Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2003-2004
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

[PDF option: 301KB Get Adobe Acrobat Reader]

This second annual edition of Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record presents a picture of how we are fully engaged worldwide with people and institutions dedicated to building freer societies. Wherever there is oppression, we find people determined not to let it stand. Sharing their commitment, we respond to human rights violations by offering encouragement to all, seeking out those who can use our support and creating opportunities to help those who ask for our assistance.

This is not an easy task, particularly in countries that have truly earned inclusion in this report because of the severity of abuses perpetrated by their governments. Even in those challenging environments, we do all we can to penetrate the darkness and silence that governments impose in order to preserve their hold over their people. Constantly monitoring the situation, using our own resources and drawing on the work of others, we act on signs of change in these countries and seek new avenues and new opportunities to engage.

The annual Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award for exceptional achievement in the field of human rights and democracy recognizes work by officers of foreign affairs agencies abroad. It is intended to pay tribute to outstanding research and reporting on human rights and democratic developments and, above all, the advancement of strategies and institutions that will deepen respect for human rights and democracy.

In 2003, I was pleased to announce the selection of Mr. Philip Kaplan of Embassy Ankara and Mr. Ted Burkhalter, formerly of Embassy Tashkent, as co-winners of the year's award for exceptional achievement in the field of human rights and democracy. Messrs. Kaplan and Burkhalter were selected from an impressive group of 15 candidates nominated by their ambassadors in a year in which issues of democracy and human rights moved even further to the forefront of the foreign policy process.

Philip Kaplan was cited for his outstanding analytic skills and policy sense and for his effective and creative efforts to spur democratization in Turkey. Mr. Kaplan's role in lobbying for a verdict in the Manisa torture case not only resulted in a rare occurrence of incarceration for convicted officers, but also influenced legal reform for the statute of limitations on torture. His push for anti-trafficking in persons measures aided in Turkey's movement from Tier III to Tier II placement, and his insightful analysis of issues with Turkey's Kurdish population resulted in pressure on the Government of Turkey to avoid repeating past human rights abuses. Mr. Kaplan was also singled out for his consummate professionalism in raising human rights issues as well as for his reporting on political reforms, which enabled the U.S. Government to focus support on Turkey's EU candidacy.

In one of the most challenging human rights environments, Ted Burkhalter demonstrated innovation, persistence and reporting of the highest quality. He was cited for excellent work that is believed to have saved lives and brought real movement toward democracy in Uzbekistan. Mr. Burkhalter established weekly human rights roundtables, which then led to weekly opposition roundtables. The roundtables resulted in a more coordinated human rights community and an activated opposition. He worked for the protection of persecuted evangelical Christians, the registration of human rights groups, and proper treatment for detainees, even those of extremist Islamic organizations. Mr. Burkhalter ensured that every congressional delegation to Uzbekistan raised human rights issues with the Government of Uzbekistan.

Choosing winners of the 2003 award was made a greater challenge because of the number of superior candidates nominated, all of whom deserve praise and gratitude:

Louis Crishock of Embassy Belgrade created and maintained an extensive list of contacts from Serbia's ethnic communities and coaxed them away from boycotting the elections. He was also instrumental in the process of Serbia accounting for its past.

James Garry of Embassy Lusaka was cited for his timely, policy-oriented reporting and his dedicated efforts to assist the anti-corruption movement in Zambia. He directed a long-term approach to programming that focused on strengthening the Zambian legislature.

Mary Glantz of Embassy Baku made significant contributions to democracy through her work with the Azerbaijan elections, including organizing hundreds of international observers and attempting to ensure the election met international standards. Ms. Glantz was cited for her attention to detail, drive, patience and insightful analysis.

John Godfrey of Embassy Ashgabat demonstrated insight, determination and courage in the face of backsliding in Turkmenistan. In the area of policy development, Mr. Godfrey's valuable actions and analysis were key to demanding an end to the politically motivated exit visa regime and harassment of religious minorities.

Peter Harding of Embassy La Paz was recognized for his much-needed efforts to work with indigenous communities in Bolivia. His reporting during the recent crisis was praised as balanced, credible and authoritative.

John Haynes of Embassy Rangoon was cited for his passion, energy, perseverance and excellent sense of timing and discretion. He created a large network of contacts, worked for TIP reforms, and played an important role in prisoner releases and improvements in prison conditions.

Elizabeth Horst of Consulate Lahore engaged the embassy in a wide range of human rights issues, including creating a program to provide legal materials to impoverished districts. She worked for religious freedom, encouraged women's projects and urged the Government of Pakistan to hold free and fair elections.

Ian McCary of Embassy Cairo was cited for his excellent analytical, linguistic and communications skills and his work on the case of Saad Eddin Ibrahim. He contributed substantial energy and initiative to the NGO sector and to the promotion of religious freedom.

Ian Sheridan of Embassy Panama demonstrated intellectual honesty in reporting that was praised as clear and outstanding. He organized one workshop for indigenous leaders and another for TIP issues, and he contributed comprehensive reporting on labor, child labor and economic development issues.

Lynne Tracy of Embassy Kabul was cited for her exceptional and perceptive reporting and for her insight into critical events. She ensured that human rights were addressed by the military, and she worked quickly to keep Washington informed of developments with the new Afghan constitution.

Ian Turner of Embassy Minsk worked to encourage religious and media freedom in Belarus. He was cited for his excellent reporting and his efforts to expand the embassy network to include members of minority and endangered groups.

Scott Woodard of Embassy Manama demonstrated superior interpersonal skills and excellent reporting abilities. He played a key role in creating reforms that moved Bahrain from a Tier III to a Tier II category for trafficking in persons, and he also was instrumental in efforts supporting judicial reform.

Ricardo Zuniga of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana was cited for his

comprehensive reporting and on-the-money strategic analysis. His work with human rights groups and activists in Cuba was substantial.

Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record is produced by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, but just as we have many partners in the work of strengthening human rights and democracy, we have benefited from the contributions of many others to this report. Other bureaus of the State Department and U.S. embassies abroad, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other U.S. government agencies come together to advance democracy and human rights in many ways. We hope that this volume captures the totality of what we do as a team to identify and respond to the world's most pressing human rights and democracy needs.

Lorne W. Craner,
Assistant Secretary of State
for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor