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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > More Publications > History of the Department of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993-2001)
History of the Department of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993-2001)   
Released by the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs

07. Global Issues I


When future historians consider the legacy of the Clinton-Gore administration, they would do well to focus on a recognition by President Clinton, Vice President Gore and Secretary of State Warren Christopher that the character and complexion of world affairs were evolving dramatically and unpredictably. No longer dominated by a struggle for supremacy against a corrupt and threatening ideology, American diplomacy in the 1990s consisted more and more of issues that were disparate, yet had a common characteristic: they were global, i.e., they were not confined to particular countries or regions.

Climate change was one such issue. Not prevalent as a foreign policy matter in the 1970s and 1980s, climate change emerged in the 1990s as an insidious global problem that no one country could do much about on its own.

International organized crime was another. Here was a problem that exploded in magnitude after the collapse of Soviet communism in the late 1980s. The spread of transnational crime was so rapid, the wealth and ingenuity of its practitioners so massive that governments acting alone could do little to control it.

In response to these new and chilling realities, the Clinton administration created an Office of Global Affairs within the Department of State. It would be managed by an Under Secretary of State and would be responsible for foreign policy issues that transcended specific countries and regions.

The first Under Secretary for Global Affairs was former U.S. Senator Timothy E. Wirth of Colorado, who served from 1993 to 1997. Succeeding him was Frank E. Loy, who served from November 1997 until the Clinton administration ended in January 2001.

The administration placed several bureaus with responsibility for global issues under the management of the Office of Global Affairs. They were: the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the Bureau of International Narcotics and Crime; the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights; and the President's Interagency Council on Women.

In addition to the nascent issues of the post-Cold War era, the Office of Global Affairs shed new light on some old issues that lay dormant under previous administrations. These included human rights issues, which had been a particular focus of the Carter Administration, and the rights and welfare of women around the world. They included as well the promotion of democracy in countries that chosen to throw off the yoke of communist or authoritarian rule. In that regard, the office employed a Senior Coordinator for the Rule of Law, whose function was to help new and emerging democracies set up law enforcement and judicial systems that would function efficiently, honestly and openly-crucial components of healthy democracies.

The Office of Global Affairs also made a concerted effort to improve the State Department's use, understanding, and appreciation of science and technology and of their growing relevance to foreign policy in an increasingly inter-connected world.

With globalization having emerged as the dominant feature of 21st Century world affairs, global issues will continue moving toward the center of U.S. foreign policy in the years and decades to come.

Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor


The end of the Cold War made clear that emerging human rights issues, such as religious freedom, war crimes, women's rights, and children's rights, required a structural response-promoting democracy. Accordingly in 1994, the State Department reorganized its Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (HA) as the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL). DRL then reorganized itself, supplementing its Offices of Bilateral Affairs, Multilateral Affairs, and Country Reports/Asylum Affairs with new Offices of Democracy Promotion, International Labor, International Religious Freedom, and Strategic Planning/External Affairs. DRL refocused its strategic planning to emphasize four core values: democracy, human rights, worker rights, and religious freedom.

Moreover, responding to a new era of globalization of commerce, communications, and conflict, the Clinton administration proceeded to mobilize American human and material resources to advance a coherent agenda dedicated to the globalization of the universal values of human freedom and self-governance. Under the leadership of Secretaries Christopher and Albright, the promotion of democracy and human rights (including worker rights, women's and children's rights, and international religious freedom) became central tenets of U.S. foreign policy. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under the leadership of Assistant Secretaries John Shattuck (1993-1998) and Harold Hongju Koh (1998-2001) spearheaded the administration's efforts in these areas.

Promoting Democracy

The Clinton administration took office in 1993 against the backdrop of an unprecedented increase in the number of the world's democracies during the previous two decades-from 30 in 1974 to about 110 in 1993. From the beginning, the administration based its approach on the dual belief that the world's freedom, security and prosperity would greatly depend on whether the global democratic movement succeeded or failed, and that the movement's success or failure would hinge on America's ability to lead.

In a September 1993 speech at Johns Hopkins University, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake stated that "the successor to a doctrine of containment must be a strategy of enlargement-enlargement of the world's free community of market democracies." Lake explained that the promotion of democracy and market economics "protects our interests and security and . . . reflects values that are both American and universal." He laid out four components of the administration's strategy: (1) the strengthening of relations among advanced democracies; (2) the fostering and consolidation of new democracies; (3) the countering of aggression-and the support of liberalization-in states hostile to democracy; and (4) the establishment of democracy in post-conflict states.

The administration pursued these strategic goals by concentrating the U.S. Government's (USG) scarce diplomatic and programmatic resources on priority countries deemed vital to the continued success of the global democratic movement. For each of these countries, it reviewed the USG's democracy-promotion strategies, and assessed whether each Mission's proposed actions were appropriate to the democratic challenges faced. It increased the USG's annual programmatic budget for democracy promotion from about $300 million in FY 1993 to over $700 million in FY 2000, and integrated these democracy programs with USAID's other efforts to foster sustainable development. It determined whether priority countries were receiving adequate funds to implement the proposed programs, whether programs and diplomacy were working in unison, and whether U.S. efforts were being coordinated with those of other governments and international organizations. And it established special funds (such as DRL's Human Rights and Democracy Fund) and staffs (such as USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives) to address the particular challenges posed by post-conflict situations.

The administration also pursued its goals by advancing global democratic norms. Although the international community since the end of World War II had elaborated a growing list of recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, there had never been an internationally approved text recognizing a right to democratic governance. Therefore the U.S. delegation at the 1999 session of the UN Commission on Human Rights submitted such a resolution for consideration. After careful negotiations aimed at drawing support from countries of all regions, the Commission adopted the resolution entitled "Promoting the Right to Democracy." At its 2000 session, the Commission then passed a Romania-sponsored resolution entitled "Promoting and Consolidating Democracy." Later that year, this same resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly.

Finally, the administration advanced its democracy strategy by working with the governments of six other nations to establish a Community of Democracies. Together with the governments of Poland, the Czech Republic, India, the Republic of Korea, Mali and Chile, the U.S. Government convened for the first time a ministerial meeting of governments committed to the democratic path. In all 107 nations participated. The governments adopted the Warsaw Declaration, which committed states to abide by a core set of democratic principles. The conference also set a concrete agenda of cooperation in four areas: how international organizations could better promote democracy; how the democratic community could better respond to threats to democracy in particular countries; how new and old democracies could better share experiences of building democratic institutions and culture; and how donor and recipient nations could better coordinate democracy assistance. Finally, the convening nations pledged to organize such conferences every two years beginning in Seoul in 2002.

Promoting Human Rights

To promote and secure human rights, the Clinton administration pursued six core principles. First, it emphasized accuracy in its monitoring, reporting, and advocacy. Beginning in 1993, the Administration expanded the scope and depth of the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices to pay greater attention to societal as well as official abuses, and to include expanded coverage of abuses against women, children, indigenous and the disabled; violations of worker rights and religious freedom; and trafficking in persons. At the same time, the quality of the reports improved so significantly that past critics conceded that they were unequaled in accuracy, thoroughness, and objectivity. The administration also sharply expanded its series of country conditions profiles and other information made available to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Second, the Clinton administration promoted accountability and reconciliation to redress past abuses. It strongly supported the Yugoslav and Rwanda war crimes tribunals as well as efforts to establish tribunals for Cambodia, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. It funded Bosnian and Kosovar human rights mechanisms and supported the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. It also worked hard to push for the creation of an International Criminal Court that the United States could support.

Third, the administration challenged ongoing abuses by principled, purposeful engagement with allies and adversaries alike. Assistant Secretaries Shattuck and Koh visited every continent to demonstrate the administration's commitment to human rights and democracy throughout the world. The administration also integrated human rights into bilateral relationships, institutionalizing dialogues on human rights with Russia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Vietnam, China, and the European Union (EU), among others.

A good example of the administration's efforts to integrate human rights into bilateral relations was its implementation of what was known as the Leahy Amendment. In 1998, the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act began to include language (drafted by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT) that funds appropriated under the act should not be made available to any unit of the security forces of another country if the Secretary of State had credible evidence that such units had committed gross violations of human rights. Although the law did not require an investigation to develop such information as might exist, it did require a review to determine whether the Department of State had evidence of abuse by units for which assistance was contemplated. In response, the Department identified procedures to implement the provision. In the relatively short period of time between enactment of the law and the end of the administration, a number of requests for aid were denied on the basis of human rights concerns.

Fifth, the administration sought to strengthen transnational partnerships that helped promote human rights. A global network of government officials, activists, thinkers, and practitioners worked together to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. For example, the U.S. and U.K. Governments began a corporate responsibility initiative that targeted the energy sector by bringing together companies and NGOs to promote best practices, good governance and greater respect for human rights principles. Another major initiative on "conflict diamonds"-using the diamond trade to finance insurrection-helped establish a global certification and monitoring system to break the link between civil conflict and diamond exports without damaging or inhibiting the legitimate trade that made up the vast majority of diamond sales. The administration viewed such efforts not as pilot projects but as paradigms of human rights advocacy in the 21st century.

