
shifting, a form of witchcraft. When he managed to flee, the APRD 
arrested his mother, stripped her naked, beat her, and forced her to 
pay of fine of 100,000 CFA francs ($200) before releasing her.
    No action was taken against APRD members who in March 2009 tortured 
a village chief in Bocaranga and the evangelical pastor who tried to 
help the chief.
    International and domestic observers reported that, during the 
year, state security forces and members of nonstate armed entities, 
including Chadian soldiers and bandits, continued to attack cattle 
herders, primarily members of the Mbororo ethnic group. Many observers 
believed Mbororo were targeted primarily because of their perceived 
relative wealth and the vulnerability of cattle to theft. One UN agency 
reported that, according to its NGO partners in the affected region, 
attackers often were themselves Mbororo.
    Mbororo cattle herders were also disproportionately subjected to 
kidnapping for ransom. A UN agency working in the area indicated the 
perpetrators often kidnapped women and children and held them for 
ransoms of between one million and two million CFA francs ($2,000--
$4,000). Victims whose families did not pay were sometimes killed. 
Nonstate armed entities in the country continued to conduct frequent 
attacks on the Mbororo population on the Cameroonian side of the 
border, despite the Cameroonian government's deployment of security 
forces.
    Some observers noted the use of rape by both government forces and 
nonstate armed entities to terrorize the population in the northern 
provinces, especially in the CPJP's zones of operation. Given the 
social stigma attached to rape, any report would likely underestimate 
the incidence of rape in the conflict zones. Several NGOs and UN 
agencies conducted gender-based violence awareness and treatment 
campaigns in northern provinces and Bangui.
    On February 8, a member of the APRD allegedly raped a pregnant 
woman near the village of Goddo 2. Her husband made an official 
complaint to the APRD but by year's end, there was no evidence that the 
APRD took action against a perpetrator.
    In July after an attack upon the village of Zokotonyala, members of 
the CPJP reportedly raped between 20 and 25 Houssa women. There was no 
additional information about the women as rebels prevented travelers 
from gaining access to the region.
    On October 26, a group of CPJP combatants invaded the village of 
Kpata, in Bamingi Bangouran Province. After looting the village's 168 
houses, they burned the village. Reportedly, the village was attacked 
because its inhabitants participated in the electoral census. No 
further information was available at year's end.

    Child Soldiers.--According to multiple human rights observers, 
numerous APRD groups included soldiers as young as 12 years old. In 
addition the UFDR admitted that many children served as soldiers in its 
ranks. According to an international observer, although the UFDR and 
APRD stopped recruiting child soldiers during the year as a result of 
disarmament, demobilization, and reinsertion activities, in some remote 
areas, children were still used as lookouts and porters. According to 
one international NGO involved in disarmament, demobilization, and 
reintegration (DDR), in some cases, children have been ``recruited'' 
not for actual combat, but to go through the DDR process and get paid. 
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other observers noted that, while 
the child soldiers were willing to demobilize and were anxious to 
attend school, their communities lacked the most basic infrastructure.
    UNICEF announced in July that it helped demobilize 180 child 
members of the APRD between the ages of 10 and 17 years old in Ouham-
Pende since November 2008. An additional 15 children were demobilized 
in Nana Gribizi Province during the same time frame.
    In December UNICEF held a 10-day training session in Boali, with 20 
soldiers and six police officials, on the theme of protecting children 
before, during, and after a conflict. The objective of the training was 
to instruct the officials to become trainers themselves.
    Several NGO observers have reported that self-defense committees, 
which were established by towns to combat nonstate armed entities 
(including bandits) in areas where the FACA or gendarmes were not 
present, used children as combatants, lookouts, and porters. UNICEF 
estimated that children comprised one third of the self-defense 
committees.
    NGOs reported that the LRA continued to kidnap children and forced 
them to fight, act as porters, or to function as sex slaves. During the 
year 138 children were abducted by the LRA. Of those 138 children, 43 
were released by the LRA, 45 escaped, and 13 were being supported in 
transit centers.
    Displaced children have been forced to work as porters, carrying 
stolen goods for groups of bandits.

    Other Conflict-Related Abuses.--In the Northwest, government 
security forces, including the FACA and presidential guard, continued 
to project a presence from larger towns and occasionally engaged in 
combat with armed entities. While the ceasefire between government 
forces and nonstate armed entities allowed some displaced persons to 
return home, approximately 330,000 persons remained displaced in the 
bush or in refugee camps along the Chadian or Cameroonian borders.
    On multiple occasions during the year, government forces burned 
houses and other buildings along the Ndele-Garaba road. The area was 
considered sympathetic to the CPJP insurrection.
    Internal movement was severely impeded, particularly in northern 
and northwestern areas the Government did not control, by bandits and 
other nonstate armed entities, including former combatants who helped 
President Bozize come to power in 2003.
    On April 16, the subprefect of Kabo called all the village chiefs 
north of the town to Kabo and explained that for the indefinite future, 
anyone who remained on the road would be considered an insurgent or in 
collusion with them, and thus subject to reprisals by the FACA. The 
subprefect's ultimatum apparently caused an estimated 5,000 new 
refugees to move to Chad.
    Sporadic fighting between government security forces and nonstate 
armed entities, attacks on civilians by nonstate armed entities, armed 
banditry, and occasional abuse by government soldiers kept many IDPs 
from their homes. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian 
Affairs (OCHA) estimated that the number of IDPs increased during the 
year from 162,000 to 192,029 at year's end.
    The overwhelming majority of IDPs were in the northwestern 
provinces of Ouham and Ouham Pende, where civilians remained displaced 
from their villages out of fear and lived in the bush for much of the 
year, returning occasionally to their fields to plant or scavenge. NGOs 
and UN agencies observed anecdotal evidence that some civilians were 
returning in the northwest provinces, but this was not a widespread 
phenomenon. Thousands of individuals remained homeless due to fighting 
in the north-central provinces of Haute Kotto and Bamingui-Bangoran, 
and due to instability in the northeastern province of Vakaga, where 
there was renewed fighting within the UFDR, as well as an ethnic 
conflict between the Goula, Kara, and Rounga communities.
    Hygiene-related illnesses and chronic malnutrition continued. 
Attacks or fear of attacks prevented many subsistence farmers from 
planting crops, and attackers either stole most of the livestock or the 
farmers fled with their livestock to safety in Cameroon. Chronic 
insecurity also rendered the North occasionally inaccessible to 
commercial, humanitarian, and developmental organizations, contributing 
to the lack of medical care, food security, and school facilities, 
although less so than in the previous year. Humanitarian organizations 
continued to supply some emergency relief and assistance to displaced 
populations, although long-term development projects remained suspended 
due to the frequently changing security situations and sporadic 
fighting.
    The Government did not attack or target IDPs, although some IDPs 
were caught in the fighting between government forces and nonstate 
armed entities. The Government provided little humanitarian assistance, 
but it allowed UN agencies and NGOs access to these groups to provide 
relief.
    MICOPAX peacekeepers and government forces conducted joint security 
operations in an effort to secure the northern region and control small 
arms proliferation. Despite these operations, the Government was not 
able to provide sufficient security or protection for IDPs in the 
north.
    On September 5, in Ouanda Djalle, 62 miles south of Birao, LRA 
combatants burned at least 80 houses and looted the marketplace and 
health center.
    Refugees continued to flee the country during the year (see section 
2.d.).
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press; however, in practice 
authorities continued to employ threats and intimidation to limit media 
criticism of the Government. Authorities did not arrest any journalists 
during the year; however, the Government briefly detained one 
journalist.
    Throughout the year, a number of newspapers criticized the 
president, the Government's economic policies, and official corruption. 
There were more than 30 newspapers, many privately owned, which 
circulated daily or at less frequent intervals. Independent dailies 
were available in Bangui, but they were not widely distributed outside 
of the capital area. The absence of a functioning postal service 
continued to hinder newspaper distribution. Financial problems 
prevented many private newspapers from publishing regularly, and the 
average price of a newspaper, approximately 300 CFA francs ($0.60), was 
higher than most citizens could afford.
    Radio was the most important medium of mass communication, in part 
because the literacy rate was low. There were alternatives to the 
state-owned radio station, Radio Centrafrique. For example, privately 
owned Radio Ndeke Luka continued to provide independent broadcasts, 
including national and international news and political commentary. Its 
signal was strengthened to reach beyond Bangui, and new direct 
transmitters were set up in Bouar and Berberati. Ndeke Luka was also 
regularly rebroadcast by community radio for an hour or two each day. 
With the exception of Radio Ndeke Luka, which organized debates on 
current events, government-run and privately owned broadcast outlets 
based in the country tended to avoid covering topics that could draw 
negative attention from the Government. International broadcasters, 
including Radio France Internationale, continued to operate during the 
year.
    The Government continued to monopolize domestic television 
broadcasting, and television news coverage generally supported 
government positions.
    The High Council for Communications (HCC), which is charged with 
granting publication and broadcast licenses and protecting and 
promoting press freedom, is nominally independent. However, some of its 
members were appointed by government institutions and, according to 
several independent journalists, as well as the international NGO 
Committee to Protect Journalists, the HCC was controlled by the 
Government.
    The media continued to face many difficulties, including chronic 
financial problems, a serious deficiency of professional skills, the 
absence of an independent printing press, and a severe lack of access 
to government information. Journalists in the privately owned media 
were not allowed to cover certain official events, and, in the absence 
of information, the majority of news reporting continued to rely 
heavily on official or protocol-related information, such as government 
press releases.
    During the year security forces often harassed and threatened 
journalists. For example, on August 17, unidentified armed men in 
military uniforms attacked Television Centrafrique camerawoman Virginie 
Mokonzi. The assailants reportedly beat, robbed, and raped her in front 
of her children and husband. The Journalist's Union organized a march 
to protest the attack and delivered a memorandum to the prime minister. 
By year's end, there were no reports of arrests.
    On September 3, police arrested Alexi Remangai, a journalist at the 
daily newspaper Le Confident, and detained him for three days at SRI 
before releasing him as result of a protest by the Journalists' 
Association. Gendarmes arrested him following a complaint of defamation 
by the Ministry of Mines' chief of staff. Remangai had written an 
article in the newspaper about corruption and mismanagement by high-
ranking ministry officials at the ministry. At year's end, the case was 
pending before a court.
    There were also reports of government ministers and other senior 
officials threatening journalists who were critical of the Government. 
However, according to the Central African Journalists' Union, the 
Government did not arrest any other journalists during the year.
    Unlike the previous year, the HCC did not suspend publication of 
any newspaper during the year.
    Journalists continued to practice self-censorship due to fear of 
government reprisals.
    Imprisonment for defamation and censorship was abolished in 2005; 
however, journalists found guilty of libel or slander faced fines of 
100,000 to eight million CFA francs ($200 to $16,000).
    The law provides for imprisonment and fines of as much as one 
million CFA francs ($2,000) for journalists who use the media to incite 
disobedience among security forces or incite persons to violence, 
hatred, or discrimination. Similar fines and imprisonment of six months 
to two years may be imposed for the publication or broadcast of false 
or fabricated information that ``would disturb the peace.''
    The Ministry of Communications maintained a ban on the diffusion by 
media of songs, programs, or articles deemed to have a ``misogynist 
character'' or to disrespect women.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no reports that the Government 
restricted access to the Internet, monitored e-mail or Internet chat 
rooms, or attempted to collect personally identifiable information. The 
relatively few individuals who had access could engage in the peaceful 
expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. According to 
International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2008 approximately 
0.44 percent the country's inhabitants used the Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution provides for the right of assembly; 
however, the Government restricted this right on a few occasions. 
Organizers of demonstrations and public meetings were required to 
register with the minister of the interior 48 hours in advance; 
political meetings in schools or churches were prohibited. Any 
association intending to hold a political meeting was required to 
obtain the Ministry of Interior's approval.
    There were no discriminatory government restrictions that targeted 
women or minorities.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution provides for freedom of 
association, and the Government generally respected this right. All 
associations, including political parties, must apply to the Ministry 
of Interior for registration, and the Government usually granted 
registration expeditiously. The Government normally allowed 
associations and political parties to hold congresses, elect officials, 
and publicly debate policy issues without interference, except when 
they advocated sectarianism or tribalism.
    A law prohibiting nonpolitical organizations from uniting for 
political purposes remained in place.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a complete description of religious 
freedom, see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution provides for freedom 
of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation; however, the Government restricted freedom of movement 
within the country and foreign travel during the year. Security forces, 
customs officers, and other officials harassed travelers unwilling or 
unable to pay bribes or ``taxes'' at checkpoints along intercity roads 
and at major intersections in Bangui, although these roadblocks had 
decreased significantly by year's end.
    On multiple occasions during the year, police, gendarmes, and the 
FACA impeded the travel of members of the opposition Movement for the 
Liberation of Central African People party, delaying their travel for 
up to two days.
    On May 9, authorities prevented Martin Ziguele, a presidential 
candidate in 2005, from traveling abroad. Airport police briefly 
confiscated his passport and barred him from boarding an aircraft. The 
Government's spokesman later said the incident was the result of an 
unspecified misunderstanding.
    On May 27, airport authorities stopped former minister of 
communications Cyriaque Gonda from traveling to France. The 
Government's spokesman said that Gonda failed to present a permission 
to depart document normally required for official travel by members of 
the Government. Gonda was neither a current minister nor going abroad 
in an official capacity, and observers widely viewed the incident as 
stemming from a political dispute between him and the president.
    On June 13, airport authorities confiscated the diplomatic passport 
of opposition figure Nicolas Tiangaye upon his return from France where 
he held meetings with Central Africans opposed to the Government. 
Authorities claimed he had no right to a diplomatic passport, although 
in practice, many prominent figures held and used diplomatic passports 
for nonofficial travel.
    In April 2009 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that all 
diplomatic missions inform the ministry before travel to any area 
deemed ``under tension,'' although these locations were unspecified. In 
practice the Government hindered travel by diplomats outside of the 
capital on multiple occasions.
    During the year police continued to stop and search vehicles, 
particularly in Bangui, in what amounted to petty harassment to extort 
payments. Local human rights organizations and UN officials said the 
problem of illegal road barriers and petty extortion by soldiers was 
widespread. Merchants and traders traveling the more than 350-mile main 
route from Bangui to Bangassou encountered an average of 25 military 
barriers. While the fees extorted varied for private passengers, 
commercial vehicles reported paying up to 9,000 to 10,000 CFA francs 
($18 to $20) to continue their journeys.
    This extortion greatly discouraged trade and road travel and 
severely crippled the country's economy.
    Freedom of movement, including of traders and delivery trucks, was 
also severely impeded in conflict zones.
    In May the UN reported that North of Kabo, in a zone of continuing 
conflict between the Government and the FDPC, the FACA charged truckers 
100,000 CFA francs ($200) to protect convoys of two or more trucks 
between the town and the border with Chad.
    With the exception of diplomats, the Government required that all 
foreigners obtain an exit visa. Travelers intending to exit the country 
could be required to obtain affidavits to prove that they owed no money 
to the Government or to parastatal companies.
    The constitution does not permit the use of exile, and the 
Government did not employ it in practice.

    Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).--Sporadic fighting between 
government forces and nonstate armed entities, attacks on civilians by 
nonstate armed entities, and armed banditry prevented the country's 
IDPs, most of whom were displaced in 2006, from returning to their 
homes. At year's end, the number of IDPs totaled 192,029, including 
almost 100,000 in the northwestern provinces of Ouham and Ouham Pende. 
The number of individuals who had fled the country was estimated at 
138,000, including 74,000 refugees in Chad and 64,000 in Cameroon. In 
the southeastern province of Haut-Mbomou, attacks by the LRA caused the 
internal displacement of approximately 15,000 individuals by year's 
end.
    In July the Government reopened roads north of Ndele to 
humanitarian access after a prolonged closure due to government efforts 
to fight the CPJP.
    In 2009 the UNHCR helped created the National Committee for 
Dialogue and Coordination for the Protection of the Rights of IDPs in 
the country. The objectives of the committee were to provide for the 
coordination and monitoring of activities related to the protection of 
IDPs, to formulate a new IDP protection law, and to establish a 
framework for increased assistance for IDPs. The committee participated 
in all meetings of the country's protection cluster, the main forum for 
the coordination of civilian protection activities in the context of 
humanitarian efforts, and focused on human right abuses, but, according 
to OCHA, the committee had not officially met or carried out any of its 
assigned responsibilities by year's end.
    On October 29, the UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister 
organized a workshop for 60 members of parliament on the African Union 
Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced 
Persons in Africa. The objective of the workshop was to speed progress 
toward the ratification of the convention.
    The Government did not provide protection or assistance to IDPs, 
citing a lack of means.
    There were no reports of the Government attacking or specifically 
targeting IDPs. The Government occasionally blocked humanitarian access 
in areas frequented by nonstate armed entities. There were no reports 
of the Government inhibiting the free movement of IDPs.
    In June 2009 several members of the UNOHCHR's UPRWG recommended 
that the Government immediately take measures to safeguard the rights 
of IDPs, including by enacting a law with provisions for the protection 
of displaced children; provide for the free circulation of humanitarian 
workers so they can access IDPs; and follow up on past recommendations 
of the UN secretary-general's representative on the human rights of 
IDPs. At year's end, it was unclear if the Government had taken 
significant steps to implement these recommendations.
    Displaced children worked in fields for long hours and as porters 
for bandits or other nonstate armed entities (see sections 1.g. and 
7.d.).

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's laws provide for granting 
asylum and refugee status, and the Government has established a system 
for providing protection to refugees. In practice the Government 
provided protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to 
countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account 
of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social 
group, or political opinion. The Government accepted refugees without 
subjecting them to individual screening.
    The Government continued to cooperate with the UNHCR and other 
humanitarian organizations in assisting approximately 24,690 refugees 
in the country of which 5,466 remain in Bangui.
    During the year security forces subjected refugees, as they did 
citizens, to arbitrary arrest and detention. Refugees were especially 
vulnerable to such human rights abuses. The Government allowed refugees 
freedom of movement, but like citizens, they were subject to roadside 
stops and harassment by security forces and nonstate armed entities. 
Refugees' access to courts, public education, and basic public health 
care was limited by the same factors that limited citizens' access to 
these services.
    While refugees in Mongoumba and Batalimo did not report any 
violations, refugees in Sam Ouandja reported restriction of movement by 
authorities and UFDR rebels allied to the Government. Refugees in 
Bangui reported harassment and arbitrary arrest by police.
    According to the UNHCR, there were no reports of refugee abuse 
during the year.
    A significant number of members of the Mbororo ethnic group 
continued to live as refugees in Cameroon and southern Chad after 
violence in 2006 and 2007. However, according to Radio Centrafrique, 
many Mbororo herders started returning to CAR during the year.
    Several international organizations worked with the Government and 
UNHCR to assist refugees during the year. They included Doctors without 
Borders, Caritas, International Medical Corps, and the NGO Cooperazione 
Internazionale (COOPI).
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution provides citizens with the right to change their 
government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in 
presidential and legislative elections in 2005, which election 
observers considered to be generally free and fair, despite some 
irregularities.

    Elections and Political Participation.--In 2005 the country held 
two rounds of multiparty presidential and legislative elections that 
resulted in the election of General Bozize as president; Bozize had 
seized power in a 2003 military coup, declared himself president, and 
headed a transitional government until the 2005 elections. Domestic and 
international election observers judged the elections to be generally 
free and fair, despite irregularities and accusations of fraud made by 
candidates running against Bozize.
    Bozize's term as president was stipulated under the constitution to 
expire on June 11. However, on May 10, the National Assembly passed a 
constitutional amendment that extended the terms of the office of the 
president and the National Assembly until elections, allowing Bozize to 
remain in office through the year.
    The Government twice postponed constitutionally mandated 
presidential and legislative elections set for March due to a lack of 
funds and preparation. Controversially, the National Assembly altered 
the 2005 constitution to allow the president to ask the Constitutional 
Court for a delay in elections if elections preparations commence in a 
``lawful manner,'' but due to ``unforeseeable and unavoidable'' events 
must be postponed. The president used this provision to extend his 
mandate until such a time as elections were organized. On July 30, the 
president decreed the first round of presidential and legislative 
elections would occur in January 2011.
    Despite a constitutional requirement that he do so by 2007, as well 
as a recommendation stemming from the 2008 inclusive political 
dialogue, for the fourth consecutive year, the president did not call 
for municipal elections, citing lack of government resources.
    During the year the LCDH continued to criticize President Bozize 
for concurrently serving as president and defense minister, on the 
grounds that the constitution prohibits the president from holding 
``any other political function or electoral mandate''; however, 
officials said this criticism was based on a misinterpretation of the 
constitution. After political activist Zarambaud Assingambi filed a 
complaint with the constitutional court in 2008, the court ruled later 
that year that it was not competent to try the case.
    Political parties continued to be subject to close scrutiny and 
restrictions by the Government. Members of political parties were not 
able to move about the country without restriction; many had to obtain 
authorization from the Government before traveling.
    According to recommendations from a 2003 government-sponsored 
national dialogue, women should occupy 35 percent of posts in 
government ministries and political parties; however, this provision 
was not respected during the year. There were 10 women in the 105-seat 
National Assembly and four in the 32-person cabinet. There were no laws 
prohibiting women from participating in political life, but most women 
lacked the financial means to compete in political races.
    There were 17 Muslims, including two members of the Mbororo ethnic 
group, in the National Assembly.
    The Ba'Aka (Pygmies), the indigenous inhabitants of the south, made 
up between 1 and 2 percent of the population; they were not represented 
in the Government and continued to have no political power or 
influence.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; 
however, the Government did not implement these laws effectively, and 
officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. 
Misappropriation of public funds and corruption in the Government 
remained widespread. The World Bank's 2009 Worldwide Governance 
Indicators reflected that government corruption was a severe problem.
    The Government continued its campaign against embezzlement, money 
laundering, and other forms of financial fraud. Since May 2009 salary 
payments to government employees have been made through bank accounts 
instead of in cash. Computerization of financial information to 
increase transparency continued during the year. However, the effect of 
these actions was not particularly evident to the public, and 
skepticism remained over whether these actions would serve to deter 
corruption. Extortion at road checkpoints and corruption among customs 
service officials remained major sources of complaints by importers and 
exporters.
    The president continued to chair weekly committee meetings to 
combat fraud in the treasury. In 2008 Prime Minister Touadera created a 
national committee to fight corruption that included representatives 
from the Government, trade unions, NGOs, private sector, religious 
organizations, and the media. The committee's investigations resulted 
in the arrest of 19 senior civil servants in the tax division of the 
Ministry of Finance on charges of embezzling up to five million CFA 
francs ($10,000) each. Six of those arrested were tried in 2008 and 
received jail sentences. Six voluntarily reimbursed the amount they 
were alleged to have stolen; 13 civil servants accused of embezzlement 
were condemned by the court, but a few were later released, although 
the exact number is unknown.
    Police corruption, including the use of illegal roadblocks to 
commit extortion, remained a problem; however, removal of some illegal 
roadblocks enabled more freedom of movement and easier transportation 
by year's end.
    Judicial corruption remained a serious impediment to citizens' 
right to receive a fair trial. According to the UNDP, during the year 
the average monthly salary of a judge working in one of the highest 
courts (the final court of appeals) was approximately 600,000 CFA 
francs ($1,200); that of a junior judge was approximately 220,000 CFA 
francs ($440).
    According to the LCDH, corruption extended from the judges to the 
bailiffs. Many lawyers paid judges for verdicts favorable to their 
clients. There were, however, some efforts to combat judicial 
corruption, including by several UN agencies and the EU.
    According to the constitution, senior members of the executive, 
legislative, and judicial branches are required to declare publicly 
their personal assets at the beginning of their terms. The members of 
the new government declared their assets upon entry into the 
Government. The law does not require ministers to declare their assets 
upon departing government.
    The law provides for access by journalists to ``all sources of 
information, within the limits of the law''; however, it does not 
specifically mention government documents or government information, 
and no mention is made of access by the general public. The Government 
often was unable or unwilling to provide information, and lack of 
access to information continued to be a problem for journalists and the 
general public. Furthermore, years of instability and conflict made 
information difficult for the Government to collect, particularly in 
the countryside. Information on the humanitarian situation, for 
example, was difficult to obtain and sometimes contradictory.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    Domestic and international human rights groups generally operated 
with few government restrictions. A few NGOs investigated abuses and 
published their findings. However, due to ongoing lack of funds, 
insecurity, and economic dislocation, domestic human rights NGOs, whose 
area of work was almost totally limited to Bangui, continued to lack 
the means to disseminate human rights information outside the capital 
or support their rural branches. These limitations contributed to 
widespread ignorance about human rights and the means of redress for 
abuses. Officials in Bangui met with local NGOs during the year, but 
many local NGOs reported the Government was not responsive. Government 
officials continued to criticize local NGOs publicly for their reports 
of human rights violations that security forces committed.
    There were domestic human rights NGOs that demonstrated significant 
independence; however, several domestic civil society groups were led 
by individuals belonging to or closely associated with the ruling 
political party, which may have limited their independence. Citing the 
appearance of a conflict of interest, some international and domestic 
NGOs expressed concern over the neutrality and independence of the 
country's only legally recognized NGO platform or umbrella group, the 
Inter-NGO Council in CAR (CIONGCA), which was led by the brother of a 
former minister of state and ethnic kinsman of the president. In recent 
years, CIONGCA often represented domestic civil society groups in 
decision-making forums, including the follow-up committee of the 2008 
inclusive political dialogue.
    A few NGOs were active and had a sizable effect on the promotion of 
human rights. Some local NGOs, including the LCDH, the OCDH, the anti-
torture NGO ACAT, and the Association of Women Jurists (AWJ), actively 
monitored human rights problems; worked with journalists to draw 
attention to human rights violations, including those committed by the 
army; pleaded individual cases of human rights abuses before the 
courts; and engaged in efforts to raise the public's awareness of 
citizens' legal rights.
    Domestic human rights NGOs reported that some officials continued 
to view them as spokespersons for opposition political parties. 
President Bozize mentioned his suspicion of their ties to the 
opposition during numerous speeches over the year. They also reported 
several cases of harassment by officials during their fact-finding 
visits around the country. Domestic human rights NGOs reported during 
the year that its members located outside the capital remained afraid 
to investigate alleged abuses because security force members have 
threatened NGO activists suspected of passing information about abuses 
by security forces to international NGOs for publication. Several human 
rights lawyers reported that the families of victims of abuse by 
officials, or those close to officials, often urged the victims not to 
pursue their attackers due to fear of reprisal.
    International human rights NGOs and international organizations 
operated in the country without interference from the Government. 
However, nonstate armed entities sporadically targeted the small number 
of humanitarian workers operating in the northwest, northeast, and 
southeast, stopping their vehicles and robbing them. The entire North 
was occasionally inaccessible to NGOs due to increased violence.
    Due in part to the Government's inability to address persistent 
insecurity in parts of the country effectively, some international 
human rights and humanitarian groups working in conflict zones have 
either closed suboffices or left the country. For example, 
international NGOs working in the Vakaga and Haute Kotto Provinces did 
not send international staff to the region and maintained only limited 
nationally staffed programs.
    Some international NGOs continued to raise human right awareness 
among authorities and security forces. For example, throughout the 
year, the International Rescue Committee and the Danish Refugee Council 
organized a training session for security force instructors focusing on 
fundamental human rights principles, international humanitarian law, 
the rights of children, and women's rights, among other issues.
    During the year the Government continued to cooperate with 
international governmental organizations in the promotion and 
protection of human rights. The national prosecutor's office continued 
to work with BINUCA to investigate human rights abuses by security 
forces, and the Government continued to cooperate with it and other UN 
agencies in their efforts to train security forces in human rights (see 
section 1.d.). The Government also continued to allow BINUCA to conduct 
visits to prisons and detention centers and to conduct human rights 
training for government security agents. International observers 
witnessed small improvements after prison visits but did not observe a 
significant change in policy toward prisons and prisoners rights during 
the year.
    The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Good 
Governance, attached to the presidency, investigated citizen complaints 
of human rights violations by members of the Government. While the 
commission was operational, it remained ineffective and, after working 
briefly on three cases of violations, did not take any substantive 
follow-up steps. With a reported budget of five million CFA francs 
($10,000), the High Commissioner's Office did not have adequate 
staffing or financial resources, and lacked the means to train its 
investigators properly. The limited funding for the commission also 
meant that it only functioned in Bangui, limiting the scope of its 
operations. Some human rights observers noted that it acted more as a 
spokesperson for the Government than an office promoting human rights.
    In December a validation seminar was held to establish in law a 
National Human Rights Commission that was intended to promote 
international human rights standards at the national level. The 
commission was to be independent from the Office of the High 
Commissioner for Human Rights and Good Governance. At year's end, it 
remained undecided whether the commission would be led by a 
commissioner or by a panel.
    A human rights commission in the National Assembly sought to 
strengthen the capacity of the legislature and other government 
institutions to advance human rights, but it had few financial 
resources. Credible human rights NGOs questioned the autonomy and 
desire of this commission to affect real measures, as the National 
Assembly was not generally considered sufficiently independent from the 
executive branch.
    The Government continued to cooperate with the International 
Criminal Court, which continued its investigation into crimes committed 
in the country in 2002-03 by the previous government and by soldiers 
under the command of Jean Pierre Bemba, then a Congolese rebel leader. 
In 2008 Bemba was arrested in Brussels. On November 22, the trial of 
Bemba opened in The Hague at the International Criminal Court. By the 
end of the year, 134 victims had been officially recognized by the 
court with more than 1,000 others awaiting a judicial decision.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution stipulates that all persons are equal before the 
law without regard to wealth, race, disability, language, or gender. 
However, the Government did not enforce these provisions effectively, 
and significant discrimination existed.

    Women.--The law prohibits rape, although it does not specifically 
prohibit spousal rape. Rape is punishable by imprisonment with hard 
labor, but the law does not specify a minimum sentence. The Government 
did not enforce the law effectively. Police sometimes arrested men on 
charges of rape, although statistics on the number of individuals 
prosecuted and convicted for rape during the year were not available. 
The fear of social stigma inhibited many families from bringing suits. 
Released in June 2009, the report of the UNOHCHR's UPRWG commended the 
Government's 2007-11 national action plan to combat gender-based 
violence; however, the report featured several recommendations from 
working group members urging the Government to adopt measures to 
enhance the fight against sexual violence.
    During a visit to the country in February, UN High Commissioner for 
Human Rights Pillay voiced deep concern over--and called for urgent 
action on--the widespread sexual violence that women faced, noting that 
crimes were being committed by both state and nonstate actors.
    Few assessments have been conducted on the prevalence of rape. 
However, according to a baseline study conducted in June and July 2009 
by Mercy Corps in four nonconflict areas (Bangui, Bouar, Bambari, and 
Bangassou), sexual violence against women was pervasive. One in seven 
women reported having been raped in the past year, and the study 
concluded that the true prevalence of rape may be even higher. In 
addition, from February through November, an international NGO reported 
128 total cases of gender-based violence brought to its attention in 
the Nana Gribizi and Ouham Pende Provinces. The reports included male 
and female rape, as well as gang rape. In 27 cases, the victim knew the 
perpetrator and, in 18 cases, the perpetrator was armed. Of these 128 
cases, two victims identified a member of the APRD as the perpetrator, 
one assailant was a member of the FACA, and one was from an unspecified 
armed entity. According to the NGO, in only three of the 128 cases were 
attempts made to hold the perpetrators accountable. In one of these 
three cases, the village leader reported the incident to the gendarmes, 
and the case was still under investigation at year's end. In the other 
two cases, the family members of the victims brought the two 
perpetrators to the APRD who whipped each perpetrator 150 lashes each 
and one was fined 250,000 CFA ($500). Victims were reluctant to report 
the assaults out of fear of stigmatization.
    Although the law does not specifically mention spousal abuse, it 
prohibits violence against any person and provides for penalties of up 
to 10 years in prison. Domestic violence against women, including wife 
beating, was common; 25 percent of women surveyed in the Mercy Corps 
study had experienced violence committed by their partner in 2009. Of 
them 33 percent of men and 71 percent of women said it was acceptable 
to use violence against women when women had not properly performed 
their domestic tasks. Mercy Corps did not witness a significant change 
during the year, although it did not carry out a new study. Spousal 
abuse was considered a civil matter unless the injury was severe. 
According to the AWJ, a Bangui-based NGO specializing in the defense of 
women's and children's rights, victims of domestic abuse seldom 
reported incidents to authorities. When incidents were addressed, it 
was done within the family or local community. The deputy prosecutor 
said he did not remember trying any cases of spousal abuse during the 
year, although litigants cited spousal abuse during divorce trials and 
civil suits.
    Some women reportedly tolerated abuse to retain financial security 
for themselves and their children.
    The law prohibits sexual harassment; however, the Government did 
not effectively enforce the law, and sexual harassment was a common 
problem. The law describes no specific penalties for the crime.
    The Government respected couples' rights to decide freely and 
responsibly the number of children they had, as well as when they had 
them. Most couples lacked access to contraception and skilled 
attendance during childbirth. According to UNICEF data collected 
between 2000 and 2006, 19 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 
49 who were married or in union were using contraception, and only 44 
percent of births were attended by skilled personnel. According to the 
UN Population Funds, the maternal mortality rate remained extremely 
high--850 out of every 100,000 live births and infant mortality was 106 
deaths per 1,000 live births in 2008. UN sources estimated that a 
woman's lifetime risk of maternal death was one in 27. There was little 
information available regarding whether women received the same level 
of care as men for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The 
Government continued working with UN agencies to increase the use of 
contraception, including by women, and to assist in other prevention 
activities targeting sexually transmitted infections.
    The law does not discriminate against women in inheritance and 
property rights, but a number of discriminatory customary laws often 
prevailed, and women's statutory inheritance rights often were not 
respected, particularly in rural areas.
    Women were treated as inferior to men both economically and 
socially. Single, divorced, or widowed women, including those with 
children, were not considered heads of households. One of every three 
women surveyed by Mercy Corps stated they were excluded from financial 
decisions in their households. By law men and women were entitled to 
family subsidies from the Government, but several women groups 
complained about lack of access to these payments for women. There were 
no accurate statistics on the percentage of female wage earners. 
Women's access to educational opportunities and to jobs, particularly 
at higher levels in their professions or in government service, 
remained limited. Some women reported economic discrimination in access 
to credit due to lack of collateral. However, there were no reports of 
discrimination in pay equity or owning or managing a business. Divorce 
is legal and can be initiated by either partner.
    Women, especially the very old and those without family, continued 
to be the target of witchcraft accusations.
    The AWJ advised women of their legal rights and how best to defend 
them; it filed complaints with the Government regarding human rights 
violations. During the year several women's groups organized workshops 
to promote women's and children's rights and encourage women to 
participate fully in the political process.

    Children.--Citizenship is derived by birth in the national 
territory or from one or both parents. The registration of births was 
spotty, and Muslims reported consistent problems in establishing their 
citizenship. Unregistered children faced limitations in access to 
education and other social services. According to a 2006 UNICEF study 
(the most recent available), total birth registration was 49 percent, 
with 36 percent of children registered in rural areas. Registration of 
births in conflict zones was likely lower than in other areas.
    Education is compulsory for six years until the age of 15; tuition 
is free, but students had to pay for their books, supplies, 
transportation, and insurance. Girls did not have equal access to 
primary education; 65 percent of girls were enrolled in the first year 
of school, but only 23 percent of girls finished the six years of 
primary school, according to a 2007 UNESCO study. At the secondary 
level, a majority of girls dropped out at the age of 14 or 15 due to 
societal pressure to marry and bear children.
    Few Ba'aka (Pygmies) attended primary school. Some local and 
international NGOs, including COOPI, made efforts (with little success) 
to increase Ba'aka enrollment in schools; there was no significant 
government assistance to these efforts.
    The law criminalizes parental abuse of children under the age of 
15. Nevertheless, child abuse and neglect were widespread, although 
rarely acknowledged. A juvenile court tried cases involving children 
and provided counseling services to parents and juveniles during the 
year.
    The law prohibits FGM, which is punishable by two to five years' 
imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 to one million CFA francs ($200 to 
$2,000) depending on the severity of the case; nevertheless, girls were 
subjected to this traditional practice in certain rural areas, 
especially in the Northeast and, to a lesser degree, in Bangui. 
According to the AWJ, anecdotal evidence suggested FGM rates declined 
in recent years as a result of efforts by UNICEF, AWJ, and the 
Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Health to familiarize women and 
girls with the dangers of the practice.
    According to UNICEF data collected between 2002 and 2007, the 
percentage of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 who had 
undergone FGM was approximately 27 percent.
    The law establishes 18 as the minimum age for civil marriage; 
however, an estimated 61 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 
were married before the age of 18, according to UNICEF data collected 
between 1998 and 2007, and the 2006 Multiple Indicators Country Survey 
reported that nearly 20 percent of women married before reaching the 
age of 15. The Ministry of Family and Social Affairs had limited means 
to address this problem. Early marriage was usually reported in less 
educated and rural environments where the Government lacked authority. 
The phenomenon of early marriage was more common in the Muslim 
community.
    There were no statutory rape or child pornography laws protecting 
adolescent minors or children.
    Child labor was widespread; forced child labor, including the use 
of children as soldiers, occurred (see sections 1.g., 7.c., and 7.d.).
    There were more than 6,000 street children between the ages of five 
and 18, including 3,000 in Bangui, according to updated data collected 
by the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs. Many experts believed 
that HIV/AIDS and a belief in sorcery, particularly in rural areas, 
contributed to the large number of street children. An estimated 
300,000 children had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, and children 
accused of sorcery (often reportedly in connection to HIV/AIDS-related 
deaths in their neighborhoods) often were expelled from their 
households and were sometimes subjected to societal violence.
    There were NGOs specifically promoting children's rights, including 
some, such as Voices of the Heart, which assisted street children.
    The country's instability had a disproportionate effect on 
children, who accounted for almost 50 percent of IDPs during the year. 
Access to government services was limited for all children, but 
displacement reduced it further.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--There was no significant Jewish community, and 
there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with both mental and physical disabilities. It also 
requires that for any company employing at least 25 persons, at least 5 
percent of its staff must consist of sufficiently qualified persons 
with disabilities, if they are available.
    In addition the law states that each time the Government recruits 
new personnel into the civil service, at least 10 percent of the total 
number of newly recruited personnel should be persons with 
disabilities. According to the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs, 
the provision was not automatic and depended on the availability of 
applications from persons with disabilities at the time of the 
recruitment decision by the interested ministry.
    There was no societal discrimination against persons with 
disabilities. However, there were no legislated or mandated 
accessibility provisions for persons with disabilities, and such access 
was not provided in practice. Approximately 10 percent of the country's 
population had disabilities, mostly due to polio, according to the 2003 
census. The Government had no national policy or strategy for providing 
assistance to persons with disabilities, but there were several one-of-
a-kind government and NGO-initiated programs designed to assist persons 
with disabilities, including handicraft training for persons with 
visual disabilities and the distribution of wheelchairs and carts by 
the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs.
    The Ministry of Family and Social Affairs continued to work with 
the NGO Handicap International during the year to provide treatment, 
surgeons, and prostheses to persons with disabilities.

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.--Violence by unidentified 
persons, bandits, and other nonstate armed entities against the Mbororo 
continued to be a problem, as they continued to suffer 
disproportionately from the civil disorder in the North. Their cattle 
wealth makes them attractive targets to the bandits and other nonstate 
armed entities that controlled the North. Additionally, since many 
citizens viewed the Mbororo as inherently foreign due to their 
transnational migratory patterns, they faced occasional discrimination 
with regard to government services and protections.

