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Algeria

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Angola

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Azerbaijan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Brunei

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Burkina Faso

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Burundi

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Central African Republic

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

Serious violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, including unlawful killings, torture and other mistreatment, abductions, sexual assaults, looting, and destruction of property, were perpetrated by all armed groups in the conflict, including the ex-Seleka and the anti-Balaka, whose fighters operated freely across much of the country, facilitated by the widespread circulation of small arms.

MINUSCA documented 492 human rights violations or abuses, or violations of international humanitarian law, between February and June, including against 103 women and 172 children. These incidents included arbitrary killings, violations of physical integrity, conflict-related sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and abductions.

Killings: In May self-defense groups reportedly associated with anti-Balaka forces killed 115 persons in the town of Bangassou, Mbomou Prefecture. The conflict displaced several thousand persons, with some fleeing to the nearby Democratic Republic of the Congo. Six UN peacekeepers were also killed. As of September 1, a total of 2,000 Muslim displaced persons were still sheltering at the Catholic seminary in the town.

On May 2, in the town of Niem between Bouar and the Cameroonian border, members of the 3R rebel group reportedly shot nine men in the head in a church, killing them.

Abductions: The LRA, ex-Seleka, anti-Balaka, and other armed groups abducted numerous persons. According to MINUSCA, abductions and hostage taking were used to extort money from relatives, press authorities into releasing incarcerated colleagues, and intimidate populations into allowing armed groups to impose authority.

Kidnappings by the LRA reportedly continued. For example, on February 11, in the village of Derbissaka in the eastern region, the LRA abducted two women, burned their homes, and burned and looted their businesses.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Members of armed groups reportedly continued to rape girls and women with impunity.

The ex-Seleka and forces associated with anti-Balaka groups reportedly mistreated, beat, and raped civilians in the course of the conflict. In an October 5 report, Human Rights Watch documented widespread use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. It reported 305 cases of sexual slavery and rape carried out against 296 women and girls by members of armed groups between early 2013 and mid-2017. Anti-Balaka and Seleka armed groups used sexual violence as revenge for perceived support of those on the other side of the sectarian divide.

There were reports peacekeeping forces, including MINUSCA and international contingents, exploited women and children (see section 1.c.).

Child Soldiers: Reports of unlawful use and recruitment of child soldiers continued during the year. According to estimates by UNICEF, armed groups recruited between 6,000 and 10,000 child soldiers during the latest conflict through 2015; some remained with armed groups. NGOs reported that armed groups sent recruited children to fight, used them for sexual purposes, and as cooks, porters, or messengers. According to the UN independent expert, the LRA forced children to commit atrocities such as killing village residents, abducting or killing other children, and looting and burning villages.

According to the 2016 Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, the United Nations documented 40 cases of child recruitment and use in 2015; more than half the cases were perpetrated by the LRA and more than a quarter by ex-Seleka factions of the UPC. Armed groups forced children to be combatants, messengers, informants, and cooks, and they used girls as sex slaves. In addition the United Nations documented the presence of children manning checkpoints and barricades alongside armed individuals reportedly sympathetic to or affiliated with anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka elements.

During the first phase of the pilot national Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, and Repatriation Consultative Committee plan in September in Bangui, two minors (both age 17) applied to participate. One presented a firearm. UNICEF took both minors into its care.

Also see the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Chad

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Chile

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

Both local and foreign-influenced conflicts continued in parts of the East, particularly in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Tanganyika, Ituri, Upper Uele, Lower Uele, Kongo Central, and provinces in the Kasai region. Foreign RMGs, such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Allied Democratic Forces/National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF/NALU), the National Forces of Liberation (FNL), and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), as well as indigenous RMGs such as different Mai Mai (local militia) groups, Kamuina Nsapu, and Bundu Dia Kongo, continued to battle government forces and one another and to attack civilian populations.