Sixth, the administration sought to promote human rights at home. The Department significantly expanded its outreach on human rights to Congress, the media, NGOs, and corporations through briefings, public diplomacy, and the Web. Working with the White House, the Department managed the annual commemoration of Human Rights Day (December 10), including presentation by the President of the newly-created Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Americans who had made outstanding contributions to the cause of human rights.

The Department also worked with other agencies to ensure that the United States adhered to the same standards it demanded of others. For the first time ever, the United States was in full compliance with its human rights treaty reporting obligations. In addition, the administration established an Interagency Working Group on Implementation of Human Rights Treaties to ensure implementation of international human rights norms into U.S. domestic law. The Department worked with state attorneys general and local prosecutors' offices to increase their understanding of U.S. human rights treaty obligations, and provided greater training on human rights to new and experienced Foreign Service Officers.

Worker Rights

During the Cold War, free trade unions were important allies in U.S. diplomatic efforts to weaken totalitarian regimes and worked to strengthen the influence that workers had on political, economic and social policies. With the collapse of Soviet totalitarianism, however, such labor diplomacy was thought by some to be less important.

With the Clinton administration, however, labor was once again seen as an important ally for U.S. diplomacy, recognized as an ally in the fight for democracy in country after country. Trade unions also were appreciated for their potential to heal societal divisions and speak on behalf of workers whose lives were disrupted by transformations wrought by globalization. The Clinton administration's commitment to workers rights reflected its determination to pursue the development of strong civil societies, the promotion of trade through a stable and functioning labor force, and the success of structural economic reforms.

In an effort to revitalize the labor diplomacy function, Secretary Christopher and Secretary of Labor Robert Reich signed a joint statement in 1994 designed to increase the attention paid to international labor in mission planning, encourage missions to develop action plans to improve worker rights conditions, and strengthen the role played by labor officers. As a result, the number of labor-designated positions overseas grew from 33 to 49 during 1995-2000. In the latter year, the administration secured Congressional support to re-establish labor advisor positions in the regional bureaus. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Departments of State and Labor helped strengthen international labor advocacy by providing for a regular exchange of officers between the two bureaus.

When the administration folded the labor function into a newly restructured Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), the tradition of directly reporting to the Secretary on labor issues was temporarily diminished. This was redressed with the creation in 1999 of the position of Special Representative for International Labor Affairs to advise the Secretary on labor diplomacy. In 1999, Secretary Albright also established an Advisory Committee on Labor Diplomacy. In 2000 the Committee issued its first report, A World of Decent Work, making 29 recommendations on reinvigorating U.S. international labor diplomacy. At the end of the administration, the Committee was reviewing the interagency process as it related to labor diplomacy with a report and recommendations expected in the first half of 2001.

The administration also demonstrated increased leadership in the past few years in supporting international worker rights declarations. The United States was a principal supporter of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights At Work (adopted in June 1998 by the International Labor Conference), which identified key worker rights (including the right of association and collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor, the effective abolition of child labor, and the elimination of discrimination in employment) and commits all International Labor Organization (ILO) members to respect them, regardless of whether a country had ratified the conventions that define them.

Another major accomplishment was the incorporation of worker rights provisions into U.S. trade initiatives. Worker rights concerns in countries receiving Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)-a system of concessional trade preferences for developing countries-continued to prompt petitions from private organizations urging suspension of these benefits on worker rights grounds. In a few instances the United States suspended GSP benefits pending correction of outstanding abuses. In many other instances the Unites States worked with GSP beneficiary countries to correct abuses. Under the Trade and Development Act of 2000 (TDA), a new GSP condition, the Secretary of Labor had to determine GSP eligibility based on recipient countries' adherence to the provisions of ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor. New legislation also helped speed the incorporation of worker rights concerns into trade. The TDA established three special programs-including the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the Caribbean Trade Partnership Act-that set a range of country eligibility criteria, including protection of human and worker rights.

Child labor was a core concern for the Clinton administration. The United States, with unprecedented speed and reflecting broad bipartisan support, ratified ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor. The U.S. delegation to the June 1999 International Labor Conference, which was led by President Clinton, strongly supported this ILO Convention. The administration also signed an Executive Order in 1999 that prohibited U.S. Government procurement of goods suspected of being made by forced or indentured child labor. To assist with the implementation of Convention 182, the administration increased its support of the ILO's International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor by more than tenfold, becoming the largest single donor to that fund. In 2000, a new $4 million Anti-Sweatshop Initiative began to award grants to groups undertaking voluntary private sector activities to reduce sweatshop practices in overseas factories producing for the U.S. market.

International Religious Freedom

In 1996 Secretary of State Warren Christopher announced the creation of an Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. This reflected a growing interest in issues of international religious freedom in many sectors of U.S. Government and society. The committee, consisting of 20 American religious leaders and scholars, produced an interim report in 1998 and a final draft in 1999 that recommended a foreign policy agenda geared more fully toward the promotion of religious freedom worldwide.

Meanwhile, Congress was grappling with the same issues of religious discrimination and persecution abroad. Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania introduced in May 1997 the first version of what would ultimately become the International Religious Freedom Act. Over the course of the next year and a half, faith-based NGOs, the human rights community, the Department of State, and numerous foreign governments all weighed in and expressed their concerns about how the United States should attempt to promote religious liberty abroad. After extensive debate, the House and the Senate passed the International Religious Freedom Act unanimously in October 1998, and the President immediately signed it into law.

The International Religious Freedom Act established within the Department of State an Office of International Religious Freedom, headed by the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. The Ambassador acted as the principal adviser to the President and Secretary of State in matters concerning religious freedom abroad. In May 1999 Robert A. Seiple was sworn in as the first Ambassador-at-Large. He immediately began promoting worldwide religious freedom as a core tenet of U.S. human rights policy. Ambassador Seiple and his staff visited 26 countries during his tenure, emphasizing international norms of religious liberty such as those in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Office of International Religious Freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommends policies and develops programs to promote religious freedom. It recommended to the Secretary of State that particularly severe violators of religious liberty be designated as "Countries of Particular Concern." These nations were subject to further actions, including economic sanctions, by the United States. The Office also met frequently with foreign government officials and faith-based and human rights groups both domestically and abroad.

Beginning in 1999, the administration produced the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, covering 194 countries and noting governmental policies toward religious freedom and U.S. policy with respect to each country. Various religious and human rights NGOs widely hailed the report was widely hailed by as an important first step in the fight against religious discrimination worldwide.

The administration also sought to reach out to all faith communities. It was particularly successful in expanding dialogue with the Muslim-American community. Through academic and policy conferences and media events, the administration discussed a range of issues with Muslim leaders from throughout the United States.

Combating Trafficking

The Clinton administration was the first administration seriously to tackle the trafficking of persons issue, one of the most comprehensive challenges to human rights at the beginning of the 21st century. In his 1998 Presidential Directive on Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Women and Girls, the first presidential directive ever issued on the subject, President Clinton declared trafficking in women and girls a "fundamental human rights violation." During the Clinton years, at least 700,000 women, children, and men were trafficked around the world each year into sweatshop labor, prostitution, domestic servitude, and other forms of modern-day slavery. Trafficking was growing and had become one of the leading sources of revenue for international criminal organizations. The Clinton administration, particularly Secretary of State Albright, took significant steps to combat this trade in human beings and developed a comprehensive strategy of prevention, prosecution of traffickers, and protection for victims.

In April 1998, at the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the United States was the first country to propose a Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, as a supplement to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In November 2000, following negotiations with more than 100 other countries, the UN Millennium Assembly adopted the Protocol along with the Convention, and in December 2000, the United States signed the Convention and the Protocol in Palermo, Italy. The Protocol contained obligations to criminalize trafficking in persons, as well as important provisions to protect victims and facilitate international cooperation.

The Clinton administration developed anti-trafficking programs around the world aimed at prevention, protection, and prosecution. The State Department began devoting greater attention to trafficking, particularly of women and girls, in the 1993 Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and gradually expanded the reporting to cover all forms of trafficking in persons, adding a new, separate subsection in the 1999 Country Reports. The United States sponsored various international conferences to increase international awareness and cooperation. These included an April 1997 conference in Kiev with Russian officials and NGOs; a March 2000 Asian Regional Initiative to Combat the Trafficking of Women and Children, co-hosted by the Government of the Philippines in Manila; and a June 2000 law enforcement anti-trafficking workshop in Kiev that included government and NGO representatives from 12 countries which were sources, destinations, or points of transit for victims. The United States also supported the work of regional and national NGOs in Romania, India, Ukraine, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos to combat trafficking.

State Department officials worked closely with the 106th Congress to develop comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 provided the U.S. Government with an important set of tools to combat this heinous practice. The legislation called for a wide array of programs to assist victims and the prevention of trafficking. The legislation established minimum standards for the international fight against trafficking, and required an annual evaluation of international progress towards these standards. Countries that made no efforts to combat trafficking were subject to possible sanctions.