    Indigenous People.--Despite constitutional protections, there was 
societal discrimination against Ba'Aka (Pygmies), the earliest known 
inhabitants of the rain forest in the South. Ba'Aka constitute 
approximately 1 to 2 percent of the population. They continued to have 
little say in decisions affecting their lands, culture, traditions, and 
the exploitation of natural resources. Forest-dwelling Ba'Aka, in 
particular, were subject to social and economic discrimination and 
exploitation, which the Government has done little to prevent. Despite 
repeated promises, the Government took no steps to issue and deliver 
identity cards to Ba'Aka, lack of which, according to many human rights 
groups, effectively denied them access to greater civil rights.
    The Ba'Aka, including children, were often coerced into 
agricultural, domestic, and other types of labor. They often were 
considered to be the slaves of other local ethnic groups, and even when 
they were remunerated for labor, their wages were far below those 
prescribed by the labor code and lower than wages paid to members of 
other groups.
    Refugees International reported in recent years that Ba'Aka were 
effectively ``second-class citizens,'' and the popular perception of 
them as barbaric, savage, and subhuman seemingly had legitimized their 
exclusion from mainstream society.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--The penal code criminalizes 
homosexual behavior. The penalty for ``public expression of love'' 
between persons of the same sex is imprisonment for six months to two 
years or a fine of between 150,000 and 600,000 CFA francs ($300 and 
$1,200). When the relationships involve a child, the sentence is two to 
five years' imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 to 800,000 CFA francs 
($200 and $1,600); however, there were no reports that police arrested 
or detained persons they believed to be involved in homosexual 
activity.
    While there is official discrimination based on sexual orientation, 
there were no reports of the Government targeting gays and lesbians. 
However, societal discrimination against homosexual conduct persisted 
during the year, and many citizens attributed the existence of 
homosexual conduct to undue Western influence.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--Persons with HIV/AIDS 
were subject to discrimination and stigma, although less so as NGOs and 
UN agencies raised awareness about the disease and available 
treatments. Nonetheless, many individuals with HIV/AIDS did not 
disclose their status for fear of social stigma.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows all workers, except 
for senior-level state employees and security forces, including the 
armed forces and gendarmes, to form or join unions without prior 
authorization; however, only a relatively small part of the workforce, 
primarily civil servants, exercised this right. The percentage of 
Central Africans in the workforce during the year was estimated to be 
as high as 82.6 percent or roughly 3.7 million. The percentage of 
workers in agriculture was 66.8 percent, in the public sector 2.9 
percent, and in the private sector 15.8 percent.
    The labor code provides for the right of workers to organize and 
administer trade unions without employer interference and grants trade 
unions full legal status, including the right to file lawsuits. The 
Government generally respected these rights in practice.
    There continued to be substantial restrictions that made it 
difficult for citizens to hold a leadership position within a union, 
despite some amendments to the labor code. Although the labor code no 
longer bars a person who loses the status of worker from belonging to a 
trade union or participating in its administration, the law still 
requires that union officials be full-time, wage-earning employees in 
their occupation, and only allows them to conduct union business during 
working hours as long as the employer is informed 48 hours in advance 
and provides authorization. In addition the law requires that foreign 
workers must meet the residency requirements of at least two years 
before they may organize. In June the International Labor Organization 
(ILO) requested the Government to amend these provisions to ensure they 
are in conformity with ILO principles and standards.
    Workers have the right to strike in both the public and private 
sectors, and they exercised this right during the year; however, 
security forces, including the armed forces and gendarmes, are 
prohibited from striking. Requirements for conducting a legal strike 
were excessively lengthy and cumbersome. To be legal, strikes must be 
preceded by the union's presentation of demands, the employer's 
response to these demands, a conciliation meeting between labor and 
management, and a finding by an arbitration council that union and 
employer failed to reach agreement on valid demands. The union must 
provide eight days' advance written notification of a planned strike. 
The law states that if employers initiate a lockout that is not in 
accordance with the code, the employer is required to pay workers for 
all days of the lockout. The Ministry of Labor has the authority to 
determine a list of enterprises that are required by law to maintain a 
``compulsory minimum service'' in the event of a strike. The Government 
has the power of requisition or the authority to end strikes by 
invoking the public interest. The code makes no other provisions 
regarding sanctions on employers for acting against strikers. In June, 
as on numerous other occasions, the ILO requested the Government to 
amend the relevant provisions to ensure the scope of the ``minimum 
service'' and the Government's power to end strikes would conform with 
ILO principles and standards to provide that the workers' right to 
strike would not be unfairly undermined.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The labor code 
provides that unions may bargain collectively in the public and private 
sectors, and provides workers protection from employer interference in 
the administration of a union.
    Collective bargaining occurred in the private sector during the 
year, although the total number of collective agreements concluded 
during the year was unknown. The Government generally was not involved 
if the two parties were able to reach an agreement.
    In the civil service, the Government, which was the country's 
largest employer, set wages after consultation, but not negotiation, 
with government employee trade unions. Salary arrears continued to be a 
severe problem for armed forces personnel and the 24,000 civil 
servants. In June the ILO recommended that the Government amend a 
provision of the labor code, which in effect hinders the public sector 
workers' right to bargain collectively by providing for the negotiation 
of collective agreements in the public sector by professional groupings 
even when trade unions exist.
    The law expressly forbids antiunion discrimination. The president 
of the labor court said the court did not hear any cases involving 
antiunion discrimination during the year. Labor unions did not report 
any underlying patterns of discrimination or abuse.
    Employees can have their cases heard in the labor court. The law 
does not state whether employers found guilty of antiunion 
discrimination are required to reinstate workers fired for union 
activities, although employers found guilty of such discrimination were 
required by law to pay damages, including back pay and lost wages.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--Although the labor 
code specifically prohibits forced or compulsory labor and prescribes a 
penalty of five to 10 years' imprisonment, the Government did not 
enforce the prohibition effectively, and there were reports that such 
practices occurred. Women and children were trafficked for forced 
domestic labor, agricultural labor, mining, sales, restaurant labor, 
and sexual exploitation. Prisoners often worked on public projects 
without compensation. In rural areas, there were reported cases of the 
use of prisoners for domestic labor at some government officials' 
residences. However, in Bangui and other large urban areas, the 
practice was rare, partly because of the presence of human rights NGOs 
or lawyers. Prisoners often received shortened sentences for performing 
such work. Ba'Aka, including children, often were coerced into labor as 
day laborers, farm hands, or other unskilled labor, and often treated 
as slaves.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
labor code's prohibition of forced or compulsory labor applies to 
children, although they are not mentioned specifically. Other 
provisions of the labor code forbid the employment of children younger 
than 14 years of age without specific authorization from the Ministry 
of Labor; however, the Ministry of Labor and Civil Service did not 
enforce these provisions. Child labor was common in many sectors of the 
economy, especially in rural areas, and forced labor also occurred. 
Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that children were 
employed on public works projects or at the residences of government 
officials. The labor code provides that the minimum age for employment 
could be as young as 12 years of age for some types of light work in 
traditional agricultural activities or home services. The law prohibits 
children younger than 18 years old from performing hazardous work or 
working at night. The law defines hazardous work as any employment that 
endangers children's physical and mental health. However, children 
continued to perform hazardous work during the year. The labor code 
does not define the worst forms of child labor.
    According to data collected by UNICEF in surveys between 1999 and 
2007, approximately 47 percent of children between the ages of five and 
14 years were involved in child labor. UNICEF considered a child to be 
involved in labor if, during the week preceding the survey, a child 
between five and 11 years old performed at least one hour of economic 
activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work or a child between 12 
and 14 years old performed at least 14 hours of economic activity or at 
least 28 hours of domestic work.
    Throughout the country, children as young as seven years old 
frequently performed agricultural work. Children often worked as 
domestic workers, fishermen, and in mines (often in dangerous 
conditions). International observers noted that children worked in the 
diamond fields alongside adult relatives, transporting and washing 
gravel, as well as in gold mining, digging holes, and carrying heavy 
loads. The mining code specifically prohibits child or underage labor; 
however, this requirement was not enforced during the year, and many 
children were seen working in and around diamond mining fields.
    In Bangui many of the city's estimated 3,000 street children worked 
as street vendors.
    During the year nonstate armed entities recruited and used child 
soldiers (see section 1.g.).
    Displaced children continued to work in fields for long hours in 
conditions of extreme heat, harvesting peanuts and cassava, and helping 
gather items that were sold at markets, such as mushrooms, hay, 
firewood, and caterpillars.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--The labor code states that the 
minister of labor must set minimum wages in the public sector by 
decree. The minimum wages in the private sector are established on the 
basis of sector-specific collective conventions resulting from 
negotiations between the employer and workers' representatives in each 
sector.
    The minimum wage in the private sphere varies by sector and by kind 
of work. For example, the monthly minimum wage was 8,500 CFA francs 
($17) for agricultural workers and 26,000 CFA francs ($52) for 
government workers.
    The minimum wage only applies to the formal sector, leaving much of 
the economy unregulated in terms of wages. The annual minimum wage 
increased 12 percent during the year from 25,000 CFA ($50) to 28,000 
CFA ($56). However, the minimum wage does not provide a decent standard 
of living for a worker and family. The law applies to foreign and 
migrant workers as well. Most labor was performed outside the wage and 
social security system (in the extensive informal sector), especially 
by farmers in the large subsistence agricultural sector.
    The law sets a standard workweek of 40 hours for government 
employees and most private sector employees. Household employees may 
work up to 52 hours per week. The law also requires a minimum rest 
period of 48 hours per week for both citizens and foreign and migrant 
workers. Overtime policy varied according to the workplace; violations 
of overtime policy were taken to the Ministry of Labor, although it is 
unknown whether this occurred in practice during the year. The 
Government does not enforce labor standards.
    There are general laws on health and safety standards in the 
workplace, but the Ministry of Labor and Civil Service neither 
precisely defined nor enforced them. The labor code states that a labor 
inspector may force an employer to correct unsafe or unhealthy work 
conditions, but it does not provide the right for workers to remove 
themselves from such conditions without risk of loss of employment. 
There are no exceptions for foreign and migrant workers.

                               __________

                                  CHAD

    Chad is a centralized republic with a population of approximately 
11 million. In 2006 President Idriss Deby Itno, leader of the Patriotic 
Salvation Movement (MPS), was elected to a third term in what 
unofficial observers characterized as an orderly but seriously flawed 
election boycotted by the opposition. Deby has ruled the country since 
taking power in a 1990 coup. The executive branch dominated the 
legislature and judiciary.
    On January 15, the Governments of Chad and Sudan signed an 
agreement to normalize relations. Both parties agreed to end the 
presence of and support for the other's armed opposition groups in 
their respective territories. The Governments also agreed to establish 
a joint force to patrol and monitor the shared border; the joint force 
was established in February. Hundreds of Chadian rebels who had been 
living in Sudan returned to the country during the year. The Government 
withdrew support for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and 
expelled JEM personnel, including leader Khalil Ibrahim. Fighting 
between government forces and rebels occurred once during the year, and 
there were no reports of cross-border raids by militias based in 
Darfur, Sudan.
    In January President Deby announced that he would not support the 
renewal of MINURCAT, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic 
(CAR) and Chad. On May 25, following subsequent discussions between the 
Government and the United Nations, UN Security Council Resolution 1923 
extended MINURCAT's mandate until December 31, with a reduction in its 
military personnel and complete withdrawal of military and civilian 
elements, other than those required for the mission's liquidation, by 
that date. MINURCAT concluded operations and withdrew from the country 
by December 31. There were instances in which elements of the security 
forces acted independently of civilian control.
    Human rights abuses included limitations on citizens' right to 
change their government; extrajudicial killings, including politically 
motivated killings; criminal kidnappings of children for ransom; 
torture, beatings, and rape by security forces; security force 
impunity; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary 
arrest and detention; incommunicado detention; lengthy pretrial 
detention; denial of fair public trial; executive interference in the 
judiciary; arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and 
correspondence; limitations on freedom of speech, press, and movement; 
abuse of refugees; widespread official corruption; kidnappings of 
nongovernmental organization (NGO) personnel by armed groups and 
bandits; societal discrimination and violence against women, including 
female genital mutilation (FGM); child abuse, abduction, and 
trafficking; and child marriage. Use of child soldiers occurred, 
although reports of such activity greatly decreased during the year. 
Ethnic-based discrimination; repression of union activity; forced 
labor, including by children; and exploitive child labor were problems.
    Ethnic-based rebel groups and bandits committed human rights 
abuses, including killings; abductions, rape, and injury of civilians; 
use of child soldiers; and attacks against humanitarian workers. The 
Government's defeat of rebel groups and expulsion of JEM personnel, 
however, impeded their ability to operate within the country, resulting 
in a dramatic decrease in human rights abuses committed by such groups.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--There were reports 
that the Government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful 
killings, including politically motivated killings, generally of those 
suspected of rebel affiliations. Killings were sometimes committed by 
``men in uniform,'' and it was often not possible to determine whether 
perpetrators were members of the armed forces or police, or whether 
they were acting on official orders. The Government generally did not 
prosecute or punish security force members who committed killings.
    On January 11, in Doba, security forces reportedly kidnapped and 
killed Madjingar Kemhodjim due to his alleged membership in a southern-
based rebel group. Kemhodjim's body was found in a local cemetery.
    On March 23, in Haraze-Mangaine, members of the Chadian National 
Army (ANT) killed Fadoul Barcham, a district chief. According to a 
local human rights organization, Barcham was killed because he did not 
support local representatives of the ruling MPS party.
    On October 19, in Guereda, ANT soldiers detained and reportedly 
beat a minor for allegedly possessing weapons; the minor subsequently 
died in ANT custody. In retaliation, on October 21, ANT troops of the 
boy's ethnic Tama tribe confronted the ethnic Zaghawa ANT troops 
accused of the beating death. A subsequent exchange of fire killed an 
ANT officer from each tribe.
    Following the January accord between the Governments of Chad and 
Sudan, fighting between government and rebel forces occurred on one 
occasion; however, there were no reports of civilian killings.
    The Government conducted no investigations of the following 2009 
security force killings in connection with the conflict in the East: 
the May summary executions by soldiers of at least nine rebels in Am 
Dam; the May killings of civilians in Am Dam as a result of government 
tanks crushing suspected rebel homes; the July killings by soldiers of 
five unidentified persons, whose bodies were found buried outside of 
Pala; and the December killing of Regine Doumro by a uniformed 
perpetrator.
    Attacks on travelers by armed bandits, some of whom wore uniforms, 
resulted in deaths, although there were fewer such attacks than in the 
previous year. Some of the perpetrators were identified as active duty 
soldiers or deserters. It was often unclear whether the killings were 
politically or criminally motivated.
    For example, on June 2, in N'Djamena armed bandits suspected of 
being ANT members killed Ali Karachi Abderamane, an aviation 
technician. Local media reported that Abderamane was killed due to his 
relationship with an exiled regime opponent.
    No investigation was conducted in the January 2009 killing by 
unknown assailants of Gani Nassour Betchi, sister of rebel leader Tom 
Erdimi.
    No action was taken to identify the perpetrators of numerous cases 
of human rights abuse reported by the Commission of Inquiry, which was 
established to investigate disappearances and other abuses that 
occurred during the 2008 rebel attack and government counterattack in 
N'Djamena. However, on November 18, the Council of Ministers authorized 
the defense minister and former interior minister to provide witness 
testimony to judicial investigators. The commission's 2008 report 
charged that 977 persons--including civilians, ANT personnel, and 
rebels--were killed, 1,758 injured, 34 raped, and 380 detained in 
N'Djamena and the provinces during that period. In 2009 the Government 
established an additional subcommittee under the minister of justice to 
reexamine cases discussed in the commission's report.
    There were no developments in the following 2008 security force 
killings: the civilian killings resulting from the ANT's destruction of 
several villages in Maitoukoulou, CAR and the killing of supporters of 
Sheikh Ahmet Ismael Bichara in response to their alleged attack on 
security forces.
    The two persons detained in Sarh for the 2008 high-profile killing 
of college professor Tenebaye Oringar remained in detention awaiting 
trial at year's end.
    Unlike in previous years, there were no reports of civilian deaths 
resulting from unexploded ordnance, including landmines, laid by 
government, rebel, and foreign units.
    Interethnic fighting resulted in deaths.
    For example, in June, in continuation of a decades-long ethnic 
feud, armed Zaghawa entered the court in Abeche and killed several 
ethnic Tama who had completed prison terms for an offense committed 
against the Zaghawa, but who had refused to leave prison for fear of 
their personal safety.
    The alleged perpetrators of the killings of nine persons during the 
November 2009 interethnic conflict between herders and farmers in Kana 
District remained in detention without charge at year's end.
    Children kidnapped for ransom were sometimes killed (see section 
1.b.).

    b. Disappearance.--Unlike in the previous year, there were no 
reports of politically motivated disappearances; however, the 
whereabouts of persons arrested for political reasons in previous years 
remained unknown. Persons were held incommunicado during the year.
    On June 6, armed bandits kidnapped Hubert Blama, an employee of the 
British NGO Oxfam; Blama was subsequently released (see section 5).
    The whereabouts of Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, one of three prominent 
opposition leaders arrested in 2008, remained unknown. Despite pressure 
from foreign governments, local human rights groups, and members of 
Ibni's political party, who during the year held an assembly calling 
for government action on the case, no arrests were made. In January an 
interministerial committee, established to investigate unresolved cases 
connected to the 2008 rebel attacks, requested a six-month extension to 
complete its work; however, no information about Ibni's case had been 
released by year's end.
    The whereabouts of at least 135 rebels captured during the 2008 
rebel attack on N'Djamena remained unknown at year's end.
    The kidnapping of children for ransom in the Mayo-Kebbi Ouest 
Region remained a problem, although there were fewer such incidents 
than in the previous year. Armed persons, both local and from 
neighboring countries, reportedly kidnapped children, especially Peuhl 
children, due to perceptions that Peuhl families were wealthier than 
those of other ethnic groups. According to a local NGO, 148 children 
were kidnapped from 2007-09, and the total ransom money paid was 
approximately 157 million CFA ($314,000). During the same period, 114 
children held by bandits were killed, some by kidnappers when ransom 
payments were not forthcoming and others during police attempts to free 
them.
    On July 16, local human rights representatives in Pala reported the 
kidnapping of a four-year-old child near Fianga. During the same month, 
another local human rights group reported the kidnapping of two 
children in Bongor. On September 23, five children were kidnapped for 
ransom; on October 28, one kidnapped child was found dead after the 
parents were unable to pay the ransom in time. According to the human 
rights organization, no investigation of the death was conducted.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
the Government did not respect these provisions in practice. Security 
force members tortured, beat, raped, and abused persons, particularly 
those suspected of rebel activity or collaboration with rebels. The 
Government took no known action against security force members 
responsible for such abuse.
    On January 24, in N'Djamena security forces arrested Mbailassem 
Berangoto, who allegedly was tortured during detention. No information 
was available on the reasons for Berangoto's arrest, and no action had 
been taken against security force members reportedly involved in his 
torture by year's end.
    On February 7, in Salamat gendarmes arrested Djibrine Noh, who was 
subsequently tortured during detention. As a result of injuries 
inflicted during the torture, doctors amputated Noh's right hand after 
he was released.
    On May 12, in Sarh government intelligence agents arrested 
Madjadoumbe Ngom Halle, who they subsequently tortured during 
detention. Halle was released on June 16.
    No action was taken against security forces involved in the 
following 2009 cases of torture: the March 19 detention and torture by 
military personnel of Malioum Ousamane; the March 26 arrest and torture 
by police of 15-year-old Mahamat Nour Abrass; and the May 29 torture by 
security agents of Yaya Erdimi.
    Police, gendarmes, and ANT personnel raped women and girls.
    No action was taken in the following 2009 cases of security force 
rape: the May 7 rape by ANT soldiers of a girl and a woman near Am Dam; 
the July 1 rape of an 11-year-old girl by men in uniform; and the 
kidnap and rape by ANT soldiers of 10 girls.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that unexploded 
ordnance, including landmines laid by government, rebel, or foreign 
forces, resulted in injuries.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions remained 
harsh and life threatening. Prisons were seriously overcrowded; had 
poor sanitation; and provided inadequate food, shelter, and medical 
facilities. Regional detention centers, which were crumbling, 
overcrowded, and without adequate protection for women and youth, had 
no budgets to provide meals for inmates. Prison guards were not 
regularly paid, and sometimes ``released'' prisoners who offered 
compensation for the service. Provisions for ventilation, temperature, 
lighting, and access to potable water were inadequate or nonexistent. 
The law provides that a doctor must visit each prison three times a 
week, but this provision was not respected. Forced labor in prisons 
occurred.
    As a result of inadequate record-keeping and management, many 
individuals remained in prison after completing their sentences or 
after courts had ordered their release. During the year Justice 
Minister Mbailao Naimbaye Lossimian and other government officials 
visited various prisons throughout the country to evaluate conditions. 
In May the justice minister ordered a survey of all prisoners to assess 
the disposition of cases and whether prisoners knew their rights. The 
survey revealed there were prisoners without case files, who had been 
detained more than three years with no follow-up by judges or lawyers.
    Local human rights organizations continued to report on the 
existence of military prisons to which access was prohibited; they also 
reported on the existence of secret prisons run by the National 
Security Agency and the General Directorate of Security Services for 
National Institutions (DGSSIE). According to local human rights 
organizations, persons were detained in secret detention facilities 
under the authority of the Ministry of the Environment; other 
international organizations disputed this claim.
    There were continued reports that rebel suspects were being held in 
the Koro Toro detention facility, which was operated by the Public 
Security and Immigration Ministry. (During the year the president 
divided the former ministry of interior into two entities: the Ministry 
of Public Security and Immigration and the Ministry of Territorial 
Administration.) On August 11, an opposition Web site released a list 
of 750 prisoners allegedly detained there. No information on prison 
conditions was available. In December the Government formally 
transferred control of the prison to the Ministry of Justice in an 
effort to improve conditions, encourage due process, and provide 
humanitarian access.
    Estimates of deaths due to poor prison conditions varied. A local 
human rights group reported 10 prisoners died during the year; however, 
an opposition Web site claimed that 20 prisoners had died in Koro Toro 
Prison alone.
    The Government did not keep statistics on the number of prisoners 
and detainees in the country, and no information was available. 
Juvenile males were not always separated from adult male prisoners, and 
children were sometimes held with their inmate mothers. During a July 2 
to 5 Justice Ministry visit to five eastern towns, officials found 
children as young as eight years old incarcerated for petty thievery. 
Pretrial detainees were held with convicted prisoners.
    Prisoners generally had access to visitors and were permitted 
religious observance. There was no regular mechanism by which prisoners 
could submit complaints about prison conditions, and there were no 
judicial authorities to receive such complaints.
    The Government honored a permanent authorization notice of the 
Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights 
(ATPDH), allowing the organization to visit civilian prisons at any 
time without advance notice. Other local NGOs, including human rights 
groups, were required to obtain authorization from a court or from the 
director of prisons; granting of such authorizations depended largely 
on the personal inclinations of those with authority to grant 
permission. Local NGOs were not allowed access to military prisons.
    The Government permitted the International Committee of the Red 
Cross (ICRC) to visit civilian prisons under the control of the 
Ministry of Justice and, during the year, the ICRC conducted such 
visits. Despite repeated ICRC requests, the Government denied access to 
the Koro Toro detention facility, which was run by the Ministry of 
Public Security and Immigration. However, the Ministry of Justice, 
which assumed authority for the Koro Toro facility in December, assured 
the ICRC that access would be forthcoming. The Government also 
restricted ICRC access to detention centers operated by other 
ministries.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, security forces often 
violated these provisions.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The ANT, gendarmerie, 
national police, nomadic guard (GNNT), DGSSIE, and counterintelligence 
service (ANS) are responsible for internal security. The Integrated 
Security Detachment (DIS), which reports to the National Coordination 
of Support to Humanitarian Activities and the Integrated Security 
Detachment, is responsible for reducing insecurity in refugee camps and 
for protecting refugees and IDPs. The ANT, gendarmerie, and GNNT report 
to the Ministry of Defense; the National Police reports to the Ministry 
of Public Security and Immigration; and the DGSSIE and ANS report to 
the president. Officers from President Deby's ethnic group, the 
Zaghawa, and closely allied ethnic groups dominated the ANS. The 
DGSSIE's ethnic composition was mixed, but Zaghawas were 
overrepresented. The police force was centrally controlled, but 
exercising oversight, particularly outside N'Djamena, was difficult.
    Police were corrupt and involved in banditry, arms proliferation, 
and extortion. Security force impunity was widespread (see section 5).
    As a result of the January 15 peace accord with Sudan, a mixed 
Chadian-Sudanese border force to patrol between the two countries was 
established in February. The Government and outside observers 
considered the border force effective. Command authority alternated 
every six months between Chad and Sudan.
    In 2009 the Government initiated an extensive military 
modernization program to professionalize and reduce the size of the 
armed forces. Part of the effort included ascertaining who still 
collected military salaries and wore uniforms, since many former 
military personnel continued to do so, and former soldiers sometimes 
posed as active duty military and committed crimes with government-
issued weapons. However, weapons were pervasive in the country, there 
was no standardized military uniform (except for the beret), and 
camouflage uniforms were readily available in the marketplace. Reports 
of violence were often accompanied by witnesses claiming the 
perpetrator was ``someone in uniform.''
    In January President Deby announced that he would not support the 
renewal of MINURCAT, which the UN authorized in 2007 to protect 
civilians, support regional peace, and promote human rights and the 
rule of law in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR. Deby claimed the 
Government could perform MINURCAT's protection functions as well as UN 
peacekeepers. On May 25, following subsequent discussions between the 
Government and the UN, UN Security Council Resolution 1923 extended 
MINURCAT's mandate until December 31, with a reduction in its military 
personnel and complete withdrawal of military and civilian elements, 
other than those required for the mission's liquidation, by that date. 
MINURCAT ended all military operations on October 15. On December 31, 
MINUCAT transferred its remaining functions to the Government.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--Although the 
constitution and law require a judicial official to sign arrest 
warrants, secret detentions occurred. Detainees were not promptly 
informed of charges, and judicial determinations were not made 
promptly. The law requires access to bail and counsel, but neither was 
regularly provided. Incommunicado detention was a problem, and there 
were reports that persons held incommunicado were tortured. The 
constitution and law state that legal counsel should be provided for 
indigent defendants and that defendants should be allowed prompt access 
to family members; however, in practice this usually did not occur.
    Security forces arbitrarily arrested and reportedly tortured 
detainees, particularly those suspected of collaborating with rebels; 
however, unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that 
political leaders, civil society representatives, or human rights 
activists were arrested.
    On March 31, gendarmes in N'Djamena arbitrarily arrested without 
charge Abakar Hassane, a driver. Hassane was later released after the 
Chadian League for Human Rights (LTDH), a local human rights 
organization, lodged a complaint.
    During the same month, in N'Djamena intelligence agents arrested 
without charge Mahamat Abrass Moussa, who remained in ANS detention at 
year's end. The Government denied access to the ICRC and a local human 
rights organization, both of which had requested permission to visit 
Moussa.
    In April in Guidari, the LTDH reported that gendarmes arrested, 
detained, and fined 20 farmers a total of 232,000 CFA ($464) for 
allegedly felling trees on their farms; the law prohibits the mass 
destruction of trees, although security forces sometimes used the law 
to extort money from persons who cut a single tree. The farmers were 
released after the LTDH filed a complaint with the court in Moundou.
    Lengthy pretrial detention remained a problem. Persons accused of 
crimes could be imprisoned for several years before being charged or 
tried, particularly those who were arrested in the provinces for 
felonies and transferred to prison in N'Djamena. Lengthy pretrial 
detention resulted from a weak judiciary, which functioned poorly in 
urban areas and was generally ignored outside of the capital.

    Amnesty.--On January 14, 175 prisoners were pardoned following a 
New Year's amnesty declared by the president.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution and law provide 
for an independent judiciary; however, the judiciary was ineffective, 
underfunded, overburdened, and subject to executive interference. 
Intimidation and violence against judicial members were also problems, 
and members of the judiciary sometimes received death threats or were 
demoted or removed from their positions for not acquiescing to pressure 
from officials. Courts were generally weak and in some areas 
nonexistent or nonfunctional. For example, there were only 150 judges 
in the country and all had to hand-write court documents. The 
constitution mandates that the Superior Council of Magistrates 
recommend judicial nominees and sanction judges who commit 
improprieties; however, the Government prevented any sanctions from 
being considered or carried out. A judicial oversight commission has 
the power to conduct investigations of judicial decisions and address 
suspected miscarriages of justice; however, the president appointed 
commission members, which increased executive control over the 
judiciary and diminished the authority of the superior council. Some 
members of the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, and Court of 
Appeals were appointed by the Government rather than popularly elected 
as required by law, which further weakened judicial independence.
    During the year the justice minister organized a variety of trips 
around the country to evaluate the judicial system personally; most 
results of those visits were not made public.
    Government officials, particularly members of the military, had 
impunity (see section 4). During the year there were reports that the 
mayor of Abeche prevented the enforcement of sentences delivered by the 
court. According to one report, persons detained on criminal charges in 
the East and sent to N'Djamena for prosecution later reappeared in 
military uniform in Abeche.
    Applicable law was sometimes confusing, as courts tended to blend 
the formal French-derived legal code with traditional practices, and 
customary law often superseded Napoleonic law in practice. Residents of 
rural areas often lacked access to formal judicial institutions, and 
legal reference texts were not available outside the capital or in 
Arabic. In most minor civil cases, the population relied on traditional 
courts, over which village chiefs, canton chiefs, or sultans presided. 
Penalties in traditional courts varied and sometimes depended on the 
clan affiliation of the victim and perpetrator. Decisions of 
traditional courts can be appealed to a formal court. During the year 
the UN conducted a program to train local chiefs and officials on 
mediation techniques and practices.
    The law provides that crimes committed by military members be tried 
by a military court; however, no such courts existed.

    Trial Procedures.--The law provides for a presumption of innocence; 
however, in practice many judges assumed a suspect's guilt, sometimes 
as a means to extort money from the defendant. For example, in the few 
cases of rape that reached the courts, defendants were fined rather 
than tried as a means to extort money. Trials are public and use 
juries, except in politically sensitive cases. Defendants have the 
right to be present in court. They also have the right to consult an 
attorney in a timely manner; however, in practice detained persons were 
not always given access to counsel. The law states that indigents 
should be provided promptly with legal counsel, but this seldom 
occurred in practice. Human rights groups sometimes provided free 
counsel to indigent clients. Defendants, their lawyers, and judges are 
permitted by law to question witnesses. Defendants have the right to 
present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. Defendants and 
their attorneys have access to government-held evidence relevant to 
their cases, except in politically sensitive cases. Defendants have the 
right to appeal decisions. The law extends these rights to all 
citizens.
    Local leaders decide in a particular case whether to apply the 
Islamic concept of dia, which involves a payment to the family of a 
crime victim. The practice was common in Muslim areas. Non-Muslim 
groups, which supported implementation of a civil code, continued to 
challenge the use of the dia concept, arguing that it was 
unconstitutional.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--The Government held political 
detainees and prisoners during the year; however, the absence of 
statistics and records made it difficult to ascertain how many were 
held.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--The judiciary reportedly 
was not always independent or impartial in civil matters. There are 
administrative and judicial remedies available such as mediation for 
alleged wrongs. Suits for human rights violations may be brought before 
the penal tribunal or the penal court; compensation is addressed in the 
civil court.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution provides for the right to privacy and 
inviolability of the home; however, the Government conducted illegal 
searches and wiretaps, monitored private mail and e-mail, and continued 
home demolitions in N'Djamena. Security forces regularly stopped 
citizens and extorted money or confiscated belongings.
    In June the Government demolished homes, businesses, NGO 
headquarters, and government facilities as part of its ongoing urban 
renewal efforts in N'Djamena. The demolitions, which began in 2008, 
have left tens of thousands of persons without shelter or means of 
earning income. Citizens charged that the Government had not given 
proper advance notification of the home demolitions, although the 
Government claimed that citizens had not heeded notifications to move. 
The Government provided compensation to those with deeds; however, 
critics charged that the compensation was inadequate and not available 
to all. New construction to replace demolished housing began during the 
year, but many newly homeless persons were living in vacant lots at 
year's end.
    The Ministry of Public Security and Immigration maintained an 
emergency-era ban on both the possession and use of satellite 
telephones. Military and police personnel searched for and confiscated 
satellite telephones.
    Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that police 
arrested family members of suspects.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution provides for 
freedom of opinion, expression, and of the press, with restrictions if 
public order, good morals, or the rights of others are affected; 
however, the Government did not always respect these rights, although 
press freedom improved during the year. The constitution also prohibits 
propaganda of an ethnic, regionalist, or religious nature that affects 
national unity or the secular nature of the state. Journalists and 
publishers practiced self-censorship.
    Individuals who publicly criticized the Government said they risked 
reprisals, and the Government reportedly attempted to control criticism 
by intimidating critics and monitoring opposition meetings.
    On August 18, the National Assembly adopted a new law on press 
freedom, Law No. 17, and rescinded Ordinance 5, the 2008 presidential 
decree that placed state-of-emergency restrictions on speech and press. 
Most observers welcomed the new law, which decriminalizes many press 
offenses as well as the specific crime of offending the head of state. 
However, others criticized provisions that prohibit journalists or 
newspapers from inciting racial or ethnic hatred or condoning violence, 
for which penalties include jail sentences of up to one year, fines of 
up to one million CFA ($2,000 dollars), or a six-month suspension of 
publication.
    Some journalists in rural areas reported that government officials 
warned them not to engage in political reporting on contentious 
subjects. In addition some domestic journalists claimed the Government 
restricted their ability to cover events or visit certain locations and 
limited their access to high-ranking officials, restrictions the 
Government did not impose on foreign journalists.
    On January 6, an N'Djamena court ordered the suspension of the 
opposition publication La Voix du Tchad following the High Council for 
Communications (HCC) order that it cease publication in December 2009 
because it was not licensed. The newspaper was permitted to resume 
publishing in mid-January.
    In the October 14 to 17 edition of the local newspaper N'Djamena 
Bi-Hebdo, the publishers included an article comparing southern Sudan 
with southern Chad. The prime minister called the article ``dangerous'' 
and asked the HCC to act on the matter. On October 19, the HCC met with 
journalists and warned N'Djamena Bi-Hebdo in particular and all media 
houses in general to ``observe ethics rules'' by not printing articles 
that risked inciting hatred, violence, or separatist sentiment.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports of foreign 
journalists being deported.
    Radio remained the most important medium of mass communication. 
Government-owned Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne had several 
branches. There were numerous private radio stations that broadcast 
throughout the country; many of them were owned by religious 
organizations, including four stations affiliated with the Catholic NGO 
BELACD.
    The licensing fee set by the HCC for a commercial radio station 
remained prohibitively high at approximately five million CFA 
(approximately $10,000) per year, 10 times the fee for radio stations 
owned by nonprofit NGOs. The HCC monitored and censored the content of 
radio station programming.
    The Government owned and operated the only domestic television 
station but did not interfere with reception of channels originating 
outside the country.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet; however, the Government reportedly monitored e-mail. 
Although increasingly available to the public at Internet cafes, most 
persons could not afford Internet access. Lack of infrastructure 
limited public access elsewhere. According to International 
Telecommunication Union statistics for the year, approximately 1.19 
percent of the country's inhabitants used the Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution provides for freedom of assembly, with 
restrictions if the rights of others, public order, and morals are 
affected; unlike in the previous year, the Government generally 
respected this right. The law requires organizers of demonstrations to 
notify the Government five days in advance.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of association, with restrictions if the rights of others, 
public order, and morals are affected, and the Government respected 
this right in practice.
    An ordinance requires prior authorization from the Ministry of 
Territorial Administration before an association, including a labor 
union, may be formed; however, there were no reports that the ordinance 
was enforced. The ordinance also allows for the immediate 
administrative dissolution of an association and permits authorities to 
monitor association funds.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a complete description of religious 
freedom, please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--Although the constitution and law 
provide for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, 
emigration, and repatriation, the Government imposed limits on these 
rights.
    The Government cooperated with the Office of the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations 
in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, 
refugees, and other persons of concern.
    The Ministry of Territorial Administration required foreigners, 
including humanitarian agency personnel, to obtain authorization to 
travel to the eastern part of the country.
    Security forces, bandits, and, to a lesser extent than in previous 
years, rebel groups continued to maintain roadblocks, extorting money 
from travelers, often beating and in some cases killing them.
    Armed bandits, herders involved in cross-border conflict over 
resources, and rebel groups along the border with CAR continued to 
hinder free movement in the region.
    The law prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not use it.
    The Government continued active negotiations with rebel groups to 
convince them to renounce their rebel associations and integrate into 
the ANT or civilian life. Returning rebels who gave up former 
affiliations were not arrested or threatened with arrest, although 
rebels captured without surrendering were detained. During the year 
hundreds of rebel fighters returned voluntarily from Sudan; in 2009 
between 2,000 and 3,000 rebels returned to the country. However, rebel 
fighters remained in Sudan at year's end.

    Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).--Approximately 170,000 IDPs, 
most of whom were displaced in 2005 as a result of interethnic fighting 
over scarce water and land resources during drought, resided in 38 
camps in the country. Many IDPs were reluctant to return to their 
original homes, which often had been resettled by other groups and 
frequently provided less access to potable water and primary health 
care. The Government continued to allow IDPs access to humanitarian 
organizations and permitted them to accept assistance provided by these 
groups. Although UN and humanitarian organizations operated in the 
country during the year, lack of security lessened their ability to 
provide services to IDPs and refugees.
    Sexual violence against displaced women and girls in the eastern 
part of the country was a problem. Four ANT soldiers reportedly raped 
an IDP during the year, and there were reports that organized groups 
and bandits raped IDPs. While in the past such violence was primarily 
perpetrated by soldiers, rebels, and bandits, during the year such 
attacks were perpetrated primarily by unemployed male IDPs. Observers 
commented that male IDP inability to obtain livelihoods contributed to 
domestic violence.
    As in the rest of the country, perpetrators of sexual violence 
rarely were prosecuted, and government efforts to protect vulnerable 
women were inadequate. However, the Government conducted extensive 
sensitization campaigns against sexual violence and urged women to come 
forward without fear of reprisal.
    Although there were more than 70 international humanitarian 
organizations in the eastern part of the country, there were gaps in 
their protection mechanisms as well. For example, victims of sexual 
violence may need a medical certificate to proceed with a legal case, 
but they struggled to get these certificates from NGO doctors wary of 
engaging in court processes. The mobile courts organized by the UN only 
made occasional visits to each area and rarely addressed sexual 
violence cases.
    Tension between IDPs and local communities existed. IDPs generally 
were located near internationally provided potable water and health 
services, which sometimes created resentment in host communities that 
did not receive such services.
    Tens of thousands of persons lost their homes and means of 
livelihood as a result of the Government's ongoing urban renewal 
program in N'Djamena (see section 1.f.).

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's laws do not provide for the 
granting of asylum or refugee status; however, the Government has 
established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice 
the Government provided protection against the expulsion or return of 
refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened 
on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a 
particular social group, or political opinion.
    By September approximately 270,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur 
remained in the country, most located in 12 camps along the eastern 
border with Sudan. Approximately 80,000 refugees from CAR lived 
primarily in five camps in the south, and approximately 5,000 refugees 
of various nationalities lived in urban areas.
    Insecurity in the East, including rebel and bandit attacks, 
hindered the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide services 
to refugees. NGO workers traveling between camps frequently were 
victims of carjackings and armed robberies.
    The UNHCR and its partner organizations continued to express 
concern regarding the potential for militarization of refugee camps by 
Sudanese and Chadian rebels, particularly camps located close to the 
border. The recruitment of some refugees, including children, into 
rebel armed groups continued (see section 6).
    Anti-refugee sentiment among citizens living in refugee-affected 
areas was high. Children who were refugees or IDPs often had better 
access to education and health services than those in surrounding local 
populations due to extensive humanitarian interventions on their 
behalf. Resentment between citizens and refugees also occurred due to 
competition for local resources such as wood, water, and grazing land, 
and because Sudanese refugees received goods and services that were not 
available to the local population.
    Reports of refugees being raped continued. According to the UNHCR, 
there were 32 rapes of refugee women or girls between January and 
October. In the majority of the cases, the perpetrators were either 
fellow refugees or unknown individuals just outside the camps. In 2009 
the NGO Physicians for Human Rights documented cases of refugee rape 
inside and outside of refugee camps. There were reports that organized 
groups, bandits, and other refugee groups committed the rapes. Unlike 
in the previous year, however, there were no reports that NGO staff 
members were responsible for raping refugees.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    Although the constitution and law provide citizens with the right 
to change their government, the Government continued to limit this 
right in practice. The executive branch dominated the other branches of 
government.