There were reports the government provided support to the ADF, at least two local militias fighting the FDLR, and three militia groups in the Kasai region. In June the UN high commissioner for human rights stated he was “appalled” by reports that government authorities had created and armed a local militia called Bana Mura to fight Kamuina Nsapu militants in the Kasai region. According to the UN high commissioner, the Bana Mura targeted civilians of the Luba and Lulua ethnic groups for extrajudicial killing, and on April 24, killed dozens of men, women, and children of those communities with firearms or machetes, or burnt them to death. The high commissioner stated that hundreds of Bana Mura assailants also allegedly attacked the health center in the village of Cinq and killed approximately 90 patients, medical personnel, and others.

By impeding humanitarian aid and development assistance in some areas, the fighting in the east exacerbated an already severe humanitarian crisis. There were credible reports that local authorities also impeded humanitarian assistance in Tanganyika Province, where thousands of persons have been displaced by violence between the Twa and Luba communities.

There were credible reports that the SSF and RMGs perpetrated serious human rights abuses during internal conflicts. These RMGs included the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo, the ADF, the FDLR, the Forces of the Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FRPI), the LRA, various ethnic Hutu factions of Nyatura, the Nduma Defense of Congo, Raia Mutomboki, Kamuina Nsapu, Bana Mura, ethnic Tshokwe and Pende militias, several Burundian antigovernment militias, and the following Mai Mai groups: Mazembe, Charles Shetani, and William Yakutumba, among others. Bakata Katanga leader Gedeon Kyungu Mutunga, who in 2009 was convicted in a national court for crimes against humanity but escaped from prison in 2011, surrendered to the government in October 2016 and remained under a form of government-supported house arrest as of year’s end instead of being returned to prison. The government took no steps to hold him accountable.

The United Nations reported that the Kamuina Nsapu militia, based in the central Kasai region, carried out targeted killings of members of the military, police, public officials, and civilians perceived to cooperate with them (see section 1.a.). Kamuina Nsapu militants also allegedly targeted institutions of the Catholic Church for its perceived support of the government through its mediation of the December 2016 agreement. Due to the proliferation of militia groups using the “Kamuina Nsapu” name, however, it was difficult to determine which Kamuina Nsapu groups were responsible for certain attacks.

Kamuina Nsapu militias also committed serious human rights abuses against children (see section 6).

In October the ADF clashed with the FARDC and MONUSCO near Beni in the East, killing several FARDC and three MONUSCO troops and executing as many as 25 civilians. On December 7, an RMG attacked and killed 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers outside Beni.

The government took military action against several major RMGs, including establishing a new operational zone in the Kasai region to fight Kamuina Nsapu militias. Operational cooperation between MONUSCO and the government continued in the East but not in the Kasai region, where FARDC troops were accused of serious human rights abuses. MONUSCO and the FARDC cooperated against the FDLR, the ADF, and the FRPI during the year. Nduma Defense of Congo leader Ntabo Ntaberi Cheka, charged with crimes related to the 2010 Walikale rapes, surrendered to MONUSCO forces on July 25 and was transferred to government custody August 5.

There was widespread killing, rape, and displacement of civilians by ethnic militias in Tanganyika Province in clashes between ethnic Luba and ethnic Twa communities. The United Nations reported at least 58 persons were killed between January and June. During the same period, the United Nations documented rapes of at least 57 women, five children, and nine men committed by Twa militias. On February 5, Luba elements attacked the majority Twa village of Monde in Tanganyika Province, shooting and killing at least 30 persons and injuring 50 others. In 2015, 10 Twa and 27 Lubas were charged with crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide. On September 30, a Lubumbashi appeal court convicted four of these individuals, sentencing them to 15 years’ imprisonment and the payment of $10,000 in reparation fees for the victims. The others were acquitted.

On March 31, the UN Security Council extended MONUSCO’s mandate for 12 months and renewed the intervention brigade to neutralize armed groups. The mandate prioritized protection of civilians and support to the implementation of the December 2016 agreement, and cut the troop ceiling by 3,600 military personnel. As of August 31, MONUSCO consisted of approximately 17,900 peacekeepers, military observers, and police.