Multilateral Initiatives

UN Commission on Human Rights

Human rights also played an important role in the Clinton administration's efforts to promote its policies in the multilateral sphere. Nowhere was this more true than in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the preeminent international body on human rights issues. Three individuals served as Head of the U.S. delegation to the CHR: J. Kenneth Blackwell (1993); Geraldine Ferraro (1994-1996); and Nancy Rubin (1997-2000). Throughout these years, the administration sought to draw attention to a wide range of issues through both country-specific and thematic resolutions.

Perhaps no country received as much U.S. attention in Geneva as China. For many years following the Tiananmen Square massacre, the European Union brought forward, and the United States cosponsored, a resolution that was mildly critical of human rights violations in China. In response, the Chinese put together a coalition of non-aligned and anti-democratic governments and brought a motion to "take no action," in effect shelving the draft before it was considered. In 1995, their motion failed on a tie vote, but the resolution itself was defeated. In 1998, as a result of recent positive actions by Chinese authorities, the European Union and United States agreed not to pursue a resolution. In 1999, significant backsliding on human rights by the Government of China led the United States to take the initiative, albeit without EU co-sponsorship. In both 1999 and 2000, the Chinese no-action motion again blocked consideration of the U.S. draft.

Cuba also received considerable attention at the CHR. For many years, the U.S. delegation led CHR efforts to criticize human rights violations in Cuba and establish a Special Rapporteur to provide written reports about the situation there. Cuba defended its practices and systematically refused to admit the Special Rapporteur. In 1998, Cuba mustered enough votes to defeat the US-drafted resolution, ending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. In 1999, Poland and the Czech Republic stepped forward to sponsor a resolution on Cuba, although this time it did not reestablish a Special Rapporteur. In both 1999 and 2000, the Czech and Polish resolution passed with strong U.S. support.

The United States took the lead in speaking out forcefully against a number of other countries with particularly bad human rights records. Country-specific resolutions that the U.S. sponsored, co-sponsored, or supported include texts on human rights violations in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Burma, Cambodia, East Timor, Rwanda, and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The CHR also considered less contentious resolutions on countries in Central America or Africa, many of them adopted by consensus. In contrast, the CHR adopted a series of divisive resolutions on human rights questions in the Middle East despite strong U.S. opposition.

The U.S. also supported a wide range of thematic resolutions on issues such as the prevention of torture and religious intolerance. Although U.S. policy was to support these resolutions wherever possible, at the time the drafters or cosponsors included language which was incompatible with U.S. law or policy. If, as a result, the United States was obliged to oppose a text, its explanations of position set out the reasons clearly.

Human Rights Treaties

Over the course of the administration, the United States ratified two important human rights treaties. The United States ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) on October 21, 1994, and submitted its initial report as required under the treaty in October 1999. The United States ratified the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on October 21, 1994, and submitted its initial report in September 2000. It also submitted its initial report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1994. As a result, the country was for the first time in compliance with its reporting obligations under these treaties.

The United States also signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on February 16, 1995. By the end of 2000, however, it had not been sent to the Senate for ratification. The United States was, with Somalia, one of only two countries in the world that had not ratified this international treaty by the end of 2000. Several other important human rights treaties remained unratified. For example, the United States signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in July 1980. Although the Clinton administration made ratification a priority, and numerous Members of Congress and private citizens urged prompt action, the Senate did not consider this treaty.

The United States participated actively in negotiations leading to adoption by the United Nations of two Additional Protocols to the CRC. The Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict was complicated by the fact that while the CRC set 18 as the age of majority, previous texts had set 15 as the youngest age for military service and the United States and many other states permitted recruitment into the military below age 18 with parental consent. A compromise was reached which required all states to raise their age of recruitment and prevent deployment into combat before age 18. The Protocol the Sale of Children and Child Pornography established clear definitions about pornography, adoption and transfer of children, and other matters. President Clinton signed both Additional Protocols in July 2000 and promptly sent them to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification.

World Conference on Human Rights

The UN World Conference on Human Rights took place in Vienna, Austria in June 1993. Secretary of State Christopher addressed the conference on its opening day; the U.S. Delegation was led by Undersecretary-designate for Global Affairs Tim Wirth and later by Assistant Secretary John Shattuck. All U.N. member countries participated and all joined in formally endorsing the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, which reaffirmed, inter alia, that "the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community," that "all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated," and that "the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights." Despite a desire by many countries at the World Conference not to address specific country situations, events of that time mandated resolutions on the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Angola; both were adopted by large majorities.

Perhaps the most significant development in Vienna was the recommendation that the United Nations establish a High Commissioner for Human Rights. Later in 1993, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) established the position, with a mandate to promote and protect all human rights as laid forth in the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. The first High Commissioner was Jose Ayala Lasso of Ecuador (1994-1997), who had chaired the UNGA negotiations on the issue. Upon his resignation, the Secretary General nominated Mary Robinson of Ireland; her term would expire in autumn 2001.



The State Department regularly raised key human rights concerns in Russia-such as the conduct of Russian forces during the two wars in Chechnya-in meetings between senior administration officials and their Russian counterparts, and in annual human rights dialogues between the United States and Russia, beginning in 1993. Although these efforts did not always produce immediate results, they did at times lead to progress. For example, Russian environmentalist Aleksandr Nikitin gave the administration credit for helping to secure his release. The administration also actively worked to promote religious freedom. In 1996 it pressed the Yeltsin administration to ease the restrictions in the new draft religion law, which curtailed missionary activity and minority religions. When it passed in 1997, the United States consistently raised individual cases and sought to have the registration deadlines extended and to respond promptly to anti-Semitic incidents. The administration also addressed Chechnya at the UN Human Rights Commission, which issued a Chairman's Statement on Chechnya in 1995 and passed a U.S. co-sponsored resolution in 2000.

The Balkans

In 1995 the signing of the U.S.-negotiated Dayton Peace Accords brought a formal end to three years of war and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Beginning in 1998, the United States provided extensive financial, logistical, and policy support to the human rights institutions created under Annex Six of the Dayton Peace Accords, including the Human Rights Chamber and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman. These institutions helped give Bosnians a mechanism for protesting government abuses and reducing inter-ethnic tensions. As of October 2000, the chamber had issued 594 judgments based on 794 individual applications.

Human rights also were central to the U.S. response in Kosovo. In response to Serbian government action, the United States worked with its allies to use necessary force, backed by diplomacy, to end human rights abuses. In addition, the United States sought to bring its expertise in human rights reporting to bear on the crisis. In May and December 1999, the Department of State released two carefully researched, well-documented analyses of the degree of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Entitled Erasing History: Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo, and Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: An Accounting, respectively, the reports received extensive press coverage, were widely distributed via the world wide web, and helped support the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and KFOR's investigations into human rights abuses in the province. The Department also interviewed Kosovar refugees at Ft. Dix in an effort to help the ICTY accumulate evidence on the Milosevic regime's human rights violations in Kosovo. The United States provided approximately $1.5 million for this war crimes documentation project through a grant to the American Bar Association's Central European Law Initiative.

After the departure of the Serb forces, the United States worked to create viable human rights institutions in Kosovo through the United Nations. DRL was actively engaged, both diplomatically and financially, in ensuring the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsperson. Following a February 2000 U.S. judicial assessment mission, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor designed and funded a program called Operation Quick Start, which provided Kosovar courts with $1.6 million worth of equipment, including vehicles, safes, generators, computers, printers, photocopiers, typewriters, metal detectors, telephones, and fax machines. In addition, the United States provided training and support that helped restore an almost completely broken judicial system. The President also proposed an International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which was established at the 1996 Lyon G-7 Summit. Under Former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and former Senator Robert Dole, the ICMP provided political support and resources for exhumations and identifications.


The administration repeatedly raised human rights concerns in Belarus bilaterally and multilaterally, intensifying its efforts beginning in 1996. The United States toughened its policy in 1997, as a result of flagrant human rights abuses, the illegitimate 1996 constitutional referendum, and President Lukashenko's unilateral extension of his term of office until 2001. In response, the administration adopted the Selective Engagement Policy in February 1997, restricting official contacts and eliminating almost all direct aid, while increasing its contact with and support for the country's democratic forces, the independent media, and NGOs. To underscore this policy, Assistant Secretary Koh visited Belarus in 1999, and met with NGO advocates, independent journalists, relatives of opposition figures who had "disappeared," and government officials. Due to severe irregularities, the U.S. did not accept the October 2000 parliamentary elections and continued to recognize the 13th Supreme Soviet as the legitimate Belarusian parliament

Asia and the Pacific


The Clinton administration had mixed success with its human rights objectives in China. It succeeded in negotiating the release of prominent individual dissidents or religious figures (including 1979 Democracy Wall activist Wei Jingsheng and 1989 Tiananmen student activist Wang Dan). It had considerably less success in promoting systemic political and human rights changes.