    Elections and Political Participation.--In 2006 President Idriss 
Deby Itno, leader of the ruling MPS, was elected to a third term in 
what unofficial observers characterized as an orderly but seriously 
flawed election boycotted by the opposition. Deby has ruled the country 
since taking power in a 1990 coup.
    Due to technical problems in meeting the electoral deadline, the 
Independent National Electoral Commission postponed legislative 
elections scheduled for November 28 and municipal elections scheduled 
for December 5 until 2011. The commission oversaw a voter registration 
drive and worked with the permanent election bureau to develop voter 
lists and voter cards.
    There were approximately 120 registered political parties. The main 
opposition coalition was well treated, in part to provide proof that 
the country had a multiparty system; however, smaller opposition 
parties were subjected to government interference. Northerners, 
particularly members of the Zaghawa ethnic group, including the Bideyat 
subclan to which the president belongs, were overrepresented in key 
institutions of state power, including the military officer corps, 
elite military units, and the presidential staff. Opposition leaders 
accused the Government of denying funds and equal broadcast time on 
state-run media.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that opposition 
leaders were harassed, co-opted to run as MPS members in local 
elections, or pressured to cross the aisle in the National Assembly. 
There also were no reports that the military intimidated party members 
who refused to cooperate.
    There were 10 women in the 155-seat National Assembly. Nine of the 
41 ministers in the cabinet were women. Both the cabinet and the 
National Assembly had diverse ethnic representation.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for corruption; however, the 
Government did not implement the law effectively, and corruption was 
pervasive at all levels of government. The World Bank's most recent 
Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that corruption was a severe 
problem.
    Police were unable to address internal security problems 
effectively, including widespread banditry and arms proliferation. 
Police and gendarmes extorted payments from motorists with impunity. In 
November, in an effort to curb such extortion and combat the high cost 
of living, President Deby ordered the dismantling of all military 
checkpoints in the country, and many had been dismantled by year's end.
    Official impunity, particularly for the military and other 
influential persons, was common. For example, members of the Judiciary 
Police did not enforce domestic court orders against the armed forces 
or members of their own ethnic groups. Judicial lack of independence 
and corruption also were problems.
    The Ministry of Moralization is responsible for fighting 
corruption.
    During the year the Government investigated several officials 
connected to various 2009 corruption scandals, including a school 
textbook scandal involving 1.5 billion CFA ($3 million) in false 
contracts. During the year all 141 government officials investigated in 
connection with this and 34 other 2009 cases of embezzlement and 
misappropriation were released; in most cases, charges were dropped.
    In January the High Court formally investigated seven ministers in 
connection with the textbook scandal. By early February, former 
minister of education Abdramane Koko, former deputy minister of finance 
Oumar Boukar Gana, and former minister and secretary-general of the 
Government Limane Mahamat had been dismissed for corruption. By year's 
end, charges had been dropped against ministers Gana, Mahamat, and 
Koko. The National Assembly elected not to call for cases against four 
other ministers arrested in connection with the scandal--former deputy 
education minister Khadidja Hassaballah, former health minister 
Ngombaye Djaibe, and former deputy agriculture minister Fatime Ramadan. 
Former secretary-general of the presidency Haroun Kabadi, also 
implicated in the textbook scandal, was released on February 16 and 
appointed special advisor to President Deby on July 7. Sixteen other 
government officials from the Ministries of Finance and Education 
arrested in connection with the case also were freed for lack of 
evidence.
    In a separate corruption case, Mahamat Zen Bada, a former mayor of 
N'Djamena, and his 10 associates, who were arrested and removed from 
office in 2009, also were released with all charges dropped.
    In 2009 the College for the Control and Monitoring of Oil 
Resources, a committee established to involve civil society in the 
management of oil revenues, identified deficiencies that included 
insufficient coordination between ministries and local officials, lack 
of qualified personnel to implement and oversee poverty reduction 
projects, and the inability of the Government to complete fully or to 
provide sufficient resources for ongoing projects. The Government had 
taken no clear action on findings in the college's previous reports by 
year's end.
    The Government took no action regarding an August 2009 report by 
the International Crisis Group charging that the Government did not 
award contracts transparently for public works built with oil revenues, 
which increased corruption and cronyism. The report also stated that 
the Government had gradually reduced the role of the College for the 
Control and Monitoring of Oil Resources.
    On July 16, the Government held training sessions for local 
officials on ethics and good governance; governors from the 22 regions 
attended the sessions.
    Public officials were subject to financial disclosure laws; 
however, the law was not enforced, and officials did not disclose their 
financial status.
    The law does not provide for public access to government 
information, although the Government provided such access to 
government-employed journalists. The Government makes its budget 
partially available to the public; however, it did not disclose a large 
portion of expenditures in the published budget. Independent media 
journalists stated that they were not given sufficient access to 
government information.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    Government officials generally were accessible to human rights 
advocates but occasionally were unresponsive or hostile to their 
findings; however, unlike in the previous year, there were no reports 
that the Government actively obstructed the work of domestic human 
rights organizations. Despite pressure from the Government, such groups 
were able to investigate and publish their findings on human rights 
cases.
    There were two principal local human rights organizations, ATPDH 
and the LTDH. These and smaller human rights organizations worked 
together through an umbrella organization, the Association for Human 
Rights. Human rights groups were outspoken in publicizing abuses 
through reports, press releases, and the print media; however, they 
rarely were able to intervene successfully with authorities.
    Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that the 
Government arrested or harassed NGO employees.
    On March 9 to 11, the Government held its first forum on human 
rights to address problems and develop a government action plan. Led by 
Minister of Human Rights Abdraman Djasnabille, government ministers, 
national and local government officials, military leaders, traditional 
chiefs, local civil society representatives, and members of domestic 
and international human rights organizations attended the forum. 
Violence against women, arbitrary arrest, police brutality, prisoner 
abuse, continued recruitment of child soldiers, and official impunity 
were among the problems addressed.
    Violent attacks by armed groups and bandits against humanitarian 
and human rights NGO workers increased during the year. Such workers 
were kidnapped, their vehicles hijacked, their convoys looted, and 
their offices plundered. Humanitarian organizations were forced to 
suspend or limit their activities temporarily--including food 
distribution to refugees and IDPs.
    On June 6, in Abeche, armed bandits kidnapped Hubert Blama, an 
employee of the British NGO Oxfam; Blama was released on June 16. The 
kidnapping reportedly was perpetrated to embarrass the president.
    On February 6, ICRC international staff member Laurent Maurice was 
released in Darfur, Sudan after being held for 89 days; Maurice was 
kidnapped in Kawa in November 2009 by armed members of a Sudan-based 
group.
    There were no developments regarding the 2008 killing of NGO Save 
the Children director Pascal Marlinge.
    The Government cooperated with international governmental 
organizations and permitted visits by UN representatives. A delegation 
from the Geneva-based UN Commission on Human Rights visited and 
evaluated the possibility of opening an office in the country. In 
contrast to previous years, there were no reports that the Government 
obstructed the work of international human rights organizations, such 
as Human Rights Watch.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    Although the constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on 
origin, race, gender, religion, political opinion, or social status, 
the Government did not effectively enforce these provisions.

    Women.--Rape is prohibited and punishable by hard labor; however, 
rape, including of female refugees, was a problem (see section 2.d.); 
no reliable data on the extent of the problem was available. The law 
does not specifically address spousal rape. Although police often 
arrested and detained perpetrators, rape cases usually were not tried, 
and most suspects were released. Cultural norms often forced women and 
unmarried girls to marry their attackers to preserve their honor.
    Although the law prohibits violence against women, domestic 
violence, including spousal abuse, was common. Wives traditionally were 
subject to the authority of their husbands and they had limited legal 
recourse in case of abuse. Although family or traditional authorities 
could provide assistance in such cases, police rarely intervened, 
although traditional leaders often did. During the year some women 
began reporting cases of violence and abuse to local human rights 
organizations. Information on the number of abusers who were 
prosecuted, convicted, or punished was unavailable.
    In some areas girls and women may not visit the site where an 
initiation ceremony is to take place. If a woman or girl violates this 
prohibition, she may be killed by village leaders under traditional 
custom, although there were no reports of this occurring during the 
year.
    During the year the Government, with assistance from the UN, 
launched an awareness campaign to combat gender-based violence. This 
included raising awareness regarding rape, sexual harassment, FGM, 
discrimination against women, and early marriage.
    The law does not prohibit sexual harassment, and such harassment 
was a problem.
    The law provides for the right of couples and individuals to decide 
freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, as 
well as to have access to information regarding birth control methods. 
However, many persons lacked access to medical care, particularly those 
in rural areas. Couples lacked access to contraception, and only 14 
percent of childbirths were assisted professionally. Based on 2008 
statistics, the ratio of midwives to women of childbearing age was one 
to 14,800. The incidence of maternal mortality was 1,500 per 100,000 
live births. Approximately 10 percent of married women in N'Djamena 
used contraceptives during the year; 5 percent of women in towns and 
0.4 percent of women in the countryside used contraception. Women were 
equally diagnosed and treated for sexual transmitted infections, 
including HIV; treatment was free.
    Discrimination against women and exploitation of women were 
widespread. Although property and inheritance laws do not discriminate 
against women, local leaders adjudicated most inheritance cases in 
favor of men, according to traditional practice. The Ministry of Social 
Action and Women is responsible for addressing gender-related issues. 
Women did not have equal opportunities for education and training, 
making it difficult for them to compete for formal sector jobs. Women 
experienced economic discrimination in access to employment, credit, 
and pay equity for substantially similar work, and in owning or 
managing businesses due to cultural norms that favored men.
    The law states that persons of the required legal age have the 
right, in accordance with the law, customs, and mores, to decide 
whether to be married. The law does not address polygyny, but husbands 
may opt at any time to declare a marriage polygynous. If a husband 
takes a second wife, the first wife has the right to request that her 
marriage be dissolved, but she must repay her bride price and other 
marriage-related expenses.

    Children.--Citizenship is derived by birth within the country's 
territory and from ones' parents; however, children born to refugees 
from Sudan were not always considered citizens. Children born to 
refugees from CAR generally were granted Chadian citizenship. The 
Government did not register all births immediately, and it was unclear 
whether a birth certificate was required to attend school. By law 
education is universal and free, and primary education is compulsory 
between the ages of six and 11; however, parents were often required to 
pay tuition to public schools beyond the primary level. Parents also 
were required to pay for textbooks, except in some rural areas. Parent-
teacher associations hired and paid approximately half of teachers, 
without government reimbursement. Schools did not exist in many 
locations. Only 37 percent of children completed primary education. 
According to the World Bank Development Indicators Database, only six 
girls for every 10 boys attended primary school. Most children did not 
attend secondary school, where enrollment of girls was also lower than 
that of boys.
    Several human rights organizations reported on the problem of the 
mouhadjirin, children who attended certain Islamic schools and were 
forced by their teachers to beg for food and money. Children with 
discipline problems were often sent to these schools by their parents, 
who hoped the harsh conditions would ameliorate behavioral problems. 
There was no reliable estimate of the number of mouhadjirin.
    Child abuse remained a problem.
    The law prohibits FGM; however, the practice was widespread, 
particularly in rural areas. According to a 2004 report by the 
Governmental National Institute of Statistics, Economic, and 
Demographic Studies, 45 percent of females had undergone excision. 
According to the survey, 70 percent of Muslim females and 30 percent of 
Christian females were subjected to FGM. The practice was especially 
prevalent among ethnic groups in the East and South. All three types of 
FGM were practiced. The least common but most dangerous and severe 
type, infibulation, was confined largely to the region on the eastern 
border with Sudan. FGM usually was performed prior to puberty as a rite 
of passage.
    FGM could be prosecuted as a form of assault, and charges could be 
brought against the parents of FGM victims, medical practitioners, or 
others involved in the action. However, prosecution was hindered by the 
lack of specific penalty provisions in the penal code. There were no 
reports that any such suits were brought during the year. The Ministry 
of Social Action and Family was responsible for coordinating activities 
to combat FGM. The Government, with assistance from the UN, continued 
to conduct public awareness campaigns to discourage the practice of FGM 
and highlight its dangers as part of its efforts to combat gender-based 
violence. The campaign encouraged persons to speak out against FGM and 
other forms of abuse against women and girls. The president's wife 
played a major role during the year in raising awareness of violence 
and other human rights abuses faced by women and children.
    Although the law prohibits sexual relations with a girl younger 
than 14 years old, even if she is married, the ban rarely was enforced. 
Families arranged marriages for girls as young as 12 or 13 years old; 
the minimum legal age for engagements is 11 years old. The law 
prohibits forced marriages of anyone younger than the age of 18 and 
provides for imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of 
50,000 to 500,000 CFA ($100 to $1,000). However, forced marriage of 
girls was a serious problem, including among refugees. The custom of 
buying and selling child brides was widespread. Girls that objected to 
being forcibly married often suffered physical assaults by their family 
members and their husband. Many young wives were forced to work long 
hours for their husbands in the fields or home.
    The law prohibits the use of child soldiers, and the Government 
discontinued all conscription of child soldiers and continued efforts 
to demobilize all remaining children from security forces and rebel 
groups. However, armed groups, both Chadian and from Sudan, continued 
to recruit children from refugee camps along the eastern border, 
although such incidents had sharply decreased by year's end. MINURCAT 
reported that in April, JEM recruits from refugee camps in the East 
included children.
    From June 7 to 9, the country hosted a regional conference to end 
recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. The conference was 
organized with support from UNICEF and included official delegations 
from Cameroon, CAR, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan. UNICEF publicly stated 
that Chad's progress on addressing child soldiers had made it a 
regional leader on the issue. All conference participants signed the 
N'Djamena Declaration, pledging to eliminate the recruitment and 
involvement of children in armed forces, armed groups, and in all forms 
of hostilities. A follow-up committee to implement the declaration met 
and continued to work through year's end.
    The Government continued to transfer children associated with 
returning rebel groups to UNICEF for reintegration and rehabilitation 
during the year. On the eve of the conference, for example, the 
Government facilitated the release of 45 new child soldiers from rebel 
groups into UNICEF's care. The Government cooperated with international 
efforts to provide rehabilitation services.
    Armed bandits kidnapped children to obtain ransom in the Mayo-Kebbi 
Ouest Region (see section 1.b.).
    In October members of the NGO Zoe's Ark, who had been charged with 
abduction of Chadian children in 2007, appeared before a court in 
France; in 2008 the president of Chad had pardoned those involved.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--There was no known Jewish community, nor were there 
any reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with disabilities, and while the Government made 
efforts to enforce this prohibition in N'Djamena, it was unable to do 
so throughout the country. There were no laws or programs to assure 
access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, the 
Government operated a few education, employment, or therapy programs 
for such persons.
    The country had numerous persons with disabilities related to 
polio, and many such persons held ranking positions in the Government.
    The Government, in conjunction with NGOs, continued to sponsor an 
annual day of activities to raise awareness of the rights of persons 
with disabilities. The Ministry of Social Action and Family is 
responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.--There are approximately 200 
ethnic groups, many of which were concentrated regionally. They speak 
128 distinct primary languages. Most ethnic groups were affiliated with 
one of two regional and cultural traditions--Arabs and Muslims in the 
north, center, and east, and Christian or animist groups in the south; 
however, internal migrations in response to urbanization and 
desertification resulted in the integration of these groups in some 
areas.
    Interethnic violence continued, particularly in the east and south. 
Clashes between herders and sedentary populations and other interethnic 
violence continued, often related to competition for increasingly 
scarce arable lands due to desertification.
    Societal discrimination was practiced routinely by members of 
virtually all ethnic groups and was evident in patterns of employment. 
The law prohibits government discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, 
although in practice ethnicity continued to influence government 
appointments and political alliances. Political parties and groups 
generally had readily identifiable regional or ethnic bases.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--There were no known lesbian, 
gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations. There were few 
reports of violence or discrimination against LGBT persons, in large 
part because most such persons were discreet about sexual orientation 
due to social and cultural strictures against homosexuality. The law 
prohibits but does not define ``unnatural acts,'' and there was no 
evidence that the law was used against LGBT persons during the year.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--The law provides for 
persons with HIV/AIDS to have the same rights as those without HIV/AIDS 
and obligates the Government to provide information, education, and 
access to tests and treatment for persons with HIV/AIDS; however, 
societal discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS continued. 
Government officials were not always well informed on educating such 
persons on their rights and treatment options. Women were accused 
occasionally of passing HIV to their husbands and were threatened by 
family members with judicial action or banishment.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows all employees except 
members of the armed forces to form or join unions of their choice 
without excessive requirements, but the authorization of the Ministry 
of Territorial Administration is required; there were no reports that 
the authorization requirement was enforced during the year. The 
Ministry of Territorial Administration can also order the immediate 
administrative dissolution of a union.
    In the formal sector, more than 90 percent of employees belonged to 
unions; however, the great majority of workers were self-employed, 
nonunionized, unpaid, subsistence cultivators or herders. The 
Government, which owned enterprises that dominated many sectors of the 
formal economy, remained the largest employer.
    The law recognizes the right to strike but restricts the right of 
civil servants and employees of state enterprises to do so. Civil 
servants and employees of state enterprises, including civil servants 
and teachers, must complete a mediation process and notify the 
Government before striking. Employees of several public entities deemed 
essential must continue to provide a certain level of services. 
According to an International Trade Union Confederation report 
published during the year, the definition of essential services is 
overly broad. The law permits imprisonment with forced labor as 
punishment for participation in illegal strikes, but no such punishment 
was imposed during the year.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--The law allows 
unions to organize and bargain collectively, and the Government 
protected these rights. Although there are no restrictions on 
collective bargaining, the law authorizes the Government to intervene 
under certain circumstances. There were no reports of restrictions on 
collective bargaining during the year.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The constitution 
states that persons cannot be held as slaves or in servitude, and the 
law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children; 
however, forced labor, particularly by children, occurred in the 
informal sector. There were no reports of forced labor practices in the 
formal economy, but children and adults in the rural sector were 
involved in forced agricultural work and domestic servitude.
    Also see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--The 
labor code stipulates that the minimum age for employment is 14 years, 
except that children may work as apprentices beginning at the age of 
13. However, the Government did not enforce the law, and child labor, 
including forced child labor, was a serious problem. The low legal 
minimum age for employment, lack of mandatory schooling past the age of 
11, lack of any schooling opportunities in some areas, and tribal 
initiation rites rendering children informally adults by the age of 14 
contributed to a general perception that child labor did not constitute 
exploitation unless the victims were less than age 13 or 14 years old.
    The majority of forced child laborers were subjected to domestic 
servitude; forced begging; forced labor in cattle herding and fishing; 
and street vending. Children were trafficked to Cameroon, the Central 
African Republic, and Nigeria for forced cattle herding. Girls sold or 
forced into child marriages were forced by their husbands into domestic 
servitude and agricultural labor.
    The law prohibits the use of child soldiers, and the Government 
discontinued all conscription of child soldiers and continued efforts 
to demobilize all remaining children from security forces and rebel 
groups. UNICEF stated that it could not rule out the occasional use of 
children in the ANT in noncombat roles; but it maintained that, during 
the year, the ANT had ceased using children in combat and that it did 
not recruit children. However, armed groups, both from Chad and Sudan, 
continued to recruit children from refugee camps along the eastern 
border, although such incidents had decreased sharply by year's end. 
MINURCAT reported that in April, JEM recruits from refugee camps in the 
East included children (see section 6).
    The country's numerous child herders working outside of traditional 
herding clans often lived in substandard conditions without access to 
school or proper nutrition. These herders customarily were given one 
cow as payment for a year's work, but herd managers often refused to 
pay this salary, or the child's parents collected the payment for 
themselves. Children from the south occasionally were kidnapped and 
transferred to the northeast, near the border with Sudan, to be used as 
herders.
    An estimated 20 percent of children between the ages of six and 18 
worked in exploitive labor in the urban informal sector, according to a 
study published in 2005 by the NGO Human Rights Without Borders. 
Children regularly were employed as herders, domestics, crop-pickers, 
and panners for gold. They also were employed in the commercial sector, 
particularly in the capital, as street vendors, manual laborers, and 
helpers in small shops. Children worked as domestic servants, mainly in 
the capital.
    A 2005 UNICEF-government survey of child domestics in N'Djamena 
noted that 62 percent were boys, 24 percent were between eight and 14 
years of age, 68 percent were between the ages of 15 and 17, and 86 
percent were illiterate. Local human rights organizations reported an 
increase in the number of child domestic workers during the year.
    Children who attended certain Islamic schools were sometimes forced 
by their teachers to beg for food and money.
    Some young girls were forced into marriages by their families and 
then compelled to work in their husbands' fields or homes while they 
were still too young to do so safely.
    The Office of Labor Inspection is responsible for enforcement of 
child labor laws and policies; however, no prosecutions were conducted 
during the year. As in previous years, the office reportedly had no 
funding to carry out field work and investigations. Police reportedly 
used extrajudicial actions against traffickers and child labor 
offenders, including beatings and imposing unofficial fines. 
Traditional leaders also sometimes meted out traditional punishments, 
such as ostracism.
    The Government did not have a comprehensive plan to eliminate the 
worst forms of child labor; however, the Government continued to work 
with UNICEF and NGOs to increase public awareness of child labor. In 
addition the campaign continued to educate parents and civil society on 
the dangers of child labor, particularly for child herders, who often 
were sent to distant locations where they were abused.
    On December 1, in a speech commemorating Freedom and Democracy Day, 
President Deby admonished parents who forced their children to herd 
instead of sending them to schools.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--The labor code requires the 
Government to set minimum wages, and the minimum wage at year's end was 
28,000 CFA ($56) per month; however, this standard was generally 
ignored. The minimum wage did not provide a decent standard of living 
for a worker and family, although wage levels were raised during the 
year. Nearly all private sector and state-owned firms paid at least the 
minimum wage, but it was largely ignored in the vast informal sector. 
Salary arrears remained a problem, although less so than in previous 
years. The law limits most employment to 39 hours per week, with 
overtime paid for supplementary hours. Agricultural work was limited to 
2,400 hours per year, an average of 46 hours per week. All workers were 
entitled to unbroken rest periods of between 24 and 48 hours; however, 
workers did not always avail themselves of these rights, largely 
because they preferred the additional pay.
    The labor code mandates occupational health and safety standards 
and gives inspectors the authority to enforce them; however, these 
standards were generally ignored in the private sector and in the civil 
service.
    Workers had the right to remove themselves from dangerous working 
conditions; however, in practice, with so few jobs available in the 
formal sector, doing so for any reason often meant jeopardizing their 
employment. The labor code explicitly protects all workers, including 
foreign and illegal workers, but the protections provided were not 
always respected in practice.

                               __________

                                COMOROS

    The Union of the Comoros is a constitutional, multiparty republic 
of 770,000 citizens. The country consists of three islands--Grande 
Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli--and claims a fourth, Mayotte, which France 
governs. In 2006 citizens elected Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi as Union 
of the Comoros president in polling international observers described 
as generally free and fair. This was the first peaceful and democratic 
transfer of power in the country's history. In 2008 the Union Army of 
National Development, with African Union support, launched a successful 
and bloodless military action resulting in the removal of former 
Anjouan president Mohamed Bacar, who fled the country. Bacar had ruled 
Anjouan by force since declaring himself the winner of an illegal 
election in 2007. Moussa Toybou was elected president of Anjouan in a 
generally free and fair process in 2008. In November and December 2010, 
elections were held to choose a new Union president as well as 
governors for each of the three islands. Although some observers noted 
some serious irregularities on the island of Anjouan, these were not 
sufficient to change the outcome, and the results of the elections were 
upheld by the Comoran Constitutional Court. Security forces reported to 
civilian authorities.
    Human rights problems on all three islands included poor prison 
conditions; restrictions on freedom of movement, press, and religion; 
official corruption; discrimination against women; child abuse; and 
child labor.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--There were no 
confirmed reports the Government or its agents committed any 
politically motivated killings. However, on June 12, Colonel Combo 
Ayouba, a senior officer in the Comoran army, was killed at his home in 
Moroni. At year's end, an investigation was ongoing, and the chief of 
staff of the Comoran Defense Forces was under house arrest for his 
possible role in the killing (see section 1.d.).
    There were no further developments in the 2008 death from injuries 
inflicted during torture of Nadiati Soimaddine.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and laws prohibit such practices, and 
there were no reports government officials employed them.
    In 2009 the Comoros Human Rights Foundation interviewed victims of 
the Bacar regime and was preparing evidence to prosecute those 
responsible for the 2008 abuses. Most cases involved the torture of 
detainees. However, there were no further developments in any of these 
2008 cases, including the arrest of Mohamed Attoumane, the arrest and 
torture of Soulaimana Bacar and several friends, the detention and 
beating of Attoumane Houmadi, and the arrest and torture of Abdallah 
Ahmed Ben Ali.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison conditions remained 
poor. Common problems included inadequate sanitation, overcrowding, 
inadequate medical facilities, and poor diet.
    There were approximately 130 prisoners incarcerated in the 
country's only prison in Moroni, which can accommodate a maximum of 150 
under crowded conditions. At year's end two female prisoners were being 
held; two juveniles were also being held.
    During the year there were no recorded deaths of prison inmates.
    Authorities held pretrial detainees with convicted prisoners.
    Prisoners and detainees were permitted reasonable access to 
visitors and permitted religious observance, but only if they were 
Muslim. The prisoners could also bring complaints to the attention of 
authorities; however, investigations or follow-up actions almost never 
occurred.
    The Government permitted visits by independent human rights 
observers. Representatives from the Red Crescent visited the prison in 
Moroni in June. As a result of the visit, the Red Crescent is working 
on a project to provide a cistern and to repair the latrines.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally 
observed these prohibitions.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--Six separate security 
forces report to four different authorities. Union forces include the 
Army of National Development, the Gendarmerie, and the National 
Directorate of Territorial Safety (immigration and customs). Each of 
the three islands also has a police force under the authority of its 
Ministry of Interior.
    Impunity was a problem, and there was no mechanism to investigate 
police abuses. Police and security forces participated in training on 
civil-military relations, public health, and peacekeeping operations.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--The law 
requires warrants for arrests and provides for detainees to be held for 
24 hours, although these provisions were not always respected in 
practice. The prosecutor must approve continued detention. A tribunal 
informs detainees of their rights, including the right to legal 
representation. The law provides for the prompt judicial determination 
of the legality of detention, and detainees must be promptly informed 
of the charges against them. In practice these rights were 
inconsistently respected. There is a bail system under which the 
individual is not permitted to leave the country. Some detainees did 
not get prompt access to attorneys or families. The law also requires 
the state to provide an attorney for indigent defendants, but this 
rarely occurred.
    By year's end all but one of the 50 officials of the Bacar regime 
arrested in 2008 had been released.
    Pretrial detention was a problem, with approximately 20 percent of 
the prison population awaiting trial for extended periods for reasons 
including administrative delays, case backlogs, and time-consuming 
collection of evidence. By law pretrial detainees can be held for only 
four months, but this period could be extended. Some extensions lasted 
several months.
    On August 31, the Government put General Mohamed Amiri Salimou, 
chief of staff of the Comoran Defense Forces, under house arrest for 
his possible role in the killing of Colonel Combo Ayouba (see section 
1.a.). Salimou's lawyers insisted that the penal code does not give 
authorities the right to forbid the general from moving about freely or 
communicating with the outside world. They claimed that the general's 
detention was a pretext to allow the president to remove him from his 
position. In addition to General Salimou, approximately 30 military 
personnel were arrested and held in military prisons. Of these all but 
four have since been released. At year's end, the four were being held 
in Moroni's prison, three of them in solitary confinement, and the 
investigation was ongoing.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The constitution and law provide 
for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected 
judicial independence in practice; however, judicial corruption was a 
problem.

    Trial Procedures.--The law provides for the right to a fair trial 
for all citizens. Under the legal system, which incorporates French 
legal codes and Sharia (Islamic law), trials are open to the public and 
defendants are presumed innocent. Juries deliberate criminal cases, and 
there is an appeal process. Defendants have the right to be present, to 
access government-held evidence, and to consult with an attorney in a 
timely manner. The law allows defendants to question witnesses and 
present their own witnesses. Defendants can also present evidence on 
their own behalf. In practice these rights were inconsistently 
respected.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--There is an independent 
but not impartial judiciary for civil matters; formal courts had 
insufficient resources and were also corrupt, frequently asking for 
bribes in return for favorable rulings. Administrative remedies were 
rarely available, although citizens with influence had access to such 
alternatives. Court orders were inconsistently enforced.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and 
the Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Union government 
partially limited press freedom by public criticism of journalists who 
wrote controversial articles, and journalists on all three islands 
practiced self-censorship.
    Individuals could generally criticize the Union government publicly 
or privately without reprisal.
    There is one government-supported newspaper and six independent 
newspapers.
    One government radio station operated on a regular schedule. Small 
community radio stations operated on all three islands without 
government interference. Residents also received Mayotte Radio and 
French television.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the 
expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. According to 
International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2009, 
approximately 3.59 percent of the country's inhabitants used the 
Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; 
however, the Government did not always respect this right.
    On February 8, security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to 
disperse a march in Moroni by students and teachers protesting the 
country's educational policy. The students were marching to support 
teachers in a compensation dispute.
    On March 16 and 17, and April 23, security forces used batons, tear 
gas, and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrations on Moheli protesting 
the Government's election policy. Nafissa Abdoulhafar lost her unborn 
child after being assaulted by security forces during the 
confrontations, and several other persons were injured. There was no 
investigation by year's end.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of association, and the Union government and the three island 
governments generally respected this right.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/rpt

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of movement within the country and foreign travel, and the 
Government generally respected these rights in practice. No specific 
constitutional or legal provisions deal with emigration and 
repatriation.
    On June 6, political activist Said Larifou (a dual French-Comoran 
national) was detained at the Moroni airport and refused permission to 
leave the country. The refusal continued for several months before it 
was rescinded, although he was allowed to move freely within the 
country during that time. The authorities did not publicly state a 
reason for their refusal to allow Larifou to leave the country.
    The Government cooperated with the Office of the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in 
providing protection to internally displaced persons, refugees, asylum 
seekers, and stateless persons.
    The law does not prohibit forced exile, but the Government did not 
use it.

    Protection of Refugees.--The country is not party to the 1951 
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, its 1967 Protocol 
relating to the Status of Refugees, or the 1969 African Union 
Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problem in 
Africa. The law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee 
status in accordance with these conventions, and the Government has not 
established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice 
although very few refugees sought asylum, the Government provided 
protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to countries 
where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account of their 
race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, 
or political opinion.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution and law provide citizens the right to change their 
government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice 
through periodic, free, and fair elections based on universal suffrage.

    Elections and Political Participation.--The constitution provides 
for a ``rotating'' Union presidency in which each island takes a turn 
at holding a primary for presidential candidates every four years. In 
2006 the turn passed to Anjouan; all 12 presidential candidates had to 
be natives of Anjouan to run in the primary. From the 12 candidates, 
Anjouan voters selected three to run in the national election, which 
Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi won. This year the turn passed to Moheli. 
From the original 10 candidates (all natives of Moheli), Mohelian 
voters selected three to run in the national election, which was won by 
Ikililou Dhoinine. The constitution thus restricts, by island, those 
eligible to run for the presidency. But aside from the rotation 
principle, anyone is free to stand for election.
    Grande Comore and Moheli held first- and second-round island 
president (governor) elections in 2007; both elections were considered 
generally free and fair. Anjouan held its island president (governor) 
elections in 2008; these were also considered generally free and fair.
    In May 2009 voters approved a national referendum on modifications 
to the constitutional system. The changes affected the titles, powers, 
and terms of various office holders, including President Sambi, whose 
term of office was extended. The referendum took place without 
incident, but it was boycotted by opposition political parties who 
objected to the proposed changes. The referendum was approved by 94 
percent of voters, but turnout was only 52 percent.
    In December 2009 legislative elections were held for both the Union 
national assembly (parliament) and the three island assemblies. These 
elections were also considered generally free and fair.
    In November and December, elections were held to choose a new Union 
president as well as governors for each of the three islands. Although 
some observers noted serious irregularities on the island of Anjouan, 
these were not sufficient to change the outcome, and the final results 
of the elections were upheld by the Comoran Constitutional Court. 
Former vice president Ikililou Dhoinine will become the next president 
of the Union of the Comoros early in 2011.
    More than 20 political parties operated without restriction and 
openly criticized the Union government.
    There was one woman in the 33-member national assembly, but none in 
the cabinet. No minorities held national assembly seats or Union or 
island ministerial posts.
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; 
however, the Government did not implement the law effectively, and 
officials often engaged in corrupt practices such as taking money for 
performing routine administrative services or doing favors with 
impunity. Resident diplomatic, UN, and humanitarian agency workers 
reported petty corruption was commonplace at all levels of the civil 
service, despite the Government's anticorruption campaign. Private 
sector operators reported corruption and a lack of transparency, and 
the World Bank's 2009 Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that 
corruption was a serious issue.
    There was continued corruption in the police force. Citizens paid 
bribes to evade customs regulations, avoid arrest, and to have police 
reports falsified. Police personnel paid bribes to receive promotions.
    The Union Ministry of Justice is responsible for combating 
corruption; however, the Government did not prosecute or discipline 
officials charged with corruption.
    Officials were not subject to financial disclosure laws.
    There are no laws providing for public access to government 
information. Those who have personal or working relationships with 
government officials can generally access government information, but 
members of the general public cannot.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    One domestic and some international nongovernmental organizations 
(NGOs) generally operated without government restriction, investigating 
and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government 
officials were generally cooperative and responsive to their views.
    The Government cooperated with international governmental 
organizations and permitted visits by UN representatives and other 
organizations. No outside visits were made during the year, but 
domestic human rights organizations met regularly with locally based UN 
personnel. No reports or criticisms were issued.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, 
language, or social status; however, there was discrimination against 
women.

    Women.--Rape is illegal, punishable by imprisonment of five to 10 
years or up to 15 years if the victim is younger than 15 years of age. 
However the Government did not enforce the laws on rape effectively. 
The law does not specifically address spousal rape, which does occur. 
Statistics are scarce since many of these situations are settled within 
families or by village elders without recourse to the formal court 
system. Although reliable statistics were not available, authorities 
believe the problem is widespread and overall sexual violence is a 
problem. For example, more than half of the inmates in Moroni's prison 
are held for crimes of sexual aggression.
    The law prohibits domestic violence. Although there was no reliable 
data available on the extent of the problem, the Government did not 
take any concrete action to combat violence against women. While women 
can seek protection through the courts in such cases, extended family 
or village elders customarily addressed such problems. Domestic 
violence cases rarely, if ever, enter the formal court system.
    Sexual harassment is illegal and punishable by up to 10 years' 
imprisonment. Although rarely reported due to societal pressure, such 
harassment was nevertheless a common problem, and the Government did 
not effectively enforce penalties against it.
    Couples and individuals are generally free to choose the number and 
spacing of their children. Contraceptive use for modern methods of 
contraception among married women between the ages of 15 and 49 was 
approximately 19 percent, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). 
Existing health resources (including personnel, facilities, equipment, 
and drugs) are inadequate, making it difficult for the Government to 
respond to the health needs of the population. According to the 
Population Reference Bureau, approximately 62 percent of births were 
attended by skilled personnel. UNFPA estimated the maternal mortality 
ratio (the ratio of the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live 
births) to be 340 for 2008. There is a general lack of adolescent 
reproductive health information and services, leading to unwanted 
pregnancies and increased morbidity and mortality among adolescent 
girls. There are no legal barriers preventing women from receiving 
treatment for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, but many 
hesitate to do so for social and cultural reasons. The country recently 
developed a national strategy for reproductive health but requires 
additional funding to implement it.
    The law provides for equality of persons, and in general 
inheritance and property rights practices do not discriminate against 
women. Men retained the dominant role in society, although the 
matriarchal tradition afforded women some rights, especially in 
landholding. Land and homes are usually awarded to women in case of 
divorce or separation. Societal discrimination against women was most 
apparent in rural areas where women were mostly limited to farming and 
child-rearing duties, with fewer opportunities for education and wage 
employment. In urban areas, growing numbers of women were employed and 
generally earned wages comparable to those of men engaged in similar 
work; however, few women held positions of responsibility in business. 
The law does not require women to wear head coverings, but many women 
face societal pressure to do so. The Ministry of Health, Solidarity, 
and Gender Promotion is responsible for promoting women's rights.

    Children.--Any child having at least one Comoran parent is 
considered a citizen, regardless of where the birth takes place. Any 
child born in the country is considered a citizen unless both parents 
are foreigners, although these children can apply for citizenship if 
they have lived in the country for at least five years at the time of 
their application. It is estimated approximately 15 percent of children 
are not officially registered at birth, although many of these 
situations are regularized subsequently. No public services are 
withheld from children who are not officially registered.
    The Government did not take specific action to protect or promote 
children's welfare and did not enforce legal provisions that address 
the rights and welfare of children.
    Education is compulsory until the age of 12, but it is not free. 
Teacher strikes over nonpayment of salaries interrupted school several 
times during the year. Due to social and cultural factors, boys 
generally were more likely to attend schools than girls.
    Although there are no official statistics on child abuse, it was 
common and often occurred when impoverished families sent their 
children to work for wealthier families. There were also scattered 
reports that teachers raped students; these were generally handled 
through traditional societal networks rather than formal enforcement 
investigations.
    Child prostitution and child pornography are illegal. The law 
considers unmarried children under the age of 18 to be minors, and they 
are protected legally from sexual exploitation, prostitution, and 
pornography. There were no statistics regarding these matters, but the 
Government did not consider them serious problems. The age of consent 
is 13-years-old. Child prostitution is punishable by a prison term of 
from two to five years and a fine of between 150,000 and 2,000,000 
Comoran francs ($417 and $5,556) for anyone convicted of luring a child 
into prostitution.
    The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For information on 
international parental child abduction, please see the Department of 
State's annual report on compliance at http://travel.state.gov/
abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--4308.html.