Killings: In the Kasai region, CENCO reported that at least 3,383 civilians were killed from October 2016 to June by the SSF and RMG. According to reports by UN agencies and NGOs, the SSF summarily executed or otherwise killed 591 persons, including more than 200 children, from January to June. The United Nations confirmed the existence of as many as 89 mass graves in the Kasai region, where government and Kamuina Nsapu forces were blamed for widespread extrajudicial killings. According to the United Nations, the SSF prevented MONUSCO personnel from accessing some mass grave sites, including a suspected mass grave site located on the grounds of the FARDC officers training school in Kananga.

Abductions: UN agencies and NGOs reported that RMGs abducted individuals, generally to serve as porters or guides or to demand ransom. In August members of the LRA kidnapped at least 40 persons approximately 60 miles from Dungu in Haut Ulele Province. LRA militants robbed them of their belongings and took them into the forest. Two CENI controllers were among the group, and LRA militants reportedly stole information the agents were carrying from 18 enrollment centers as well as a satellite phone and money.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: UN agencies and NGOs reported the SSF arrested, illegally detained, raped, and tortured civilians. UN officials reported that the SSF “pre-emptively executed” children, including some as young as six months of age, in Kananga on March 28-30, allegedly to “prevent” them from joining the Kamuina Nsapu militia. The United Nations reported that in April FARDC soldiers arrested at least 30 individuals, including young boys, who were taken to Kamako village, where they were presented to the public as members of the RMG Kamuina Nsapu. Witness accounts indicated that some of the detainees were executed after digging their graves, while others were executed and dumped in a village well. According to media reports, members of the FARDC raped as many as 25 women in Makobola, 14 miles south of Uvira, in late September and mid-October after the withdrawal of a Mai Mai group that had been operating in the area.

RMGs committed abuses in rural areas of North Kivu, South Kivu, Katanga Orientale, and the Kasai provinces, including killing, raping, and torturing civilians. On June 4, FRPI combatants attacked the town of Mandje in Ituri Province, beating at least three men, raping at least five women, and setting at least 12 homes on fire. FRPI militants reportedly vandalized a government building and looted houses and shops. In certain areas in the east, RMGs looted, extorted, illegally taxed, and kidnapped civilians, often for ransom. For example, in the territory of Lubero, NDC combatants imposed taxes on populations under their control and used violence to enforce payment.

RMG members raped men, women, and minors as part of the violence among and between them and the FARDC. Statistics on rape, including rape of males, were not available.

Child Soldiers: From January through June, the MONUSCO Child Protection Section reported at least 868 children were separated from RMGs and that nearly 37 percent of these were under 15 years of age when recruited, which could constitute a war crime. This represented a 40 percent increase in overall recruitment and a 13 percent increase in children under 15 compared to the same period in 2016. UNICEF assisted the children through a number of NGOs. These children were separated from various RMGs known generally as Mai Mai groups (151), Nyatura (149), Kamuina Nsapu (97), the Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda-Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FOCA) (94), Raia Mutomboki (86), Nduma Defense of Congo /Renove/Guidon (45), FDLR-Rassemblement Uni pour la Democratie (FDLR-RUD) (29), the FDLR (29), the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (20), Front Populaire pour la Democratie (FPD)/Shetani (15), and other groups. Most of the children were separated in North Kivu (73 percent), followed by the Kasai region (12 percent), Ituri (7 percent), and South Kivu (5 percent). Eight children were separated from government forces, although these children were not recruited into government forces. Of those eight cases, five children were separated from a rogue FARDC commander in Ituri and three were separated from a single police officer in the national police.

According to the United Nations, children made up approximately 50-70 percent of Kamuina Nsapu militia ranks, including those used as fighters and human shields. In July the special representative to the secretary general reported thousands of children were estimated to be associated with Kamuina Nsapu; only 375 had been separated to date. There were credible reports that Kamuina Nsapu leaders slashed children across their stomachs to see if they would survive and how the wound would heal as part of an initiation ritual prior to being deployed as human shields or child soldiers. Some children reportedly died as a result of this initiation process.