In 1993 President Clinton issued an executive order that renewed Most Favored Nation (MFN) trading status for China until July 3, 1994. The order laid out seven human rights conditions (two of which were mandatory) that China would have to meet in order for the administration to de-link human rights from Most Favored Nation trading status after 1994. They mandatory conditions were freedom of emigration and compliance with the 1992 bilateral agreement on prison labor. The five others were to begin adhering to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; releasing or providing an acceptable accounting of political and religious prisoners; humane treatment of prisoners and prison access; protecting the cultural heritage of Tibet; and permitting the broadcast of international radio and television. Although the administration urged China to take the steps during 1993-1994, by May 1994 China had only satisfied the two mandatory conditions. Nonetheless, on May 26, 1994, President Clinton de-linked human rights from MFN.

In doing so the President argued that engagement combined with "a continuing aggressive effort in human rights" had the best chance of encouraging China to play a responsible role at home and abroad. In view of continuing human rights abuses, the President extended the Tiananmen sanctions and banned the export of munitions to China. He also announced a "vigorous American program to support those in China working to advance the cause of human rights and democracy" that included increased funding for Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA), an expanded multilateral agenda, increased support for U.S. NGOs working on human rights and rule of law, and a voluntary set of principles for business activity.

As a consequence, the United States increased funding for RFA and VOA substantially, and coordinated its human rights efforts with the EU and others to pressure China multilaterally. These efforts paid some dividends. For example, China signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1997 and 1998, respectively. China also invited the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance to visit. Presidents Clinton and Jiang announced a rule of law initiative as part of the 1998 U.S.-China Summit. These led to a number of seminars on the legal protection of human rights and legal aid.

The United States held nine rounds of official bilateral human rights dialogue with China. They were suspended in 1995, in response to U.S. support for a resolution at the Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) that criticized Chinese human rights abuse. The Chinese resumed the dialogue in January 1999, but suspended it again shortly, following U.S. sponsorship of a similar resolution at the UNCHR and the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo crisis. In a November 2000 meeting between President Clinton and President Jiang in Brunei, the Chinese expressed interest in resuming the dialogue.


The Clinton administration thoroughly documented human rights abuses in Vietnam and pressed the Vietnamese government to improve its human rights record. In 1994, the government of Vietnam invited the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit. Transparency in judicial proceeding and the protection of due process appears to have deteriorated since that visit, however. The 1997 Administrative Detention Decree, which authorized extremely broad powers to place persons under surveillance and monitor citizens closely, was inconsistent with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The administration continued to urge Vietnam to repeal or amend the decree in order to fulfill its obligations under the Covenant.

The establishment of a bilateral human rights dialogue with the Government of Vietnam was one of the most important human rights achievements made during the Clinton administration. In 1998 two dozen political and religious prisoners were released, many of whose cases had been raised by the Department. However, large numbers of political prisoners still demanded attention by Vietnam. The eighth round of this regular formal dialogue was held in Washington in early June 2000 and involved vigorous discussions of Vietnam's Administrative Detention Decree, political and religious prisoners, labor rights, freedom of expression and the rights of ethnic minorities.

Indonesia and East Timor

The administration worked to keep international attention focused on human rights abuses in Indonesia, the impunity for abuses under the Suharto regime, and the slow progress of accountability for them under the new democratically-elected government. Through the Human Rights and Democracy Fund, the administration supported technical assistance and training for the Attorney General's Office in prosecuting crimes against humanity; assistance in drafting the statute which established the Human Rights Court; and training in developing a witness protection program.

The administration supported the referendum for East Timor's independence and provided support for the vote. The United States was quick to respond when violence erupted, and joined the international community in urging Indonesia to accept a UN presence in East Timor. After that, the administration urged the Government of Indonesia to repatriate the refugees in the camps in West Timor and to disarm and disband the militias there. The U.S. Government also worked closely with the United Nations Transition Authority in East Timor (UNTAET), providing support for accountability efforts, establishing a judicial system, and training local human rights organizations.

The administration supported the territorial integrity of Indonesia, but consistently urged the Indonesian government to abandon a security approach to regional unrest in Aceh and Papua and to engage in dialogue leading to autonomy agreements to resolve legitimate grievances. In the Moluccas, the Department strongly urged the Government of Indonesia to take action to control sectarian violence while maintaining respect for human rights. These efforts yielded limited results. Violence in Aceh escalated in 2000, and pro-independence sentiments reached a new level. The potential for increased violence continued in Papua. In the Moluccas, violence eased, although sporadic sectarian attacks continued. Lack of accountability for human rights abuses continued in these areas.


The administration consistently sought to promote human rights, democracy, and worker rights in Burma, a nation led by a repressive military government with an extremely poor human rights record. The government's systematic suppression of human rights, including its efforts to silence the pro-democracy movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi, was frequently and clearly condemned by the United States both unilaterally and in international bodies, including the United Nations. In 1997 the administration imposed economic sanctions to ban future U.S. investment in Burma and supported the ILO in its efforts to impose Article 33 of the ILO Charter because of the government's continued widespread use of forced labor. In recognition of her work on behalf of human rights and democracy in Burma, the President awarded (in absentia) Aung San Suu Kyi the Presidential Medal of Freedom in December 2000.


Democratic elections

The administration spent millions annually in Africa to support human rights and good governance, build grass roots civil institutions, and strengthen government capacity to build democracy in dozens of Africa countries. These contributions had some notable success, particularly at an incremental grass roots level in some countries. For example, support for Nigerian elections in 1998 and 1999 helped put that country back on the path to democracy after years of dictatorship. Generally free and fair elections helped consolidate or re-establish democratic governance in recent years in several countries, notably Senegal, Mali, Benin, Niger, Tanzania, and Mauritius. Unfortunately flawed or fraudulent elections in several other countries were only efforts to publicly legitimize the continued rule of dictators.

The United States strongly supported South Africa's transition to multiparty democracy. Elections in Malawi were generally considered free and fair, despite some irregularities. In Mozambique, the opposition RENAMO alleged fraud in December 1999 elections. The United States continued to engage Angola, which has stated it will hold elections in 2001, in a dialogue on political reform and strengthening of democratic institutions.


The U.S. Government pushed to end the war that had pitted the two neighbors against one another, and worked during the conflict to ensure ICRC access to prisoners and decent treatment of refugees. The two sides signed a peace agreement in Algiers in December 2000, with Secretary Albright present.


Liberia's poor record on human rights and its regional destabilization efforts prompted Congress to limit most development assistance, but modest programs have continued to support strengthening civil society and respect for rule of law.


The 1994 genocide marked one of the low points of the Clinton administration's foreign policy tenure. As President Clinton subsequently noted during his visit to Kigali in 1998, the United States failed to intervene to stop the genocide from taking place. Following those tragic events, however, the United States worked to promote reconciliation and justice in Rwanda, both through the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda and the Great Lakes Justice Initiative, which sought to promote the rule of law, strengthen traditional legal processes and help foster ethnic healing.

Sierra Leone

The administration helped broker the 1998 cease-fire between government and rebels, and was the largest supporter of humanitarian and democracy promotion assistance in Sierra Leone, and of the international peacekeeping forces that brought peace to some parts of the country during its civil war. It also supported the establishment of a mixed domestic-international tribunal to investigate crimes committed during the civil war, and at this writing was taking steps to fund judicial training and assistance programs to facilitate the tribunal's work.


The administration supported civil society-building efforts in southern Sudan, maintaining comprehensive trade and investment sanctions against Sudan due to its terrible human rights record. The 17-year civil war took an estimated two million lives and displaced countless others. Through support for the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) regional peace process the Clinton administration sought to help achieve a negotiated settlement to the conflict. The U.S. Government continually condemned the Sudanese Government's tolerance of slave-raiding and religious persecution, made clear these practices had to cease, and repeatedly supported strong language in UN resolutions on Sudan denouncing its terrible human rights record.

Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo

The administration supported strong language condemning human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and urging accountability for perpetrators in UN resolutions, worked diligently at the United Nations and in Africa to support regional mediation efforts, and provided some assistance to develop civil society through non-governmental organizations.

Western Hemisphere


The Clinton administration raised human rights with the Government of Colombia at every opportunity and on every level. U.S. priorities were ending impunity for human rights violators; severing links between members of the security forces and illegal paramilitaries; enhancing protection for human rights defenders; and protecting worker rights.

In September 1998 President Andres Pastrana unveiled Plan Colombia, an ambitious program developed to deal with Colombia's serious and interrelated challenges. The Plan was a completely Colombian effort, although the State Department actively urged the Colombian Government to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy to address the country's interrelated problems and suggested some elements of that strategy. The Plan entailed five critical themes: the peace process; economic policy; the judicial system; counter-narcotics; and democratization, human rights, and social development. The U.S. Government provided a $1.3 billion emergency fund in 2000 for a combination of military and police assistance to increase counter-narcotics capabilities. This also included $230 million in programs for human rights, humanitarian assistance, alternative development, and economic and judicial reforms.