    Anti-Semitism.--There was no known Jewish population, and there 
were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--In 2009 there were no confirmed reports 
that persons were trafficked to, from, or within Comoros.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The constitution and laws do not 
prohibit discrimination in employment and public services or mandate 
access to buildings, information, and communication for persons with 
disabilities.
    Handicap Comoros, the country's center for persons with 
disabilities on Grande Comore, was run by a local NGO called Chiwe, or 
``pillar.'' The center imported wheelchairs and prostheses.
    There is no restriction on the right of persons with disabilities 
to participate in civic affairs.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--Homosexual acts are illegal. 
They can be punished by up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 
50,000 to 1,000,000 Comoran francs ($139 to $2,778). However, no case 
of this nature has come before the courts. No public debate on the 
issue has been held, and persons engaging in homosexual activity did 
not publicly discuss their sexual orientation due to societal pressure. 
There are no lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations in 
the country.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--There were no reports 
of societal violence or discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The law allows workers to form and 
join independent unions of their choice without previous authorization 
or excessive requirements, and many of those in the wage labor force 
did so in practice. Teachers and other civil servants, taxi drivers, 
and dockworkers were unionized. The law allows unions to conduct their 
activities without government interference and provides for the right 
to strike, and workers exercised this right in practice.
    There are no laws protecting strikers from retribution, but there 
were no reported instances of retribution.
    The labor code, which was rarely enforced, does not include a 
system for resolving labor disputes. Common problems included failure 
to pay salaries regularly or on time, mostly in the Government sector, 
and unfair and abusive dismissal practices such as firing employees 
without giving proper notice or paying the required severance pay.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--Unions have the 
right to bargain collectively, although employers set wages in the 
small private sector, and the Government, especially the Ministries of 
Finance and Labor, set them in the larger public sector. There are no 
legal restrictions on collective bargaining such as exclusion of issues 
or minimum participation requirements.
    The law does not prohibit antiunion discrimination by employers in 
hiring practices or other employment functions; however, there were no 
examples of antiunion discrimination during the year. No workers 
suffered retribution because of union activity.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The law prohibits 
forced or compulsory labor by adults with certain exceptions for 
obligatory military service, community service, and during accidents, 
fires, and disasters. The Union's civil protection unit may oblige 
persons to respond to disasters if it is unable to obtain sufficient 
voluntary assistance; however, this has never occurred. There are no 
specific prohibitions against forced or compulsory child labor, and it 
occurred in agriculture (planting, weeding, harvesting); fishing; 
informal retail (selling goods on the street); and domestic service.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--Laws 
exist to protect children from exploitation in the workplace, but the 
Government did not enforce such laws. There were no laws to prohibit 
forced or compulsory child labor, and there were reports that such 
practices occurred. The law establishes 15-years of age as the minimum 
age for employment. Children worked in subsistence farming, fishing, in 
the informal sector selling goods along roadsides, and extracting and 
selling marine sand. Children also worked on food crops such as manioc 
and beans, but also on cash crops such as vanilla, cloves, and ylang-
ylang (a flower used to make perfume). Some children worked under 
forced labor conditions, particularly in domestic service, roadside and 
market selling, and agriculture. In addition some Qur'anic schools 
arranged for poor students to receive lessons in exchange for labor, 
which sometimes was forced. Some families placed their children in the 
homes of wealthier families where they worked in exchange for food, 
shelter, or educational opportunities. Many children were not paid for 
their work. The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child 
labor laws, but it did not actively or effectively do so. There was 
only one labor inspector for each of the three islands for a total of 
three labor inspectors. These inspectors were responsible for all 
potential violations of labor law and did not focus just on child labor 
cases. The Government took no action to prevent exploitative child 
labor or to remove children from such labor.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--A 2003 ministerial decree set 
the minimum wage at 30,000 Comoran francs per month ($83). The national 
minimum wage did not provide a decent standard of living for a worker 
and family. Although the Union government and local governments did not 
enforce a minimum wage, unions had adequate influence to negotiate 
effective minimum wage rates for different skill levels for unionized 
jobs. These provisions applied to all workers, regardless of sector or 
country of origin. In practice unions promoted this minimum wage via 
their ability to strike against employers. Despite strikes and other 
protests, the Union government was unable to pay government employees, 
including low-level officials, teachers, and medical workers, for 
several months due to budgetary difficulties.
    The law specifies a workweek of 37.5 hours, one day off per week, 
and one month of paid vacation per year. According to the law, workers 
receive time and a half for overtime. These laws, like many others, 
were not effectively enforced by the Government. There was no 
prohibition on excessive compulsory overtime; however, electricity 
shortages prevented overtime work in most businesses. Employers, 
particularly the Government, often were remiss in paying salaries.
    No safety or health standards had been established for work sites. 
Workers generally could not remove themselves from an unsafe or 
unhealthful situation without risking loss of employment.

                               __________

                    DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a nominally 
centralized republic with a population of approximately 68 million. The 
president and the lower house of parliament (National Assembly) are 
popularly elected; the members of the upper house (the Senate) are 
chosen by provincial assemblies. Multiparty presidential and National 
Assembly elections in 2006 were judged to be credible, despite some 
irregularities, while indirect elections for senators in 2007 were 
marred by allegations of vote buying. There were many instances in 
which state security forces acted independently of civilian control and 
of military command.
    In all areas of the country, state security forces continued to act 
with impunity throughout the year, committing many serious abuses, 
including unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, rape and engaging 
in arbitrary arrests and detention. Severe and life-threatening 
conditions in prison and detention facilities, prolonged pretrial 
detention, lack of an independent and effective judiciary, and 
arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and home also remained 
serious problems. Members of the state security forces continued to 
abuse and threaten journalists, contributing to a decline in press 
freedom. Internally displaced persons remained a major problem, and the 
integration of ex-combatants and members of rebel and militia groups 
(RMGs) into state security forces and governance institutions was slow 
and uneven. Government corruption remained pervasive, and some 
corporations purchased minerals from suppliers who financed mining 
activities by armed entities that committed serious human rights 
abuses. Elements of the state security forces were charged in the death 
of one of the country's leading human rights defenders and at times 
beat or threatened local human rights advocates and obstructed or 
threatened UN human rights investigators. State security forces 
retained and recruited child soldiers and compelled forced labor by 
civilians. Societal discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, 
trafficking in persons, child labor, and lack of protection of workers' 
rights continued to be widespread throughout the country. Enslavement 
of and discrimination against Pygmies occurred.
    Internal conflicts, mainly in the east, continued to significantly 
affect the human rights situation and challenged the Government's 
limited ability to effectively control its territory, which was 
particularly the case in North and South Kivu provinces. The conflicts 
permitted armed entities to commit violent abuses against civilians, 
with little chancethat the Government would be able to hold the 
perpetrators accountable. These entities included RMGs, such as the 
Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Mai-Mai 
(community-based self-defense groups), as well as dissident elements of 
the state armed forces, including former members of the National 
Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) and some ``regular'' 
units of the Armed Forces of the DRC(FARDC). During the year RMGs 
continued to commit numerous, serious abuses--some of which may have 
constituted war crimes--including unlawful killings, disappearances, 
and torture. RMGs also recruited and retained child soldiers, compelled 
forced labor, and committed widespread crimes of sexual violence. The 
situation was complicated the incomplete implementation of the March 
2009 peace agreements involving the Government and several RMGs that 
operated in North and South Kivu. In October the UN Office of the High 
Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) detailed allegations of serious 
abuses, including potential war crimes and crimes against humanity, 
committed in the country by foreign militaries and other armed entities 
between 1993 and 2003 (see sections 1.e. and 5). In the eastern 
provinces of North and South Kivu, the illegal exploitation of natural 
resources continued to contribute to conflict. Many armed entities in 
the east, including some FARDC units, engaged in the illegal 
exploitation and trade of natural resources. Some RMGs, have cooperated 
with criminal networks within the FARDC that have militarized the 
mineral trade and continued to compete for control over mineral-rich 
areas. In September, President Joseph Kabila imposed an indefinite 
suspension of all mining activity in North and South Kivu and Maniema 
provinces, which remained in effect at year's end. A separate conflict 
involving the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Haut Uele and Bas 
Uele districts of Orientale Province in the northeast continued to have 
an extremely negative effect on human rights during the year, resulting 
in deaths, injuries, abductions, forced labor, looting, and general 
insecurity. Interethnic conflict in Equateur Province resulted in 
numerous refugees and internally-displaced persons (IDPs). While the 
security situation in Equateur stabilized during the year, the IDPs did 
not return.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--There were reports 
that the Government or its agents committed politically motivated 
killings. For example, during the year members of police allegedly 
killed a leading human rights activist and disappeared his colleague 
(see section 5).
    In addition, during the year dissident elements of the FARDC, which 
were comprised of ex-CNDP members poorly integrated into the FARDC and 
led by General Bosco Ntaganda, were allegedly implicated in at least 
eight politically motivated killings, as well as the arbitrary arrest 
and temporary detention of seven other individuals, and the abduction 
and disappearance of another. The killings and other acts targeted 
members loyal to the previous CNDP commander, Laurent Nkunda, whom 
Ntaganda had replaced as the leader of the CNDP in January 2009, when 
the Rwandan government arrested and detained Nkunda in Rwanda. The 
ouster of Nkunda divided the CNDP movement to some extent between 
Nkunda and Ntaganda supporters. The killings allegedly were an attempt 
by Ntaganda to assert his authority over the group and quell any 
division.
    According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of the targeted killings 
occurred on September 14, and it resulted in the shooting death of 
Lieutenant Colonel Antoine Balibuno, an Nkunda supporter, immediately 
following a nighttime meeting at a bar in Goma with Lieutenant Colonel 
Kabakule Kennedy and Lieutenant Colonel John Asiki, both of whom were 
known supporters of Ntaganda. Balibuno had reportedly told HRW and 
others in the preceding months that Ntaganda had repeatedly threatened 
him for refusing to support Ntaganda's leadership of the CNDP. Another 
killing documented by HRW allegedly took place in Gisenyi, Rwanda on 
June 20. A group of men including one of Ntaganda's body guards and, 
according to witnesses, Rwandan security agents entered the home of 
Denis Ntare Semadwinga, an Nkunda supporter. Semadwinga was stabbed 
repeatedly and his throat was slit. According to reports received by 
HRW, Semadwinga may have been in contact with General Kayumba Nyamwasa, 
an opponent of the Rwandan president who reportedly escaped a murder 
attempt in South Africa during the year. HRW, which called on the 
Government to arrest Ntaganda, also reported that in the cases of 
arbitrary arrest and detention, Ntaganda had dictated what the charges 
should be and instructed judicial officials not to follow due process. 
Ntaganda, Kennedy, and Asiki remained free at year's end.
    There were reports of state security forces engaged in summary 
executions, extrajudicial killings, rape and other abuses of civilians 
in the east and in other parts of the country during clashes with RMGs 
(see section 1.g.).
    There were several occasions during the year when members of state 
security forces arbitrarily and summarily killed civilians, sometimes 
during apprehension or while holding them in custody, sometimes during 
protests, and often for failing to surrender their possessions, submit 
to rape, or perform personal services. In the cases below, which are 
not an exhaustive list of such killings during the year, authorities 
did not investigate or prosecute any of the perpetrators.
    In April soldiers allegedly killed a journalist (see section 2.a.).
    On May 5, agents of the military intelligence agency DEMIAP fired 
into a crowd of demonstrators in Kinshasa, killing one and injuring 
several. A day prior to the shooting, state security forces had 
arrested several members of the Church of Jesus Christ our Lord in 
Kinshasa at Kinshasa's airport for ``security reasons.'' Those arrested 
were released after three and a half months in prison with no charges 
and no trial. No action was taken against the DEMIAP agents responsible 
for the shootings.
    On June 2, two FARDC soldiers robbed and shot two civilians in 
Kabaye, North Kivu, which resulted in the death of one of the victims. 
An intelligence officer of the First Operational Area refused to 
transfer suspects to a judge investigating the killing. No additional 
information was available at year's end.
    On September 29, the Republican Guard (GR) arrested and severely 
beat Armand Tungulu, a Congolese national for throwing a rock at the 
presidential motorcade in Kinshasa, according to witnesses. On October 
2, the prosecutor general reported that the detainee had apparently 
committed suicide while in the GR's custody at Tshatshi military camp 
during the night. He added that a medical examiner had been assigned to 
the case. According to media reports, despite requests from Tungulu's 
wife, officials had not given Tungulu's body to his family, despite the 
family's requests. There was no additional information by year's end.
    There were no reports of authorities taking action in the following 
cases of unlawful killings committed by state security forces in 2009:
    The fatal shooting of a man by a Congolese National Police (PNC) 
officer during a protest in January in Kolwezi, Katanga;
    The fatal beating of a Tanzanian man in January by two Directorate 
General of Migration (DGM) agents and two PNC officers in Lubumbashi, 
Katanga, following his arrest for alleged document fraud;
    The death of a woman in Njingala, North Kivu, from injuries she 
sustained in April during a gang rape by 10 FARDC soldiers who invaded 
her home;
    The death by torture of a man by FARDC intelligence officers in 
April in Kamandi Lac, North Kivu; orthe fatal beating of a detained 
woman in her prison cell by PNC officers in June in Bena Mpiana, Kasai 
Oriental.
    Authorities took no further action on the 2008 killing of a 
civilian in Bulukutu, Equateur, by a PNC officer, or the 2008 killing 
of an artisanal miner in Katanga by a police officer attached to the 
Provincial Mining Office in Kalukalanga. There was also no additional 
information regarding the arbitrary arrest and illegal three-month 
detention of a man, who later died from mistreatment, by the commander 
of the Karawa Police Station in Equateur in 2008.
    Authorities in Bas-Congo Province, in the west, took no action 
regarding the deaths of at least 205 members of the Bundu Dia Kongo 
(BDK), a political-religious group seeking greater provincial autonomy, 
during demonstrations in 2008 and 2007. Investigative reports by the UN 
Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in 2008 concluded that police used 
excessive force in both incidents and that in 2008 police committed 
arbitrary executions and raped local residents. Although the 
Government, rejecting these conclusions, committed in 2008 to conduct 
its own investigation, Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on 
extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions (UNSRESAE), found that 
authorities--including then head of the PNC John Numbi--had not held to 
account any of the PNC members responsible for the killings. During 
UNSRESAE Alston's visit, the governor ordered the mayor of Kisantu to 
prevent him from interviewing witnesses or holding any meetings.
    There were no developments in the 2008 case of a FARDC soldier who 
shot and killed a civilian in Mahagi Port, Orientale.
    Authorities took no action against those responsible for summarily 
executing and otherwise killing approximately 300 persons in 2007 
during armed confrontations in Kinshasa between forces loyal to 
President Kabila and rival forces loyal to former vice president Jean-
Pierre Bemba.
    Attempts to investigate a 2004 massacre in Kilwa, Katanga Province, 
which was allegedly committed by FARDC soldiers with logistical help 
from a mining company, continued to meet with problems following 
Katanga government officials' decision in 2008 to prevent a local 
nongovernmental organization (NGO), as well as the victims' foreign 
attorneys, from visiting Kilwa. As a result, during the year survivors 
and relatives of the 73 victims of the massacre filed a class action 
lawsuit in Quebec against the Canadian company Anvil Mining, which 
responded to the lawsuit by saying there had been numerous 
investigations and court proceedings but ``no findings adverse to Anvil 
or any of its employees have arisen.'' There were no further legal 
developments regarding the 2007 acquittal by a military court of 
several FARDC soldiers and three Anvil Mining employees accused of 
involvement in the Kilwa massacre. In 2008 the Lubumbashi Military 
Court of Appeal rejected legal motions by victims' relatives 
challenging the acquittals.
    There were no reported developments regarding any of the other 
alleged killings by authorities in 2007 that were previously reported.
    During the year a UN human rights mapping report detailed killings 
by foreign militaries between 1993 and 2003 (see section 1.g.).
    RMGs in conflict zones committed unlawful killings during the year, 
and there were reports that some corporations facilitated such killings 
and other abuses by sourcing minerals from areas controlled by armed 
entities, including FARDC units (see section 1.g.).

    b. Disappearance.--There were reports of disappearances caused by 
government forces. Authorities often refused to acknowledge the 
detention of suspects, and in some cases they detained suspects in 
secret detention facilities.
    For example, in August FARDC soldiers kidnapped a civil society 
leader and did not disclose his whereabouts while illegally detaining 
him in an underground jail (see section 1.c.).
    According to a report released in April 2009 by the African 
Association for the Defense of Human Rights (ASADHO), state security 
forces continued to use forced disappearances to repress individuals. 
ASADHO noted the disappearance of 16 persons, including students, 
police officers, and soldiers, following their initial arrest earlier 
in 2009. Their whereabouts remained unknown at year's end.
    In February 2009 the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary 
Disappearances (UNWGEID) reported to the UN Human Rights Council 
(UNHRC) that, as of 2008, there were 43 unsettled cases of forced or 
involuntary disappearance that had been reported to the UNWGEID, 
although none of them originated during the year. Underlining that an 
enforced disappearance was ``a continuing offense for as long as the 
fate or whereabouts of the victim remains unclarified,'' the UNWGEID 
stated that, as in 2008, the Government did not respond to UN inquiries 
about the cases. There were no reports of government efforts to 
investigate disappearances and abductions, including those in which 
security force members were accused of involvement.
    There was no information about the whereabouts of three lawyers in 
Kinshasa, who were abducted by three armed men in 2007 and allegedly 
detained by the National Intelligence Agency (ANR).
    RMGs and FARDC units kidnapped numerous persons, generally for 
forced labor, military service, or sexual services, and there were 
reports that some corporations facilitated such killings and other 
abuses by sourcing minerals from areas controlled by these armed 
entities. Many of the victims disappeared (see section 1.g.).

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--At the beginning of the year, the law did not specifically 
criminalize torture; however, during the parliamentary session between 
March and June lawmakers adopted a law criminalizing torture. Despite 
this reform, the Government did not effectively enforce the law, and 
during the year there were many credible reports by informed sources 
that security services tortured civilians, particularly detainees and 
prisoners, and employed other types of cruel, inhuman, and degrading 
punishment. Most cases of torture were perpetrated by members of the 
police, the ANR, and the FARDC, according to credible sources. There 
were very few reports of government authorities taking action against 
members of state security forces responsible for these acts.
    For example, on August 24, FARDC units comprised of ex-CNDP members 
kidnapped Sylvestre Bwira, president of the civil society in Masisi, 
North Kivu, and held and severely beat him in an underground prison for 
six days. The abuses occurred after he had sent an open letter to 
President Kabila on August 2, denouncing abuses committed with impunity 
by General Ntaganda's troops and the parallel CNDP administration in 
Masisi Territory. Authorities had taken no action by year's end.
    The UNJHRO reported several cases of torture and cruel, inhuman, 
and degrading treatment. For example, on August 21, FARDC soldiers 
arrested five persons, including two minors, suspected of involvement 
in an attack on a MONUSCO peacekeeping base in Kirumba, in the Lubero 
Territory in North Kivu, which killed three peacekeepers. During their 
detention at the headquarters of the 12th FARDC Sector in Kasando, 
Lubero Territory, soldier's allegedly tortured them, giving them 
between 40 and 120 lashes each and burning and mutilating their feet 
and hands to obtain confessions. The five were transferred on August 22 
to the Goma military court. There were no reports that authorities had 
investigated or disciplined the accused FARDC soldiers, and no 
additional information was available.
    There were no reports of authorities taking action in the following 
cases of severe beatings of suspects by state security forces in 2009 
and 2008:
    The severe beating of a suspected thief who was subsequently denied 
food and water for two days by ANR agents in January 2009, in Kabimba, 
Katanga;
    The severe beating and stabbing of two women in February 2009 by 
several FARDC soldiers from the Second Integrated Brigade in Butembo, 
North Kivu, during a break-in at the women's home;
    The severe beating, extortion, and other forms of mistreatment of a 
man in February 2009 by five PNC officers in Kaleba, Katanga, under a 
PNC commander who allegedly routinely ordered the torture of civilians 
to extort money;
    The all-night beating of two civilians suspended from a tree by 
three GR soldiers named Vandome, Jean-Paul, and Mapendo in May 2009 in 
Kahungula, Bandundu;
    The beating and robbery of a civilian by two FARDC soldiers in 
Kalemie, Katanga, in 2008;the severe beating of a man by five FARDC 
soldiers in Mbuji-Mayi, Kasai Oriental in 2008 for resisting their 
efforts to steal his motorbike;
    The cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of a civilian in 2008 
by seven PNC officers in Bena-Leka, Kasai Occidental, under the command 
of Tshipamba Nzolo; or
    The torture of a police officer by offers of the police's Mobile 
Intervention Group (GMI) in Mbuji-Mayi, Kasai Oriental, in 2008.
    Authorities took no action against members of state security forces 
who tortured a judicial investigator in Orientale Province (see section 
1.d.) in 2007.
    On several occasions during the year, police beat and arrested 
journalists who wrote or broadcast material they did not like (see 
section 2.a.).
    There were continuing reports, including many from the UNJHRO, of 
rape of civilians by members of the state security forces, both in the 
context of the conflict in the east (see section 1.g.) and elsewhere. 
For example, in Kasai Occidental, on March 13, four policemen from 
Kampungu police station in Mweka Territory allegedly arrested the 
daughter of a man they sought and then raped her throughout the night 
while she was detained. No additional information was available.
    During the year a police commander raped a 15-year-old girl (see 
prison and detention center conditions in section 1.c.).
    No additional information was available regarding the investigation 
that a public prosecutor ordered in 2009 into the rape of a 13-year-old 
girl in March 2009 by the head of the office of the Ministry of Urban 
Planning and Housing in Bulungu, Bandundu.
    At year's end no additional information was available on a FARDC 
soldier in Rwindi, North Kivu, whom military authorities arrested and 
detained after he allegedly raped a three-year-old girl in 2008.
    There were no reports of authorities taking further action 
regarding the abduction and repeated rape over a four-day period of a 
14-year-old girl by a FARDC lieutenant in Gemena, Equateur, who had 
been arrested and then released; or the rape of 13 women and six girls 
in Ngele, Equateur, and the cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of 
the village's male residents by police officers.
    RMGs committed sexual violence and other types of abuses against 
civilians during the year, and some corporations facilitated sexual 
violence against civilians by supporting--through the illicit trade in 
mineral resources--armed entities, including some FARDC units (see 
section 1.g.).
    Some church leaders beat, whipped, and starved children accused of 
witchcraft (see section 6).

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Conditions in most prisons 
remained severe and life-threatening. During the year UN Secretary-
General Ban Ki-moon reported to the UN Security Council that the prison 
system merited urgent reform, as it continued to be characterized by 
``catastrophic conditions of detention,'' including severe overcrowding 
and lack of medical facilities, and that in several instances, 
detainees died from starvation, as no budget had been allocated to 
cover operational costs, including food and other basic needs. The 
penal system was underfunded, and most prisons were overcrowded, poorly 
maintained, and lacked sanitation facilities. In all prisons except the 
Kinshasa Penitentiary and Reeducation Center (CPRK), the Government had 
not provided food for years. Prisoners' friends and families provided 
the only available food and necessities. Malnutrition was widespread, 
and some prisoners starved to death. Prison staff often forced family 
members of prisoners to pay bribes for the right to bring food to 
prisoners.
    The country's justice minister called the prisons ``death houses'' 
in a plea to the international community for immediate assistance. 
According to ASADHO's April 2009 report Rule of Law Put to the Test, 
medical equipment and medicines were absent in virtually all the 
prisons and detention centers. In 2009 the UN secretary-general 
reported that prison populations exceeded capacity by 600 percent and 
expressed concern about lack of food and health care, outdated prison 
laws and regulations, and severe shortcomings in infrastructure and 
training for prison guards.
    While evaluating the country's prison system in July 2009, Dimitri 
Titov, the UN assistant secretary for the rule of law and security 
institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, visited the 
prison in Goma, North Kivu, where he found a prison facility built for 
150 prisoners housing 850, 650 of whom had not been tried yet. There 
was no separation of men, women, and children or of civilian and 
military detainees, which Titov called unacceptable. Titov said 
overcrowding was so great in the dilapidated prison that inmates slept 
in hallways and next to septic tanks, facilitating the spread of 
disease in what he called inhumane conditions. Noting that he had 
toured numerous prisons in post-conflict African countries, he deemed 
the prison in Goma ``the most terrible I've ever seen.'' Titov also 
visited the prison in Bunia, Orientale, where he found the prison 
population exceeded the facility's capacity by 250 percent. While 
underlining efforts by donor countries to improve prison conditions in 
the country, he urged the Government to match those efforts.
    Temporary holding cells in some prisons were extremely small. Many 
had no windows, lights, electricity, running water, or toilet 
facilities; access to potable water or temperature-regulated cells was 
nonexistent.
    Violence, particularly sexual violence, continued to be a serious 
problem in prisons, along with life-threatening diseases such as HIV/
AIDS. Male prisoners raped other prisoners, including men, women, and 
children. Citing the prison rape cases that it had registered during 
the year, ASADHO reported in June 2009 that ``women are frequently 
raped'' and that prison rapes ``are sometimes organized in cahoots with 
prison authorities.'' ASADHO also noted that men, especially new 
inmates, were sodomized by prison gangs. In June 2009, during an 
attempted prison escape and subsequent riot at the Central Prison in 
Goma, North Kivu, 24 military detainees raped 23 female prisoners. PNC 
officers shot and killed one perpetrator.
    Deaths of detainees were common due to deplorable living 
conditions, malnutrition, and lack of medical care. For example, on 
February 12, 191 persons were detained in a 36-by-23-foot cell in 
Tshikapa's prison, Kasai Occidental Province, without ventilation 
resulting in the death of three detainees due to suffocation. Also in 
February the UNJHRO documented seven cases of death in detention 
throughout the country, mainly due to bad detention conditions. Over a 
two-week period in July, three inmates died from starvation in Bulungu 
Prison, in Bandundu Province. On June 26, a detainee died in Idiofa 
prison in Bandundu, after failing to pay for the medical care he 
needed, even though health care is a state obligation in the country. 
On June 8 and 11, two detainees of Kalemie central prison in Maniema 
Province died from diseases a few days after their admission to the 
General Hospital of Kalemie.
    In July 2009 the UNJHRO reported that prisoners were dying in Bunia 
prison, including from malnutrition and tuberculosis. Local NGO Me 
Lonjiringa reported in July 2009 that the physical and hygienic 
conditions of Bunia prison were so bad that being detained there was 
``a death sentence.'' UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay 
reported that between March 2008 and March 2009, at least 65 prisoners 
died in prisons. Pillay concluded that confinement in a Congolese 
prison in itself often amounted to cruel, inhumane, or degrading 
treatment.
    Health care and medical attention remained inadequate, and 
infectious diseases rampant. In rare cases prison doctors provided 
care; however, they often lacked medicines and supplies. According to a 
nurse at the Bunia Central prison, in 2009 many prisoners were in 
desperate need of a transfer to the hospital for medical care but were 
often denied.
    Numerous prisoners attempted to escape, sometimes to avoid what 
they viewed as certain death from starvation, according to the UNJHRO. 
In June 140 inmates escaped various prisons across the country, and 
only 23 of them were recaptured, according to the UNJHRO. According to 
media reports, in Gemena prison, in Equateur, where a growing backlog 
of pretrial detention cases continued to outgrow the capacity of the 
prison and the lone prosecutor who served the area, almost 200 pretrial 
inmates rioted and escaped on November 16 due to lack of food; only a 
handful were reportedly recaptured.
    Guards were few and often unpaid, and some lived in the prisons for 
lack of homes. According to the UN secretary-general, approximately 95 
per cent of the personnel working in the correctional facilities were 
not civil servants but rather self-appointed and lacked formal training 
for the responsibilities of their positions. There was no training 
institution for prison personnel, including wardens. Lack of authority 
and surveillance resulted in detainee death and abuse. For example, the 
UNJHRO reported that on January 31, an inmate in Bukavu's central 
prison was tied up and beaten to death by six co-detainees.
    Installations remained rudimentary, contributing to high rates of 
escape across the prison system. According to a March 2009 report by 
seven UN special rapporteurs and representatives, ``The disastrous 
state of the prison system, perhaps the weakest link in the justice 
chain, facilitates escapes of suspects and convicts, including high 
profile offenders who sometimes 'escape' with the connivance of the 
authorities. For this reason, but also in light of the generally 
appalling prison conditions.penitentiary reform is an absolute 
necessity.'' The group recommended that the Government and its 
technical assistance partners make it a priority to implement the new 
Strategic Plan on Prison Reform and Training, developed by the Ministry 
of Justice and the UN peacekeeping mission MONUC, whose name was 
changed to MONUSCO in May.
    Larger prisons sometimes had separate facilities for women and 
juveniles, but others generally did not. Prison officials held pretrial 
detainees together with convicted prisoners and treated both groups the 
same. They generally held individuals detained on state security 
grounds in special sections. Government security services often 
clandestinely transferred such prisoners to secret prisons. Civilian 
and military prisons and detention facilities held both soldiers and 
civilians, since none of the military's prisons were operational, 
according to a March report by the UN secretary-general.
    According to ASADHO, sleeping arrangements in prisons and detention 
centers were hierarchical and corrupt. Due to overcrowding, the best 
sleeping spots went to those who were able to pay. Those at the bottom 
of the hierarchy had to sleep on cement floors or outside in the 
courtyards.
    According to MONUSCO, in 2009 fewer than 90 of the country's 230 
prisons actually held prisoners; while there were no reports of the 
Government officially closing prisons during the year, dozens of 
prisons that had not functioned for years remained closed. Most prisons 
were dilapidated or seriously neglected.
    Prisoners routinely escaped from prisons in all provinces. In some 
cases, security personnel who were detained or convicted of serious 
crimes were released from prison by military associates or by bribing 
unpaid guards.
    Even harsher conditions prevailed in small detention centers, which 
were extremely overcrowded; had no toilets, mattresses, or medical 
care; and provided detainees with insufficient amounts of light, air, 
and water. Originally intended to house short-term detainees, they were 
often used for lengthy incarceration. They generally operated without 
dedicated funding and with minimal regulation or oversight. Informed 
sources stated that detention center authorities often arbitrarily beat 
or tortured detainees. Guards frequently extorted bribes from family 
members and NGOs for permission to visit detainees or provide food and 
other necessities.
    Despite President Kabila's 2006 decision to close illegal jails 
operated by the military or other state security forces, there were no 
reports of such closures during the year. According to MONUSCO, the 
security services, particularly the intelligence services and the GR, 
continued to operate numerous illegal detention facilities 
characterized by harsh and life-threatening conditions. Authorities 
routinely denied family members, friends, and lawyers access to these 
illegal facilities.
    Authorities took no action against ANR agents who tortured six 
inmates in 2008 in Musenze Central Prison in Goma, North Kivu.
    The law provides that minors may be detained only as a last resort; 
however, in part due to the absence of juvenile justice or education 
centers, authorities commonly detained minors. Many children endured 
pretrial detention without seeing a judge, lawyer, or social worker; 
for orphaned children, pretrial detention often continued for months or 
years. In February 2009 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 
(UNCRC) noted that the child protection code, promulgated in January 
2009, provides for juvenile courts to become operational by 2011. 
However, the UNCRC expressed concern over the way in which the justice 
system continued to handle juveniles and the lack of a juvenile justice 
system. According to the UNJHRO, during the night of May 8, a 15-year-
old girl who had been raped was illegally detained in a PNC cell with 
the alleged perpetrator and subsequently raped by the police commander 
in charge of the investigation. There were no reports of authorities 
taking any action against the commander.
    Authorities denied some prisoners and detainees access to visitors 
and did not permit them to have contact with or submit complaints to 
judicial authorities (see section 1.d.). The Government had not 
established an effective or reliable system to monitor detention 
facilities, and authorities very rarely investigated allegations of 
inhumane prison or detention center conditions. There were no 
government ombudsmen serving to protect the rights of prisoners and 
detainees. There were no reports of authorities preventing prisoners or 
detainees from practicing their religion.
    In general the Government allowed the International Committee of 
the Red Cross, MONUSCO, and some NGOs access to all official detention 
facilities; however, it did not allow these organizations access to 
illegal government-run detention facilities, including those run by the 
ANR, the GR, and units of the FARDC, including ex-CNDP FARDC units in 
Masisi territory, North Kivu.
    RMGs sometimes detained civilians, often for ransom, but little 
information was available concerning the conditions of detention (see 
section 1.g.).
    With MONUSCO's support, the reconstruction of the Ndolo military 
prison in Kinshasa was completed during the year, and plans to make the 
prison operational had been finalized by October. At the Goma Central 
Prison, construction of a structure designed to separate juveniles and 
women neared completion. However, according to the UN Secretary-
General's report to the UN Security Council in October, despite those 
efforts, prison conditions throughout the country, particularly in 
conflict-affected areas, remained dire. Calling prison conditions one 
of the major human rights crises in the country, the UNJHRO opened a 
special office during the year to better address the problem and 
recommended that the Government create prison farms to ensure food 
supply for inmates and generate revenue to procure basic medicines.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The law prohibits arbitrary 
arrest or detention; however, state security forces routinely 
arbitrarily arrested and detained persons.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--Among other elements, 
the state security forces consist of the PNC, which operates under the 
Ministry of Interior and has primary responsibility for law enforcement 
and public order. The PNC includes the Rapid Intervention Police and 
the Integrated Police Unit. The ANR, overseen by the president's 
national security advisor, is responsible for internal and external 
security. Other agencies include the military intelligence service of 
the Ministry of Defense; the DGM, responsible for border control; the 
GR, which reports directly to the presidency; and the FARDC, which is 
part of the Ministry of Defense and generally responsible for external 
security, but which also carries out an internal security role.
    State security forces generally remained undisciplined, corrupt, 
lacked training, were grossly underfunded, and received little pay (see 
section 4).
    There were mechanisms available to investigate abuses by state 
security forces and address internal discipline problems, although the 
mechanisms remained weak and ineffective, particularly for addressing 
misconduct by mid- and high-ranking officials. However, some progress 
was made during the year related to internal discipline of the PNC, as 
authorities charged eight PNC officers following the disappearance of 
human rights defender Fidele Bazana Edadi and the killing of his 
colleague, long-time activist Floribert Chebeya, who was last heard 
from just before entering PNC headquarters in Kinshasa after being 
summoned by the head of the national police, John Numbi. Nevertheless, 
several rule of law experts in the country and almost 80 local and 
international human rights NGOs have expressed serious concerns about 
the credibility and independence of the investigation and the trial 
(see section 5). Numbi, who was implicated by several reports in 
serious human rights abuses in recent years, was suspended from his 
position in June pending an investigation, but authorities did not 
charge him or put him on trial, and dozens of civil society members 
alleged that Numbi continued to perform official duties despite the 
official suspension.
    Created in 2007, the Inspection General d'Audit (IGA) is the 
internal discipline system within the PNC. As an internal oversight 
mechanism, it aims, among other things, to address police corruption 
and other types of police misconduct and human rights violations 
perpetrated by the police force. While the existence of the IGA was 
considered a positive legal step, at year's end it was not fully 
functioning, suffering from a lack of infrastructure, training, and 
awareness regarding its role and existence, especially at the 
provincial level.
    Members of the FARDC, police, and intelligence sectors continued to 
commit the majority of the country's human rights abuses. For example, 
on February 16, the deputy police commander of Sankuru, Kasai Oriental 
Province, and 20 PNC agents burned 89 homes and pillaged 47 others in 
retaliation for the killing of a policeman by the population. On 
February 16 and 18, they also pillaged two schools and broke 19 windows 
in the local hospital. Authorities arrested six policemen, including 
the deputy commander, and placed them under a temporary arrest warrant. 
On April 14, the trial began at the Lodja military tribunal, but one of 
the policemen escaped before the trial began. No additional information 
was available at year's end.
    The FARDC consisted of between 130,000 and 155,000 soldiers, 
including 60,000 who have reached or are close to retirement age. 
Approximately half of the force was deployed during the year in the 
conflict-affected east. The FARDC was ineffective, due in part to weak 
command and control, poor operational planning, low administrative and 
logistical capacity, and questionable loyalty on the part of some of 
its soldiers. Other serious obstacles to the formation of a coherent 
national army included lack of equipment and barracks.
    In addition, in October 2009 UN Special Representative of the 
Secretary-General Alan Doss reported to the UN Security Council that 
``the fast-track integration of up to 20,000 elements of former armed 
groups, some with very bad human rights records, into the FARDC has 
aggravated existing problems of indiscipline and crimes committed 
against the population.''
    For example, in August a FARDC general ordered his soldiers to 
kidnap a FARDC colonel to force a military prosecutor to release 
another FARDC colonel, who had been arrested on charges of 
insubordination (see section 1.g.).
    During the year there were increases in crimes committed against 
civilians in areas of the east where the FARDC was present, 
particularly regarding Operation Amani Leo (see section 1.g.). 
MONUSCO--as mandated by the UN Security Council--continued to condition 
its logistical military support to FARDC units on accountability for 
human rights abuses. For example, after MONUSCO suspended its support 
in June to the FARDC 911th, or ``Bear,'' Battalion in Orientale, owing 
to the serious and persistent human rights violations committed by some 
of its elements, authorities arrested six officers of the battalion and 
transferred them to the relevant judicial authorities, according to a 
report submitted to the UN Security Council in October.
    According to UNSRESAE Alston, ``regular failures'' by the 
Government to provide soldiers their rations and pay, together with 
embezzlement by commanders, contributed to indiscipline as soldiers 
continued ``to literally prey on the population.'' FARDC units 
throughout the country regularly engaged in illegal taxation and 
harassment of civilians. They set up checkpoints to collect ``taxes,'' 
often arresting individuals who could not pay the demanded bribes and 
stealing whatever food and money they could. According to the UNJHRO, 
there was a direct correlation between salaries siphoned off by corrupt 
officers and the level of human rights abuses committed by the FARDC, 
the GR, the PNC, the DGM and the ANR. Abuses by FARDC soldiers were 
dramatically reduced in areas where they were paid and fed.
    Impunity in the state security forces remained a severe, widespread 
problem, and the weaknesses of the justice system continued to play a 
large role in the problem (see section 1.e.). The Government prosecuted 
and disciplined few security force personnel for abusing civilians. 
According to the UN secretary-general's report to the UN Security 
Council in March, military justice institutions continued to face 
challenges, including a severe shortage of military judges and 
prosecutors, with only 350 of a required 818 military magistrates being 
deployed. Magistrates, prosecutors, and investigators were poorly 
trained, had little or no resources for investigations, and limited, if 
any, access to legal codes. In addition, the military justice system 
was often subjected to political and command interference, and security 
arrangements for magistrates in conflict-affected areas remained 
inadequate. Magistrates who attempted to investigate politically 
connected high-level FARDC officers were threatened (see section 1.a.), 
as were witnesses providing information to judicial officers.
    According to a HRW July 2009 report, Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders 
Who Condone, the military justice system remained a weak institution. 
HRW underscored that ``only a small fraction'' of the total number of 
acts of sexual violence committed by FARDC soldiers had been 
prosecuted. As an example, HRW reported that, during 2008, 27 soldiers 
were convicted of crimes of sexual violence in North and South Kivu. 
During the same year, the UN registered 7,703 new cases of sexual 
violence (by FARDC soldiers and other perpetrators) in North and South 
Kivu.
    The Operational Military Court, which the Government established 
during the year to address abuses committed by FARDC officers during 
military operations, made some progress in prosecuting a small number 
of low-ranking perpetrators. However, it lacked adequate staff, the 
ability to conduct its own independent investigations, and the power to 
undertake high-level prosecutions, and there remained concerns about 
the court's respect for due process (see section 1.e.).
    Most of the prosecutions undertaken by the military justice system 
continued to be lower-ranking officers or soldiers; rarely were mid-
level or senior-level officers investigated for having committed acts 
of sexual violence. Although no general had yet been convicted, either 
for his own actions or for failing to control his troops, a general 
(General Jerome Kakwavu) was arrested for rape and other crimes in 
April. When they were convicted, sentences were rarely carried out. For 
example, in July 2009 a military court found Lieutenant Colonel 
Ndayambaje Kipanga guilty of raping four girls in Rutshuru, North Kivu. 
Prior to the arrest of General Kakwavu, he was the highest-ranking 
FARDC officer convicted. However, he was convicted in absentia after 
escaping custody two days after his arrest in May 2009, due to lax 
detention procedures, and he remained at large at year's end..
    In its November 2009 report to the UN Security Council, the UNGOE 
cited meetings it held with military justice prosecutors in North and 
South Kivu, who ``reiterated the limitations...in effectively 
prosecuting sexual violence and underscored the lack of willingness at 
the highest level of the FARDC military command to ensure that 
perpetrators are held accountable.'' Examples provided by the UNGOE of 
FARDC commanders who had failed to take any action after being notified 
of rape cases committed by their men included Colonel Alphonse Mpanzu 
of the 8th Integrated Brigade, deployed in Uvira (South Kivu) in the 
context of Kimia II (at least two cases of rape), and Lieutenant 
Colonel Salumu Mulenda, commander of the 33rd Brigade deployed in Uvira 
and Walungu territories (13 cases of rape). In addition, more than 50 
cases of abuse by the 33rd Brigade (lootings, arbitrary detention, and 
burning of civilian properties) had been reported since the beginning 
of Kimia II operations, according to the group.
    Several individuals accused of numerous serious abuses held senior 
positions in the FARDC. Of the ``FARDC five,'' the five senior FARDC 
commanders whose impunity for alleged crimes of sexual violence was 
raised again with President Kabila by the UN Security Council in May 
2009, three were in detention by year's end, their investigations had 
been completed, and their cases were ready for trial. General Kakwavu 
had been arrested and was awaiting trial, as well as colonels Safari 
and Mobuli. Major Pitchen, also known as Joseph Papy Ilunga, was 
located in Equateur. The Ministry of Defense sent a letter to his 
commander requesting he be transferred to the military prosecutor, but 
the commander refused. At year's end, Major Pitchen, who already had a 
warrant for his arrest due to a conviction of rape in Bukavu, continued 
commanding a battalion of troops. Colonel Mosala was requested to 
remain under house arrest but was not legally required to do so; he 
fled and his whereabouts were unknown. He was presumed to have fled the 
country.
    Following his assessment visit in October 2009, UNSRESAE Alston 
characterized impunity within the state security forces as ``chronic,'' 
noting that ``endemic corruption and political interference ensure that 
anyone with money or connections can escape investigation, prosecution, 
and judgment.'' For example, in June FARDC forces attacked an 
integration center in Nyaleke, North Kivu. The commander of the 1113th 
Battalion, based in Oicha, North Kivu, first arrested, and then 
released eight of the defendants in exchange for a large amount of 
money. A captain of the 1113th Battalion also released suspects in the 
same case and refused to respond to a summons to appear in court. In 
addition, on August 12, ex-CNDP FARDC elements forcibly freed a former 
commander from the Goma Military Prosecutor's office after authorities 
had arrested the former commander for refusing to be redeployed from 
Walikale Territory following accusations of human rights abuses by 
FARDC elements under his command.
    On October 5, General Bosco Ntaganda, an ex-CNDP chief of staff who 
was loosely integrated into the FARDC during 2009 (but who has not 
followed or been subjected to the same command chain as the 
``regular,'' non-integrated FARDC forces) told Reuters that he 
continued to command FARDC troops in the east as ``the number two'' 
commander in Operation Amani Leo. (The International Criminal Court 
(ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda in 2006 relating to the 
recruitment and use of child soldiers.) His comments contradicted 
official FARDC statements that he had no role in Amani Leo; however, 
the UN GOE reported in December that General Ntaganda ``remained deputy 
commander of Amani Leo operations.'' At year's end General Ntaganda 
continued to live and openly circulate in Goma, North Kivu. In his 2009 
report, UNSRESAE Alston expressed concern that both government and UN 
officials had indicated they would not take steps to arrest General 
Ntaganda.
    During the year the Government took few significant steps to reform 
the state security forces, and three important draft pieces of 
legislation to reform the armed forces had yet to be adopted by 
parliament. According to the UN secretary-general's October report to 
the UN Security Council, ``Progress on reform of FARDC was largely 
stalled.Several bilateral training programs supporting the 
implementation of the army reform plan were stalled or completed, while 
the continuation of others was in question.'' The FARDC continued to 
cooperate with the EU Mission to Provide Advice on and Assistance with 
Security Sector Reform in its chain of payments project, which aimed to 
improve the FARDC's salary distribution system, prevent fraud and 
embezzlement, and ensure payments reached soldiers.
    There were a few convictions of state security forces members, 
usually low ranking, during the year. For example, on July 22, the 
military tribunal in Goma sentenced Lieutenant Bahati, Warrant Officer 
Kambere, Sergeant -Major Bandoa and Balume to 20 years in prison for 
rape and armed robbery.
    In addition, some Congolese military prosecutors participated in 
joint investigation teams (JITs) a UN initiative launched during the 
year that focused on investigating crimes of sexual violence in the 
east. JITs, which consisted of UNJHRO officers and Congolese military 
prosecutors and investigators, received allegations of rape and other 
abuses from human rights groups and deployed to remote areas to 
investigate and collect evidence for judicial cases. The UNJHRO 
officers provided the military prosecutors and investigators with 
transportation, normally a debilitating deficiency in the investigation 
process. As the military prosecutors and investigators collected and 
processed information, they received in-the-field coaching and training 
in technical areas, such as forensics, witness protection and 
interviewing, and child protection. Although the JITs were ad hoc in 
nature and lacked adequate funding and personnel resources, 
participating military prosecutors and investigators and NGOs viewed 
JITs as a small but effective component in the fight against impunity.
    In July 2009 announced that the Government had adopted a policy of 
``zero tolerance'' for human rights violations by the state security 
forces following intense criticism by donor countries and international 
human rights groups. The FARDC disseminated instructions to all 
soldiers that protecting the population was their duty and warned that 
rape and other crimes against civilians would be punished. In December 
2009 several members of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group 
(UPRWG) commended the Government for adopting this policy but expressed 
concern over severe deficiencies in its implementation. Several members 
of the UPRWG urged the Government to implement by June 2010 the short-
term anti-impunity reforms that were recommended by UNSRESAE Alston, 
who said in October 2009 that FARDC soldiers faced ``no risk of 
punishment'' for abuses, partly due to their anonymity. Alston urged 
the Government to require all FARDC soldiers to wear uniforms showing 
their names and unit affiliation and recommended that the UN Security 
Council make this step a precondition for any further UN assistance. He 
also urged the Government to immediately indict key members of the 
military alleged to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, 
and other serious offenses, particularly General Ntaganda, Innocent 
Zimurinda, Sultani Makenga, Bernard Byamungu, and Salumu Mulenda. At 
year's end, the Government had not taken these steps.
    During the Amani Leo Operation, and at the request of the FARDC, 
MONUSCO conducted human rights screening--designed to identify and 
remove human rights abusers from the operation--on a small number of 
battalions in North Kivu that MONUSCO would support (depending upon the 
results of the screening process), approximately 1,500 soldiers in 
total; however, those in battalions not receiving support from MONUSCO 
were not vetted (see section 1.g.).
    However, during the year the Government continued to maintain joint 
military oversight committees with MONUSCO in several provinces. They 
were composed of military officers, military magistrates, MONUSCO human 
rights officers, and MONUC child protection officers. They met monthly 
to monitor, investigate, and develop strategies to combat sexual 
violence and other human rights abuses. Their effectiveness remained 
mixed at year's end.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--By law arrests 
for offenses punishable by more than six months' imprisonment require 
warrants. Detainees must appear before a magistrate within 48 hours. 
Authorities must inform those arrested of their rights and the reason 
for their arrest, and may not arrest a family member instead of the 
individual being sought. They may not arrest individuals for non-felony 
offenses, such as debt and civil offenses. Authorities must allow 
arrested individuals to contact their families and consult with 
attorneys. In practice, security officials routinely violated all of 
these requirements. No functioning bail system existed, and detainees 
had little access to legal counsel if unable to pay. Authorities often 
held suspects in incommunicado detention, including in illegal 
facilities run by the ANR and the GR, and refused to acknowledge their 
detention.
    Security personnel arrested and detained without charge perceived 
opponents and critics of the Government during the year, sometimes 
under the pretext of state security, often denying due process, such as 
access to an attorney (see sections 1.a., 2.a. and 5).
    Police often arbitrarily arrested and detained persons without 
filing charges, often to extort money from family members.
    The military intelligence agency, DEMIAP, arbitrarily arrested 
persons and subjected them to prolonged arbitrary detention (see 
section 1.a.).
    On July 21, in Kinshasa, PNC officers arrested without warrant the 
coordinator of the NGO Solidarity for Social Promotion and Peace 
(SOPROP) and a nurse, also a member of the organization, and held them 
in custody at the Mont-Amba police station. Police also detained three 
other SOPROP members when they visited the police station to support 
the victims; police allegedly beat one of the three. The five SOPROP 
members were released the same day. Authorities took no action against 
those responsible.
    On September 29, members of the PNC arrested two women who 
witnessed and allegedly filmed the beating of a man by GR members after 
he threw a rock at the presidential motorcade. The two women were held 
in detention for several days until being released. The man was 
arrested and died in a GR detention cell, allegedly after committing 
suicide (see section 1.a.).
    Of the 174 inmates determined in 2008 by the vice-minister of human 
rights to be illegally detained in the CPRK, seven remained in prison 
at the end of 2009, but it was unclear how many remained in prison at 
the end of the year.
    Prolonged pretrial detention, often ranging from months to years, 
remained a problem, as pretrial detainees constituted at least 70 
percent of the prison population, according to the UN. In March UN 
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported that of approximately 18,000 
inmates throughout the country, at least 70 percent were pretrial 
detainees. In July Bandundu civil society leaders reported that inmates 
at Bulungu prison spent two to three years on average in detention 
before being tried. Trial delays were due to factors such as judicial 
inefficiency, corruption, financial constraints, and staff shortages. 
Prison officials often held individuals after their sentences had 
expired due to disorganization, judicial inefficiency, or corruption. 
Prison records remained grossly inadequate, and authorities kept 
individuals in prison even after their sentences had been served.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--The law provides for an 
independent judiciary; however, the judiciary was inefficient, corrupt, 
and subject to influence. Judges, who were poorly compensated, remained 
subject to influence and coercion by officials and other influential 
individuals.
    Following his October 2009 assessment of the country, UNSRESAE 
Alston concluded that ``across the country, endemic corruption and 
political interference ensure that anyone with money or connections can 
escape investigation, prosecution, and judgment. Judges' appointments, 
removals, and promotions are subjected to frequent political 
interference.''
    On January 21, Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI) 
leader Bernard Kakado, 86, appeared for the first time at the Bunia 
military court after a length of two years and five months in custody. 
Kakado was being prosecuted by 23 victims for killings, rapes and 
lootings perpetrated from 2006 through 2007.
    In a March 2009 report to the UNHRC, the UN special rapporteur on 
the independence of judges and lawyers and six other UN special 
rapporteurs and representatives collectively underscored that 
``political interference at all stages of the criminal process is very 
common.'' The report cited ``numerous incidents, especially in the 
east,'' in which military and civilian judges and prosecutors were 
threatened and attacked by FARDC soldiers or members of nongovernmental 
armed entities ``to intimidate them, disrupt criminal proceedings, and 
ensure impunity.'' It also noted that ``extremely low salaries'' in the 
justice, law enforcement, and penitentiary sectors facilitated 
corruption at all levels.
    Judicial corruption remained pervasive, particularly among 
magistrates. The judicial system was funded with less than 1 percent of 
the national budget and was poorly staffed, with a very limited 
presence outside of Kinshasa. A study by an international NGO concerned 
with justice reform identified a variety of challenges that continued 
to hinder the planning and execution of the judicial branch budget, 
including declining annual budgets allocated to the judicial branch; 
failure to pay salaries of court personnel on a regular basis; failure 
to allocate costs for court operations; and the lack of transparency in 
the use of funds allocated to the judiciary.
    There were fewer than 1,500 magistrates (judges who serve in the 
lowest level courts) serving the entire population (one magistrate for 
every 45,000 citizens), and two-thirds of them were located in 
Kinshasa, Matadi (Bas-Congo), and Lubumbashi (Katanga). There were 
fewer than 200 courts, of which approximately 50 were functioning 
during the year.
    According to the UNJHRO, despite some convictions of members of the 
FARDC during the year, law enforcement personnel and magistrates 
continued to treat rape and sexual violence in general with a marked 
lack of seriousness. Consequently, men accused of rape were often 
granted bail or given relatively light sentences, and out-of-court 
settlements of sexual violence cases remained widespread. However, 
during the year the Government cooperated with the UN and donor nations 
to train civil and military judges in methods to effectively adjudicate 
rape cases.
    The civilian judicial system failed to dispense justice 
consistently and was widely disparaged by the international community 
and citizens as ineffective and corrupt.
    The constitution provided for new judicial institutions and laid 
the foundation for an independent judiciary by removing previous 
presidential powers to appoint and remove magistrates. The constitution 
divided the Supreme Court's functions into a Constitutional Court, 
Appeals Court, the Administrative Oversight Agency and the High Council 
of Magistrates (CSM), the country's supreme judicial oversight body, 
which is charged with disciplining judges and prosecutors and 
protecting the judiciary from executive intimidation and manipulation. 
However, by the end of 2009, the CSM was not fully operational, and no 
legislation had been promulgated to establish the Constitutional Court, 
the Appeals Court, or the Administrative Oversight Agency. In the 
absence of the judicial institutions provided for by the 2006 
constitution, the existing structures--including the Supreme Court, 
Appeals Court, Superior Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance), and the 
misdemeanor courts known as Tribunaux de Paix--continued operating.
    While the new structures provided for in the constitution were 
designed in part to increase access to justice, the Government still 
had not implemented structures that were introduced by laws promulgated 
decades ago. For example, the 1982 law establishing the Tribunaux de 
Paix, which handle cases involving crimes punishable by less than five 
years' imprisonment, provides for one tribunal in each town and rural 
zone. According to an August 2009 report by the International Bar 
Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and International Legal 
Assistance Consortium (ILAC), if this law were carried out, there 
should be 180 of these tribunals; however, only 58 were in place, and 
only 45 were functioning.
    During the year the Government continued a process begun in October 
2009 to recruit and hire 1,000 new magistrates, including approximately 
100 female judges, to help address the problems of unfair trials and 
lack of access to justice. By year's end, the deployment of the 
magistrates to the provincial courts had not been undertaken, and the 
Government had not budgeted to deploy the judges.
    Military courts, which had broad discretion in sentencing and 
provided no appeal to civilian courts, continued to try military as 
well as civilian defendants during the year. Some areas of the country, 
particularly the east, continued to be served only by military justice, 
due to the absence of any operational civilian justice component. 
Although the constitution limits jurisdiction of military courts to 
members of the FARDC and PNC, at year's end, the military judicial code 
and the military penal code of 2002 had not been harmonized with the 
constitution. In August 2009, the minister of justice initiated a 
reform process that aimed in part to harmonize military justice with 
the constitution; however, the military code of justice, in place prior 
to the adoption of the present constitution, continued in force during 
the year. It prescribed trial by military courts of all cases involving 
state security, including offenses related to military personnel, and 
``weapons of war'' (firearms), whether the defendants were members of 
the military or civilians.
    In 2007 the UN's resident expert on human rights recommended that 
the Government establish a clearer separation between civilian and 
military jurisdictions; however, no action was taken by parliament 
during the year to address this recommendation.
    In December 2009 the UN secretary-general reported to the UN 
Security Council about ``extraordinary'' military justice mechanisms 
established in the Kivus, including the Operational Military Court (see 
section 1.d.). He expressed concern that, ``while contributing to 
discipline within the FARDC, there continued to be serious doubts 
regarding the legal basis of the mechanisms and their respect of fair 
trial standards, particularly since they do not contemplate a right of 
appeal.'' In addition, in its report to the UPRWG, a coalition of 
international NGOs criticized the newly created Operational Military 
Court for disrespecting basic due process rules. Of particular concern 
was the lack of an appeals process. However, on February 13, the 
Operational Military Court in North Kivu sentenced five FARDC soldiers 
to death for murder, one soldier to 20 years of imprisonment for rape, 
and two soldiers to five years of imprisonment for arbitrary arrest.
    The law requires that a defendant can be tried only by a judge in 
the military justice system who is of equal or higher rank than the 
accused. In practice, this provision continued to provide senior 
military suspects with protection from prosecution.
    According to the August 2009 report by the IBAHRI and ILAC, there 
were two main reasons why the executive branch and military command 
``continue to violate the independence of military judges'' and 
prosecutors:
    First, alliances between government forces and various rebel groups 
continued to foster loyalties that have prompted government officials 
to try to prevent the prosecution of some of the leaders and members of 
these armed entities. For example, according to IBAHRI and ILAC, in a 
letter from the minister of justice obtained by NGOs, the minister 
``ordered that no action be taken against members of [the CNDP], and 
that ongoing proceedings were to be discontinued.'' The date of the 
letter, February 9, 2009, was shortly before the March 2009 peace 
agreement in which the CNDP formally agreed to cease hostilities 
against--and integrate into--the FARDC and assist in operations against 
the FDLR.Second, military police and military prosecutors remained 
dependent on the military chain of command for logistical and 
administrative requirements, and military judges and prosecutors were 
sometimes beaten or even tortured for having acted against members of 
the FARDC without prior authorization from the commander.According to 
the UNJHRO, high-ranking military officers continued to adjudicate 
cases in which their own soldiers were implicated. Their alleged 
interference resulted in several out-of-court settlements regarding 
rape cases. However, there were some encouraging prosecutions during 
the year. For example, on July 22, the military tribunal in Goma 
condemned Lieutenant Bahati, Warrant Officer Kambere, Sergeant-Major 
Bandoa, and Balume to 20 years in prison for rape and armed robbery.
    In their March 2009 report to the UNHRC, seven UN special 
rapporteurs and representatives underscored the need for the Government 
to increase the justice portion of the national budget ``to an 
acceptable level comparable with other countries (2-6 percent).'' 
During the year the Government increased the justice portion of the 
national budget to 0.1 percent. Emphasizing the importance of expanding 
the justice system in rural territories, the report underscored the 
lack of mobile courts and the need for increased or ``hardship'' pay to 
induce qualified judicial personnel to serve in conflict posts.
    None of the courts or offices surveyed by an international NGO in 
four provinces (Katanga, Maniema, Bandundu, and South Kivu) had 
received operational or capital improvement funding from the central 
government in at least 10 years, forcing courts to rely on extralegal 
fees to pay for basic supplies and remuneration of ``volunteer 
clerks,'' who were used by court offices to fill gaps when civil 
service employees retired and were not replaced. A significant source 
of case management delay was the inability of courts to cover the costs 
of serving documents and other costs of litigation, including, for 
example, costs of transport for witnesses and victims in initial stages 
of prosecution. While there was some limited donor support for capital 
improvement and more limited support for operational costs, it was not 
enough to have an appreciable effect on courts' ability to function as 
viable institutions.
    In their March 2009 report to the UNHRC, seven UN special 
rapporteurs and representatives highlighted the need for transitional 
justice and truth-seeking initiatives, and recommended establishing 
mixed courts comprising national and international judges and sitting 
in national courts. While no mixed courts were established during the 
year, on October 1 the UNOHCHR published a human rights mapping report, 
which was endorsed by the Government and catalogued the most serious 
violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed 
in the country between March 1993 and June 2003. The Government called 
the UNOHCHR Human Rights Mapping report ``credible'' and, while not 
supportive of the recommendation to re-establish the country's 
dilapidated National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, expressed 
support for the concept of establishing a mixed domestic chambers to 
address the most serious crimes highlighted by the UNOHCHR's mapping 
report. The Ministry of Justice sponsored a two-day workshop to draft 
legislation related to the mixed chambers on November 29 and 30.