The SSF continued to arrest and detain children for their association with armed groups. The United Nations secured the release of 474 children from Kananga prison in Kasai Central Province where they were held on allegations of association with Kamuina Nsapu militias. Some children reported having been held for weeks at other remote facilities before being transferred to Kananga.

A presidential advisor on sexual violence and child recruitment, appointed in 2014, raised awareness of the problems of sexual violence throughout the country and encouraged efforts to remove child soldiers from the SSF and provide services to victims. There were no reports of recruitment of child soldiers by the FARDC during the year, but there was evidence of FARDC support to armed groups that recruited and used children in hostilities. The government cooperated with international organizations to eliminate recruitment and remove children from the SSF and RMGs.

Also see the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Other Conflict-related Abuse: Fighting between the FARDC and RMGs continued to displace populations and limit humanitarian access, particularly in the Kasai provinces; Rutshuru, Walikale, Lubero, Beni, and Nyiragongo territories in North Kivu Province; South Kivu Province; and Tanganyika Province.

In North Kivu, South Kivu, East Kasai, and Upper Katanga provinces, RMGs and FARDC soldiers continued to illegally tax, exploit, and trade natural resources for revenue and power. Clandestine trade in minerals and other natural resources facilitated the purchase of weapons and reduced government revenues. The natural resources most exploited were gold, cassiterite (tin ore), coltan (tantalum ore), and wolframite (tungsten ore) but also included wildlife products, timber, charcoal, and fish.

According to media and civil society, the LRA trafficked in elephant ivory from Garamba National Park to finance its operations, likely by smuggling ivory through the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the disputed Kafia Kingi region controlled by Sudan, to link with illicit networks transferring these goods to China.

The illegal trade in minerals was both a symptom and a cause of weak governance. It financed the SSF and RMGs, and sometimes generated revenue for traditional authorities and local and provincial governments. With enhanced government regulation encouraged by global advocacy efforts and donor support, the mining of cassiterite, coltan, and wolframite resulted in a small but increasing amount of legal conflict-free export from North and South Kivu, Upper Katanga, and Maniema provinces. The SSF and RMGs continued to control, extort, and threaten remote mining areas in North Kivu, South Kivu, East Kasai, and Upper Katanga provinces but had much less influence in Maniema Province.

The law prohibits the FARDC and RMGs from engaging in mineral trade, but the government did not effectively enforce the law. Criminal involvement by FARDC units and RMGs included protection rackets, extortion, and theft. There were unsubstantiated reports government officials were involved in illegal gold mining.

The UN group of experts (UNGOE) reported that several RMGs and elements of the FARDC profited from illegal trade and exploitation in the minerals sector (see section 7.b.). The UNGOE also reported that smuggling of minerals continued in the east and from there to Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.

Equatorial Guinea

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Ethiopia

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Gabon

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Ghana

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Guinea

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Guinea-Bissau

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Guyana

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Iran

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Iraq

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

Killings: From January 1 to June 30, UNAMI reported a minimum of 5,700 civilian casualties, including at least 2,429 persons killed and 3,277 injured. It was not clear how many civilians were intentionally targeted.

According to international human rights organizations, some Shia militias, including some under the PMF umbrella, committed abuses and atrocities. The groups participated in operations against ISIS as part of the PMF and were implicated in several attacks on Sunni civilians, reportedly avenging ISIS crimes against the Shia community. For example, in September HRW reported that Shia PMF fighters affiliated with the Badr Organization detained and beat at least 100 male villagers and allegedly shot and killed four who self-identified as ISIS-affiliated during counter-ISIS operations outside Hawija.

ISIS was the major perpetrator of abuses and atrocities in the country, responsible for deaths of many innocent civilians. The United Nations, international human rights groups, and media reported that ISIS executed hundreds of noncombatants, including civilians living under, or trying to flee from, its rule. From May 26-29, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ISIS killed more than 200 civilians as they attempted to flee fighting in western Mosul.