U.S. assistance for Plan Colombia was controversial because of the Colombian military's troubled human rights record. The Pastrana administration made progress in this area, but more remained to be done. The Colombia assistance legislation contained specific human rights conditions, which the Secretary had to certify prior to obligating funds in FY 2000 and 2001. In September 2000 Secretary Albright was able to certify compliance with only one of the six conditions-that the President of Colombia had directed in writing that Colombian Armed Forces personnel who were credibly alleged to have committed gross violations of human rights would be brought to justice in Colombia's civilian courts. President Clinton waived the other five for national security reasons.


On October 16, 1998, General Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London based on a Spanish warrant that charged him with human rights abuses during the 1973-1990 period of military rule in Chile. Following extensive legal proceedings, the British Law Lords concluded that Pinochet enjoyed no "head of state immunity" and hence could be extradited to Spain for alleged acts of torture committed after December 8, 1988, the date Britain ratified the Convention against Torture. Despite this ruling, Pinochet was never extradited to Spain, due to his deteriorating health, and was instead returned to Chile in March 2000. The Chilean government had opposed the extradition request, arguing that Pinochet should face Chilean law.

On August 8, 2000, the Chilean Supreme Court stripped Pinochet of his senatorial immunity for crimes related to the 1973 Caravan of Death and further determined that Pinochet was not entitled to "head of state immunity," and that his 1978 amnesty decree did not shield him from prosecution. The principle of accountability of heads of state for gross violations of human rights was thus affirmed as the Chileans confronted a painful period in their past. Nonetheless, Pinochet faced over 170 criminal complaints in Chile. Though he would almost certainly never stand trial due to age and infirmity, he seemed destined to live out his life in his own country without privileged status.

The worldwide attention and interest that the Pinochet case generated was a key factor in President Clinton's decision to order the declassification and release of documents related to human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence prior to and during the Pinochet era in Chile. The State Department, CIA, Department of Defense, FBI, and the National Archives and Records Administration participated in the project, which the National Security Council coordinated. Agencies made an initial release of approximately 5,800 documents on June 30, 1999, concentrating on the 1973-1978 period which corresponding to the most flagrant human rights abuses. A second release of over 1,100 documents concentrating on 1968-1973 followed on October 8, 1999.

Documents relating to three American citizens, Charles Horman, Frank Teruggi, and Boris Weisfeiler, who were killed or disappeared in Chile during the Pinochet era were released on June 30, 2000. The final tranche of nearly 15,000 documents was released on November 13, 2000. This project reflected the administration's strong commitment to clarify the historical record of a controversial period in U.S.-Chilean relations.


The U.S. commitment to assist democratic transitions and acknowledge past U.S. involvement in human rights violations is further demonstrated by the case of Guatemala. From 1996 to 1998 the State Department released in excess of 7,000 declassified documents related to human rights violations in Guatemala during the period 1984-1995. The documents assisted Guatemala's Historical Clarification Commission in its efforts to research and document acts of violence and repression committed during the 36-year civil conflict. Following release of the Historical Clarification Commission's report in February 1999, President Clinton made an historic statement of regret to the people of Guatemala for past U.S. Government support for military forces and intelligence units involved in the violence.

Although human rights abuses persisted in Guatemala, the government took major steps to reduce them. Two successive free and fair elections for president took place during the Clinton administration. A key event was the Peace Accords the Government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity guerrillas signed in 1996. Nonetheless, inefficiencies in the judicial system, which was subject to intimidation and corruption, greatly inhibited the subsequent attempts to fix accountability for the massacres of civilians and other human rights abuse. The military, which a 1999 report by the Historical Clarification Commission found responsible for over 90 percent of the killings during the 36-year civil war, also proved unwilling to purge known human rights abusers from its ranks.


Concerns over Peru's government came in the flawed presidential elections of April 2000. The Department of State led efforts at the June 2000 Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly meeting in Windsor, Canada, to establish a mission to Peru to examine the situation and make recommendations to strengthen Peru's democratic institutions and help reform the judiciary. The OAS-sponsored dialogue roundtable that grew from that mission played an important role in setting the stage for new presidential and legislative elections in April 2001. State Department and DRL funds would help support those elections.

Women's Issues

Preparing for Beijing

One of the key objectives of the Clinton administration foreign policy was to ensure that new democracies prospered and that market economies benefiting the many took hold. The achievement of these goals required the full participation of women in the political and economic lives of their countries. Perceiving the central importance of women's issues for U.S. foreign policy, the Clinton administration sought an administrative mechanism to provide input to the policy process. The initial catalyst was the preparations for the United States Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in September 1995, which prompted the creation of a government-wide structure, the G Conference Secretariat. Opened in June 1994 under the supervision of the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (G) with a budget housed in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, it planned not only for the Beijing Conference but the UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in September 1994 (see Chapter VIII) and the UN Summit for Social Development in June 1995. From the outset the Secretariat recognized the importance of these international meetings and the necessity of coming to the conferences with policy and programmatic commitments.

At the Beijing gathering, Madeleine Albright, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, served as chair, Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) as co-chair, and Hillary Clinton was honorary chair. Their respective offices cooperated to assure U.S. Government leadership and participation in Beijing. The conference generated world interest and included some 8,000 Americans. Ambassador Albright announced the U.S. commitments at the conference, which included new initiatives ranging from microenterprise development to prevention of violence against women. (Document VII-1) In her keynote address for the United States, Mrs. Clinton asserted that "women's rights are human rights." The three ladies also spoke to 50,000 NGOs who were gathered in Hairou for the non-governmental counterpart to the official Beijing meeting. The final conference, the Platform for Action, was a roadmap to help countries move toward legal, social, economic, and educational progress for women.

Founding of the President's Interagency Council on Women

The principal vehicle in the Clinton administration to improve the lives of women and girls was the President's Interagency Council on Women (hereafter referred to as the President's Council, or Council), which President Clinton established in August 1995, just before the Beijing Conference. The Council, which included high-level representation from executive branch agencies, served as the administration's coordinating mechanism on women's issues. Donna Shalala was the first chairperson, and the First Lady was honorary chairperson. The President's Council initially worked out of the White House, and the G Secretariat closed its operations at State. In March 1997, however, the Council moved to the State Department. Secretary Albright became the chair, and Mrs. Clinton continued as honorary chair. At the State Department the Council joined the Office of the Senior Coordinator for International Women's Issues. Congress had established the latter position in 1994 in response to NGO requests for a focal point on women's human rights at the State Department. The President's Council was responsible for interagency coordination on post-Beijing activities, while the Senior Coordinator located in the Office of the Under Secretary for Global Affairs had the primary responsibility of integrating the advancement of women into U.S. foreign policy. Both functions folded into an office within the Office of the Secretary of State (S/PICW).

The President's Interagency Council on Women performed a vital role in taking action on the principle that giving women the tools of opportunity and improving their status helped to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals. In March 1997, the Council, together with the Office of the First Lady, created an event at the State Department to commemorate International Women's Day and launch this agenda at State under Secretary Albright. The Secretary's statement--"advancing the status of women is ... the right thing to do, and, frankly, it is the smart thing to do"--set the tone. (Document VII-2) The key achievements of the Council were the introduction of the concepts of women's human rights and empowerment into U.S. foreign policy; creation of the linkage between the empowerment of women and strong democracies and market economies; the integration of these issues into substantive programs bringing millions of dollars to the agenda; the establishment of partnerships and alliances with other governments, international institutions and the private sector; the building of constituencies of support with U.S. and foreign NGOs; and the institutionalization of this agenda into the process of developing U.S. foreign policy. These achievements occurred in the areas of women's human rights, the empowerment of women, and public outreach.

Women's Human Rights: Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

In March 1998, the Secretary participated in a White House event, also attended by the Attorney General, the First Lady, and the UN Secretary General, commemorating International Women's Day where the President signed an Executive Memorandum entitled Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Women and Girls. (Document VII-3) The Council crafted this anti-trafficking Presidential directive, the first ever, to mobilize interagency efforts. Under the Secretary's leadership, the Council pursued a three-part strategy to advance international and domestic policy: prevention, protection and assistance for victims, and prosecution and enforcement against traffickers.

The Council worked consistently to institutionalize anti-trafficking throughout the government, by assisting Congress, for example, to pass anti-trafficking legislation, major elements of which were drafted and marshaled through the interagency process by the Council. The final legislation provided prosecutorial tools to fight traffickers and protection benefits to victims. The Council also worked closely with congressional members to ensure that sanctions were discretionary, not mandatory.

Second, recognizing that the United States could not fight the transnational crime of trafficking alone, the President's Council provided policy guidance for the negotiations of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which was signed by 81 countries in December 2000. This was the first international instrument that addressed prevention, prosecution and protection in order to address the global effort to combat trafficking in a comprehensive, systematic way.

Furthermore, bilateral and multilateral efforts were crucial on prevention, protection and prosecution. To this end, in 2000 the Council and the East Asian Bureau partnered on the Asian Regional Initiative Against Trafficking (ARIAT) conference co-hosted by the United States and the Philippines. This successful conference brought together over 30 countries in the region resulting in a new alliance between Thailand and Cambodia, new collaborations between UN agencies and U.S. embassies, and funding for local programs in China and other countries. As a relatively new issue for governments, this conference went a long way toward enhancing awareness and understanding of the issue. The administration continued to raise the trafficking issue with senior foreign leaders in both bilateral meetings and in international forums.

Additionally, before 1998 law enforcement training was not trafficking-specific. Two years later there were significant domestic and international training programs being developed and implemented. The United States was coordinating, developing and institutionalizing international and domestic training of law enforcement officials.

Fourth, the U.S. Government had never estimated the magnitude of trafficking. Working with the Council, the Central Intelligence Agency developed the first preliminary estimates that approximately 50,000 women and children were trafficked annually to the United States. An intelligence analyst working with the Council at that time produced the first major U.S. Government trafficking report. Through the interagency process, the Council worked to establish an intelligence and analysis entity that could better support anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in the future.

In 2 years, programmatic anti-trafficking spending went from zero to $13 million in the European, NIS, and East Asian bureaus. Other State Department bureaus were also working on their mission programs to try and include anti-trafficking programs. The Council worked to ensure that anti-trafficking goals were included in Mission Program Plans for future accountability. Finally, the Council also worked with the National Security Council, Domestic Policy Council, and the Departments of Justice and Labor to enhance collaboration on anti-trafficking initiatives. As a result of the new trafficking legislation, a permanent office at the State Department will continue the Department's interagency leadership, momentum, and growth, which the Secretary had begun.

Domestic Violence

At the request of the Russian government, the President's Interagency Council on Women co-sponsored a Russia-US conference on domestic violence in Moscow in November 1998. This conference helped shape an interdisciplinary approach toward domestic violence by including doctors, lawyers, law enforcement, government officials and NGOs. It also stimulated the Agency for International Development (AID), the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and public diplomacy resources that continued to provide significant support. It brought Russian government attention to the issue, opened a dialogue for Russian NGOs with their government, and helped start a consortium of approximately 200 women's shelters and anti-violence associations across Russia.

Female Genital Mutilation

The Council chaired an interagency working group on this highly sensitive issue that managed the U.S. Government's implementation of domestic legislation unpopular with African women's groups. The Council brought together American women's human rights groups who had pushed for this legislation and African NGOs to articulate the U.S. policy of supporting governments, local communities and NGOs working to eradicate the practice. At the strong urging of the African women's groups, the Council moved the issue from a human rights context to a woman's health context; AID funding reflected this change.

Annual Human Rights Report

The President's Interagency Council on Women devoted considerable effort to integrating women's human rights into the Annual Human Rights Reports. This required a staff of three reading over 100 reports each year for three years, providing language and advocating consistently for inclusion of the full range of violence against women, particularly trafficking. In many cases, the Council provided language and content drawn from its international contacts. The Council completed its mission and the Human Rights Reports began to integrate fully the status of women, even highlighting a separate section on trafficking.

Empowerment of Women: Vital Voices

One of the most innovative programs was the Vital Voices Democracy Initiative, a project developed by the President's Council at the State Department and the Office of the First Lady. Vital Voices was a foreign policy initiative that promoted the U.S. government's foreign policy objectives of advancing democratic and free market economies by recognizing the critical role that women play in their societies. It developed a network of women leaders to nurture and promote democracy and economic stability. Leveraging private/public partnerships worth millions of dollars, it linked the United States with key regional players and built a high profile for the Secretary's commitment to women's critical role in building democracy. Through Vital Voices conferences for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic States, Northern Ireland, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as regional roundtables for Central Asia and Africa, the administration established global linkages among grassroots leaders, private sector funders and government entities. For each of the conferences, the U.S. Government partnered with other governments and international institutions and put in place a follow up mechanism that included U.S. embassies, host governments and the private sector.

Through Vital Voices the Council brought in other federal agencies to support the foreign policy objective of promoting democracy and strong economies. For example, the Small Business Administration and the Departments of Commerce and Labor supported and used the Vital Voices network for business training programs in the NIS and Northern Ireland and for an Online Women's Center, which became available in Spanish and Russian. A new 501 (c)(3) for Vital Voices was being developed to leverage corporate involvement to respond to requests for ongoing support for this growing global democracy network.


The Council created an interagency working group on Women and the Global Economy that had significant impact on global economic fora. For example, through this group the United States played a role in working through Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to advise the economies in the region about how to bring women into recovery plans for the Asian economic crisis. Additionally, the Commerce Department's Census Bureau provided training to members of APEC economies on how to collect sex-desegregated data in order to develop sustainable economic policies. The U.S. delegation to APEC assumed a leadership role on both of these initiatives.

Public Outreach

The President's Council built a strong constituency for U.S. foreign policy through unprecedented levels of outreach. It held quarterly briefings which drew 300-400 NGOs and were the largest ongoing public briefings conducted by the State Department. It used these briefings to highlight State Department principals both in Washington and the field who demonstrated leadership on this agenda. The goal was to demonstrate that this work was not housed in PICW but was an integral part of how the Secretary's senior team conducted foreign policy. Some examples were Ambassador Jim Larocco's stirring remarks on his efforts in Kuwait to support women's right to vote, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Tony Wayne's briefing on his bureau's efforts to combat trafficking and promote democracy through Vital Voices, and Penn Kemble's preview of the Community of Democracies meeting in Warsaw, Poland and its impact on women in emerging democracies. These briefings opened up a channel between the NGO community and U.S. policymakers, educated NGOs and built support for the administration's policies. The Council, using its web site to report on the highlights of these briefings, reached a broad audience. It also used these briefings to highlight international visitors from the Vital Voices network, who gave first-hand accounts of their challenges in emerging democracies and gave testimonials of how the U.S. Government was providing support.

These briefings, which the Council initiated to prepare for the UN Women's Conference in Beijing, evolved into a forum to showcase how the Clinton administration was carrying through on its commitment to implement the Platform for Action from Beijing. The Council also published a series of reports culminating in America's Commitment 2000, a compendium of federal agency programs for women and girls including the administration's initiatives since Beijing. In anticipation of the UN 5-year review of Beijing, the Council connected with Americans all across the country by co-hosting twelve Beijing Plus Five events and partnering with community groups, universities and foundations.

The President's Interagency Council on Women also conducted substantive outreach to women in the Muslim community, including by co-sponsoring a panel forum with the Embassy of Tunisia and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the Supreme Court, to examine the legal status of women in the Arab Muslim world. It helped shape the Department's monthly roundtable discussions with representatives from the Muslim-American community, identifying Muslim women within this group to be part of the discussion. Moreover, it continually consulted with women in the Muslim American community about the treatment of women in Afghanistan.

International Narcotics and Law Enforcement


In 1978 Congress authorized an additional position of Assistant Secretary of State to head a new Bureau for International Narcotics Matters whose purpose was to deal more effectively with the international aspects of the growing drug problem. Since then, INM, renamed the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in 1994, played a leading role in U.S. efforts on international narcotics control with a wide range of programs designed to stop the flow of drugs and disable the responsible criminal organizations.

The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), based at the White House, was responsible for establishing and coordinating national drug control policy, including setting priorities, implementing a national strategy, and certifying federal drug control budgets. Although only accounting for less than three percent of the federal drug control budget, INL's programs significantly strengthened U.S. drug control efforts. In 1999, the bureau's international drug control programs helped to keep a potential 135 metric tons of cocaine worth over $23 billion in illicit retail sales from U.S. streets.

Meanwhile, U.S. demand reduction efforts over the 1985-2000 period began to pay off as overall U.S. drug consumption declined by the end of the Clinton administration. According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), cocaine use declined since 1985, when cocaine abuse was at its zenith, to its lowest point in 2000. This decline in the U.S. market caused Latin American drug syndicates to seek out new markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

Countries that had historically blamed drug problems on a U.S. market that drove production found their consumption was also fueling the drug trade. They became increasingly aware that growing drug abuse in their countries threatened their people and their democratic and free market institutions. As a result, cooperation began to improve, and U.S. efforts produced results, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

At the second Summit of the Americas held in Santiago, Chile in 1998, 34 presidents, including President Clinton, agreed to create a new Hemispheric Alliance Against Drugs. The centerpiece of this Alliance was a pledge to develop a Mutual Evaluation Mechanism (MEM) for hemispheric information sharing and cooperation. The MEM was an unprecedented initiative designed to catalog the counter-drug initiatives undertaken by the countries in the hemisphere, share best practices, and provide a basis for comparing and improving national actions.

Stopping the Flow of Cocaine

The major drug problem in the United States between 1993 and 2000 was cocaine abuse. Hundreds of tons entered the United States every year from three Andean countries: Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. INL therefore concentrated most of its counternarcotics efforts in those source countries.