    Trial Procedures.--The constitution provides for a presumption of 
innocence; however, in practice most detainees were treated as already 
having been convicted. Although the Government permitted, and in some 
cases provided, legal counsel, lawyers often did not have free access 
to defendants. The public could attend trials only at the discretion of 
the presiding judge. Juries are not used. During trials defendants have 
the right to be present and to be provided a defense attorney. However, 
in practice these rights were not always respected. Defendants have the 
right to appeal in most cases except those involving national security, 
armed robbery, and smuggling, which the Court of State Security 
generally adjudicated. Defendants have the right to confront and 
question witnesses against them and can present evidence and witnesses 
in their own defense. The law requires that defendants have access to 
government-held evidence, but this right was not always observed in 
practice. There were no reports of women or specific ethnic groups 
being systematically denied these rights.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were reports of political 
prisoners and detainees. In 2009 the UNJHRO estimated that there were 
at least 200 political prisoners in detention at the end of the year. 
The Government permitted access to some political prisoners by 
international human rights organizations and MONUC; however, 
authorities consistently denied access to detention facilities run by 
the GR and the ANR (see section 1.c.).

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--Civil courts exist for 
lawsuits and other disputes, but the public widely viewed them as 
corrupt. The party willing to pay the higher bribe was generally 
believed to receive decisions in its favor. Most individuals could not 
afford the often prohibitive fees associated with filing a civil case. 
While the law stipulates access to free legal counsel for citizens in 
civil trials, in practice magistrates remained overburdened by large 
caseloads in areas outside of Kinshasa. It was difficult to retain the 
continued services of lawyers, who often spent minimal time outside of 
the capital. No civil court exists specifically to address human rights 
violations.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The law prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, 
family, home, or correspondence; however, state security forces 
routinely ignored these provisions. Soldiers, demobilized soldiers, 
deserters, and police continued to harass and rob civilians. State 
security forces routinely ignored legal requirements and entered and 
searched homes or vehicles without warrants. In general those 
responsible for such acts remained unidentified and unpunished. State 
security forces sometimes looted homes, businesses, and schools.
    Authorities took no action in the cases detailed in this subsection 
in 2009 or 2008.
    Authorities at times arrested or beat a relative or associate of a 
person they sought to arrest (see section 1.c.).
    Armed entities operating outside government control in the east 
routinely subjected civilians to arbitrary interference with privacy, 
family, home, and correspondence, and some corporations facilitated 
such abuses by supporting--through the illicit trade in mineral 
resources--armed entities, including FARDC units (see section 1.g.).

    g. Use of Excessive Force and Other Abuses in Internal Conflicts.--
Internal conflict continued in rural and mineral-rich parts of the 
east, particularly in North Kivu and South Kivu, Bas Uele and Haut Uele 
Districts of Orientale, and to a lesser degree, the Ituri District of 
Orientale. According to a countrywide International Rescue Committee 
mortality survey released in 2008, conflict and related humanitarian 
crises, including the destruction and deterioration of essential 
infrastructure such as health centers, resulted in the deaths of an 
estimated 5.4 million Congolese between 1998 and 2007, or the 
equivalent of 45,000 per month throughout the survey period.
    Despite the integration of former CNDP rebels into the FARDC in 
2009, the FDLR, LRA, and some Mai-Mai groups increasingly formed 
coalitions during the year and continued to battle government forces 
and attack civilian populations. Military preparations during the year, 
and the fighting itself, led to further depredations against civilians 
by members of state security forces and armed entities. This 
continuation of fighting in the east, which impeded humanitarian aid in 
some areas kept the figure of internally displaced persons at 
approximately 1.7 million by the end of the year, exacerbating an 
already severe humanitarian crisis.
    The UN peacekeeping mission, MONUC, continued to maintain several 
thousand soldiers and civilian personnel in the country to assist the 
Government in establishing and maintaining peace and security, 
particularly in the east. In May the UN Security Council extended 
MONUC's mandate for 12 months, changing the name from MONUC to MONUSCO 
(UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Congo), with an emphasis 
on the eastern part of the DRC and retaining protection of civilians as 
the Mission's top priority, and authorizing a drawdown of 2,000 
peacekeeping soldiers troops by June 30 from areas where the security 
situation permits. At the end of the year, approximately 19,000 MONUSCO 
peacekeepers, military observers, and police continued efforts to 
effectively implement the mission's mandate, most notably with regard 
to its top priority of protecting civilians.
    Despite the presence of MONUSCO, armed entities, including ex-CNDP 
FARDC units in the east, continued to kill, abduct, torture, and rape 
civilians and burn and destroy villages.
    All parties continued to use mass rape and sexual violence with 
impunity, often as weapons of conflict, and to humiliate and punish 
individuals, victims, families, and communities. The UN Population Fund 
(UNFPA) reported 12,838 cases of sexual violence for both adults and 
children in North and South Kivu and Province Orientale in 2009. 
According to HRW, between January 2009 and September 2009, the total 
number of sexual violence cases registered at health centers in North 
and South Kivu exceeded 7,500, a near doubling of the total for the 
same period in 2008. In 2009 the International Rescue Committee, which 
registered approximately 1,200 cases of rape in South Kivu, found that 
up to 80 percent of survivors identified their assailants as members of 
either the FARDC or RMGs. While the actual number of cases was likely 
much higher, lack of data, social stigma, lack of confidence in the 
judiciary, and fear of reprisals prevented many rape survivors from 
coming forward.
    According to MONUSCO, between July 30 and August 2, 303 women, 
children, and men were raped in 13 villages in Walikale, North Kivu by 
a coalition of the FDLR, Mai Mai Cheka, and combatants lead by Colonel 
Emmanuel Nsengiyumva, a former member of the CNDP and the FARDC. The 
perpetrators also looted more than 1,000 homes and abducted 116 
civilians, whom they subjected to forced labor. The UN reported that 
from late July to early August, rebel groups raped an additional 260 
individuals in several isolated incidents in South Kivu. According to 
the UN, one of the villages attacked, Luvungi, where more than 100 
persons were raped, was a lucrative target for looting because it was a 
mining hub located only four miles from gold mines. A UN investigation 
in August found that the perpetrators ``sought to block off the 
transport of minerals to Goma and Bukavu, as well as force the return 
of FARDC troops from the mining areas.''
    In addition, the UNGOE's November report underscored another link 
between the rapes and exploitation of minerals. In the weeks prior to 
the rapes, criminal elements of the FARDC, including the 212th FARDC 
Brigade, were competing for control of lucrative deployments near 
mines, including Bisie mine. The competition for minerals within the 
FARDC and a false belief that the FDLR posed no threat in the area led 
the commander of the 212th Brigade, ex-CNDP FARDC Lieutenant Colonel 
Yusef Mboneza, to disobey orders to move to the area where the armed 
entities were located and where the rapes later took place. The 
insubordination and competing parallel chains of command occurred at 
the expense of civilian protection and underscored the need for more 
effective integration of the ex-CNDP FARDC elements and other former 
RMGs into the FARDC.
    According to the UNGOE, on August 12, authorities arrested Colonel 
Mboneza for insubordination related to his failure to follow orders to 
combat Mai-Mai Sheka, an armed entity active in Walikale Territory, 
North Kivu, and the FDLR. According to the UNGOE's report of November, 
FARDC General Ntaganda, a former CNDP rebel, subsequently sent more 
than 100 soldiers to kidnap Mboneza's rival commanding officer, and 
then overran the Military Prosecutor's Office and forced the release of 
Colonel Mboneza. By year's end, authorities had not taken any 
disciplinary action against Colonel Mboneza.
    Between September 1 and 18, MONUSCO conducted Operation Shop Window 
to improve the protection of local populations in Walikale and support 
government efforts to capture the perpetrators of the attacks from late 
July to early August. The operation resulted in the surrender of 27 
Mai-Mai elements and the arrest of three Mai-Mai elements and one FDLR 
element. On October 5, following a joint MONUSCO-FARDC operation, 
authorities incarcerated ``Lieutenant Colonel'' Mayele, the ``chief of 
staff'' of the Mai-Mai Cheka group, who was alleged to have coordinated 
the attacks in Walikale Territory from July 30 to August 2, along with 
FDLR elements led by ``Colonel'' Serafim.
    In October, while discussing the rapes committed in July and August 
in Walikale Territory, UN Special Represenative on Sexual Violence 
Margot Wallstrom told the UN Security Council that the rapes 
``demonstrate a nexus between the illicit exploitation of natural 
resources by armed elements and patterns of sexual violence.'' She 
underscored the competition over mining interests in the east ``as one 
of the root causes of conflict and sexual violence.''
    Rapes committed against a single woman by large numbers of armed 
men sometimes resulted in vaginal fistulas, a rupture of vaginal tissue 
that left survivors unable to control bodily functions and likely to be 
ostracized.
    During the year the incidents of men being raped continued as a 
result of the violence between nongovernmental armed entities and the 
FARDC. The number of male rape cases may have numbered in the hundreds 
during the year, but statistics for male rape were even more difficult 
to compile than those for female rape, as social stigma prevented many 
male survivors from coming forward. According to the American Bar 
Association, which ran a legal aid clinic in North Kivu for survivors 
of sexual violence, 10 percent of its cases during June 2009 were men. 
NGOs and medical workers reported that the humiliation was often so 
severe that male rape survivors came forward only if they had urgent 
health problems, and according to HRW, two men whose penises were 
cinched with rope died a few days later because they were too 
embarrassed to seek help.
    The recruitment and use of children by all armed entities active in 
North and South Kivu and Orientale, including the FARDC (particularly 
ex-CNDP elements), continued. HRW reported that of approximately 1,000 
documented males recruited between September and December in the east, 
at least 261 were under the age of 18. In July the UN secretary-general 
reported that joint military operations against the FDLR and the LRA 
had put children at high risk and made them more vulnerable to 
recruitment and use as soldiers, sexual slaves, porters or other 
domestic workers. According to the UNGOE report released in November, 
during 2009 a significant number of children who had previously been 
recruited into RMGs were brought into the new FARDC structures during 
the integration process.
    According to a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimate in late March 
2009, 8,000 children had yet to be demobilized from the ranks of RMGs 
and several units of government security forces in the east, where they 
served as combatants, porters, spies, and sex slaves. The estimate 
represented an increase of 4,500 children, compared with the UNICEF 
estimate for 2008; however, it was very difficult to verify actual 
numbers, as estimates were provided based on the numbers of children 
who had been demobilized, not counted within the ranks.
    From January to September, MONUC/MONUSCO facilitated the release of 
1,559 children from the FARDC and RMGs. Between October 2008 and 
December 2009, the Resolution 1612 Joint Action Committee reported that 
3,180 children, overwhelmingly male, were released from RMGs and the 
FARDC.
    The Resolution 1612 Country Task Force is pursuing advocacy with 
the Government to commit to, negotiate, and implement an action plan to 
end the recruitment and use of children by the FARDC, as requested by 
UN Security Council resolutions 1539, 1612, and 1882. The action plan 
would facilitate, among other things, the commitment of the Government 
and the FARDC to release all children remaining within the FARDC's 
ranks and put an end to the recruitment and use of children, mainly 
through military orders and measures to clearly prohibit the practice, 
as well as through systematic investigation of perpetrators of child 
rights violations.
    Fighting between the FARDC and nongovernmental armed entities 
continued to displace populations and limit humanitarian access to 
conflict areas. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of 
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between January and June there were 105 
attacks on humanitarian agencies working in the country, which 
represented a significant increase, compared with the 84 attacks 
between January and October of 2009, and the 36 attacks during the 
first 10 months of 2008.
    In North and South Kivu, the illegal exploitation and trade of 
natural resources by armed actors, including criminal elements of the 
FARDC, continued to prolong the conflict, facilitate the purchase of 
small arms to commit abuses, and reduce government revenues needed for 
increasing security and rebuilding the country. Generating direct and 
indirect financing for armed actors and conflict, the exploitation of 
natural resources continued to include minerals such as cassiterite (a 
tin oxide), the rare mineral tantalum, and wolframite, all of which are 
key components in electronic products, as well as gold, timber, 
charcoal, fishing, and land.
    The illegal trade in minerals continued to be both a symptom and a 
cause of the conflict in the Kivu provinces. While FARDC military 
operations during the year and in 2009 drove many RMGs, such as the 
FDLR, out of the principal mining areas in the Kivus, the RMGs 
continued to control hundreds of more remote mining deposits, 
increasingly pillaged mineral traders and transporters, and employed 
intermediaries to purchase minerals in mines they could no longer 
access. Ex-CNDP FARDC elements remained loyal to and in some cases 
shared mining profits with General Ntaganda--who remained the subject 
of an outstanding ICC arrest warrant--as they continued to gain control 
over large areas rich in natural resources in North and South Kivu 
provinces, including Walikale Territory, the part of North Kivu that is 
richest in cassiterite.
    The law specifically prohibits the involvement of the FARDC in 
mining and the mineral trade; the law also prohibits nonstate armed 
actors from engaging in mining. However, the Government did not 
effectively enforce the law. According to the UNGOE, ``in the Kivu 
provinces, it appears, almost every mining deposit is controlled by an 
armed group. The armed groups include regular FARDC units.''
    Criminal involvement by some FARDC units--as well as by RMGs--
ranged from protection rackets (including protection fees paid by 
mining pit managers to avoid pillage or to facilitate smuggling) to 
indirect commercial control (including the use of illegal tax revenues 
to buy and sell minerals near mining sites), and direct coercive 
control (including pillage). In addition, FARDC units and RMGs 
routinely forced civilians to work for them or relinquish their mineral 
production and extorted illegal ``taxes.''
    Some observers expressed concern over the Government's decision in 
September to suspend indefinitely all mining activities in three 
eastern provinces. There were reports that, following the suspension, 
the military's control of the mines intensified and that some FARDC 
elements increased their use of forced labor in the mines since mine 
activity had dropped following the suspension.
    In a December report, Global Witness drew on data it had collected 
earlier in the year to estimate that military units and officials were 
receiving between $1.1 and $2.2 million a month from the Bisie mine in 
North Kivu, or $14.4 million and $28.8 million a year. Global Witness 
also estimated that illegal taxes on diggers outside the mineshafts in 
Bisie earned the FARDC officials and soldiers between $45,600 and 
$90,000 per month, and that they earned between $3,300 and $16,800 a 
month in illegal taxes on porters traveling to Bisie.
    On November 29, UN Security Council Resolution 1952 endorsed the 
UNGOE's recommendations for supply chain due diligence developed for 
importers, processing industries, and consumers of Congolese mineral 
products to ensure that companies do not exacerbate the conflict by 
``providing direct or indirect support to illegal armed groups. those 
found to violate the asset freeze and travel ban on sanctioned 
individuals and entities.or criminal networks and perpetrators of 
serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights 
abuses, including those within the national armed forces.''
    The UNGOE's reporting in 2010 presented information indicating that 
Etablissement Namukaya, a gold exporting company based in the Kivu 
provinces, purchased gold from traders who were linked to armed 
entities in eastern DRC, bought gold from a mine that provided visiting 
FARDC officers gold, and worked with members of the FDLR in an attempt 
to sell material that they claimed was uranium. The report also 
presented information indicating that Geminaco, a mining company with 
offices in Goma, North Kivu, gained control of the gold mine at Omate 
in Walikale with the support of FARDC General Amisi Kumba (the 
commander of FARDC land forces), General Mayala, and Colonel Mboneza. 
According to UNGOE reporting, Geminaco sought agreements with elements 
of the FARDC and the Mai-Mai Sheka to ensure that Geminaco could 
continue its operations at Omate.
    The November 2009 UNGOE report presented information indicating 
that the following Kivus-based exporters regularly purchased minerals 
from FDLR-controlled mines in eastern DRC: MDM, Etablissement Muyeye, 
Panju; Huaying Trading Company (HTC), and Clepad.
    The November 2009 UNGOE report also presented information 
indicating that World Mining Company (WMC), based in the Kivu 
provinces, received shipments of cassiterite from a mining zone where 
production was controlled by DRC Armed Forces soldiers under the 
command of Lieutenant Colonel Zimurinda. The same report also indicated 
that the DRC-based company Hill Side's cassiterite supply chains 
originated from conflict-affected areas of North Kivu, including near 
the Bisie mine of Walikale Territory. Dissident elements of the DRC's 
state security forces controlled significant mining interests in this 
area. According to information presented by the UNGOE in 2009 and 2010, 
the dissident state security elements that controlled the Bisie mine 
and other mines in Walikale unlawfully used and recruited child 
soldiers, deliberately and regularly prevented UN peacekeepers from 
repatriating foreign combatants, regularly engaged in the extortion of 
miners and other local residents and were loyal to and engaged in 
mining activities, some of which were financed by General Bosco 
Ntaganda.
    In addition, the same report presented information indicating that 
the supply chains of the following corporations, all based outside of 
the DRC, included one or more of the nine DRC-based companies mentioned 
above, and originated from areas in which mines were controlled by 
armed entities, such as the FDLR, which perpetrated serious human 
rights abuses in the eastern DRC during the year: Malaysian Smelting 
Corporation (based in Malaysia), African Ventures Ltd. (based in Hong 
Kong); Refractory Metals and Mining Company Ltd. (based in Hong Kong); 
Thailand Smelting and Refining Company (based in Thailand); Amalgamated 
Metals Corporation (based in the United Kingdom) Afrimex (based in the 
United Kingdom); Minerals Supply Africa (based in Rwanda); Cronimet 
Central Africa AG (based in Switzerland); Cronimet Mining GmbH (based 
in Germany); Trademet (based in Belgium); and Traxys (based in 
Belgium).
    In addition, according to the UNGOE interim report of May 2010, 
``in the Kivu provinces, it appears, almost every mining deposit is 
controlled by an armed group.'' In December 2010, an international NGO, 
Global Witness, published a report examining measures it deemed 
necessary to ``end the conflict minerals trade'' in eastern DRC. 
According to the report, the export records of the DRC government's 
Division of Mines showed that two Chinese companies and one Hong Kong 
company purchased 100 percent of the 41.4 tons of columbite-tantalite 
(or ``coltan''), a metallic ore which--when refined--yields tantalum, 
exported from conflict-affected North Kivu Province in May 2010. 
According to Global Witness, the three companies were Fogang Jiata 
Metals, which was the top importer of coltan from the Kivu provinces in 
2009 according to DRC government statistics, Star 2000 Services, and 
Hong Kong-based Unilink Trading Hong Kong. In addition, Global Witness 
identified Chinese state-owned company CNMC Ningxia Orient Nonferrous 
Metal Group as one of the top three tantalum smelting and producing 
companies in the world and reported that the company declined to 
identify for Global Witness the origin of the tantalum ore that it 
used.
    At times verification of reported abuses in the east was difficult 
due to geographical remoteness and hazardous security conditions; 
however, MONUSCO's presence allowed observers to gather more 
information than would have otherwise been possible.

