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Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Programs Including HRDF
Highlights
Western Hemisphere
Country Programs
  

Western Hemisphere Programs

Bolivia

El Salvador

Venezuela

Cuba

Guatemala

 

Ecuador

Haiti

 

Bolivia
DRL programs in Bolivia focus on strengthening civil society, government transparency and increasing civic participation.

One DRL partner organization works in rural communities in Bolivia to provide indigenous Quechua and Chiquitano citizens with legal documentation to enable them to participate in elections and to exercise their civic rights. The program provides legal resources to indigenous populations in their own languages; raises awareness of electoral processes and civic rights through a public outreach campaign; strengthens the fiscal management capacities of rural leaders and Security Committees through training sessions for government officials; and facilitates dialogue between diverse local actors with respect to citizen involvement, municipal management, and transparency.

Another DRL implementer works in four governmental departments to increase social accountability, with a special emphasis on the participation of disadvantaged groups, such as indigenous, women and youth. The organization works with elected officials, public servants, civil society organizations, and citizens to adapt participatory methodologies that reflect the cultural and socio-political realities in each department. Civil society organizations receive training on issues such as citizens' rights and responsibilities, the attributions and processes of departmental governments, deliberation methodology, and participatory planning and priority setting, while prefectura employees are trained in facilitating citizen participation and mechanisms to address different perspectives. A series of deliberation forums are held in each department in which citizens and government officials debate issues of importance. Finally, through this deliberative process, civil society and government officials develop mutually agreed upon priority issues, and some civil society organizations receive small grants to enable the implementation of a program through this participatory planning process.

Cuba
DRL has a robust Cuba program that focuses on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Ecuador
DRL supports a political stability program in Ecuador.

DRL's partner organization seeks to promote political stability in the wake of the October 2006 Presidential and Congressional elections and April 2007 Constituent Assembly referendum in Ecuador. The implementer will work with political parties and movements on a multiparty basis via comparative policy forums on constitutional reforms. The organization will also provide participating parties with technical assistance to develop strategic agendas for the constitutional reform process. The program will then support parties in the implementation of the agenda work plans and provide training on how to consider alliances, to consult with civil society, and to communicate their legislative agendas to constituents, the media, and civil society.

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El Salvador
DRL supports a forensic assistance initiative in El Salvador.

DRL's partner implementer seeks to reunite families with their children who forcibly disappeared during El Salvador's armed conflict. This program works with an indigenous organization and employs DNA technology to identify young adults abducted as children by the Salvadoran military or placed for adoption. The program enables the expansion of the existing database of family reference samples, disseminates information about the program and database to garner samples from abducted or adopted children, matches the acquired youth samples with family samples housed in the database, and facilitates family reunification. A Salvadoran scientist will be trained on the collection of DNA samples and accurate maintenance of the database and psychological support will assist families involved in reunification processes.

Guatemala
DRL's program in Guatemala focuses on human rights support and outreach.

The program implementer works to enhance the capacity of human rights organizations in Guatemala to construct and coordinate partnerships with the government to investigate, document, and prosecute human rights violations that occurred during Guatemala's 36-year internal armed conflict. Activities also strengthen the country's national reconciliation process through advocacy and public outreach. The program provides support to operationalize the National Commission for the Search of the Disappeared (NCSD) by supporting the recently developed working group, which links human rights organizations and judicial authorities in order to facilitate dialogue on human rights violations. The implementer provides technical assistance to improve the capacity of the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office, in part through the creation of a consolidated database of victims of disappearances. A public outreach campaign is used to sensitize citizens to these human rights issues, to make legal cases against human rights violations more widely known, and to gather witnesses to pursue cases of human rights violations. By creating effective civil society/government partnerships for investigation, documentation, and prosecution of human rights abuses, the program seeks to foster greater access to the justice system for Guatemalan citizens.

Haiti
DRL's Haiti program seeks to strengthen governance at the local level.

DRL's partner organization works in 11 municipalities of Haiti to increase civic participation and strengthen the capacity of local governments. Using consultations, training workshops, seminars, and short-term technical assistance sessions, the program works with the council and staff of local municipalities, elected officials, civil society groups, and other relevant stakeholders, including women and vulnerable groups, to provide the tools necessary to reach a more transparent and participatory model of local governance. The program also uses sub-grant awards to foster public-private and local government/civil society partnerships for the provision of selected goods and services in five municipalities. 

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Venezuela
The DRL-supported program in Venezuela seeks to strengthen independent labor unions and increase public awareness of fundamental labor rights.

The program implementer works in seven sectors of the Venezuelan economy to strengthen collective bargaining. Through training sessions, the provision of technical advice, and linking organized workers by sector to national and international bodies working for labor rights, the program seeks to improve workers rights in Venezuela by strengthening the capacity of independent labor unions to defend worker rights and represent worker interests. Outreach to workers not currently unionized will increase membership in unions and collaboration with civil society organizations to spread the word about workers rights will also be undertaken. This program seeks to increase the membership of unions, provide unions with the technical skills and support needed to operate in an increasingly difficult environment, and accomplish the successful defense of collective bargaining agreements that have been targeted for elimination by public or private employers. The program also works to build awareness of and support for worker rights among the general public. 

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