Colombia was by far the most important. In the late 1990s, narco-traffickers in Colombia supplied about 90 percent of the cocaine used in the United States. Successful U.S. crop reduction and interdiction programs in Peru and Bolivia forced the drug trade to increase coca cultivation in Colombia, mostly in Southwest Colombia where there was little Colombian government control. Marxist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries financed their activities with hundreds of millions of dollars in narco-profits.

To address Colombia's drug and interrelated social and economic troubles, President Andres Pastrana devised a comprehensive, integrated strategy called Plan Colombia. The U.S. government agreed in 2000 to provide $1.3 billion in assistance over the next 2 years in support of Plan Colombia. The United States began training special counternarcotics battalions, purchasing 16 Black Hawks and up to 40 Huey II helicopters, and providing eradication equipment, all in a multi-pronged effort to push into the coca-growing areas dominated by guerrillas and paramilitaries.

These long-term joint drug control programs brought a decline in overall cocaine production in South America to historically low levels during the Clinton administration. Once the world's two principal coca producers, Peru and Bolivia ranked a distant second and third behind Colombia. At the end of 1999, coca cultivation in Peru and Bolivia was at its lowest point since 1986, when the United States completed the first accurate surveys of Andean coca.

Much of this decline was attributable to the U.S.-Peruvian effort first begun in 1995 to sever the "airbridge" that carried Peruvian coca to Colombian refineries. With no market for their coca, Peruvian farmers abandoned their fields. The results were impressive. Of the 115,300 hectares of coca under cultivation in Peru in 1995, only 38,700 hectares remained at the end of 1999-a drop of two-thirds.

During the same 4-year period, Bolivian government eradication programs cut coca cultivation by more than half, from 48,600 hectares to 21,800 hectares. On December 19, 2000, President Hugo Banzer announced the elimination of all significant coca in the Chapare, Bolivia's principal coca-growing region. The illegal coca remaining in the Yungas region would be eliminated the following year, and the 12,000 hectares of legal coca used by the indigenous population for chewing and for commercial export would also be reduced over the next few years.

Mexico remained the transit and distribution hub for the bulk of the drugs moving to the United States. However, increased engagement between Clinton administration and Mexican officials yielded gradual improvements in their anti-drug effort, while reducing the bilateral tension associated with the issue. A High Level Contact Group (HLCG) was established in March 1996 as a cabinet-level forum for improving counternarcotics policy coordination and developing a joint U.S.-Mexico Binational Drug Strategy. Preliminary discussions with President-elect Fox's transition team in 2000 provided hope for further improvement ahead.

Stopping the Flow of Heroin

Cutting heroin flows to the United States also ranked high on the U.S. list of counternarcotics priorities. Although heroin abuse was still relatively limited, there were signs of increasing use in the United States, especially by young people. Stopping heroin at the source was more difficult than attacking cocaine supply. To do so required limiting the cultivation of opium poppy, from which heroin was refined. However, unlike coca, which only grew in three Andean countries, the opium poppy could be found in nearly every region of the world. Also unlike coca, opium was an annual crop and in Latin America could produce as many as three harvests per year. Where a perennial coca bush might not become productive for about 2 years, one could harvest opium gum an average of 4 months after planting.

Opium poppies were grown in Colombia and Mexico, together cultivating less than six percent of the world's total opium poppy, but production in these two nations had a significant impact on the United States. Approximately 75 percent of the heroin identified in the United States in 1999 was of Colombian or Mexican origin. With such a small crop supplying such a large share of the market, opium poppy control programs in those two countries could seriously affect the flow of heroin to the United States. The U.S. government estimated that in 1999 Mexico took some 7,900 hectares out of production, leaving 3,600 hectares for opium production. This was the lowest figure since 1992. In Colombia, however, opium poppy cultivation increased by 23 percent to an estimated annual total of 7,500 hectares (based on an estimated 2,500 hectares under cultivation and harvested three times a year). This figure would have been much larger had Colombian authorities not destroyed more than 8,000 hectares of opium poppy in 1999.

The U.S. narcotics control priority in Asia was heroin, where opium poppy cultivation on a significant scale existed in Afghanistan, Burma, and Laos. It was important to continue working to cut this production because any reductions in heroin supply from Mexico and Colombia could easily be replaced by Asian supplies. Security and political barriers that limited U.S. access in two of those countries, Afghanistan and Burma, which accounted for 93 percent of the world's estimated illicit opium poppy crop of 5,103 metric tons, complicated efforts to attack that trade.

Pakistan made remarkable progress in eliminating illicit opium cultivation during the Clinton administration. In 1992, Pakistan was the world's third largest supplier of illicit opium. By the new century, heroin laboratories had disappeared from Pakistan and illicit opium poppy cultivation at 515 hectares was the lowest among heroin source countries in Asia. Although lacking the equipment and financial resources of the United States and the West to tackle the drug trade, Pakistan demonstrated sustained political commitment against poppy cultivation and drug trafficking, and was playing a major role in regional counternarcotics efforts. It was no longer a significant source country for opium, but it remained a transit country for the Afghan drug trade.

Thailand also had one of the most effective narcotics crop control programs in the world. The eradication campaign was one of the main reasons heroin refineries no longer operated in Thailand, and had reduced opium cultivation to a point where opium had to be imported to meet the requirements of domestic consumption. In 1999, counterdrug programs and less than ideal growing conditions led to the lowest cultivation and production estimate for Thailand since the U.S. government began its crop estimates in the mid-1980s. However, Thailand remained an important transit country, with its long border with Burma, and an effective ally in efforts to seek out and prosecute kingpins in the region.

At the U.S.-Chinese Presidential Summit in Washington in October 1997, Presidents Clinton and Jiang agreed to establish a Joint Liaison Group for Law Enforcement Cooperation through which the United States and China strengthened cooperation in combating narcotics trafficking and a range of other criminal activities. The agreement also provided for an exchange of narcotics officers, resulting in the opening of a DEA office in Beijing and the placement of a police liaison in the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Disabling the Drug Cartels

The U.S. government encouraged and provided financial assistance to governments seeking to break up the major trafficking organizations. Until the early 1990s, the two most important organizations, the Medellin and Cali Cartels, were based in Colombia. Colombian authorities destroyed each one in turn. After a 17-month manhunt, Colombian authorities killed Medellin cartel founder Pablo Escobar Gaviria in a shoot-out on December 2, 1993. Escobar's elimination effectively dealt the coup de grace to the Medellin Cartel, which had dominated the cocaine trade for over a decade. Colombian law enforcement authorities then turned their attention to the Cali cartel, arresting and killing such fearsome kingpins as Jose Santacruz Londono, some of the Ochoa brothers, and the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers in 1995 and 1996.

Although working-level contacts with Colombian law enforcement authorities remained strong, allegations of high-level narco-corruption during the Samper administration put a serious strain on U.S.-Colombian relations. It was revealed soon after he took office that then-President Samper solicited and received significant funding from the Cali cartel for his 1994 presidential campaign and in exchange took actions favorable to the drug kingpins, such as opposing extradition and attempting to weaken legislation designed to punish narco-traffickers. In July 1996, the United States revoked President Samper's visa based on evidence that he aided or abetted drug traffickers. Also, President Clinton declined to certify Colombia in 1996 and 1997 as fully cooperating with the United States on drug control, or as having taken adequate steps on its own to meet the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. With the exception of Panama under Manuel Noriega, this was the first time the United States had decertified a country in the Western Hemisphere.

As the Colombian drug cartels lost power in the mid-1990s, Mexican groups stepped in to fill the power vacuum and become the principal distributors of Colombian-produced drugs. These organizations, however, also suffered several setbacks. The most dramatic was the sudden death in July 1997 of the "Juarez" Cartel's Amado Carrillo Fuentes following plastic surgery intended to disguise his identity. Carrillo's demise both weakened the Juarez group and triggered a war of succession in that organization. Juan Garcia Abrego led the once undisputed champ of the Mexican trafficking organizations, known as the "Gulf" Cartel. However, following Garcia Abrego's arrest in 1996, that cartel suffered a further blow in 1997 when Mexican police collared Operations Chief Oscar Malherbe de Leon and Adan Amezcua Contreras, one of the three brothers said to be responsible for much of the methamphetamine flowing into the United States.

On December 14, 2000, the Justice Department announced the unsealing of indictments against Mexican drug kingpin Osiel Cardenas Guillen, whose Mexico-based cocaine and marijuana trafficking organization emerged from the remnants of the former cartels led by Amado Carillo Fuentes and Juan Garcia Abrego. The Department of State, through its narcotics reward program, offered a reward of up to $2 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Cardenas Guillen and his top two lieutenants. These international criminals threatened the lives of U.S. federal agents and were responsible for bringing tons of illicit drugs into the United States.

The State Department also had outstanding reward offers for Ramon Arellano-Felix and Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the leaders of the Tijuana based Arellano-Felix Organization, considered one of the most violent drug trafficking cartels based in Mexico. The Arellano-Felix brothers were believed to be behind the murders of Mexican law enforcement officers and the movement of multi-ton shipments of illicit drugs into the United States. The reward offers were announced for Ramon in 1997 and his brother Benjamin in 1998.