These abuses were particularly evident in and around Mosul, as well as western Anbar, where ISIS reportedly killed numerous civilians who attempted to flee ISIS rule or refused to fight the ISF. There were also numerous reports of ISIS killing civilians in al-Qa’im, Anbar Governorate, in August and September for allegedly cooperating with ISF or attempting to flee to liberated territory.

Throughout the year ISIS detonated vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and suicide bombs in public markets, security checkpoints, and predominantly Shia neighborhoods. For example, ISIS claimed responsibility for September 14 attacks on a checkpoint and restaurant in Dhi Qar that killed 94 civilians.

ISIS also reportedly killed individuals, including minors, who did not conform to ISIS dictates. For example, on August 3, ISIS reportedly killed a 12-year-old boy publicly in al-Qa’im, Anbar Governorate, for verbally insulting ISIS members.

Abductions: Militias, criminal armed groups, ISIS, and other unknown actors kidnapped many persons during the year. While in some cases individuals were kidnapped due to their ethnic or sectarian identity, other individuals were taken for financial motives. ISIS reportedly detained children in schools, prisons, and airports, and separated girls from their families to sell them in ISIS-controlled areas for sexual slavery.

According to Yezidi NGO contacts, since 2014 ISIS caused more than 360,000 Yezidis to flee to areas under KRG control. The KRG Office of Yezidi Rescues reported ISIS kidnapped 6,417 Yezidis (3,547 women and 2,870 men); of that number, the office facilitated the rescue of 1,108 women, 335 men, and 1,635 children. The office reported there were 3,319 Yezidis still missing as of September.

In May, COR member Vian Dakhil reported the KRG had paid more than 5.8 billion Iraqi dinars ($5.0 million) in ransom to secure the release of 3,004 Yezidis from ISIS, and more than 69.9 million Iraqi dinars ($60,000) to middlemen to arrange safe passage to IKR-controlled areas.

Kidnappings also were a tactic used in tribal conflicts throughout the country. For example, Basrah police reported four tribal dispute-linked kidnappings during the year.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Reports from international human rights groups stated that government forces and PMF abused prisoners and detainees, particularly Sunnis (see section 1.a.).

According to international human rights organizations, ISIS used torture to punish individuals connected to the security services and government, as well as those they considered apostates, such as Yezidis. Thousands of women, particularly those from ethnic and religious communities that ISIS considered as not conforming to their doctrine of Islam, were raped, sexually enslaved, murdered, and endured other forms of physical and sexual violence.

ISIS forces killed civilians who cooperated with the government and anyone who refused to recognize ISIS and its caliphate or tried to escape ISIS-controlled territory. For example, in September ISIS reportedly killed 10 civilians in Hawija for allegedly cooperating with the ISF. ISIS also punished minors in areas under its control.

ISIS attempted to attack both ISF units and civilian-populated areas with chemical substances, including chlorine and sulfur mustard gas. For example, in March humanitarian agencies reported ISIS used chemicals containing blistering agents during the ISF’s battle to liberate Mosul.

Child Soldiers: There were no reports that the central government’s Ministries of Interior or Defense conscripted or recruited children to serve in the security services. Some armed militia groups, however, under the banner of the PMF, provided weapons training and military-style physical fitness conditioning to children under age 18. The government and Shia religious leaders expressly forbid children under age 18 from serving in combat; even so, there was evidence on social media of children serving in combat positions. For example, local media reported at least one PMF-linked Shia militia managed a military readiness training camp for teenagers below age 18 in the Taza area south of Kirkuk during the summer months.

KRG and independent sources stated the Yezidi Resistance Forces and Yezidi Women’s Protection Units’ militias employed Yezidi minors in paramilitary roles in Sinjar. Kurdish media reported that the Kurdistan Worker’s Party recruited children from Sulaimaniyah and Halabja Governorates and had armed and transferred more than 250 Yezidi youth from the town of Sinjar to bases in Qandil. Media reported the party also recruited children from Makhmour. Turkish air strikes in April killed one child soldier in Khanasour District of Sinjar.

