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Human Rights Concerns
Since 2003, paramilitary groups, responsible for the vast majority of human rights violations in Colombia for over a decade, have been involved in a government-sponsored "demobilization" process. More than 25,000 paramilitaries have supposedly demobilized under a process which has been criticized by AI and other Colombian and international human rights groups, as well as by the OHCHR and the IACHR. The process is lacking in effective mechanisms for justice and in its inability to ensure that paramilitary members actually cease violent activities.
Colombia is one of our strongest allies in the Western Hemisphere. They are led by a very strong and courageous leader, President Uribe. He's taken courageous stands to defend our shared democratic values. He has been a strong and capable partner in fighting drugs and crime and terror.
Like all human rights abuses in Burundi, rape has become an entrenched feature of the crisis because the perpetrators have largely not been brought to justice. The scale of rape indicates a deliberate strategy by belligerents to use rape and other forms of sexual violence against women as a weapon of war. Rape has, however, also been exacerbated by widespread discrimination against women and its consequences have been aggravated by poverty, internal displacement and a failing health system.
Former Turkmenbashi Saparmurat Niyazov banned playing of video games, listening to car radios, performing opera and ballet, smoking in public, long hair on men, and even growing facial hair.
Since the death in December 2005 of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov, Western energy firms have longingly eyed Turkmenistan's vast natural gas reserves, which even during the Soviet era were estimated at 10 trillion to 14 trillion cubic meters, exceeded only by those of the Russian Federation. Among the potential suitors for Ashgabat's favor, no firms were more ardent than U.S. companies. Alas, once again for Washington, the groom has been left at the altar.
Kuwait is a dictatorship where all political power is practically in the hands of the Emir. A National Assembly has limited powers, and can be suspended by the Emir. There are no political parties and neither women nor people of non-Kuwait ancestry have the right to vote.
There are scores of political prisoners in Kuwait, and prison conditions are often inhumane.
On December 10, 2007, Kuwait’s National Assembly approved an amendment to Article 198 of the Criminal Code. It states that “any person committing an indecent act in a public place, or imitating the appearance of a member of the opposite sex, shall be subject to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding one thousand dinars [US$3,500].” Police began arresting people almost immediately, jailing at least 14 people in the first month.