The U.S. Congress established the narcotics reward program in 1986 as a tool to help law enforcement bring drug traffickers like Cardenas to justice. Since 1989, the Secretary of State has authorized nearly $5 million in reward payments to individuals who came forward with information that brought down the likes of the Medellin and Cali cocaine cartels in Colombia, Juan Garcia Abrego in Mexico, and heroin traffickers in Pakistan and Turkey.

Efforts To Combat International Crime

All international criminal organizations ultimately share the same goal: creating a secure operating environment for their criminal ventures. To do so they try to manipulate and, where possible, dominate legitimate governments by corrupting key officials. Informal alliances of drug traffickers and other criminal organizations exploited the openness of post-Cold War Europe to establish operating hubs in key countries in Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. They also set their sights on the United States, as demonstrated by the emergence of Russia-based, organized crime networks in major U.S. cities.

Emerging crimes such as trafficking in women and children, and high-tech and intellectual property rights crimes demanded more attention of the Clinton administration, even as it continued to address money laundering, alien smuggling, stolen cars, and firearms trafficking. Together, these crimes took a substantial toll on the U.S. economy and foreign interests. The United States paid through higher costs and poorer quality of goods and services and lower standards of living at home because, in increasingly dangerous, uncertain, and unregulated foreign environments, it could not protect its investments abroad.

The Clinton administration was the first to perceive international organized crime as a threat to U.S. citizens and the nation's interests. To address these additional threats, the State Department expanded INM's mandate in 1994 to include programs that combated international crime and supported U.S. law enforcement interests overseas. Subsequently, the name of the bureau was changed to the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

On October 21, 1995, President Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive 42 (PDD-42) on International Organized Crime, ordering U.S. Government agencies to intensify their international crime-fighting efforts. As a result, U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic, and other key officials worked more effectively and closely than ever to combat international crime bilaterally, regionally and globally.

The President announced the first U.S. International Crime Control Strategy in May 1998. (Document VII-4) INL and other concerned U.S. law enforcement agencies developed it as a roadmap for a coordinated, effective, long-term attack on international crime. The strategy called for a comprehensive interagency assessment of the threat posed by international crime to the United States and an unclassified version of that report was released in December 2000. This assessment was designed to assist the next administration in building on its predecessor's record of accomplishment.

The State Department actively worked with other concerned governments through extradition treaties, mutual legal assistance agreements, information exchanges, law enforcement training, and technical assistance to combat transnational crime. INL's global training and technical assistance programs addressed criminal activities including trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, money laundering, and related financial fraud, small arms trafficking, and public corruption.

INL concluded agreements with U.S. law enforcement agencies to carry out anti-crime training and development programs to ensure that foreign authorities had the skills, confidence, professionalism, contacts, and resources necessary to identify and investigate the most serious forms of international crime. As a result, the amount of training provided under the Clinton administration more than doubled, from 166 courses in 82 countries (1993) to 401 courses in 96 countries (1999).

To advance foreign law enforcement cooperation, INL worked with the FBI, DEA, Customs, and other federal agencies to fund and supervise International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) in Budapest (established in 1995) and Bangkok (1998). These regional centers trained thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world on the best practices and techniques for conducting criminal investigations. At the end of the Clinton era, plans were underway to open an Academy in Botswana in early 2001.

Enhancing Civilian Police Operations

During the Clinton administration, INL increased the availability of U.S. police officers and related specialists to serve in UN civilian police missions and bilateral programs in Haiti, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, and East Timor, among other places. With well over 850 Americans currently deployed overseas, the United States was the largest single contributor of civilian police.

Secretary Albright's vision of an enhanced civilian police capacity in peace operations prompted the development of Presidential Decision Directive 71 (PDD-71) in February 2000. (Document VII-5) INL led an implementation process that would improve U.S. ability to provide police and justice sector assistance in peace operations. INL prepared to establish a "ready roster" of 2,000 pre-screened and trained civilian police. By increasing the number of prospective recruits, INL would have a larger pool to draw upon when the need for mission-specific training arose. The ready pool of candidates would facilitate faster mobilization.

Negotiating a UN Convention

In the last 2 years of the Clinton administration, INL led an interagency initiative to negotiate the first multilateral treaty to fight organized crime. On December 13, 2000, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Frank Loy signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo, Italy. The convention required parties to criminalize activities associated with organized crime, including conspiracy, money laundering, corruption of public officials and obstruction of justice. It also provided a framework for law enforcement cooperation and mutual legal assistance for these and other serious offenses when they involved an organized criminal group and had a transnational component. (Document VII-6)

Combating Trafficking in Persons/Smuggling of Migrants

Two related protocols addressing trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants were also signed in Palermo at the end of 2000. The protocols to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime specifically required that parties have laws criminalizing these activities. INL's public and other diplomacy efforts helped garner international support for these protocols, a significant step toward increasing global cooperation against these crimes.

In addition to the protocols, the State Department expanded its efforts to combat smuggling of illegal aliens and the trafficking in persons into a worldwide program. INL's anti-alien smuggling programs began with efforts primarily focused on stopping alien smuggling from Asia, often through Central and South America. INL's provision of model legislation and other assistance was instrumental in getting Western Hemisphere, East European, and other governments to enact new anti-alien smuggling laws.

On trafficking, INL's foreign assistance programs sought to pursue the objectives of the "three Ps": prevention of trafficking in human beings; protection and assistance for trafficking victims; and prosecution of and enforcement against traffickers. From supporting non-governmental organizations' programs to strengthening law enforcement efforts against trafficking in women and children in Russia to promoting anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns in India, INL had major training, outreach, and assistance efforts underway on virtually every continent to stop this modern-day slavery trade.

The Clinton administration also announced in December 2000 that the Departments of State and Justice would establish a Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Coordination Center, pursuant to the goals established in the President's International Crime Control Strategy Report. The purpose of this interagency initiative was to achieve greater integration and overall effectiveness in U.S. Government enforcement and other response efforts.

Tracking and Seizing Illegal Assets

U.S. global initiatives during the Clinton administration helped foreign jurisdictions to strengthen and better regulate financial institutions and made it easier for authorities to identify and track money laundering and seize the assets of organized crime. INL fostered a global network of investigators, prosecutors, and regulators who traded financial-related information daily and funded efforts that exposed some of the biggest money launderers. Working with foreign law enforcement, banking, and regulatory officials, U.S. authorities confiscated hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and bank accounts from organized crime syndicates.

The international financial community, working through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and FATF-like regional bodies, made considerable headway in closing off the major avenues for legitimizing the proceeds of international crime. Long gone were the days when organizations could bank large blocks of cash or transfer enormous sums to anonymous bank accounts with no questions asked. Yet the progress only blocked off some of the more obvious money laundering channels.

INL and other U.S. Government agencies (i.e., Treasury, Justice) continued to work with FATF to identify countries and territories around the world that were not cooperating in anti-money laundering efforts. By issuing financial advisories that alerted financial institutions to the risks of dealing with these entities, public and other pressures were brought to bear on these governments to tighten and improve their anti-money laundering regulations and enforcement.

Tracking and Halting Trafficking in Small Arms

Following the conclusion of the land mine treaty, world attention turned increasingly to the small arms proliferation problem. In 2000, as many as 500 million small arms were possibly awash in the world. Their wide dissemination and easy access fueled crime, violence, and instability worldwide.

In 1997, INL led one of the important first steps towards strengthening international efforts against this threat: the negotiation of the OAS Convention against Illicit Firearms Trafficking. The Convention called for members to criminalize the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking of firearms, and provided for important record keeping, marking, and other requirements to help track the source of illicit guns.

Efforts were underway at the end of the Clinton administration to negotiate a UN Protocol to Combat the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms. INL also focused on stopping the illegal small arms trade in Africa, a source of serious civil strife and instability. This was especially true when small arms trafficking became intrinsically linked to the illicit traffic in contraband gems, a primary source of financing for some of the region's combatants.

Fighting Corruption

In February 1999, INL organized and coordinated the Vice President's Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity among Justice and Security Officials. (See Document II-8) Over 500 delegates from 92 nations attended the conference, including one head of state, five vice presidents, and more than 50 officials of ministerial or equivalent rank. Following that conference, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs coordinated a first-ever U.S. International Strategy against Corruption, consolidating anti-corruption efforts of many U.S. Government agencies.

INL continued to coordinate a growing number and variety of international anti-corruption initiatives and activities. These included addressing official corruption in UN negotiations on organized crime and in the G-8 and other diplomatic forums; promoting regional anti-corruption initiatives in the Americas, Europe and the NIS, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere; and substantially expanding crime control assistance devoted to measures against corruption.

In May 2000, the State Department published a unique brochure, Fighting Global Corruption: Business Risk Management, to assist global businesses and organizations in developing an anti-corruption strategy and to stress the important relationship between corporate governance by businesses and public governance by governments.

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