Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Report

Introduction

The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Zambia to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Zambia's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at www.state.gov.

Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives

The highest U.S. priorities for advancing democracy and good governance in the country are ensuring that elections are free and fair and supporting continued progress in the government's campaign against corruption. The United States coordinates its efforts with bilateral and multilateral partners as well as civil society organizations. During meetings with local officials, U.S. diplomats stress the importance of holding transparent, credible elections and taking concrete steps to fight corruption. Additional priorities for improving respect for democracy and human rights include the promotion of freedom of expression, civic participation, government transparency, and rule of law, as well as eliminating human trafficking, gender-based violence, and the worst forms of child labor.

Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance

U.S. programs and diplomatic efforts focus on helping the government increase voter registration and participation, conduct free and fair elections, and appropriately engage civil society, political actors, and the media to support informed dialogue essential to a sustainable democracy. These efforts are intended to help increase the government's capacity to govern transparently, fight institutional corruption, improve service delivery, and protect its citizens.

The U.S. Government provides technical assistance to the government to help it improve voter registration capacity. The United States also encourages the government to continue measurable efforts against corruption, such as implementing a national anticorruption plan; adopting new anticorruption legislation; strengthening institutional capacity; establishing an internationally compliant anti-money laundering framework; expanding freedom of expression and access to information; and improving efficiency, transparency, and accountability. The United States is working with the government to ensure that proposals for related future international cooperation efforts incorporate input from civil society.

The United States leveraged public affairs and public diplomacy to introduce and support transparent electoral and political processes, an independent judiciary, an independent and professional media, and a vibrant civil society. The U.S. Government employed cultural and educational exchanges, speaker programs, sports diplomacy, and media training to cultivate respect for freedom and democratic values. Leadership and study exchange programs addressed governance issues related to freedoms of speech and expression, media regulation, human rights, and political accountability. These programs encouraged open debate of ideas via many channels, from interpersonal outreach and electronic broadcasts to mobile phone technology.

A U.S.-sponsored initiative offered support to survivors of gender-based violence, including through coordinated response centers that provide medical, legal, psycho-social counseling, referrals to safe houses, and other assistance. Through this initiative, which ends in 2010, the U.S. Government provided training to police and public prosecutors on the prosecution of gender-based violence cases and support for a local legal institute focused on these issues. In addition, the U.S. Government supported the development of guidelines for support to victims of gender-based violence, and provided training to health officers, social workers and counselors. U.S. assistance funded information campaigns on gender-based violence by several local NGOs and sponsored a group of judges and prosecutors to study the U.S. legal system with a focus on gender-based violence. The United States also sponsored trainings for security forces with a strong component on respecting human rights.

The United States continues to fund activities aimed at building the government's capacity to design, implement, and monitor initiatives to address the worst forms of child labor. In addition, U.S. assistance programs continue to raise awareness of trafficking in persons, highlighting the issue at all levels of government. For example, the United States provided funds to train police and other security personnel in trafficking detection and to assist the government in implementing the country’s antitrafficking law.

[This is a mobile copy of Zambia]