ISIS forced children to serve as informants, checkpoint staff, and suicide bombers in areas under its control. The NGO Yazda claimed ISIS continued to force Yezidi children into combat roles, including sending young boys to conduct suicide attacks against the ISF in Mosul.

Also see the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Other Conflict-related Abuse: Conflict disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of persons throughout the country, particularly in Baghdad, Anbar, and Ninewa Governorates.

The government, the PMF, and ISIS established roadblocks that impeded the flow of humanitarian assistance to communities in need. Local officials reported PMF-affiliated militias looted Kurdish homes and threatened Kurdish residents in Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu in October and November. The KRG, specifically KDP-run checkpoints, also restricted the transport of food, medicines, and medical supplies, and other goods into some areas. In September, Yazda accused the KDP of using checkpoints to prevent Yezidi IDP returns to southern Sinjar. Local sources reported that Asayish required clearance letters for anyone to cross the main bridge from Dahuk to Ninewa.

Reports of ISIS’s targeted destruction of civilian infrastructure were common, including attacks on roads, religious sites, and hospitals.

ISIS attacked cultural and religious heritage sites in areas under its control. On June 21, ISIS destroyed the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, famed for its leaning minaret.

ISIS increasingly used civilians as human shields in combat and targeted civilian areas with mortars. Amnesty International reported that ISIS used hundreds of Mosul residents as human shields during the ISF’s campaign to retake the city from ISIS control.

Kazakhstan

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Kuwait

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Liberia

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Libya

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Madagascar

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Malawi

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Mali

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Mauritania

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Mongolia

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Mozambique

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g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

Unlike in 2016 the country did not experience significant internal conflict abuses during the year.

The government and the main opposition party, the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo), made significant progress toward reaching a settlement to end armed confrontations that began in 2015. The settlement included a series of temporary truces beginning in December 2016 and an indefinite cessation of hostilities announced in May. The government claimed it investigated some claims of human rights abuses during the confrontations but did not provide formal findings. By year’s end none of the alleged abuses by security force members or Renamo militants were prosecuted or penalized administratively. Direct negotiations on decentralization of political power and Renamo demilitarization continued at year’s end.

Niger

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Oman

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Papua New Guinea

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Peru

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Qatar

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Republic of the Congo

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g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

In the Pool region, clashes between Ninja/Nsiloulou armed groups and government security forces continued, with credible allegations of abuse of civilians by both security forces and armed groups. Due to security concerns and limited access given by the government to the Pool region, no independent confirmation was possible, leading to uncertainty around the total number of military, armed group, or civilian deaths.

Killings: Military and armed groups reportedly killed civilians in conflict areas without public inquiry or accountability. Use of indiscriminate force also reportedly resulted in civilian deaths.

According to government sources, militia groups allegedly carried out more than 60 fatal attacks since the beginning of the conflict in April 2016.

Other Conflict-related Abuse: According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the government deliberately restricted the passage of relief supplies to the Pool region, including food, drinking water, and medical aid provided by impartial international humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations. In July the United Nations reported access to eight of 13 districts in the region had been limited since July of the previous year. It noted that while there was not a ban, instability impacted access to the region.

Conflict in the Pool region led to the displacement of more than 81,000 civilians, although estimates were difficult to verify. A UN humanitarian report said the government systematically burned and destroyed approximately half of homes in some villages in the region. According to NGOs, authorities ordered villagers in the region to flee the area, obligating them to walk many miles to larger urban areas. NGOs also reported a series of lootings by security forces in the region.