    Abuses by State Security Forces.--State security forces arrested, 
illegally detained, raped, tortured, and summarily executed or 
otherwise killed civilians and looted villages during military actions 
against nongovernmental armed entities during the year, according to 
reports by UN agencies and NGOs. Impunity remained a severe problem, 
and several individuals in the state security forces continued to hold 
high positions despite credible evidence of their involvement in 
serious human rights abuses or despite failing to hold their 
subordinates accountable for committing serious abuses (see section 
1.d.).
    Taking advantage of parallel command structures, ex-CNDP FARDC 
units in the east controlled their own stockpile of weapons and 
resisted central government orders to deploy outside of the mineral-
rich east. In addition, some ex-CNDP elements collaborated with RMGs 
who were officially their enemies, according to the UNGOE.
    Of 3,723 ``incidents'' reported in the first six months of the year 
by UNHCR in North Kivu, 1,302 (35 percent) were caused by the FARDC, 
compared with 698 (19 percent) by the FDLR.
    During the Amani Leo Operation, and at the request of the FARDC, 
MONUSCO conducted human rights screening to remove human rights abusers 
from the operation, on a small number of battalions in North Kivu 
(approximately 1,500 soldiers), who were tasked with holding areas from 
which the FDLR and residual RMGs had been dislodged in the context of 
Operation Amani Leo. However, nonvetted battalions did not receive 
MONUSCO support. The majority of operations conducted in Amani Leo 
throughout the year were undertaken by the FARDC without support from 
MONUSCO. As FARDC soldiers spread throughout the Kivus for operations 
that did not receive MONUSCO support, reports of violations increased.
    For example, on February 2, members of the 3221st Battalion killed 
the head of an elementary school and his son in Mwenga, South Kivu, 
because of suspicions of collaboration with the FDLR. By year's end 
there were no reports of an investigation or judicial proceedings.
    According to the UNJHRO, on February 21, FARDC soldiers of the 
512th Brigade attacked a truck rented by an international NGO killing 
one civilian in Shabunda, South Kivu. By year's end there were no 
reports of an investigation or judicial proceedings.
    In April FARDC troops engaged in operations against Enyele 
insurgents who attacked Mbandaka, Equateur Province, and temporarily 
took control of the airport. Refugees and IDPs who fled violence that 
began in 2009 have been reluctant to return due to the presence of 
FARDC troops. According to the UNJHRO, during operations to restore 
order in Equateur FARDC soldiers detained at least 20 persons suspected 
of involvement in the Enyele insurgency at the 3rd Military Region and 
subsequently executed them. In addition, FARDC and/or PNC agents were 
involved in 12 cases of rape during the same time period. Four of these 
cases were being investigated by authorities. No other details were 
available at year's end.
    On September 17, the FARDC launched operations in the Walikale area 
of North Kivu, without MONUSCO support, to clear the area of FDLR and 
other armed entities and to enforce the mining ban enacted by President 
Kabila. The UNJHRO reported that on September 21 and 22, the 221st 
Brigade engaged in looting, beating and raping of civilians near Kibua 
for their alleged collaboration with FDLR and APCLS forces.
    By the beginning of the year, UN and FARDC officials stated that 
the newly integrated FARDC units in Orientale, composed of 
approximately 6,000 soldiers, had become a major security threat during 
Rudi II military operations against the LRA in Haut and Bas Uele, 
Orientale. According to the UNGOE report of November, ``most troops 
have not been rotated in over a year and allegations of human right 
abuses continued to be reported.''
    Neither Congolese nor Rwandan authorities took any steps to 
investigate or prosecute any members of the FARDC or the Rwandan 
Defense Forces allegedly involved in the killing of 201 civilians and 
other abuses in North Kivu during the joint DRC-Rwanda military 
operations (Umoja Wetu) against the FDLR in January and February 2009.
    Congolese authorities took no steps to investigate the killing of 
more than 500 civilians and other abuses, such as the sexual 
enslavement of refugees, in North Kivu during FARDC-only operations 
against the FDLR during 2009, including the killing of at least 50 Hutu 
Rwandan refugees in April 2009 by predominantly ex-CNDP FARDC soldiers 
under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Innocent Zimurinda in Shalio, 
North Kivu.
    There were no known reports that authorities were taking steps to 
investigate or prosecute the commander or members of the FARDC's 213th 
Brigade implicated in the killing of at least 62 civilians between May 
and September 2009, during its participation in Kimia II, in the 
Lukweti area near Nyabiondo, North Kivu. Investigations by human rights 
organizations indicated as many as 270 may have been killed during this 
period. MONUC ceased all support for this brigade in late 2009.
    Authorities took no steps to investigate or prosecute those 
responsible for killing an employee of Secours Catholique-Caritas, an 
international human rights and humanitarian organization, in Musezero, 
North Kivu, in July 2009. According to the NGO, villagers reported 
seeing two men in FARDC uniforms stop the employee before shooting him.
    Congolese authorities also took no steps to investigate the killing 
of at least 19 civilians in December 2009 in Masisi Territory, North 
Kivu, during fighting between FARDC soldiers.
    Military authorities took no action against any of the following 
FARDC elements accused of killings: members of the FARDC 13th 
Integrated Brigade reportedly responsible for the disappearance of at 
least six civilians and the arbitrary execution of at least one 
civilian during 2008 in Kamatsi, Orientale; or members of the FARDC 2nd 
Integrated Brigade who allegedly killed eight civilians in 2008 in 
Musezero, North Kivu.
    No further information was available regarding the 2008 arrest of 
24 FARDC soldiers accused of allegedly committing serious abuses 
against the local populations, including the killing of nine civilians, 
the rape of three girls, and the pillaging of numerous homes, stores, 
and restaurants.
    The FARDC also continued to physically abuse and arbitrarily arrest 
civilians in the east.
    FARDC soldiers engaged in anti-FDLR operations often arbitrarily 
arrested civilians whom they suspected of being collaborators or 
sympathizers of the FDLR and detained them without charge for days or 
weeks, often beating them and demanding payment for their release. HRW 
documented more than 160 such cases between January and September 2009 
in the Kivus; however, there were no reports of authorities taking 
disciplinary action against those soldiers responsible for the 
arbitrary arrests.
    There were no reports of authorities investigating FARDC soldiers 
deployed to Kanyola, South Kivu, who allegedly forced civilians from 
Walungu village, South Kivu, to carry their belongings on the road from 
Nkokwe to Hombo. The soldiers beat the men each time they tried to 
rest, and two civilians died of exhaustion and mistreatment.
    Authorities took no action against FARDC elements accused of gang-
raping nine women and committing other abuses in 2008 after reportedly 
deserting their units in Orientale.
    Rape by members of state security forces remained a serious 
problem, and perpetrators enjoyed almost total impunity. According to a 
December 2009 report by HRW, in North Kivu, in 349 of the 639 sexual 
violence cases documented by HRW, the victim or other witnesses clearly 
identified the perpetrators as government soldiers.
    On or around June 6, four FARDC soldiers allegedly raped 10 girls 
at Mahagi market. Two of the girls were hospitalized and a doctor 
confirmed the rapes, according to MONUSCO.
    On June 16, a FARDC lieutenant in Kisangani attempted to kidnap and 
rape a four-year-old girl. Authorities arrested him on June 17 and held 
him in the 9th Region's headquarters until his eventual court martial 
and incarceration.
    Authorities took no action to bring to justice ex-CNDP FARDC 
soldiers who violently raped and beat a rape counselor in January 2009 
in South Kivu after accusing her of denouncing them and reporting on 
the rapes.
    No additional information was available regarding a FARDC soldier 
from the 17th Integrated Brigade who raped a 10-year-old boy in 
Walungu, South Kivu, in March 2009. The soldier's commander 
subsequently arrested him and transferred him to the military 
prosecutor's office in Bukavu, where he remained in detention pending 
the outcome of an investigation.
    Authorities took no action against FARDC soldiers in Nyamilima, 
North Kivu, who allegedly raped eight women and five minors in June 
2009 during a riot protesting a delay in the payment of their salary.
    There were no reports of authorities taking action against soldiers 
of the FARDC 7th and 15th integrated brigades, who raped at least 10 
women while retreating amid combat operations in the Rutshuru Territory 
villages of Kibirizi and Nyanzale in North Kivu between September and 
December 2009.
    There were no reports of authorities taking action against FARDC 
soldiers from the 131st Battalion of the 13th Integrated Brigade who 
raped seven women in the village of Lubero Territory, North Kivu, in 
2009.
    Authorities took no action against a FARDC soldier of the 14th 
Integrated Brigade, who in 2008 arrested and raped a woman suspected of 
collaborating with the FDLR.
    The use and treatment of child soldiers by FARDC elements--
particularly fast-track integrated brigades composed mainly of ex-CNDP 
members--remained a problem. In December the UNGOE reported to the UN 
Security Council that during 2009 the MONUC Child Protection Section 
documented 686 cases of child recruitment attributable to the FARDC, 
compared with 631 children released by the FARDC during the same time. 
The FARDC showed what the UN secretary-general called ``a dramatic 
increase'' in the number of children within its ranks in 2009. 
According to the UN secretary-general's report of July, following the 
fast-track integration of former rebels and militia members in 2009, 
which brought many child soldiers from RMGs into the ranks of the 
FARDC, ``the FARDC not only accounted for the highest number of 
children recruited during October 2008 through December 2009 but was 
also the only armed entity for which an increase in child recruitment 
was documented. By contrast, all the other groups showed a downward 
trend in child recruitment, with the transfer of their children to the 
FARDC.''
    In December the UNGOE underscored concerns that UN child protection 
officers had been denied access to physically screen nearly two thirds 
of the FARDC combatants in military operations supported by the UN to 
ensure children were not involved. The UNGOE reported that ``since the 
outset of the Amani Leo operations, only one FARDC battalion has been 
fully screened by the MONUSCO Child Protection Section.'' The UNGOE 
added that, while some FARDC commanders have cooperated in efforts to 
separate children from FARDC units, others have hidden children or 
continued to recruit children, including some of those who had 
previously been separated. In 2009 the UNGOE expressed concern that ex-
CNDP officers in FARDC units in the east ``repeatedly and deliberately 
obstructed MONUC from repatriating foreign fighters from their ranks.'' 
Sometimes the obstruction involved death threats. During the year and 
in 2009, the UNGOE reported that the acts of obstruction occurred often 
under the command of certain colonels and lieutenant colonels, 
including Colonel Gwigwi Busogi, Colonel Baudouin Ngaruye, Lieutenant 
Colonel Antoine Manzi, Lieutenant Colonel Bisamaza, Salumu Mulenda, and 
Colonel Innocent Zimurinda, who was sanctioned by the UN Security 
Council in December for recruitment and use of child soldiers and other 
grave abuses against children. Gwigwi, along with his commanders, 
systematically hid children from child protection officers and 
otherwise obstructed their efforts, according to witnesses. Between May 
and August, MONUSCO documented a further 15 cases of children who had 
been used as soldiers by senior officers under Gwigwi's command. Gwigwi 
commanded the 24th Sector of the FARDC in Kalehe, South Kivu, for most 
of the year but was redeployed as deputy commander of the 4th 
operational zone in Uvira.
    UNICEF expressed concern about frequent reports of the prolonged 
detention of children at detention centers following their separation 
from armed entities. The group noted that children were often subjected 
to interrogation and inhumane treatment.
    Government security forces in the east continued to force men, 
women, and children, including IDPs, to serve as porters, mine workers, 
and domestic laborers. For example, the UNJHRO reported that on May 21, 
a FARDC soldier in South Kivu allegedly shot a woman who refused to 
transport military goods.
    During the year mining operations at Bisie mine in North Kivu 
reportedly supported arms transfers by FARDC elements that benefited 
nongovernmental armed actors; there were also reports that the FARDC 
mining operations benefited an ICC-indicted FARDC general. According to 
the UNGOE's November report, ex-CNDP FARDC elements of the 212th 
Brigade, who were led by Lieutenant Colonel Yusef Mboneza and his 
deputy Colonel Hassani continued to maintain a presence at the Bisie 
mine and maintain their own illegal tax regime, which they used to 
extort one kilo of cassiterite from all diggers each time they exited a 
mining pit and $20 every time a digger worked at night. The UNGOE 
reported that Colonel Hassani continued to share his mineral profits 
from Bisie with General Ntaganda, who remained subject to an 
outstanding arrest warrant issued by the ICC. Furthermore, the UNGOE 
presented evidence indicating that Colonel Hassani's brother Faustin 
Ndahiriwe handled Colonel Hassani's mineral investments, and that 
Ndahiriwe had commandeered his own mining pit in Bisie. In 2009 the 
UNGOE had established that Ndahiriwe ``has directly supplied a number 
of businesses in Goma with cassiterite. particularly Hill Side,'' a 
mineral exporting business that the UNGOE reported was prefinanced by 
MSA. Previously, the UNGOE had reported in November 2009 that MSA 
``prefinanced'' Hill Side, a mineral exporting business ``that has 
purchased large quantities of minerals from Ndahiriwe.'' Finally, 
according to the UNGOE report of November, a Walikale military 
prosecutor issued an arrest warrant accusing Captain Zidane, who 
oversaw Colonel Mboneza's mining interests and investments at Bisie, of 
providing weapons to bandits to attack a mineral trader carrying over 
$10,000. However, on April 7 Lieutenant Colonel Mboneza destroyed the 
warrant and detained the officers carrying it.
    According to the UNGOE, during the year FARDC units were 
increasingly involved in land disputes and land grabs, which often 
resulted in violence. FARDC units composed of mainly ex-CNDP members 
forcibly displaced large numbers of civilians from land in the Mushake 
zone of Masisi Territory, North Kivu, in order to find grazing areas 
for cattle being brought in from Rwanda. The UNGOE reported that ex-
CNDP FARDC soldiers under Colonel Baudouin forced more than 180 
families from their land at Tchaninga. Throughout the year stories of 
unknown persons, either refugees from camps in Rwanda, economic 
migrants from Rwanda, or IDPs from other areas in the DRC, trickled 
back to reoccupy contested land in the Kivus, exacerbating ethnic and 
land-based tensions among local communities.
    Abuses by Armed Entities Outside Central Government Control
    Illegal armed entities committed numerous serious abuses, 
especially in rural areas of North and South Kivu and Orientale during 
the year. Such groups killed, raped, and tortured civilians, often as 
retribution for alleged collaboration with government forces.
    Armed entities maintained and recruited child soldiers, including 
by force, sometimes from schools and churches, and sometimes killed, 
threatened, and harassed humanitarian workers.
    Many armed entities abducted men, women, and children and compelled 
them to transport looted goods for long distances without pay. On 
occasion, armed entities also forced civilians to mine. Armed entities 
forced men, women and children to provide household labor or sexual 
services for periods ranging from several days to several months. Armed 
entities in conflict-affected areas in the east used children, 
including child soldiers, for forced labor in mines.
    Armed entities in parts of the east sometimes detained civilians, 
often for ransom. They continued to loot, extort, and illegally tax 
civilians in areas they occupied.
    There were no credible attempts by nonstate armed entities to 
investigate abuses allegedly committed by their fighters.

    National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP).--In January 
2009 Rwandan officials arrested General Laurent Nkunda, who remained in 
Rwandan custody at year's end, and CNDP chief of staff General Bosco 
Ntaganda became the leader of the CNDP. In January 2009 the Government 
and the CNDP announced an alliance, and Ntaganda agreed to rapidly 
integrate the CNDP into the FARDC. In addition the CNDP agreed to 
transform itself into a political movement. Integration of the CNDP 
into the FARDC was uneven, with large numbers of the CNDP continuing to 
operate within their old command and control structures. This ambiguous 
and incomplete integration contributed to impunity within the CNDP. 
After a public statement by the president noting their redeployment to 
other areas in the DRC, FARDC members who had belonged to the CNDP 
refused to leave North Kivu and began actively recruiting new members. 
In November, ex-CNDP FARDC members were actively recruiting children to 
serve in their ranks by visiting schools in North Kivu and demanding 
lists of recently demobilized children. They were also targeting young 
adult men to serve in their ranks.
    No action was taken against CNDP combatants for any of the 
following alleged human rights abuses, all of which were committed 
prior to the CNDP's integration into the FARDC in 2009: arbitrary 
execution in 2008 by CNDP elements of at least 30 civilians in the 
vicinity of Kalonge, North Kivu; abduction of 15 civilians from 
Kitchanga, North Kivu, and related abuses by 15 CNDP combatants in 
2008; the arbitrary arrest, illegal detention, and beating of four 
civilians in Karuba, North Kivu, by CNDP elements in 2008; the summary 
execution of three children by CNDP colonel Sultani Makenga during 
2008; the killing of an Italian aid worker in 2008 by an unidentified 
armed entity in CNDP-held territory in Rutshuru, North Kivu; or the 
2008 cases of aggressive and forcible recruitment of children by the 
CNDP for use as combatants, bodyguards, and porters.
    In September 2009 the UNJHRO released an investigation report on 
the deaths of civilians during and following the 2008 fighting in the 
North Kivu town of Kiwanja between CNDP and local Mai Mai combatants. 
The UNJHRO concluded that, after the intense fighting between Mai Mai 
combatants and the CNDP had ended and the Mai Mai had retreated from 
Kiwanja, CNDP elements conducted targeted reprisal killings of the 
villagers, mainly young men whom they suspected of belonging to or 
supporting the Mai Mai. The UNJHRO confirmed 67 arbitrary executions 
perpetrated by the CNDP. However, unconfirmed allegations received by 
UNJHRO human rights officers suggested that the number of victims could 
be much higher. (Other human rights groups reported in 2008 that as 
many as 200 civilians may have been killed during and after the 
fighting between CNDP and Mai Mai combatants.) In addition the UNJHRO 
received testimonies alleging that the CNDP burned homes and a police 
station, raped a woman, arbitrarily arrested and detained civilians, 
abducted 23 men and boys to forcibly recruit them as combatants, and 
dismantled camps for IDPs in and around Kiwanja after the CNDP took 
over local administration. The UNJHRO also received allegations of 
abuses by other armed entities in Kiwanja (see subsections below on 
abuses by the Mai-Mai and FDLR) and offered conclusions and 
recommendations regarding MONUC military personnel stationed in Kiwanja 
during the events (see section 5).
    The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)
    The FDLR, which was led by individuals responsible for fomenting 
and implementing the Rwandan genocide, committed several killings 
during the year. between 3,500 and 8,000 FDLR fighters remained in the 
provinces of North and South Kivu. According to the UNJHRO, on February 
8, FDLR elements attacked Punia, Maniema Province, killing two FARDC 
soldiers. They also allegedly killed an unknown number of civilians, 
kidnapped 50 others, burned approximately 200 houses, and stole one ton 
of cassiterite. The abductees were forced to carry the looted items. 
During the night of February 3, civilians in Walikale, North Kivu, were 
forced to hide in the forest for fear of further attacks after the FDLR 
attacked, killing six inhabitants, injuring five others, and looting 
and burning many houses. During the night of February 11, in Mwenga 
Territory, South Kivu, FDLR combatants allegedly kidnapped 
approximately 15 women, five of whom they killed.
    Following the launch of operation Umoja Wetu in January 2009, FDLR 
forces began to attack dozens of villages and towns across North and 
South Kivu. According to HRW, between late January and September 2009, 
the FDLR deliberately killed at least 701 civilians in North and South 
Kivu; more than half of the victims were women and children. Between 
January and October 2009, the FDLR committed an average of 50 to 60 
killings per month, compared with fewer than 10 killings per month in 
2008, according to UNSRESAE Alston.
    While being pursued by the RDF and FARDC in January 2009, FDLR 
forces in Masisi Territory (North Kivu) blocked village roads and 
killed those who tried to flee. FDLR combatants also abducted scores of 
civilians as hostages, seemingly for use as ``human shields'' against 
the impending attack; however, when the hostages tried to escape as 
Umoja Wetu forces began attacking the FDLR's Kibua headquarters in 
January 2009, FDLR combatants shot and hacked to death many of them.
    In April 2009 the FDLR attacked the Mianga village in the 
Waloaluanda area. According to HRW, FDLR attackers decapitated the 
local chief and killed three other local authorities whom they accused 
of collaborating with the FARDC. Over the days that followed, the FDLR 
deliberately killed a further 41 civilians, injured many others, and 
then burned the village to the ground.
    In May 2009, machete-wielding FDLR combatants shot, hacked, and 
burned to death at least 96 civilians, including 25 children, in 
Busurungi, Waloaluanda (North Kivu), largely in retaliation for the 
killing of Rwandan Hutu refugees by FARDC soldiers at Shalio two weeks 
before. The FDLR attackers then destroyed Busurungi, burning to the 
ground 702 houses, three health centers, and several schools and 
churches, according to HRW.
    Between January and September 2009, the FDLR destroyed at least 
7,051 homes and other structures and perpetrated 290 cases of sexual 
violence in North and South Kivu in areas affected by military 
operations. According to HRW, in March 2009, in the Ziralo area of 
Kalehe Territory, seven FDLR combatants gang-raped a 60-year-old woman. 
When her daughter resisted being raped, the attackers shot and killed 
her.
    According to MONUSCO, from July 30 to August 2, 303 women, 
children, and men were raped in a systematic assault by the FDLR, in 
cooperation with other armed elements in Walikale territory, North 
Kivu.
    In 2009, scores of women were abducted and forced to serve as sex 
slaves in FDLR camps, where they were raped repeatedly for weeks or 
months at a time.
    According to the November report by the UNGOE, the FDLR seemed to 
have increased abductions and hostage-taking during the year and ransom 
demands were becoming more frequent.
    The FDLR took no credible action to investigate or address human 
rights abuses allegedly committed by its members, including FDLR 
members responsible for the following reported abuses: the 2008 killing 
of the village chief of Kilali, North Kivu; arbitrary execution of 
three civilians in Tchanishasha, South Kivu, in 2008; or the killing of 
three residents of Kabunga, North Kivu, in 2008.
    In its September 2009 report about abuses committed in Kiwanja, 
North Kivu, during and after clashes involving CNDP and Mai-Mai 
combatants in 2008, the UNJHRO highlighted testimonies it collected 
alleging that FDLR combatants executed seven individuals and raped four 
women in Kiwanja.
    Ituri District Militia Groups
    Despite the signing of a 2006 ceasefire agreement between militias 
in the Ituri District of Orientale, including the Front for National 
Integration (FNI), the Congolese Revolutionary Movement, the FRPI, and 
the Government, the FRPI refused to participate in the peace process 
and was implicated in abuses committed against civilians in Ituri 
District during the year.
    As the FARDC's Iron Stone operation in Ituri, Orientale, continued, 
Ugandan authorities arrested the leader of the FPJC, Sharif Manda on 
September 1.
    Abuses by militias in Ituri were more often acts of banditry, 
rather than politically or ethnically motivated violence.
    On August 9, the military tribunal in Bunia sentenced Kakado Banaba 
Yonga, spiritual leader for FRPI militia leader Colonel Cobra Matata, 
to life in prison for war crimes, including attacks against civilians, 
rape, and sexual slavery that he had committed.
    There were no credible reports of action taken by rebel leaders in 
Ituri District against those responsible for the following abuses: the 
2008 attack on villages in and around Lalo and Djurukidogo in Ituri 
District by FNI combatants, who burned children to death and kidnapped 
individuals; and attacks by FPRI members on local populations in Tchey 
and other villages of Orientale in 2008.
    No additional information was available regarding the case of Yves 
Kawa Panga Mandro, alias Chief Kawa, a former Ituri militia leader 
convicted in 2006 for crimes against humanity in 2003. In 2008, the 
Kisangani Court of Appeal, citing the 2005 amnesty law, acquitted Kawa. 
According to the UNJHRO, the appeals judge ruled that the prosecution 
had made a number of errors in the case. However, Kawa remained in 
detention in the CPRK prison in Kinshasa while the prosecutor appealed 
the decision of the appeals court to the High Military Court in 
Kinshasa.
    Mai-Mai
    Various Mai-Mai community-based militia groups in the provinces of 
South Kivu, North Kivu, and Katanga continued to commit abuses against 
civilians, including killings, abductions, and rapes. According to the 
UNGOE, the use of children as soldiers by Coalition of Patriots in the 
Congolese Resistance (PARECO) and other Mai-Mai groups in North Kivu 
Province was endemic.
    During the year various Mai-Mai groups continued to commit abuses 
against civilians, including the recruitment and use of children for 
use as soldiers. For example, according to MONUSCO, from July 30 to 
August 2, 303 women, children, and men were raped in a systematic 
assault by FDLR, Mai Mai Cheka, and ex-CNDP ex-FARDC Colonel Emmanuel 
in 13 villages around the Kibua area in Walikale territory, North Kivu 
(see above in section 1.g.). According to the UNGOE report of November, 
Mai Mai Cheka ``is a creation of a criminal network within the FARDC,'' 
and in August a FARDC officer was arrested for his failure to combat 
the militia (see section 1.d.).
    On October 5, Mai Mai Cheka deputy commander Lieutenant Colonel 
Mayele, one of the suspected perpetrator of the rapes, was surrendered 
by his commander and taken into custody by MONUSCO.
    Fighting between some Mai-Mai groups and the FARDC continued during 
the year, displacing persons and causing insecurity.
    Authorities took no action against PARECO combatants, who allegedly 
raped a woman, stabbed a 17-year-old girl, and arbitrarily executed six 
other civilians during an attack on Luwuzi, North Kivu, in 2008.
    In its September 2009 report about abuses committed in Kiwanja, 
North Kivu, during and after clashes involving CNDP and Mai-Mai 
combatants in 2008, the UNJHRO highlighted evidence of two civilian 
deaths and 50 persons injured during the combat. In addition, the 
report included testimonies alleging that, outside the context of 
combat, Mai-Mai combatants killed at least one civilian and abducted 
several persons in Kiwanja. The UNJHRO also concluded that the CNDP 
committed targeted executions of civilians (see preceding subsection on 
CNDP abuses).
    There were no further developments in the trial of Katanga Mai-Mai 
leader Gideon for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
    Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda 
(ADF/NALU)
    In June the FARDC launched Operation Ruwenzori against the ADF, an 
Islamist Ugandan-led group that has been operating in the eastern part 
of the country since the late 1990s.
    MONUSCO officials reported that members of ADF/NALU engaged in 
petty theft and extortion.

    Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).--The LRA moved away from the DRC's 
Garamba National Park (Orientale Province) to eastern Central African 
Republic (CAR); however, several elements remained in northeastern DRC. 
The LRA was responsible for killing, raping, and kidnapping hundreds of 
persons in the DRC, CAR, and Sudan as it continued to seek the 
overthrow of the Ugandan government. The LRA continued to hold children 
it had forcibly abducted.
    Between February 2009 and August 2010, the LRA abducted an 
estimated 650 persons, including children and women, and continued to 
cause displacement in Orientale.
    Rudia II, the FARDC-led operation against the LRA, continued in 
cooperation with the Ugandan People's Defense Forces and with 
logistical support from MONUSCO. LRA attacks continued throughout the 
year, resulting in executions, abductions, and sexual violence, 
although the level and intensity of the attacks decreased as the group 
fragmented into smaller units.
    Between February 1 and 13, LRA combatants killed 76 persons in 
fishing villages throughout Niangara Territory in Orientale, according 
to HRW. On February 26, LRA elements killed at least 80 persons in 
Kpanga, Niangara Territory.
    During a four-day period in December 2009, the LRA killed 321 
civilians and abducted at least 250, including at least 80 children, in 
the Makombo area of Haut Uele.
    There were no credible attempts by LRA leaders to prevent abuses or 
punish combatants for past abuses.
    The LRA continued to attack local villages and forced citizens to 
flee in Ango, Dungu, Niangara, and Faradje Territories, Orientale. The 
UNHCR estimated that there were more than 390,000 internally displaced 
persons in the territory as ofAugust 31.

    Abuses by Foreign Powers.--On October 1, the UNOHCHR issued the 
report of a mapping exercise documenting alleged atrocities committed 
in the country in the decade between March 1993 and June 2003. The 
report described more than 600 incidents that allegedly took place in 
the country over the 10-year period, raising serious allegations of 
brutal and horrific mass killings, rape and other abuses during the 
period in question believed to have been committed by armed forces and 
other non-state groups from Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and 
Zimbabwe. The report also described allegations of human rights abuses 
by Congolese armed entities. The DRC government responded in writing to 
the UNOHCHR report and also began considering the creation of mixed 
chambers to prosecute these alleged crimes (see sections 1.e. and 5).

    Abuses by UN Peacekeepers.--A number of sexual exploitation and 
abuse (SEA) cases by MONUSCO peacekeepers were under investigation. 
MONUSCO reported that the number of the most serious SEA allegations 
decreased from 37 in 2009 to 33 during the year. MONUSCO repatriated 11 
contingent members during the year on disciplinary grounds, a 
significant drop from the 33 sent home in 2009.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The law provides for freedom of 
speech and of the press; however, the Government restricted these 
rights in practice, and freedom of the press declined during the year. 
The Government intimidated journalists and publishers into practicing 
self-censorship. In September, 29 members of a worldwide coalition of 
press freedom groups expressed concern about the ``constant decline in 
the climate for journalists and steadily shrinking space for free 
expression'' in the country in advance of the 2011 presidential 
election. In an open letter, the 31 members of the International 
Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), including the Media Institute of 
Southern Africa and Congolese NGO Journalist in Danger, called on 
President Kabila to declare a moratorium on imprisoning journalists on 
charges of defamation or insulting the authorities. IFEX also called 
for the rapid creation of the proposed Higher Council for Broadcasting 
and Communication (CSAC) to ensure candidates would have equitable 
access to state-owned media in 2011.
    Following an assessment visit to the country in June 2009, Margaret 
Sekaggya, the UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders, said 
journalists and other human rights defenders ``face illegitimate 
restrictions of their right to freedoms of opinion and expression'' and 
underscored that the country's ``defenders, in particular journalists, 
who report on human rights abuses committed by state and nonstate 
actors, are killed, threatened, tortured, or arbitrarily arrested and 
their offices raided.''
    Generally individuals could privately criticize the Government, its 
officials, and private citizens without being subject to official 
reprisals. However, public criticism of government officials and 
government conduct or decisions regarding issues such as conflict and 
insurgencies, management of natural resources, or corruption sometimes 
resulted in harsh responses, often from the ANR, the intelligence 
service under the president's control. For example, on April 11, ANR 
officials arrested Antenne A-TV journalists Jean-Denis Bankonga and 
Jean-Louis Miasuekama at their office and held them in detention for 
three hours. Officials had wanted to arrest the station's information 
director for announcing that the Government had set up a commission to 
negotiate with the Enyele insurgents on April 8.
    Authorities took no action against the responsible ANR agents in 
Goma who, in 2008, arbitrarily arrested, detained, and mistreated for 
several days a member of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress/
Goma for discussing politics with local citizens.
    A large and active private press functioned throughout the country, 
and the Government licensed a large number of daily newspapers to 
publish. The Government required every newspaper to pay a license fee 
of 250,000 Congolese francs (approximately $280) and complete several 
administrative requirements before publishing. Many journalists lacked 
professional training, received little, if any, salary, and were 
vulnerable to manipulation by wealthy individuals, government 
officials, and politicians who provided cash or other benefits to 
encourage certain types of articles. Many newspapers remained critical 
of the Government, and many others showed bias toward it or supported 
particular political parties. The Government press agency published the 
Daily Bulletin that included news reports, decrees, and official 
statements.
    Radio remained the most important medium of public information due 
to limited literacy and the relatively high cost of newspapers and 
television. More than 350 privately owned radio and television stations 
operated independently, according to the transitional state media 
regulatory body. The state owned three radio stations and three 
television stations, Congolese National Radio-Television (RTNC) 1, RTNC 
2, and a channel that broadcast parliament sessions live. The UN 
operated Radio Okapi, which was the only nationwide radio network. The 
president's family also owned and operated television station Digital 
Congo. Political parties represented in the Government could generally 
gain access to RTNC.
    State security forces did not generally arrest or harass foreign 
journalists; however, in 2009 government authorities imposed an 
indefinite suspension on broadcasts by Radio France Internationale 
(RFI). RFI's broadcasting signal was restored across the country on 
October 12 and was allowed to open a local office and appointed an 
foreign journalist. Government authorities informed foreign journalists 
that the military code of justice (criminal penalties, including 
imprisonment) would be applied to any foreign journalists who committed 
press offenses, causing international journalists to express concern 
over their ability to report on sensitive subjects such as the conflict 
in the east and corruption.
    During the year security force members killed a journalist. In 
North Kivu, on April 5, armed men in military uniform killed Patient 
Chebeya, a journalist-cameraman for the RTNC, at the entrance of his 
home in the eastern city of Beni. According to Chebeya's wife, the 
gunmen told Chebeya they had come to kill him and seized videotapes, 
mobile phones, and money. On April 17, the Military Garrison Tribunal 
of Beni convicted a sub-lieutenant and an adjutant of the 1113th FARDC 
Battalion for his murder, sentencing them to the death penalty and 
financial payments of $75,000 and restitution of the stolen property.
    In 2008 unknown assailants in Bukavu shot and killed Didace 
Namujimbo, a journalist for Radio Okapi. On May 4, the Military 
Tribunal in Bukavu sentenced two soldiers and a civilian to death for 
the journalist's murder, and condemned seven others to prison terms 
ranging from seven months to five years.
    State security forces beat, arbitrarily arrested, harassed, and 
intimidated local journalists because of their reporting. For example, 
in April Jullson Eninga, publishing director of Le Journal, was 
arrested in Kinshasa for publishing an FDLR newsletter, but was 
acquitted of all charges on September 6.
    On July 27, PNC officers in Kinshasa arbitrarily arrested Pascale 
Mulunda, editor of Le Monitor, a weekly newspaper, for allegedly 
committing libel when reporting on June 23 the alleged corruption by an 
official within the Ministry of Mines. The arrest was made following a 
complaint filed by the official. In addition, the editor of Le 
Barometer, Jeff Saile, reportedly went into hiding after receiving 
anonymous telephone threats following his reporting on the alleged 
corruption. Mulunda was released three weeks after his arrest. By 
year's end, no additional information was available regarding Saile.
    On July 28, soldiers broke into Radio Moto-Oicha in Beni, North 
Kivu, and apprehended and beat a radio technician. There were no 
reports of authorities disciplining those responsible for the break-in 
and beating.
    On December 17, ANR agents arrested Robert Shemahamba, director of 
Radio-Television Communautaire Mitumba, which broadcast in Uvira, South 
Kivu. ANR agents arrested him after he refused to be questioned without 
a lawyer, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). ANR 
agents held him without charge for 11 days. The agents arrested 
Shemahamba following the broadcast of a December 12 program in which 
three opposition politicians criticized Ulvira municipal officials for 
alleged mismanagement. The country's communications minister told CPJ 
he had protested the arrest and called for the Ministry of Interior to 
resolve it. After protesting his confinement in a cell with no light, 
Shemahamba was eventually transferred on December 24 from Uvira to a 
detention center with slightly better conditions in Bukavu, where he 
was later released.
    Also in late December, ANR agents sought journalist Dominique 
Kalonzo, who had participated in the same December 12 program. Kalonzo, 
a correspondent in Uvira for the privately owned Radio Maendeleo, based 
in Bukavu, went into hiding for a week, according to CPJ. On December 
26, in Uvira, Kalonzo was reportedly injured in an altercation with ANR 
agents sent to arrest him; he was subsequently taken to a health centre 
in Uvira. According to domestic press freedom watchdog Journalist in 
Danger (JED), Kalonzo left the hospital in the company of two 
unidentified individuals who visited him. At year's end, his 
whereabouts were unknown, and no additional information was available.
    In its annual report on press freedom, JED documented seven cases 
of assault against journalists during the year, which represented a 
decrease in the number of attacks on journalists compared with 2009. 
However, the number of cases of incarcerations of journalists rose from 
three in 2009 to 17 during the year.
    There were no reports of authorities taking action in the following 
cases of press freedom abuse from 2009: the March arrest of journalist 
Coco Tanda (and representatives of local NGOs) in relation to a 
political protest; the March beating of Radio Okapi reporter Kathy 
Katayi by PNC officers in Kananga, Kasai Occidental; and the August 
assault of Radio Okapi reporter Paulin Munanga in Lubumbashi.
    Authorities took no action against Kinshasa police officers who in 
2008 arrested reporter Maurice Kayombo from Big Stakes magazine and 
detained him for 34 days for reporting ``damaging allegations'' against 
Christophe Kanionio, secretary-general of the Mining Ministry.
    No action was taken against the ANR agents who arrested and 
questioned five journalists from the privately owned television station 
Raga TV in Kinshasa in 2008.
    No action was taken against the ANR agents who in 2008 raided the 
privately owned television station Tele Kindu Maniema and arrested 
program host Mila Dipenge and a cameraman, both of whom were released 
the following day.
    Authorities took no action against Mai-Mai militiamen who in 2008 
kidnapped and robbed Belgian journalist Thomas Scheen, his interpreter 
Charles Ntiricya, and his driver Roger Bangue in Kiwanja, North Kivu, 
before eventually releasing them.
    In November 2009 the UNJHRO released a report on a 2008 appeals 
trial that upheld a death sentence for three civilians convicted of the 
2007 murder of Radio Okapi journalist Serge Maheshe in Bukavu, South 
Kivu. The report noted ``numerous breaches of the fundamental guarantee 
of the right to a fair trial.'' The report also highlighted the court's 
refusal to investigate other credible leads and motives for the 
killing, its refusal to order further investigation, and its refusal to 
order an autopsy or a ballistics test. The appeals trial acquitted two 
of Maheshe's friends who were found guilty at the original trial; in 
2007 the alleged gunmen recanted their accusations against Maheshe's 
friends, claiming the military court had bribed them to make the 
accusation.
    The National Media Regulatory Commission, a quasi-governmental 
organization mandated by the earlier transitional constitution, 
continued to operate in the absence of a successor body.
    President Kabila signed a law establishing the CSAC in December 
2009; however, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional because 
it offered blanket protection from criminal prosecution to CSAC board 
members. At year's end parliament was revising the law.
    During the year national and provincial governments continued to 
use criminal defamation and insult laws to intimidate and punish those 
critical of the Government.
    For example, during coverage of the controversy in March 2009 over 
National Assembly president Kamerhe, there was a temporary interruption 
of broadcasts by multiple channels as well as harassment of newspaper 
street vendors by police.
    In August 2009 Bruno Koko Chirambiza, a journalist with Radio Star 
in Bukavu, was killed by bandits while on his way home from a wedding. 
His friend, who was present during the attack and escaped unharmed, was 
arrested. The trial began in December 2009. No additional information 
was available.
    According to JED's annual report on press freedom, released in May, 
there was a 16 percent increase in press freedom abuses, such as 
murder, assault, arbitrary arrest and detention, threats, and illegal 
sanctions or censorship, during the year compared with 2009. JED 
underscored that following a series of killings of journalists since 
2005, journalists have become afraid to address sensitive topics, such 
as the war in the east and corruption. JED emphasized that economic and 
political pressure restricted press freedom and expressed concern about 
the continuing trend of politicians and government officials hiring 
journalists as advisors.
    During the year radio journalists, particularly those in Bukavu, 
South Kivu, continued to fear for their safety. Journalists often 
received anonymous death threats from callers, and many journalists 
continued to be concerned by the lack of serious investigation and 
judicial action by authorities against the perpetrators responsible for 
multiple journalist killings in the country since 2005.

    Internet Freedom.--The Government did not restrict access to the 
Internet or monitor e-mail or Internet chat rooms. Individuals and 
groups could engage in the peaceful expression of views via the 
Internet, including by e-mail. There were no known government attempts 
to collect, request, obtain, or disclose the personally identifiable 
information of a person in connection with that person's peaceful 
expression of political, religious, or ideological opinion or belief. 
Private entrepreneurs made Internet access available at moderate prices 
through Internet cafes in large cities throughout the country. 
According to the 2009 report of the International Telecommunication 
Union, 0.55 percent of the population used the Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly; 
however, the Government sometimes restricted this right.
    The Government required organizers of public events to register 
with local authorities in advance; to deny authorization, authorities 
must do so in writing within five days of being notified of the planned 
event. State security forces often acted against unregistered protests, 
marches, or meetings.
    On occasion, permission to hold demonstrations was denied; for 
example, in June, domestic NGOs that had intended to hold a 
demonstration related to the killing of leading activist Floribert 
Chebeya were not allowed to do so.
    State security forces occasionally arrested demonstrators. For 
example, on April 12, police arrested five members of the opposition 
party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) who were 
protesting the anticipated constitutional revision. In addition, on 
April 24, police beat UDPS members who were gathered to celebrate the 
20th anniversary of the Government's decision to abolish the one-party 
system. Also, on September 26, in Kinshasa, police arrested 27 members 
and supporters of the UDPS, citing public disorder during an 
unauthorized political gathering. On September 30, all 27 were 
released.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution provides for freedom of 
association; however, in practice the Government sometimes restricted 
this right. During the year several domestic NGOs were denied 
authorization to operate (see section 5).

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a complete description of religious 
freedom, please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/rpt.

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The law provides for freedom of 
movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation; however, the Government sometimes restricted these 
rights.
    State security forces established barriers and checkpoints on 
roads, at ports, airports, and markets, ostensibly for security 
reasons, and routinely harassed and extorted money from civilians for 
supposed violations, sometimes detaining them until they or a relative 
paid. The Government forced travelers to pass through immigration 
procedures during domestic travel at airports, ports, and when entering 
and leaving towns and implemented a $36 fee for passengers traveling 
internally on MONUSCO flights.
    Local authorities continued to extort taxes and fees from boats 
traveling on many parts of the Congo River. There were also widespread 
reports of FARDC soldiers extorting fees from persons taking goods to 
market or traveling between towns.
    During the year there were reports of attempts by DGM officials to 
fine foreigners not carrying passports , although the law does not 
require foreigners to do so.
    Security services sometimes required travelers to present official 
travel orders from an employer or government official.
    The significant risk of rape by soldiers and nongovernmental armed 
entities, coupled with government inability to secure eastern 
territories, effectively restricted freedom of movement by women in 
many rural areas, particularly in the east (see section 1.g.).
    Passport issuance was irregular and often required payment of 
substantial bribes. The law requires a married woman to have her 
husband's permission to travel outside the country.
    The law prohibits forced exile, but the Government generally did 
not employ it.
    Beginning in June, PAREC, a government-sponsored NGO, began a 
series of voluntary deportations of demilitarized Rwandan FDLR 
combatants from North Kivu to Kisenge, Katanga Province, where the 
eventual 400 to 600 individuals were housed in an unused refugee camp. 
As a result of this relocation, the deportees were denied their freedom 
of movement to return to the east or indeed to leave the Kisenge camp 
at all. In July and August, several deportees fled to the nearby town 
of Kasaji, where PAREC and government authorities arrested them and 
deported them to Rwanda. By year's end the experiment in voluntary 
relocation proved a failure, and the Kisenge camp was closed with its 
internees transferred to UN-sponsored reintegration centers in North 
and South Kivu.

    Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).--As of November 30, there were 
1.7 million IDPs in the country, including 589,000 in North Kivu, 
676,000 in South Kivu, and 389,000 in Orientale (see section 1.g.). The 
remainder of the IDPs were in Equateur and Katanga provinces.
    The Government did not provide adequate protection or assistance to 
IDPs, who were forced to rely heavily on humanitarian organizations. 
The Government generally allowed domestic and international 
humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to IDPs; however, lack 
of security and roads impeded their efforts. While the majority of IDPs 
in North Kivu stayed with relatives and friends, tens of thousands 
stayed in 31 ``spontaneous'' sites and camps managed by international 
NGOs and coordinated by the UNHCR. As of August 31, an estimated 
120,000 IDPs lived in churches and schools. Displaced women and 
children were extremely vulnerable to abuses by armed entities, 
including rape and forced recruitment.
    Operation Ruwenzori, which the FARDC launched in June without 
support from MONUSCO, continued to address the threat of the ADF/NALU 
in North Kivu. In July fighting between the FARDC and ADF/NALU created 
instability in the Beni territory of North Kivu. Humanitarian 
organizations estimated that between 20,000 and 70,000 persons were 
displaced during several weeks. In addition, the unstable security 
situation made providing humanitarian relief difficult, and on July 26, 
IDPs marched to protest the lack of food.
    IDPs in North Kivu were victims of abuses by all factions engaged 
in fighting, including the FARDC, and by other civilians. Abuses in 
camps around Goma included killings and death threats, particularly by 
demobilized fighters, as well as abduction and rape. According to 
UNICEF, in 2009 one third of the more than 1,100 women and girls raped 
per month in the east were in North Kivu, the majority of them IDPs. 
Some IDPs were also reportedly subjected to forced labor (see section 
1.g.).

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's laws provide for the 
granting of asylum or refugee status, and the Government has 
established a rudimentary system for providing protection to refugees. 
In practice it granted refugee and asylum status to individuals and 
provided protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to 
countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened on account 
of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social 
group, or political opinion.
    The Government provided temporary protection to an undetermined 
number of individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.
    The Government cooperated with the UNHCR and other humanitarian 
organizations in assisting refugees and asylum seekers with welfare and 
safety needs. The Government provided assistance in enabling the safe, 
voluntary return of refugees to their homes by allowing their entry 
into the country and facilitating their passage through the immigration 
system. However, government authorities did not provide adequate 
security to refugees.
    From January to November 2009, Angola forcibly expelled 85,000 
illegal Congolese immigrants to Bas-Congo, and the DRC retaliated by 
forcibly expelling 30,000 Angolans, including those with refugee 
status. However, during the year smaller expulsions along the entire 
border between the two countries continued. While most expulsions were 
conducted peacefully in 2009, abuses during expulsions by state 
security forces of both countries occurred during the year. According 
to the UNJHRO, between January 1 and February 23, 9,205 Congolese were 
allegedly expelled from Angola, including 1,943 women, of whom 304 were 
allegedly raped by Angolan security forces. Congolese security forces 
committed 23 documented and verified rapes of expelled Congolese women 
on Congolese soil. Authorities had arrested one lower-level FARDC 
officer for the rapes by year's end.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution provides citizens the right to change their 
government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice 
through credible presidential, parliamentary, and provincial elections 
based on universal suffrage.

    Elections and Political Participation.--Presidential and 
parliamentary elections in June 2006 and a presidential runoff in 
October 2006 were judged to be credible by the Carter Center and the EU 
Observer Mission. According to the UN secretary-general's December 2009 
report to the UN Security Council, the Senate nominated two members to 
participate in an ad hoc committee to develop recommendations on 
constitutional reforms, including a review of presidential term limits, 
the decentralization process, and the judiciary. As of year's end, 
there was no further action.
    During the year the voter registration process for planned 
elections resumed, starting in Bas Congo; however, the national voter 
registration process was slow and hampered by security problems and 
lack of resources.
    In July President Kabila promulgated the law on the National 
Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), adopted under the National 
Assembly. Under the law, the National Assembly was to nominate seven 
members of the commission, four from the ruling party coalition, AMP, 
and three from the opposition. The legislation needed to finalize 
nominations had not been adopted by year's end.
    In August the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) published a 
new electoral calendar. According to the calendar local elections that 
had been repeatedly postponed were scheduled to take place in 2012-13; 
the next presidential and legislative elections were scheduled for 
November 2011.
    As envisioned under the constitution, parliament passed the 
decentralization law in 2008, but other crucial pieces of legislation 
to support the decentralization process were pending, resulting in the 
constitutional deadline for decentralization passing without government 
action to institute it.
    Uncertainty remained over the decentralization process. The 
constitution provides for the establishment of 26 provinces to replace 
the 11-province structure. Administrative powers and financial 
resources are to be transferred to the new provinces to allow them to 
assume their new responsibilities. The constitution, which defines a 
timetable for these steps, specifies that the new territorial 
boundaries were to come into force 36 months after the Senate took 
office, in May. However, the boundaries had not come into force, and 
only four of the 13 decentralization laws, had been adopted and 
promulgated by year's end.
    In July President Kabila promulgated the law on the CENI, the 
permanent electoral body that replaced the CEI. Civil society expressed 
disappointment with the law because it does not provide for civil 
society participation in the CENI.
    Beginning in 2009 and continuing throughout the year, press reports 
indicated that the Government exerted pressure on MONUC and the UN 
Security Council to begin withdrawing the peacekeeping force from the 
country. According to the UN secretary-general's December 2009 report 
to the UN Security Council, President Kabila requested the UN to submit 
a proposal, including a calendar, for the progressive drawdown of 
MONUC, based on the evolution of the security situation. The calendar 
and the modalities of the drawdown were to be agreed by the Government 
and the UN. UN officials, foreign diplomats, and NGOs expressed 
numerous concerns over the prospect of a premature MONUC withdraw. Some 
of the concerns related to whether, during an ongoing and fragile peace 
process, peaceful and credible national elections could be held without 
the kind of logistical and security assistance that MONUC provided for 
the national elections of 2006, the country's first democratic 
elections in more than 40 years.
    The law on the status and rights of the political opposition 
recognizes opposition parties represented in parliament as well as 
those outside it and provides for their right to participate in 
political activities without fear of retribution. During the year 
political parties were able to operate most of the time without 
restriction or outside interference; however, there were notable 
exceptions. Opposition members were sometimes harassed (see section 
2.a.)
    In 2008 police killed numerous BDK supporters during violent 
clashes in Bas-Congo and systematically destroyed BDK meeting places 
(see section 1.a.). The 2008 HRW report, We Will Crush You: The 
Restriction of Political Space in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 
concluded that since the 2006 national elections, the Government has 
used violence and intimidation to eliminate its political opponents and 
restrict democratic activity. The report drew from hundreds of 
interviews with government officials, diplomats, political detainees, 
and members of civil society.
    Between 2005 and 2008 the proportion of seats held by women in 
parliament decreased from 12 percent to 8 percent. Women held 50 of 500 
seats in the National Assembly and 43 of 690 seats in the provincial 
assemblies. Four of the 108 senators were women. Among the 45 
government ministers and vice ministers, five were women.
    Many ethnic groups, including Pygmies, were not represented in the 
Senate, the National Assembly, or provincial assemblies. The lack of 
political participation of some ethnic groups may have been a result of 
continuing societal discrimination. The enslavement and discrimination 
of Pygmies continued in some areas of the country (see section 5).
    In March 2009 seven UN special rapporteurs and representatives 
reported to the UNHRC that Kinyarwandan-speaking Congolese living in 
the eastern part of the country or as refugees in neighboring countries 
continued to experience difficulty in acquiring Congolese nationality, 
despite a 2004 nationality law that nominally granted nationality to 
members of this group. This situation, which made it difficult for them 
to obtain electoral cards, along with majority-voting systems and the 
particular tailoring of voting districts, continued to contribute to a 
disproportionately low number of minority candidates elected to office. 
In their March 2009 report to the UNHRC, the seven UN special 
rapporteurs and representatives recommended that the Government launch 
a campaign in the east to provide national identification and electoral 
cards to anyone qualifying for nationality under the 2004 nationality 
law and that implementation be guided by a presumption that ``those who 
currently live [in the DRC], or have lived in the DRC prior to the 
armed conflict are considered nationals of the DRC.''
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government Transparency
    The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption. 
However, the authorities did not implement the law, and corruption 
remained endemic throughout the Government and state security forces. 
The public perceived the Government to be widely corrupt at all levels. 
According to the World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators, official 
corruption was a severe problem.
    Corruption in the judicial and penal systems continued to be severe 
(see sections 1.c. and 4).
    In rural areas, where there were often no courts within a 300-mile 
radius, justice was administered on an ad hoc basis by any available 
authority, creating extraordinary opportunities for corruption and 
abuse of power. During the year some observers asserted that members of 
both the executive and legislative branches were content to keep the 
judiciary weak and ineffective because it protected their power and 
allowed them to engage in corruption and abuse of power without 
consequence.
    Weak financial controls and lack of a functioning judicial system 
encouraged officials to engage in corruption with impunity. Many civil 
servants, police, and soldiers had not been paid in years, received 
irregular salaries, or did not earn enough to support their families, 
all of which fostered corruption. Embezzlement of soldiers' salaries by 
FARDC commanders was common and appeared to contribute to extortion, 
looting, and other abuses by soldiers against citizens (see section 
1.d.).
    Reports indicated that the mining sector continued to lose millions 
of dollars as a result of official corruption at all levels, including 
illegal exploitation of minerals by the FARDC and nongovernmental armed 
entities in the east (see section 1.g.).
    In September 2009 the Senate estimated that more than $1.2 billion 
dollars of gold--approximately 40 tons--was exported fraudulently from 
the country every year and that, in the east, 80 percent of the 
minerals extracted were being traded illegally. The UNGOE established 
that ``the level of fraudulent mineral exports to neighboring states 
has escalated significantly since 2008 and particularly since the 
rapprochement between Kinshasa and Kigali [Rwanda] since January 
2009.''
    In its November 2009 report to the UN Security Council, the UNGOE 
documented ``fundamental irregularities'' in the international gold 
trade between the DRC, Uganda, Burundi, and the United Arab Emirates, 
and gathered evidence of ``inconsistent and incomplete customs 
declarations and procedures, as well as a lack of adequate control 
procedures by government customs and mining authorities.'' The UNGOE 
``received strong indications of high-level protection and in some 
cases complicity in the illicit gold trade by government officials.'' 
It made several recommendations concerning the Government, 
international corporations, and the UN Security Council (see section 
1.g.).
    During 2009, the Government continued its review of 61 mining 
contracts negotiated from 1997 to 2002. The review had been marred by 
numerous delays and a lack of transparency. In 2008 the Government 
reached new agreements with all but six of the companies under review, 
and in November 2009 it formally announced the completion of the 
process. The Government reached agreement on the one outstanding 
contract late in the year.
    There continued to be an Ethics and Anticorruption Commission, but 
it had little effect during the year and lacked resources, 
independence, and credibility. It last convened in 2007 without any 
significant results or findings.
    Government authorities and wealthy individuals at times used 
antidefamation laws that carry criminal punishments to discourage media 
investigation of government corruption (see section 2.a.).
    The law requires the president and ministers to disclose their 
assets to a government committee. President Kabila and all ministers 
and vice-ministers did so during the year.
    The law does not provide for public access to government-held 
information. In practice the Government did not grant access to 
government documents for citizens or noncitizens, including foreign 
media.
    In 2008 the country was accepted as a candidate in the Extractive 
Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international voluntary 
initiative designed to increase transparency in transactions between 
governments and companies in the extractive industries. Although the 
Government took some positive steps under EITI, including the 
establishment of a National EITI Committee, publication of the first 
report on EITI in the country, and the hiring of an independent auditor 
to carry out validation of the EITI process, the country did not meet 
its March 9 validation deadline. In December the EITI secretariat 
granted the country a six-month extension to complete validation.
    In his press statement in October 2009 UNSRESAE Alston highlighted 
one of the factors he found to be contributing to corruption and the 
lack of financial accountability in the country, as well as other, 
broader human rights problems. According to Alston, ``one of the most 
troubling overall issues in the DRC is the radical privatization of the 
state. The military is poorly paid and often not paid at all, but it is 
understood that soldiers will extract their own rewards from the 
community, through extortion and theft...Healthcare and education are 
outsourced to international agencies...The privatization phenomenon 
relieves most of the pressure for fiscal reform and accountability. The 
Government needs only to find resources for itself. Until the problem 
is confronted robustly, the ability of the state to provide security, 
ensure justice, and respect human rights will continue to erode 
dramatically. And the billions of dollars provided by the international 
community will have yielded no sustainable institutional framework.''
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
        Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human 
        Rights
    A wide variety of domestic and international human rights 
organizations investigated and published findings on human rights 
cases. However, state security forces continued to harass, beat, 
intimidate, and arbitrarily arrest and detain local human rights 
advocates and NGO workers, and government intimidation of domestic 
human rights defenders worsened. In addition prison officials 
consistently denied access by NGOs and UN officials to detainees in 
certain types of facilities. The Government continued to allow 
international humanitarian agencies access to conflict zones, permit 
many UN human rights officers to investigate abuses, and invite UN 
special rapporteurs and representatives to visit the country during the 
year to assess the human rights situation and provide technical 
assistance. However, the Government took no significant steps to 
implement their recommendations. In addition there was an increase in 
instances in which authorities, particularly state security forces, 
obstructed the work of UN human rights monitors and special 
rapporteurs, and--in some instances--FARDC units in North Kivu made 
death threats against UN personnel.
    The main independent Kinshasa-based domestic human rights 
organizations included ASADHO, Voice of the Voiceless, Committee of 
Human Rights Observers, JED, and the Christian Network of Human Rights 
and Civic Education Organizations. Prominent independent organizations 
operating in areas outside Kinshasa included Heirs of Justice in 
Bukavu, Lotus Group in Kisangani, and Plus in Bunia, Ituri District.
    Officials from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights met with 
domestic NGOs and sometimes responded to their inquiries. On March 29, 
the minister announced the creation of a liaison organization for 
consultation between the Government and human rights NGOs to monitor 
human rights and devise strategies to improve the situation. Scheduled 
to meet every two weeks, the first session was convened in September.
    There were reports that local officials required domestic NGOs 
seeking to register to pay bribes. During the year several domestic 
NGOs were denied authorization to operate, and NGOs needed 
authorization to hold demonstrations, despite constitutional provisions 
providing for freedom of peaceful assembly (see section 2.b.).
    Domestic human rights NGOs were particularly vulnerable to 
harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, and other abuses by state 
security forces when reporting on--or supporting victims of--abuses by 
the FARDC, ANR, or other state security forces and when spotlighting 
the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the east.
    Between the evening of June 1 and the morning of June 2, one of the 
country's most prominent human rights activists, Floribert Chebeya 
Bahizire, was killed, after having been summoned on June 1 by Police 
Inspector General John Numbi, the head of the national police at police 
headquarters in Kinshasa. Chebeya's colleague Fidele Bazana Edadi, who 
reportedly drove Chebeya to the meeting with Numbi, went missing the 
same day and remained missing at year's end. Occurring just a few weeks 
before the country's 50th anniversary celebration, the killing, which 
some foreign diplomats deemed ``an assassination,'' prompted widespread 
public condemnation by the UN Secretary-General, the country's foreign 
assistance donors, and international and Congolese civil society, 
accompanied by calls for a joint commission of inquiry. The UN special 
rapporteur for extrajudicial killings judged that Chebeya was ``killed 
in circumstances that strongly suggest official responsibility.'' In 
early June a PNC member reportedly told the media that the death 
appeared to be a sex-induced heart attack linked to erectile 
dysfunction pills and used condoms found alongside Chebeya's body, 
inside his car. The Economist magazine judged that ``it could be a 
cover-up,'' particularly since Chebeya, long a critic of arbitrary 
arrests and political repression, had received death threats and feared 
for his life shortly before his death. By June 6, the Government had 
announced the suspension of Inspector General Numbi pending an 
investigation, although no charges were brought against him by year's 
end. In addition, authorities detained several policemen, including the 
deputy head of the intelligence services, Major Daniel Mukalay, at a 
Kinshasa prison in connection with the case. At least one policeman 
reportedly confessed to taking part in the killing; however, UN human 
rights monitors were not allowed access to the detainees, and the 
investigation was criticized for being flawed and a ``political 
response.''
    In June the Government accepted a Dutch government offer to conduct 
an autopsy of Chebeya's body. On July 8, a joint Dutch-Congolese 
forensic team reported that the autopsy was inconclusive and it could 
not determine the cause of death. The autopsy report mentioned that a 
pre-existing heart condition may have contributed to his demise. While 
the results did not show conclusive evidence of murder, there were 
minor signs of violence and superficial cuts and some bleeding around 
the wrists, forearms, and legs caused by an external source, and 
indications that he could have been handcuffed shortly prior to his 
death. Observers, including UN officials in the country and foreign 
diplomats, expressed concern over an investigation, run by the military 
prosecutor general, that appeared to lack independence and credibility. 
Aside from the Dutch autopsy assistance, the international community's 
offers to provide assistance to the investigation were declined.
    In August almost 80 local and international NGOs called on the 
minister of justice to establish an independent international 
commission of inquiry into the killing, although no such commission had 
been formed by the end of the year. The NGOs also reported that despite 
Numbi's suspension, he continued to attend some official meetings and 
conduct work from his residence. On October 2, Minister of Justice 
Luzolo Bambi announced that the trial would commence shortly, with an 
arraignment hearing open to the public on November 23 and several 
hearings throughout the month of December. Numbi was not among those on 
trial, and while the proceedings were considered to be transparent, 
local and international NGOs continued to call for an international 
commission of inquiry at year's end due in part to what they viewed as 
the justice system's inability to try the main suspect. The trial 
proceedings were ongoing at year's end.
    On June 8, in Kisengo, Katanga Province, a human rights defender 
was subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by PNC agents 
after having denounced the mistreatment of persons that were detained 
at PNC facilities.
    Also on June 8, in Maniema Province, police arbitrarily arrested a 
human rights defender and subjected the defender to cruel, inhuman or 
degrading treatment after the defender had denounced the unlawful 
arrest of civilians.
    In July 2009 ANR agents in Katanga arbitrarily arrested and 
detained Golden Misabiko, president of the Katanga Province chapter of 
ASADHO, after ASADHO published a report implicating the provincial 
government in the illegal trade of uranium from the province's 
Shinkolobwe mine. Provincial authorities accused Misabiko of serious 
crimes, including defamation and threats against national security. 
Authorities detained Misabiko for two months in poor detention 
conditions despite appeals for release because of a preexisting heart 
condition. In September 2009 a criminal court in the Katangan capital 
of Lubumbashi found Misabiko guilty, based on limited evidence, of 
deliberately publishing false information and sentenced him to an 
eight-month suspended prison sentence followed by four months' 
confinement in the Kasapa central prison. Some observers expressed 
concerns about the fairness of the trial. Prior to the time of his 
sentencing, Misabiko fled and remained outside the country at year's 
end. An appeal was filed on his behalf but its status was not clear at 
year's end.
    During the night of June 29, unknown gunmen in military uniforms 
killed human rights activists Salvator Muhindo in Beni. Authorities had 
taken no action by year's end (see section 1.a.).
    In August FARDC soldiers kidnapped and badly beat a civil society 
leader after he sent a letter to the president asking for justice (see 
section 1.c.).
    No additional information was available regarding the trial of 
members of domestic NGO Friends of Nelson Mandela for the Defense of 
Human Rights, including its president, Robert Ilunga Numbi, on charges 
of rebellion, civil disobedience, and defamation. Authorities granted 
him provisional release in October 2009. Human rights organizations 
believed authorities arrested him because he criticized working 
conditions in a company owned by individuals with strong connections to 
the Government.
    Authorities took no known action against FARDC soldiers who in 2008 
arbitrarily arrested, beat, and temporarily detained the president of 
the local human rights association in Mambassa, Orientale.
    Authorities took no known action against the territorial 
administrator in Punia, Maniema, who, according to the UNJHRO, issued 
death threats in 2008 against human rights activists who had accused 
local authorities of complicity in the 2002 massacre by RCD combatants 
of 13 civilians.
    Authorities took no known action against ANR agents, who in 2008 
threatened a human rights activist in Tshimbulu, Kasai Occidental, when 
she sought information about a case of arbitrary arrest and detention.
    In March gangs of young men issued threats against an international 
human rights organization in North Kivu, causing the organization to 
suspend their activities in the region.
    In 2009 domestic human rights NGOs, including one that identified 
and liberated child soldiers from FARDC units and nonstate armed 
entities, received death threats from unidentified individuals. For 
example, in December 2009 seven members of local human rights NGOs and 
three members of the UNJHRO in Kalemie, Katanga, received anonymous 
telephoned death threats. MONUC offered to help investigate and urged 
the Government to take all necessary action to ensure the security of 
human rights NGOs and MONUC staff.
    The Government generally cooperated with international NGOs that 
published reports on human rights and humanitarian issues and permitted 
their investigators access to conflict areas; however, the Government 
did not take adequate steps to protect international human rights NGOs 
from violence or harassment in the east. In January FARDC soldiers 
attacked a UN vehicle; however, no additional information was 
available.
    On March 15, FARDC soldiers fired upon a missionary vehicle in 
Ituri District, Orientale injuring one person. No further details were 
known.
    On April 9, Mai Mai Yakatumba members kidnapped eight members of an 
international human rights NGO before releasing them a week later.
    In several reports submitted in September 2009 to the UPRWG, 
international human rights NGOs underscored concerns for the treatment 
of human rights NGOs in the country. The International Foundation for 
the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (Front Line) criticized the 
Government for rarely conducting serious investigations of attacks 
against human rights defenders. Front Line also noted that a national 
plan for the protection and security of human rights defenders did not 
exist. Front Line and Amnesty International recommended that the 
Government protect the right of human rights defenders and lawyers to 
conduct their work without hindrance, intimidation, or harassment; 
ensure that abuses of activists or journalists were fully and promptly 
investigated; and prosecute those found responsible.
    The Government cooperated with multilateral organizations in many 
instances. However, there were some notable problems. While authorities 
continued to permit international humanitarian agencies access to 
conflict areas, authorities denied the agencies access to certain 
prisons located in these areas (see section 1.g.). They also continued 
to consistently deny UNJHRO officers access to detainees in facilities 
run by the ANR and the GR in numerous areas.
    In addition, there was an increase in cases of members of state 
security forces obstructing human rights work by MONUSCO and the UN 
human rights country team. During the year FARDC units in the east, 
comprised mainly of ex-CNDP members, consistently denied UNICEF child 
protection officers access to children in their ranks and sometimes 
threatened them (see section 1.g.).
    Several senior UN officials visited the country during the year, 
including a technical assessment team sent by UN secretary-general Ban 
Ki-moon and led by Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le 
Roy during part of its trip, the special representative of the UN 
secretary-General on sexual violence in armed conflict, Margot 
Wallstrom, and others.
    Released in October, the UNOHCHR's human rights mapping report 
identified options for addressing impunity in the country, including 
judicial mechanisms, truth-seeking, institutional reform and vetting, 
and reparations for victims. Deeming the report ``detailed and 
credible,'' the Government was mostly in favor of the report and 
initiated draft legislation in November on the creation of mixed 
chambers to prosecute these crimes.
    UN officials freely criticized actions by the Government during the 
year. In its March 2009 report to the UNHRC, a group of seven UN 
special rapporteurs and representatives made recommendations to the 
Government regarding impunity, security sector reform, child soldiers, 
women's rights, illegal exploitation of natural resources, the rights 
of displaced persons in relation to land disputes and elections, health 
care for marginalized groups, and the protection of human rights 
defenders.
    In June 2009, following an assessment visit at the invitation of 
the Government, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human 
rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, issued a press statement 
underlining that government authorities continued to subject human 
rights activists to intimidation and harassment, mistreatment, 
arbitrary arrest and detention, and ``illegitimate restrictions of 
their right to core freedoms,'' including freedoms of movement, speech, 
and association. Sekaggya noted that government authorities and 
nonstate actors stigmatized human rights defenders as ``enemies'' or 
``opponents.'' She stated that defenders were particularly endangered 
when supporting victims of serious abuses, most notably sexual 
violence; fighting impunity, particularly by supporting the work of the 
ICC; and denouncing the illegal exploitation of natural resources. 
Sekaggya expressed specific concern over ``the plight of women human 
rights defenders whose activities are often hindered by authorities and 
who may face discrimination from their male colleagues.''
    Sekaggya urged the Government to investigate and prosecute all 
abuses against human rights defenders and adopt national and provincial 
laws, in consultation with human rights NGOs, to protect human rights 
defenders. She added that the Government should openly ``give 
legitimacy to the work of human rights defenders, including women 
defenders, and acknowledge it as human rights work.'' Other 
recommendations for the Government included sensitization training for 
police and public condemnations of all attacks on rights workers. 
Sekaggya also recommended that MONUC increase the staffing and 
financial capacity of its human rights offices, and said the 
international community should help the Human Rights Ministry's 
programs and assist it in reestablishing offices in the provinces.
    On September 24, the UNJHRO released a preliminary report on the 
303 Walikale rapes that took place between July 30 and August 2 (see 
section 1.g.). The UNJHRO found that, although MONUSCO maintained a 
company operating base in the Kibua region during the incident, there 
was no Congolese interpreter, and in spite of receiving reports of some 
attacks, peacekeepers on patrols were unable to confirm the reports. 
According to the report, 80 new troops had arrived on July 27 and 28 
and had not yet received any training on civilian protection. The 
UNJHRO recommended that the Government deploy its forces against the 
rebel groups in these insecure zones, and that MONUSCO implement a 
permanent training on the mandate of civilian protection and clarify 
the tasks of the company and temporary operating bases providing the 
necessary resources.
    A November report by the UNGOE presented information on abuses 
committed by government security forces and RMGs in the east. The UNGOE 
highlighted that ``the involvement of criminal networks within the 
FARDC in the illegal exploitation of natural resources has created a 
conflict of interest with the army's constitutional security mandate. 
This involvement has led to pervasive insubordination, competing chains 
of command, failure to actively pursue armed groups, amounting in 
certain cases to collusion, and neglect of civilian protection.''
    The Government had not responded to several requests for 
information from various UN human rights monitoring bodies in the past. 
In addition, during the year the Government replied to a small 
percentage of communications, including urgent appeals, from UN special 
procedures (rapporteurs and representatives), according to the UNOHCHR. 
However, several members of the UPRWG commended the Government for its 
cooperation with the UNHRC in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 
process, including its submission of a report in September 2009 to the 
UNHRC following consultations with domestic NGOs.
    On September 3 a coalition of 220 Congolese human rights 
organizations issued a news release endorsing the UNOHCHR mapping 
report and requesting that appropriate judicial mechanisms be put in 
place to hold the perpetrators to account and bring justice for the 
victims. According to one human rights activist, ``[the report] 
responds to the lobbying we have done for a long time to re-establish 
moral equilibrium in Congolese society based on the noble ideas of 
justice, equality, peace, fraternity and national solidarity as defined 
by our constitution.''
    During the UNHRC's UPR process, numerous domestic human rights NGOs 
and the Government underscored the need to establish a national human 
rights commission, founded in law, distinct and separate from the 
legislature and judiciary, with a broad mandate to protect and promote 
human rights.
    In January 2009 parliament created a human rights body, composed of 
members from both legislative chambers, to investigate abuses by state 
security forces. It was not clear how active, effective, or independent 
the body was.
    During the year the Government cooperated in some aspects with the 
ICC, which continued investigations into war crimes and crimes against 
humanity committed in the country since 2003. However, despite the ICC 
indictment of General Ntaganda, the Government did not arrest and 
transfer Ntaganda to the ICC during the year.
    The UNJHRO reported that in 2008 authorities arrested Mathieu 
Ngudjolo, a former senior FNI commander, and transferred him to the ICC 
in The Hague. His war crimes and crimes against humanity charges 
included murder, sexual slavery, and using child soldiers in 
hostilities. During an ICC trial that opened in November 2009, Mathieu 
Ngudjolo and Germain Katanga both pleaded not guilty to charges that 
they directed an attack in 2003 on a village where 200 civilians were 
killed. The trial continued at year's end.
    Former Ituri militia leader Thomas Lubanga, whom the Government 
surrendered to the ICC in 2006, pleaded not guilty to various charges 
when the ICC began his trial in January 2009 for enlisting and 
conscripting child soldiers. The prosecution ended its case in 2009, 
and the trial was ongoing at year's end.
    The Government continued to cooperate with the International 
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which operated freely in areas 
under government control, seeking several individuals indicted for 
involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, who they believed might be in 
the DRC. In September 2009 the Government transferred Gregoire 
Ndahimana, who had surrendered to authorities in August 2009, to the 
ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
    The constitution prohibits discrimination based on ethnicity, 
gender, or religion; however, the Government did not enforce these 
prohibitions effectively, in part because it lacked appropriate 
institutions.

    Women.--The law criminalizes rape, but the Government did not 
effectively enforce this law, and rape was common throughout the 
country and especially pervasive in conflict areas in the east. Between 
January and December 2009, the UNFPA reported 12,838 cases of sexual 
violence against both adults and minors in North and South Kivu and 
Province Orientale, with a total of 17,507 cases across the entire 
country. Acccording to the UN secretary-general's 27th report to the UN 
Security Council, more than 1,100 women and girls were raped each month 
in the east alone (see section 1.g.). The law on sexual violence, 
enacted in 2006, broadened the definition of rape to include male 
victims, sexual slavery, sexual harassment, forced pregnancy, and other 
sexual crimes not previously covered by law. It also increased 
penalties for sexual violence, prohibits compromise fines and forced 
marriage, allows victims of sexual violence to waive appearance in 
court, and permits closed hearings to protect confidentiality. It 
raised the age of sexual consent to 18 years old, although the family 
code establishes that girls can marry at the age of 14. The minimum 
penalty prescribed for rape is a prison sentence of five years.
    Government security forces, nongovernmental armed entities, and 
civilians perpetrated widespread and sometimes mass rape against women 
and girls (see section 1.g.). In March 2009 the UN secretary-general 
reported to the UN Security Council that members of nonstate armed 
entities, the FARDC, and the police were responsible for 81 percent of 
all reported cases of sexual violence in conflict zones and 24 percent 
in nonconflict areas. The majority of cases were reported in North and 
South Kivu. The report cited a ``disturbing increase of police 
personnel involved as perpetrators, especially against women in 
detention.'' The UNFPA, the agency coordinating efforts against sexual 
violence in the country, estimated that 200,000 Congolese women and 
girls had become victims of sexual violence since 1998. The number of 
rapes committed during the year increased, according to UN officials, 
foreign diplomats, and NGOs (see section 1.g.).
    Statistical information on rape, often based on information from 
the judiciary and agencies providing services to victims, remained 
fragmented and incomplete. According to UN officials and NGOs such as 
HRW, most statistics on sexual violence represented a small percentage 
of the actual number and excluded victims who were unable, afraid, or 
ashamed to seek assistance. On August 4, the Journal of the American 
Medical Association published a study on sexual violence in Eastern 
Congo covering the last 15 years of conflict in North and South Kivu 
and Ituri, Orientale. According to the study, nearly 75 percent of 
individuals in these regions experienced sexual violence, and 35 
percent of these cases were conflict-related, with nearly 40 percent of 
women in the conflict-related cases being the perpetrators, and more 
than 20 percent of victims being men. The study found that only 2 
percent of the perpetrators of gender-based violence in the last 15 
years were FARDC members and that overwhelming numbers of civilians in 
the conflict zone were suffering from symptoms associated with mental 
illness, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression.
    Prosecutions for rape and other types of sexual violence remained 
rare. According to HRW, between January and August 2009 the military 
justice system convicted 17 FARDC soldiers of crimes of sexual violence 
in North Kivu Province. HRW and several other human rights groups 
continued to criticize the Government for failing to investigate and 
prosecute members of the state security forces, particularly high-
ranking officers, who were responsible for rape (see section 1.d.). Of 
the 14,200 rape cases that were registered in South Kivu between 2005 
and 2007, only 287, or 2 percent of the cases, were taken to court. 
Both victims and the UNHRC's special rapporteur on violence against 
women cited widespread impunity as the main reason for sexual violence. 
Most victims did not have sufficient confidence in the justice system 
to pursue formal legal action or feared subjecting themselves to 
further humiliation and possible reprisal.
    In December 2009 several members of the UPRWG commended the 
Government for adopting the 2006 law on sexual violence but expressed 
concern over the failure to implement the law and recommended increased 
efforts to train judicial and law enforcement officials in its 
application. Several members urged authorities to make greater efforts 
to investigate and prosecute individuals, including high-ranking 
members of the state security forces, who were responsible for rape.
    In a report submitted in April 2009 to the UPRWG, the Women's 
Synergy for Victims of Sexual Violence (SFVS) and nine other North 
Kivu-based NGOs urged the Government to modify an existing law that 
continued to make it extremely difficult for them to seek reparations 
for sexual violence. The law requires victims of sexual violence to pay 
the public treasury 15 percent of the amount of damages sought in 
advance of any judgment. According to SFVS, in the rare instances in 
which reparations were awarded, defendants bribed judges, resulting in 
``lost'' case files, effectively preventing the payment of reparations 
to victims. A group of special rapporteurs and representatives, 
including the UN special rapporteur on violence against women reported 
in March 2009 that the Government had been ordered by multiple courts 
in the country to pay compensation to a number of women raped by state 
security agents; however, none of the rape survivors had received 
compensation.
    In 2009 the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and the 
special representative of the UN secretary-general on children and 
armed conflict concluded that, while many perpetrators of sexual 
violence were armed actors (including members of the FARDC, police, and 
nonstate armed entities), a significant and increasing number were 
civilians, not only in conflict zones but also in other regions. High-
level UN officials deemed this development a consequence of the climate 
of impunity, absence of rule of law, and the normalization of violence 
against women.
    It was common for family members to pressure a rape victim to 
remain silent, even to health care professionals, to safeguard the 
reputations of the victim and her family.
    Victims of gender-based violence faced an enormous social stigma. 
After a sexual assault, many young women and girls were often labeled 
as unsuitable for marriage, and married women were frequently abandoned 
by their husbands.
    Some families forced rape victims to marry the men who raped them 
or to forego prosecution in exchange for money or goods from the 
rapist.
    Domestic violence against women occurred throughout the country. 
For example, credible sources found that 86 percent of women in 
Equateur Province were victims of domestic abuse; however, there were 
few if any additional statistics available regarding the extent of 
domestic abuse. Although the law considers assault a crime, it does not 
specifically address spousal abuse, and police rarely intervened in 
domestic disputes. There were no reports of judicial authorities taking 
action in cases of domestic or spousal abuse.
    Sexual harassment occurred throughout the country; however, no 
statistics existed regarding its prevalence. The 2006 sexual violence 
law prohibits sexual harassment, and the minimum penalty prescribed by 
law is a prison sentence of one to 20 years; however, there was no 
effective enforcement.
    The Government respected the right of couples to decide freely and 
responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to 
have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, 
coercion, and violence. However, women's access to contraception 
remained extremely low, with only 6.7 percent of women using modern 
contraceptive methods. According to the World Health Organization, the 
maternal mortality rate for 2008 was 670 deaths per 100,000 live 
births.
    Women's access to treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, such 
as HIV, was not known. Recent studies did not disaggregate by gender, 
and the data was highly variable across geographic regions, reflecting 
variations in cultural norms and access to health-care services. The 
percentage of women seeking skilled medical assistance during 
childbirth was 74 percent.
    According to a demographic and health survey issued by the 
Government in 2007, the average rate of pregnant women who received 
prenatal care, predominantly from nurses and midwives, rose from 68 
percent in 2001 to 85 percent in 2007. Medical assistance during 
childbirth was not as prevalent as prenatal care, but access did 
increase between 2001 and 2007. Education, socioeconomic status, place 
of delivery (hospital or home), and geographic location had a 
significant impact on who received postpartum care. Cultural barriers 
were nonexistent except for the minority of women who belonged to Bunda 
dia Mayala (formerly known as Bunda Dia Congo), a political and 
religious movement in which adherents were sometimes prevented from 
receiving vaccinations.
    Women did not possess the same rights as men under the law or in 
practice. The law requires a married woman to obtain her husband's 
consent before engaging in legal transactions, including selling or 
renting real estate, opening a bank account, or applying for a 
passport. According to UNICEF, 69 percent of widows had been 
dispossessed of their property. Under the law, women found guilty of 
adultery may be sentenced to up to one year in prison; adultery by men 
is subject to legal penalty only if judged to have ``an injurious 
quality.''
    In their March 2009 report to the UNHRC, seven UN special 
rapporteurs and representatives expressed concern that, while the 
family code recognizes equality between spouses, it ``effectively 
renders a married woman a minor under the guardianship of her 
husband,'' by stating that the wife must obey her husband; women 
remained underrepresented in the democratic institutions.
    Women experienced economic discrimination. The law forbids a woman 
from working at night or accepting employment without her husband's 
consent. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), women 
often received less pay in the private sector than men doing the same 
job and rarely occupied positions of authority or high responsibility.

    Children.--According to 2007 UNICEF data, 31 percent of children 
were registered at birth. However, following the Government's adoption 
of a National Plan of Action on Birth Registration in March 2009, child 
birth registration increased in Kinshasa from 37 percent to 50 percent 
by June 2009. Birth registration was lowest among ethnic minorities 
such as Pygmies. The lack of registration did not affect access to 
government services.
    In practice primary school education was not compulsory, free, or 
universal, and few functioning government-funded schools existed. 
Fighting that resumed in 2008 in North Kivu between government and 
rebel forces resulted in the closure of approximately 85 percent of all 
schools in the area, according to UNICEF. Public and private schools 
generally expected parents to contribute to teachers' salaries, and 
parents typically funded 80 to 90 percent of school expenses. These 
expenses, plus the potential loss of income or labor while their 
children attended class, left many parents unable to enroll their 
children. In September President Kabila ordered that fees required by 
the Government for primary school children would no longer be required; 
however, at year's end, parents were still paying fees.
    Primary and secondary school attendance rates for girls were lower 
because many parents preferred to send their sons to school, either for 
financial or cultural reasons.
    The majority of schools in conflict zones were dilapidated and had 
been closed due to insecurity. Parents in such areas often prevented 
their children from attending the few functioning schools due to fear 
that armed entities would forcibly recruit their children, according to 
reports received by the UN during the year.
    In a report released in February 2009, the UNCRC welcomed the 
Government's adoption in January 2009 of the child protection code, 
which provides for the establishment of 180 juvenile tribunals. 
However, the UNCRC expressed concern over the capacity of the 
Government to implement the code's provisions, particularly in the 
absence of an awareness raising campaign. The UNCRC urged the 
Government to expedite implementation of child protection laws, 
increase investment in law enforcement training on child protection, 
adopt a comprehensive child protection action plan, establish a 24-hour 
child helpline as a tool for children to seek assistance and lodge 
complaints, establish a data base and coherent national programs for 
refugee and internally displaced children, and swiftly improve juvenile 
justice standards.
    The law prohibits all forms of child abuse, but it was common. 
There was no information about authorities arresting individuals for 
child abandonment and abuse during the year.
    The constitution prohibits parental abandonment of children for 
alleged sorcery; however, such allegations resulted in abandonment and 
abuse. The 2009 Child Protection Law provides for a sentence of 
imprisonment for parents and other adults who accuse children of 
witchcraft; however, authorities did not implement the law effectively.
    Child abuse was an especially serious problem in the eastern 
conflict regions. A 2008 report of the UN secretary-general on children 
and armed conflict in the country concluded that children continued to 
be the primary victims of the continuing conflict in the east.
    In March 2009 a group of seven UN special rapporteurs and 
representatives mandated by the UNHRC to assess human rights in the 
country deemed it ``alarming'' that a significant percentage of the 
victims of sexual violence committed throughout the country were girls, 
and in some cases also boys. According to the UNFPA, of 17,507 new 
cases of sexual violence registered in 2009 throughout the country, 48 
percent of survivors were children. The report also underscored the 
role of civilians in child rape, including in conflict zones where a 
climate of near total impunity persisted. For example, of the 2,893 
cases of child rape reported in conflict-affected Ituri District, 
Orientale, between June 2007 and June 2008, UNICEF found that 42 
percent of perpetrators were members of the state security forces or 
nonstate armed entities and 58 percent were civilians. During the same 
period, of the almost 2,000 cases of child rape reported in North Kivu, 
70 percent of the perpetrators were members of the state security 
forces or nonstate armed entities and 30 percent were civilians.
    All parties to the conflict in the east were involved in the use of 
child soldiers (see section 1.g.). During the year the UNCRC expressed 
concern that children continued to be tried in military courts for 
crimes allegedly committed while they were enrolled as child soldiers 
in nongovernmental armed entities.
    The law does not prohibit female genital mutilation (FGM). 
According to the World Health Organization, isolated groups in the 
north practiced FGM, and approximately 5 percent of women and girls 
were victims.
    The law prohibits marriage of girls under the age of 14 and boys 
under the age of 18; however, marriages of girls as young as 13 years 
old took place. Dowry payments greatly contributed to underage 
marriage. In some cases parents married off a daughter against her will 
to collect a dowry or to finance a dowry for a son. The sexual violence 
law criminalizes forced marriage. It subjects parents to up to 12 
years' hard labor and a fine of 92,500 Congolese francs (approximately 
$103) for forcing a child to marry. The penalty doubles when the child 
is under the age of 15. There were no reports of prosecutions for 
forced marriage; no additional information was available.
    The minimum age of consensual sex is 14 years old for women and 18 
years old for men, and the 2006 law on sexual violence prohibits and 
defines penalties for prostitution of minors; however, child 
prostitution occurred throughout the country. There were no statistics 
available regarding its prevalence. Many children engaged in 
prostitution without third-party involvement, although some were forced 
to do so. In the mining areas of Katanga, UNICEF reported that madams 
forced girls between the ages of eight and 10 years old, known as 
canetons (ducklings in French), into prostitution. According to HRW and 
a local NGO, police in Kinshasa extorted sexual services from child 
prostitutes.
    In 2009, there were an estimated 8.4 million orphans and vulnerable 
children in the country; 91 percent received no external support of any 
kind, and only 3 percent received medical support. The country's 
estimated 50,000 street children included many accused of witchcraft, 
child refugees, and war orphans, as well as children with homes and 
families. During the year, according to UNICEF, there were more than 
20,000 street children in Kinshasa, of whom 26 percent were girls. Many 
churches in Kinshasa conducted exorcisms of children accused of 
witchcraft involving isolation, beating and whipping, starvation, and 
forced ingestion of purgatives. According to UNICEF, there was a 
practice of branding as witches children with disabilities or even 
speech impediments and learning disabilities; this practice sometimes 
resulted in parents abandoning their children. According to UNICEF, as 
many as 70 percent of the street children they assisted claimed to have 
been accused of witchcraft.
    The Government was ill equipped to deal with large numbers of 
homeless children. Citizens generally regarded street children as 
delinquents engaged in petty crime, begging, and prostitution and 
approved of actions taken against them. State security forces abused 
and arbitrarily arrested street children (see sections 1.c. and 1.d.).
    There were numerous reports that street children had to pay police 
officers to be allowed to sleep in vacant buildings and had to share 
with police a percentage of goods stolen from markets.
    In February 2009 the UNCRC underscored its concern over the 
frequency of sexual assaults committed against street children, as well 
as state security forces' regular harassment, beating, and arrest of 
street children. In addition the UNCRC expressed concern that 
``violence against children accused of witchcraft is increasing, and 
that children are being kept as prisoners in religious buildings where 
they were exposed to torture and mistreatment, or even killed under the 
pretext of exorcism.'' The UNCRC recommended that the Government take 
effective measures to prevent children from being accused of 
witchcraft, including by continuing and strengthening public awareness-
raising activities, particularly directed at parents and religious 
leaders and by addressing root causes such as poverty. The UNCRC 
further urged the Government to criminalize accusing children of 
witchcraft, bring to justice persons responsible for violence against 
children accused of sorcery, and take steps to recover and reintegrate 
children accused of witchcraft.
    Several NGOs worked effectively with MONUSCO and UNICEF to promote 
children's rights throughout the country.
    At year's end the country was not a party to the 1980 Hague 
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For 
information on international parental child abduction, please see the 
Department of State's annual report on compliance at http://
travel.state.gov/abduction/resources/congressreport/congressreport--
4308.html.)

    Anti-Semitism.--The country has a very small Jewish population, and 
there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

    Trafficking in Persons.--For information on trafficking in persons, 
please see the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons 
Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    Persons With Disabilities.--The law prohibits discrimination 
against persons with disabilities; however, the Government did not 
effectively enforce this provision, and persons with disabilities often 
found it difficult to obtain employment, education, or government 
services.
    The law does not mandate access to buildings or government services 
for persons with disabilities. Some schools for persons with 
disabilities, including persons with visual disabilities, received 
private funds and limited public funds to provide education and 
vocational training.
    During the year children with disabilities were accused of 
witchcraft and subjected to abuse and abandonment (see section 6).

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities.--Members of the country's more 
than 400 ethnic groups practiced ethnic discrimination, and 
discrimination was evident in hiring patterns in some cities. The 
Government took no reported actions to address this problem.
    State security forces in Kinshasa sometimes harassed, arbitrarily 
arrested, or threatened members of ethnic groups from Equateur, 
according to the UNJHRO. State security forces in North and South Kivu 
sometimes harassed, arbitrarily arrested, or threatened members of many 
different ethnic groups.
    Discrimination against persons with albinism was widespread and 
limited their ability to obtain employment, health care, and education, 
or to marry. Persons with albinism were frequently ostracized by their 
families and communities. According to a 2007 survey conducted in 
Kisangani by the UN Development Program, 83 percent of parents of 
albinos stated that their children were successful in school, but 47 
percent said they felt humiliated by having albino children.
    Between October and November 2009, in the South Ubangi District of 
Equateur, ethnic violence between the Banzaya and Enyele clans (both of 
the Lobala ethnic group) erupted over farming and fishing rights, 
triggering a humanitarian crisis. After the district government 
recognized a member of the Banzaya clan as interim tribal chief in the 
village of Dongo in June 2009, members of the Enyele clan forced the 
Government-recognized tribal chief to flee. When the chief returned 
several months later with an armed police escort, Enyele clan members 
reportedly killed approximately 45 police officers, which led to a 
deployment of FARDC soldiers to address the Enyele insurgency and 
stabilize the area. By year's end the clashes had resulted in several 
civilian deaths, numerous internally displaced persons, and more than 
140,000refugees, many of whom fled to the neighboring Republic of the 
Congo and to the CAR.

    Indigenous People.--The country had a population of between 200,000 
and 500,000 Pygmies (Twa, Mbuti, Aka, and others), believed to be the 
country's original inhabitants; the Government did not effectively 
protect their civil and political rights, and societal discrimination 
against them continued. Most Pygmies took no part in the political 
process and continued to live in remote areas. During the year fighting 
in the east between nonstate armed entities and government security 
forces caused displacement of some Pygmy populations. Since 2003 many 
Pygmies who had lived in IDP camps in the east were forced outside the 
camps by other IDPs, removing their access to humanitarian relief 
provided to camp residents.
    In some areas traditional leaders (mwami) and wealthy persons 
captured Pygmies and forced them into slavery. For 2009-2010, the World 
Peasants/Indigenous Organization reported 644 new cases of enslavement 
of Pygmies. Those captured were known as ``badja'' and were considered 
the property of their masters. During 2008 the World Peasants/
Indigenous Organization conducted a three-month campaign to free such 
individuals. In 2008, 96 Pygmy slaves were released; 46 of the group 
belonged to families that had been enslaved for generations.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on 
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.--There are no known laws 
specifically prohibiting homosexuality or homosexual acts; however, 
individuals engaging in public displays of homosexuality were subject 
to prosecution under public decency provisions in the penal code and 
articles in the 2006 law on sexual violence. On October 22, a law was 
proposed in the national assembly that would impose significant fines 
and jail terms on individuals engaging in homosexuality or groups 
promoting or protecting homosexual behavior. No action had been taken 
on the draft legislation by the end of the year. Homosexuality remained 
a cultural taboo, and while harassment by state security forces 
continued, there were no reports during the year of police harassing 
gays and lesbians or perpetrating or condoning violence against them.
    On September 6, in Kabare, South Kivu, authorities prevented a mob 
from lynching a 21-year old woman accused of homosexual relations with 
another villager.

    Other Societal Violence or Discrimination.--There were no reports 
of societal violence or discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status.
    In 2008 President Kabila promulgated a law passed by parliament 
that prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
Section 7. Worker Rights

    a. The Right of Association.--The constitution provides all 
workers, except government officials and members of the state security 
forces, the right to form and join trade unions without prior 
authorization or excessive requirements. The extent to which the 
Government protected this right in practice was limited. According to 
NGO reporting, of an estimated 24 million adults of working age, 
128,000 employees in the private sector (0.5 percent) belonged to 
unions. No information was available regarding the number of union 
members in the public sector. The informal sector, including 
subsistence agriculture, constituted at least 90 percent of the 
economy. The law provides for the right of unions to conduct activities 
without interference and to bargain collectively; however, the 
Government did not always protect these rights.
    In August an assessment of the country's trade union and worker 
freedoms by international NGO Freedom House found significant 
restrictions on labor rights and that the labor rights environment was 
``repressive.''
    Private companies often registered bogus unions to create confusion 
among workers and discourage real ones from organizing. According to 
NGO reporting, many of the nearly 400 unions in the private sector had 
no membership and had been established by management, particularly in 
the natural resources sector.
    The constitution provides for the right to strike, and workers 
sometimes exercised it. In small and medium-sized businesses, workers 
could not exercise this right effectively in practice. With an enormous 
unemployed labor pool, companies and shops could immediately replace 
any workers attempting to unionize, collectively bargain, or strike. 
The law requires unions to have prior consent from the Ministry of 
Labor and to adhere to lengthy mandatory arbitration and appeal 
procedures before striking. The law prohibits employers and the 
Government from retaliating against strikers; however, the Government 
did not enforce this law in practice.

    b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.--While a 2002 
law provides for the right to organize and for collective bargaining, 
collective bargaining was ineffective in practice. The Government set 
public sector wages by decree, and unions were permitted to act only in 
an advisory capacity. Most unions in the private sector collected dues 
from workers but did not succeed in engaging in collective bargaining 
on their behalf.
    The law prohibits discrimination against union employees, although 
authorities did not enforce this regulation effectively, and antiunion 
discrimination occurred in practice. The law also requires employers to 
reinstate workers fired for union activities.
    There are no export processing zones.

    c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor.--The constitution 
prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, 
although no statistics were available, both were practiced throughout 
the country. The Government did not effectively enforce laws 
prohibiting forced or compulsory labor.
    Men, women, and children were coerced into forced labor and sexual 
exploitation. Children were prostituted in brothels or by loosely 
organized networks. An estimated tens of thousands of children worked 
in the mining sector, most often in extremely dangerous conditions as 
artisanal miners. In the east, FARDC elements and RMGs continued to 
abduct and forcibly recruit men, women, and children to serve as 
laborers (including in mines), porters, domestics, combatants, and sex 
slaves (see section 1.g.).
    Some police officers in the east reportedly arrested individuals 
arbitrarily in order to extort money from them; those who could not pay 
were forced to work until they had ``earned'' their freedom.
    Government security forces continued to force men, women, and 
children, including IDPs and prisoners, to serve as porters, mine 
workers, and domestic laborers (see sections 1.c., 1.g., 6, and 7.d.). 
In addition, according to the UNGOE report of November, in Mushake, 
Masisi, ex-CNDP FARDC soldiers ``enforce salongo, whereby civilians are 
required to build houses, clean camps, and transport merchandise for 
the military.''
    The military took no action against FARDC soldiers who used forced 
labor and abducted civilians for forced labor during the year, in 2009 
or in 2008.
    In the mining sector, middlemen and dealers acquired raw ore from 
unlicensed miners in exchange for tools, food, and other products. 
Miners who failed to provide sufficient ore became debt slaves, forced 
to continue working to pay off arrears. The Government did not attempt 
to regulate this practice.
    Armed entities operating outside central government control 
subjected civilians, including children, to forced labor, including 
sexual slavery (see section 1.g.). Also see the Department of State's 
annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.

    d. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment.--
There were laws to protect children from exploitation in the workplace; 
however, government agencies did not effectively enforce child labor 
laws. Child labor remained a problem throughout the country, including 
forced child labor. Although there was at least one report of a large 
enterprise using child labor during the year, it was much more common 
in the informal sector, particularly in mining and subsistence 
agriculture. For economic survival, families often encouraged children 
to work in order to earn money. According to the Ministry of Labor, 
children continued to work in mines and stone quarries, and as child 
soldiers, water sellers, domestic servants, and entertainers in bars 
and restaurants.
    Although the minimum age for full-time employment without parental 
consent is 18 years old, employers may legally hire minors between the 
ages of 15 and 18 with the consent of a parent or guardian. Those under 
the age of 16 may work a maximum of four hours per day. All minors are 
restricted from transporting heavy items.
    According to data collected by UNICEF in surveys between 1999 and 
2007, approximately 32 percent of children between the ages of five and 
14 were involved in child labor. UNICEF considered children to be 
involved in labor if, during the week preceding the survey, a child who 
was five to 11 years old performed at least one hour of economic 
activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work or a child who was 12 to 
14 years old performed at least 14 hours of economic activity or at 
least 28 hours of domestic work.
    Criminal courts continued to hear child labor complaints. State 
security forces and nonstate armed entities in conflict-affected areas 
in the east used children, including child soldiers, for forced labor 
in mines (see section 1.g.). However, the use of forced child labor by 
state security forces was not limited to conflict zones. For example, 
in October 2009 UNICEF reported that soldiers in Katanga forced 
children and adults to mine and transport heavy loads for them.
    Children made up as much as 30 percent of the work force in the 
informal (``artisanal'') mining sector. In mining regions of the 
provinces of Katanga, Kasai Occidental, Orientale, and North and South 
Kivu, children performed dangerous mine work, often underground. In 
many areas of the country, children who were five to 12 years old broke 
rocks to make gravel for a small wage. In October 2009 a foreign 
diplomat observed children breaking stones and carrying heavy loads in 
a stone quarry on the compound of the Government-owned Gecamines mining 
company in Kipushi, Katanga. According to the Solidarity Center, during 
the year there was an increase in the number of children working in the 
Kolwezi mines in southern Katanga. Catholic Relief Services in Katanga 
reported that the local population, including children, were drawn to 
mining work, largely due to the lack of alternative sources of income 
and the higher salaries offered in the mining sector.
    Child prostitution, including forced prostitution, was practiced 
throughout the country (see section 6). Also see the Department of 
State's annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/g/tip.
    In addition children were used to extract copper, cobalt, and gold. 
In the east, armed entities forced children to mine coltan, tungsten 
ore, and cassiterite.
    Parents often used children for dangerous and difficult 
agricultural labor. Children sent to relatives by parents who could not 
support them sometimes effectively became the property of those 
families, who subjected them to physical and sexual abuse.
    The Ministry of Labor has responsibility for investigating child 
labor abuses but had no dedicated child labor inspection service. The 
Ministry of Labor had yet to develop a national action plan to 
comprehensively address child labor. Other government agencies 
responsible for combating child labor included the Ministry of Gender, 
Family and Children, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the National 
Committee to Combat Worst Forms of Child Labor. These agencies had no 
budgets for inspections and conducted no investigations during the 
year.
    In 2009, government officials participated in a tripartite dialogue 
on child labor in Katanga with unions, enterprises, and the ILO. The 
effort was part of an ILO program, conducted in cooperation with 
government officials, designed to withdraw children from industrial and 
artisanal mining, improve working conditions for diggers, and eradicate 
child labor. Due to a lack of funding, the ILO closed its office in 
Lubumbashi shortly after the tripartite talks.
    In November 2009 the ILO recommended that the Government focus on 
creating employment opportunities, strengthening the skills of women, 
enrolling children in school, and reducing the country's reliance on 
imports in order to bolster the fight against child labor. There was no 
further progress on these recommendations; some children who had been 
removed from the mines through an anti-child labor project returned to 
the mines due to lack of support.

    e. Acceptable Conditions of Work.--Employers in the informal sector 
often did not respect the legally required minimum wage of 1,680 
Congolese francs (approximately $1.86) per day. The average monthly 
wage did not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and 
family. Government salaries remained low, ranging from 45,000 to 75,000 
Congolese francs (approximately $50 to $82) per month, and salary 
arrears were common in both the civil service and public enterprises 
(parastatals). More than 90 percent of laborers worked in subsistence 
agriculture, informal commerce or mining, or other informal pursuits.
    The law defines different standard workweeks, ranging from 45 to 72 
hours, for various jobs. The law also prescribes rest periods and 
premium pay for overtime, but employers often did not respect these 
provisions in practice. The law establishes no monitoring or 
enforcement mechanism, and businesses often ignored these standards in 
practice.
    The law specifies health and safety standards; however, government 
agencies did not effectively enforce them. The law does not provide 
workers the right to remove themselves from dangerous work situations 
without jeopardizing their employment.
    According to the NGO Pact, an estimated 10 million miners worked in 
the informal sector nationwide and up to 16 percent of the population 
may have indirectly relied on so-called artisanal, or small-scale, 
mining. Many suffered violence from guards and state security forces 
for illegally entering mining concessions.

                               __________

                         REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

    The Republic of the Congo, with a population of 3.7 million, is a 
parliamentary republic in which most of the decision-making authority 
and political power is vested in the president and his administration. 
Denis Sassou Nguesso was reelected president in a July 2009 election 
with 78 percent of the vote. The country has a multiparty political 
system although members of the president's Congolese Labor Party (PCT) 
occupy most senior government positions. The 2009 election was peaceful 
and the African Union declared the elections to have been free and 
fair; however, opposition candidates and nongovernmental organizations 
(NGOs) cited irregularities. There were instances in which elements of 
the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
    Principal human rights problems included suspected killings of 
detainees by security forces; mob violence; beatings and other physical 
abuse of detainees; rapes; theft; solicitation of bribes; harassment 
and extortion of civilians by unidentified armed elements; poor prison 
conditions; official impunity; arbitrary arrest; lengthy pretrial 
detention; an ineffective and under-resourced judiciary; infringement 
of citizens' privacy rights; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, 
association, and movement; official corruption and lack of 
transparency; domestic violence, including rape; societal 
discrimination against women; trafficking in persons; discrimination on 
the basis of ethnicity, particularly against Pygmies; and child labor.
                        respect for human rights
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
        From:

    a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life.--The Government or 
its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings. Prison 
security personnel allegedly tortured an inmate to death (see section 
1.c).
    There were no further developments in the January 2009 death in a 
suspicious house fire of journalist and activist Bruno Jacquet Ossebi, 
known for his outspoken coverage of government corruption. The death 
was officially declared an accident and there was no investigation.
    Local inhabitants frequently took the law into their own hands to 
punish persons presumed or known to be police or military personnel who 
looted civilian residences. The results were death or serious injury. 
Such incidents were most common in remote areas.

    b. Disappearance.--There were no reports of politically motivated 
disappearances.
    By year's end no investigation had been conducted into the 
disappearance of two prisoners, Beni Alex Yandi and Bien Godja, who 
were assumed to have been victims of extrajudicial execution. The two 
were detained at the central police station in Brazzaville in October 
and December 2009 respectively.

    c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment.--The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, 
on September 8, army Lieutenant Ferdinand Bourangon died of torture-
induced injuries allegedly perpetrated in Brazzaville's prison. Other 
unnamed prisoners were also allegedly tortured. No disciplinary action 
was taken against prison personnel. On December 23, three Congolese 
human rights NGOs announced their intention to file a lawsuit against 
the prison's warden, a prison driver, and a police captain for crimes 
including torture, assault, and murder. The three NGOs were: 
Association pour les Droits de l'Homme et l'Univers Caceral, Forum pour 
le Gouvernance et les Droits de Homme, and Obsevatoire Congolaise des 
Droits de l'Homme.
    Several additional cases of alleged torture were reported by local 
NGOs. Bradi Oboromalekou was arrested in June for selling cannabis and 
possessing a weapon. While incarcerated, he reportedly was handcuffed 
behind his back and was continually tortured for two weeks in the Jean 
Francois Ndengue Commissariat.
    In December 2009 Jomael Batantou was arrested and accused of theft 
after refusing to continue paying a local sergeant a daily ransom. 
According to local NGOs, he was handcuffed behind his back for two 
weeks and tortured in the Ouenze Mampassi Commissariat. His release 
from detention was secured after paying 50,000 CFA ($101) to the 
Commissariat in May.

    Prison and Detention Center Conditions.--Prison and detention 
center conditions were harsh and life-threatening. Most inmates slept 
on the floor on cardboard or thin mattresses in small overcrowded 
cells, exposing them to disease. The prisons lacked any significant 
ventilation, had poorly maintained lighting, had wiring protruding from 
the walls, and had regular occurrences of plumbing backing up into 
prisoners' cells. Basic and emergency medical care was limited, and 
meaningful access to social services personnel was severely limited due 
to understaffed personnel and the overcrowded prison population.
    Out of six prisons, two, one in Brazzaville and one in Pointe 
Noire, were fully operational during the past two years. Other 
facilities stopped operating at full capacity in 2008 due to physical 
deterioration of their premises. By year's end the prison population 
was approximately 1,000, the majority of whom were awaiting trial for 
assault and robbery. At year's end the Brazzaville prison, which was 
built in 1943 to hold up to 150 prisoners, held approximately 600, 
including 14 women and 11 minors. The Pointe Noire prison, built in 
1940, held 300 prisoners. In the Dolisie prison there were 40 to 50 
prisoners. The prisons in Mouyondzi and Sibiti held approximately 30 
prisoners each. There were approximately 30 more prisoners being held 
temporarily in the police station in Owando in anticipation of the 
completion of renovations to the local prison. All of the prisons were 
remnants of the country's colonial era.
    Inmates in Brazzaville's prison were supposed to receive two meals 
per day. Due to lack of funds, however, inmates in other prisons 
received one meal per day.
    Separate facilities were maintained for women and men. Juveniles 
were held in a separate wing in Brazzaville's prison, but security 
measures were insufficient to maintain their isolation from the general 
prison population. Pretrial detainees were held with convicted 
prisoners. Prisoners with infectious diseases were kept in one cell, 
but allowed to interact with other inmates. Most of the cells had a 
functioning television with cable.
    Access to prisoners was conditional on obtaining a communication 
permit from a judge. The permit allows visitors to spend 10-15 minutes 
with a prisoner. The visits took place in a small room that held one 
extended table at which approximately 10 detainees at a time might sit 
and converse with their visitors. A new permit is required for each 
subsequent visit with a prisoner. The families of many prisoners were 
located outside of the cities in which the prisons were located and 
visits were often infrequent because of the financial hardship involved 
in traveling to the prison.
    The Government continued to grant access to prisons and detention 
centers to domestic and international human rights groups. During the 
year local human rights groups and NGOs regularly visited prisons and 
detention centers.
    Prisoners and detainees were permitted religious observance. 
Religious-based charitable organizations visited prisons and detention 
centers for charitable actions and religious support. Prisoners and 
detainees are supposed to be allowed to submit complaints to judicial 
authorities, but in practice this right was not respected. There was no 
provision for an ombudsman, but defendants with sufficient personal 
wealth were able to hire private attorneys to serve on their behalf to 
consider alternatives to incarceration or to alleviate inhumane 
conditions.
    Prior to a trial the Government is obligated to provide legal 
assistance to detainees who lack the financial resources to hire a 
private attorney, but this was not done in practice. The Government 
neglected to pay its public defenders, and consequently there was a 
dearth of legal representation for detainees with limited means. The 
Government investigated and monitored prison conditions at the request 
of local NGOs following complaints from prisoners' and detainees' 
families. However, little was done to address the penal system's 
failure to ensure due process for its detainees.
    Three minors in the Brazzaville prison were detained for eight 
months without access to a lawyer and without their cases being heard 
by a judge. Another detainee was reportedly held for 24 months without 
being called before a judge.

    d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention.--The constitution and law 
prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention. However, members of the 
security forces unreasonably and arbitrarily detained persons for minor 
and often imaginary offenses, mostly traffic related, and required them 
to pay bribes on the spot as a condition for release.
    In 2009 a number of politically motivated arrests occurred in 
Brazzaville related to the July 2009 presidential elections (see 
section 1.e.).
    In December 2009 Bienvenu Woko was arrested and kept in prison for 
six months without access to a lawyer or to a member of his family 
despite the Penal Code's stipulation that detainees cannot be detained 
for more than 72 hours without being granted access to a lawyer or to a 
family member.
    The representative of a local NGO, the Association Nationale des 
Gardiens de la Paix, was unlawfully arrested on October 26 by the Chief 
of the Central Police Station Colonel Jacques Antoine Bouity, after 
questioning the prison situation and the application of the Penal Code 
within the various detention centers and prisons.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus.--The security forces 
include the police, a paramilitary unit known as the gendarmerie, and 
the military. The police and the gendarmerie are responsible for 
maintaining internal order, with police primarily in cities and the 
gendarmerie mainly in other areas. Military forces are responsible for 
territorial security, but some units also have domestic security 
responsibilities, such as the specialized Republican Guard battalion 
charged with the protection of the president, government buildings and 
diplomatic missions. The minister of defense oversees the military 
forces and the gendarmerie, and the minister of the interior and 
decentralization oversees the police.
    A police unit under the Ministry of Interior and Decentralization 
is responsible for patrolling frontiers. Another military unit, the 
military police, is under the minister of defense and composed of 
military and police officers responsible for investigating professional 
misconduct by members of any of the security forces. Overall, 
professionalism of the security forces continued to improve, in large 
part due to training by the international law enforcement community. 
The Government generally maintained effective control over the security 
forces; however, there were members of the security forces who acted 
independently of government authority, committed abuses, and engaged in 
malfeasance.
    Traffic police extorted bribes from drivers under threat of 
impoundment of their vehicles. Although the Human Rights Commission 
(HRC) was established for the public to report security force abuses, 
impunity for members of the security forces remained widespread.

    Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention.--The 
constitution and law require that warrants be issued by a duly 
authorized official before arrests are made, that a person be 
apprehended openly, that a lawyer be present during initial 
questioning, and that detainees be brought before a judge within three 
days and either charged or released within four months. However, the 
Government habitually violated these provisions. There is a system of 
bail, but, with 70 percent of the population earning an income below 
the poverty level, most detainees could not afford to post bail. 
Detainees generally were informed of charges against them at the time 
of arrest, but formal charges often took at least one week to be filed. 
Police at times held persons for six months or longer prior to the 
filing of charges due to administrative errors or delays in processing 
detainees. Most delays were attributed to lack of staff in the Ministry 
of Justice and court system. Family members usually were given prompt 
access to detainees, and indigent detainees were provided lawyers at 
government expense.
    Arbitrary arrest continued to be a problem. These were perpetrated 
most often against vehicle operators (mainly taxi drivers) by police, 
gendarmes, or soldiers. Immigration officials also routinely stopped 
persons and threatened them with arrest, claiming they lacked some 
required document, were committing espionage, or on some other pretext 
to extort funds. Most often these incidents resulted in the bribe being 
paid; if not, the person was detained at a police station (or the 
airport) until either a bribe was paid or pressure was placed on 
authorities to release the individual.
    In late 2009 a high-profile arrest of international employees of 
the petroleum company Chevron highlighted the danger of politically 
motivated arrests. Members of an auditing team were arrested and 
detained for several months without being formally charged. High level 
negotiations between Chevron and the Government eventually led to the 
release of the employees, but the problem of intimidation existed at 
all levels.
    Following the July 2009 elections, the arrests of opposition 
members Malgala Sabin, Douniama-Etou Jean Ferenzi, and Ernest Ngalou 
were widely perceived to be politically motivated. Their cases were not 
brought to court and all three individuals were released. However, the 
opposition believes that legal procedure was inappropriately 
implemented and these individuals could be arrested at a future date 
for the same crimes.
    General Ferdinand Mbaou, a loyalist of self-exiled former 
opposition leader Pascal Lissouba, was released from custody in January 
after being arrested in July 2009 upon his return to Brazzaville from 
exile in France.
    Lengthy pretrial detention due to judicial backlogs was a problem. 
Pretrial detainees continued to constitute the majority of the prison 
population. On average detainees waited six months or longer before 
going to trial.

    e. Denial of Fair Public Trial.--Although the constitution and law 
provide for an independent judiciary, the judiciary continued to be 
overburdened, underfunded, and subject to political influence and 
corruption.
    In rural areas traditional courts continued to handle many local 
disputes, particularly property and inheritance cases, and domestic 
conflicts that could not be resolved within the family.
    The Martial Court, a military tribunal system, established to try 
criminal cases involving military members, gendarmerie, or police, does 
not try civilians. The court was believed to be subject to influence 
and corruption. As part of an investigation into corrupt military 
payroll practices, the Martial Court continued to garnish the salaries 
of more than 500 current and former military personnel to recover 
misappropriated funds.

    Trial Procedures.--The constitution provides for the right to a 
fair trial presided over by an independent judiciary, and the 
Government generally respected judicial independence in practice. The 
legal caseload, however, far exceeded the capacity of the judiciary to 
ensure fair and timely trials, and most complaints never reached the 
court system. The Court of Justice has held 111 criminal trials since 
2008, when the court ceased to function at normal capacity due to 
funding and resource constraints. The court resumed its former caseload 
and processed 84 criminal cases during the year, including cases of 
misappropriation of public money, murder, rape, armed robbery, 
infanticide, indecent assault, and arson. In general when trials 
occurred prior to 2008, and in 2010 when the Court resumed its normal 
functional state, defendants were tried in a public court of law 
presided over by a state-appointed magistrate. Juries were used. 
Defendants had the right to be present at their trial and to consult 
with an attorney in a timely manner. An indigent defendant facing 
serious criminal charges was entitled to an attorney at public expense, 
although this did not always occur in practice. Defendants could 
confront or question accusers and witnesses against them and present 
witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. The defense had access to 
prosecution evidence. Defendants were presumed innocent and had the 
right of appeal. In principle the law extended the above rights to all 
citizens and the Government generally abided by these provisions.

    Political Prisoners and Detainees.--There were no reports of 
political prisoners or detainees. Political prisoners may be detained 
for up to two months, and this period may be extended to three months 
by a judge. In practice these laws were not always observed, and the 
few known political prisoners were sometimes detained for up to six 
months or longer.

    Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies.--In contrast to the 
criminal courts, the civil court system operates more effectively. 
Individuals can file a lawsuit in court on civil matters related to 
human rights, including seeking damages or cessation of a human rights 
violation; however, no such cases were known to exist. The public 
generally lacked confidence in the judicial system as a means to 
address human rights issues.

    f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence.--The constitution and law prohibit such actions and the 
Government generally respected these prohibitions.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a. Freedom of Speech and Press.--The constitution and law provide 
for freedom of speech and of the press, but also criminalize certain 
types of speech, such as incitement of ethnic hatred, violence, or 
civil war. The Government at times limited freedom of speech and press. 
These freedoms continued to decline during the year, according to 
international NGO Freedom House. Broadcast journalists and government 
print media journalists practiced self-censorship. The nongovernment 
print media experienced few constraints, as long as their reporting 
stayed only in print form and was not broadcast.
    Individuals could criticize the Government publicly or privately 
without reprisal on relatively minor issues. However, persons feared 
reprisal if they named high-level officials while criticizing 
government policies. The Government generally did not proactively 
attempt to impede criticism by, for example, monitoring political 
meetings, but sometimes punished critics after the fact. Two private 
newspapers, Le Choc and Le Trottoir, were both ordered to close in May 
for publishing ``illicit'' photographs of French President Nicolas 
Sarkozy and reporting without checking facts. Both newspapers were 
allowed to resume circulation after two and three month suspensions, 
respectively.
    There was one state-owned newspaper, La Nouvelle Republique, and 
several publications which were closely allied with the Government. 
There were 40 private weekly newspapers in Brazzaville that criticized 
the Government. Newspapers occasionally published open letters written 
by government opponents. The print media did not circulate widely 
beyond Brazzaville and Pointe Noire.
    Most citizens obtained their news from radio or television, and in 
rural areas primarily from government-controlled radio. There were 
three privately owned radio stations, all progovernment, three 
government-owned radio stations, and one government-owned television 
station. There were four privately owned television stations; two of 
the four stations were sometimes critical of the Government. Several 
satellite television services were available for the few who could 
afford to watch them.
    Government journalists were not independent and were expected to 
report positively on government activities. However, unlike the 
previous year, there was no evidence that there were adverse 
consequences when government journalists deviated from this guidance.
    A number of journalists based in Brazzaville represented 
international media. There were no confirmed reports of the Government 
revoking journalists' accreditations if their reporting reflected 
adversely on the Government's image; however, the Government did not 
repeal the policy that allowed for such revocation. This policy 
affected journalists employed by both international and government-
controlled media. Local private journalists were not affected.
    The press law provides for monetary penalties for defamation and 
incitement to violence.

    Internet Freedom.--There were no government restrictions on access 
to the Internet or reports that the Government monitored e-mail or 
Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups could engage in the 
peaceful expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. 
According to International Telecommunication Union statistics for 2008, 
approximately 4 percent of the country's inhabitants used the Internet. 
A greater proportion of the public, especially youth, was accessing the 
Internet more frequently. However, only the most affluent could afford 
to access the Internet in their own homes, and the rest of the 
population used cyber cafes. There were no known documented attempts by 
the Government to collect personally identifiable information via the 
Internet.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events.--There were no government 
restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

    b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.--Freedom of 
Assembly.--The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly, 
and the Government generally respected this right in practice.
    Groups that wished to hold public assemblies were required to seek 
authorization from the Ministry of Interior and Decentralization and 
appropriate local officials, who could withhold authorization for 
meetings that they claimed might threaten public order. Unlike the 
previous year, the Government respected this right in practice.

    Freedom of Association.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of association, and the Government generally respected the 
right of most groups to associate. Groups or associations--political, 
social, or economic--were generally required to register with the 
Ministry of Territorial Administration. Registration could sometimes be 
subject to political influence. There were no reports of discriminatory 
practices that targeted any particular group.

    c. Freedom of Religion.--For a description of religious freedom, 
please see the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report at 
www.state.gov/g/drl/irf/

    d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of 
Refugees, and Stateless Persons.--The constitution and law provide for 
freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and 
repatriation; however, in practice the Government at times imposed 
limitations.
    The Government cooperated with the Office of the UN High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations 
in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, 
refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and 
other persons of concern.
    Although the 2003 disarmament agreement effectively ended the 
organized rebellion in the Pool region, unidentified armed elements 
believed to be ex-Ninja rebels continued to harass and intimidate 
citizens. The country's major road and railway connecting the capital 
Brazzaville to the port of Point Noire traverse the Pool region. As 
such, banditry in the Pool necessarily limited freedom of movement of 
persons and goods through much of the country. However, unlike in the 
previous years, there were no reports of deaths attributed to banditry 
in the Pool region during the year, and reports of banditry declined.
    The Armed Forces and the National Police partnered with the newly 
created government entity named ``Delegation Generale Chargee de la 
Promotion des Valeurs de Paix et de la Reparation des Sequelles de 
Guerre'' and led by former rebel leader and current high commissioner 
Frederic Ntumi Bintsamou, to promote peace and repair war aftermath 
effects. The two operations, namely ``Kimia'' and ``Kidzounou,'' 
meaning peace in local languages and launched in September and October, 
were being reported as successful by various international 
organizations and NGOs. By year's end the situation in the Pool region 
had greatly improved. The National Police deployed several units to 
further secure the area, restore peace, and protect the population and 
their belongings.
    The Government imposed an international travel ban on several 
opposition leaders following a July 2009 protest to contest the 
announced results of the presidential election. Ange Eduard Poungui, 
vice president of the Panafrican Union for Social Democracy, opposition 
leader Matias Dzon, and Emmanuel Ngouelondele, president of the Party 
for Democratic Alliance, were not able to travel outside the country 
for more than one year. In July the minister of justice announced that 
the travel ban was no longer in effect. However, the opposition 
continued to claim that the travel ban was de facto in effect and that 
the Government would file charges against them on undisclosed grounds 
if they attempt to leave the country.
    The law prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not practice 
it.
    The Government did not generally prevent the return of citizens, 
including political opponents of the president. In May former first 
lady Jocelyne Lissouba returned to the country for the first time since 
she fled with her husband, former president Pascal Lissouba, in 1997. 
Jocelyn Lissouba enjoyed a warm reception from President Sassou-
Nguesso. Former president Lissouba received a pardon in December 2009, 
but remained in France for health reasons.

    Protection of Refugees.--The country's laws provide for the 
granting of asylum or refugee status, and the Government has 
established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice 
the Government provided protection against the expulsion or return of 
refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened 
on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a 
particular social group, or political opinion.
    The country, especially in areas that border the Democratic 
Republic of Congo (DRC), received numerous waves of displaced persons 
in recent years. Between October 2009 and May 2010, nearly 124,000 
refugees fled ethnic violence and rebellion in Equateur Province of the 
DRC to seek shelter in the country's Likouala region.
    In June the Government signed a tripartite agreement with the 
Government of the DRC and UNHCR that outlined the conditions and means 
for an eventual voluntary repatriation. The tripartite agreement 
parties met again in November and agreed on a repatriation roadmap that 
would begin to repatriate the first group of refugees in April 2011.
    Applications for refugee status are handled by the National Refugee 
Assistance Center (CNAR). The CNAR received 80-90 percent of its 
operating budget from UNHCR. In 2007 and 2008 the CNAR and UNHCR 
processed a backlog of around 4,800 asylum seekers that covered the 
period beginning in 2003. In 2008 there were 993 asylum applications, 
in 2009 there were 397 applications, and an additional 128 asylum 
applications were received during the year. At year's end 5,754 
individuals were seeking asylum. According to UNHCR, as of December, 
the country hosted 137,789 refugees and asylum seekers. Refugees and 
asylum seekers came from the DRC (128,334); Rwanda (7,586); Angola 
(863); and others (1,006).
    Employment opportunities and rights for refugees are not enumerated 
in law. Anecdotal evidence suggests that quotas and excessive work 
permit fees limit refugee employment opportunities. A healthcare 
organization stated that the law requires it to hire the country's 
nationals for at least 90 percent of its positions. The same 
organization stated that two-year work permits that cost around 150,000 
CFA ($303), roughly equivalent to three months salary, are required.
    Gender-based violence was frequent in refugee camps, although a 
vast majority of the cases went unreported. UNHCR protection officers 
and medical personnel provided medical, psychosocial, and legal 
assistance to victims of gender-based violence, including rape. 
Refugees had equal access to community health centers and hospitals and 
legal recourse.
    Access to secondary education for refugees was severely limited, 
resulting in many children not attending school. Primary school was 
funded by UNHCR and made accessible to all refugees during the past 
year.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to 
        Change Their Government
    The constitution and law provide citizens with the right to change 
their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right during 
the July 2009 presidential election.

    Elections and Political Participation.--Denis Sassou Nguesso was 
reelected president in the July 2009 election with 78 percent of the 
vote. Officially, 66 percent of eligible voters participated in the 
election, although the opposition estimated the turnout to be much 
lower. While the election was peaceful, opposition candidates and NGOs 
criticized the election for irregularities, such as discrepancies 
between the officially reported rates of voter participation and those 
observed by independent election observers. The African Union declared 
the elections to have been free and fair. Prior to the election the EU 
representative questioned the method of updating the voter registry.
    On October 16, a well known opposition group held a meeting to 
denounce the voter registration process. According to the group's 
leader, the voter registration list then being drafted was severely 
blemished by ``monstrous manipulat