Russia

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g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

Violence continued in some North Caucasus republics, driven by jihadist movements, interethnic conflict, personal and clan-based vendettas, and excesses by security forces. According to statistics compiled by the Caucasian Knot, the total number of deaths and injuries during the year resulting from armed the conflict decreased to 173 (125 deaths, 48 injured) from 280 (198 deaths, 82 injured) in 2016 across the North Caucasus. Dagestan remained the most violent area in the North Caucasus, accounting for approximately 32 percent of all casualties in the region during the year, although according to the Caucasian Knot, the overall number of casualties in Dagestan decreased by 73 percent. Local media described the level of violence in Dagestan as the result of Islamic militant insurgency tactics dating back to the Chechen conflict as well as of the high level of organized crime in the region. Chechnya was a close second, accounting for 25 percent of all casualties in the region.

Killings: The Caucasian Knot reported that at least 125 deaths in the North Caucasus resulted from armed conflicts in the region. With 46 and 35 deaths from armed conflict through December 2017, Dagestan and Chechnya, respectively, were the most deadly regions. Of the deaths in Chechnya, 18 were militants, five were civilians, and 12 were law enforcement officers. The independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta alleged in a July report that between 27 and 56 individuals detained as a result of counterterrorism operations were summarily executed by Chechen law enforcement authorities, although the government denied the allegations and remains of those allegedly executed were not produced. Of the deaths in Dagestan, 35 were militants, five were civilians, and six were law enforcement officers.

There continued to be reports that use of indiscriminate force by security forces resulted in numerous deaths or disappearances and that authorities did not prosecute the perpetrators.

In the wake of a December 2016 terror attack in Groznyy, Chechen security forces conducted broad “counterterror” operations in December 2016 and January in which they claimed to have detained “hundreds” of suspected militants. On July 9, Novaya Gazetareported that on January 27, Chechen security services summarily executed 27 individuals detained in the raids. When Human Rights Ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova investigated the allegations, Chechen authorities claimed that several of the alleged victims were either alive, had died of “natural causes,” or had left to fight in Syria. Authorities sought to disprove the deaths of two individuals allegedly executed by ostensibly presenting them in person to Moskalkova on her visit to Chechnya’s capital. The Memorial Human Rights Center reported, however, that the two young men presented to Moskalkova were in fact the brothers of those allegedly killed. On July 27, the BBC Russian Service reported authorities forced the relatives of the 27 missing Chechens to sign documents saying the missing persons fled Chechnya to Syria or simply had left home. Novaya Gazeta reported intense pressure on the families to cease their cooperation with investigators, the human rights ombudswoman, and the press.

Local militants engaged in isolated violent acts against local security forces, at times resulting in deaths. On August 28, two police officers in Dagestan were killed by militant retaliatory fire and one was injured.

Abductions: Government personnel, militants, and criminal elements continued to engage in abductions in the North Caucasus. According to the prosecutor general, as of 2011 there were more than 2,000 unsolved disappearances in the North Caucasus District. According to data from Caucasian Knot, the official list of missing persons in the North Caucasus contained 7,570 names. Local activists asserted that the number of missing persons in Chechnya was much higher than officially reported, potentially up to 20,000 individuals.

According to independent observers, Chechnya saw a marked increase in disappearances of citizens during the year. Independent observers and journalists believed that in most cases in which individuals disappeared they had been detained or abducted by government forces or law enforcement officials and had been imprisoned or killed. The Caucasian Knot news website reported that since the beginning of the year, relatives of at least 43 persons reported their abduction or disappearance. In many cases relatives of missing persons who informally or publicly appealed to regional or federal authorities for help ultimately recanted their pleas and apologized for making “false statements.”

On November 17, Amnesty International issued a statement of concern about the welfare of Chechen asylum seeker Imran Salamov, whom authorities forcibly returned to the country from Belarus on September 5. Although Salamov’s wife and lawyer met with him at the Groznyy City Police Headquarters on September 11, Salamov subsequently disappeared and authorities claimed that he was not in their custody. On October 6, Salamov’s wife and lawyer lodged a complaint with the prosecutor’s office of the Chechen Republic and subsequently received threats from members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs warning them of future problems for Imran Salamov if they failed to withdraw their complaint. At year’s end, Salamov’s whereabouts remained unknown.

Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Armed forces and police units reportedly abused and tortured both militants and civilians in holding facilities.

On April 1, Novaya Gazeta reported that Chechen security services kidnapped, secretly held prisoner, and tortured more than 100 male residents in Chechnya based on their suspected sexual orientation, resulting in at least three deaths (see section 1.a.).

The law requires relatives of terrorists to pay the cost of damages caused by an attack, which human rights advocates criticized as collective punishment. The Memorial Human Rights Center reported Chechen Republic authorities upheld the principle of collective responsibility by punishing the relatives of alleged members of illegal armed groups.

Saudi Arabia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

In 2015 Saudi officials announced the formation of a coalition to counter the 2014 attempted overthrow of the Yemeni government by militias of the Ansar Allah movement (also known colloquially as “Houthis”) and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Membership in the coalition included the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, and Senegal. The Saudi-led coalition conducted air and ground operations in Yemen throughout 2015, 2016, and during the year.

Killings: The United Nations, NGOs, media, and humanitarian and other international organizations reported what they characterized as disproportionate use of force by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, including the Saudi-led coalition. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that between March 2015 and December 14, an estimated 5,558 civilians had been killed and 9,065 injured as result of the war in Yemen, without noting responsibility.

Coalition airstrikes resulted in civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure on multiple occasions. An airstrike on a guesthouse in Arhab, Yemen, on August 23 killed at least 60 persons and another in Faj Attan, on August 25, killed at least 14, with dozens more wounded, according to international media reports.

The government established the JIAT in 2016 to identify lessons and corrective actions and to cue national accountability mechanisms, as appropriate. The Riyadh-based group consisted of military and civilian members from coalition member states who investigated allegations of civilian casualties as well as claims by international organizations that humanitarian aid convoys and infrastructure were targeted by the coalition.

On August 26, the JIAT released a statement concerning the August 25 incident in Faj Attan, stating, “implementation procedures and the presence of a technical mistake was the cause” of the incident. The JIAT had publicly announced the results of 15 investigations during the year.

Other Conflict-related Abuse: Yemeni rebels conducted cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia, including launching more than 40,000 projectiles into Saudi territory since March 2015, destroying hospitals, schools, homes, and other infrastructure. On November 4 and December 19, Houthi militias launched ballistic missiles from Yemen that reached Riyadh. In response the Saudi-led coalition blocked all imports, including humanitarian aid, at all Yemini air and sea ports and land border crossings. On November 25, the coalition began opening some ports and all land border crossings to allow limited access to aid supplies. On December 20, the coalition announced it would allow the entry of ships carrying humanitarian and commercial cargo, including food and fuel vessels, to the key rebel-held port of Hudaydah for a period of 30 days.

There were continuing reports of restrictions on the free passage of relief supplies and of humanitarian organizations’ access to individuals most in need, perpetrated by all sides in the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition. Some media reported the Yemeni government and/or the Saudi-led coalition delayed or denied clearance permits for humanitarian and commercial aid shipments bound for rebel-held Red Sea ports, particularly Hudaydah port. Aid agencies, including some affiliated with the United Nations, continued to advocate with the Saudi-led coalition for Sana’a International Airport to be reopened to commercial flights for the purposes of allowing patients to seek medical treatment abroad.

For additional details, including additional information on the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen, see the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights for Yemen.

Sierra Leone

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Solomon Islands

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Somalia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Suriname

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Timor-Leste

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Togo

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Turkmenistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Uganda

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

United Arab Emirates

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

g. Abuses in Internal Conflict

In March 2015 in response to a request from Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi for Arab League/Gulf Cooperation Council military intervention, Saudi officials announced the formation of a coalition to counter the 2014 overthrow of the legitimate government in Yemen by militias of the Ansar Allah movement (also known colloquially as “Houthis”) and forces loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudi-led coalition, which also includes the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, and Senegal, conducted air and ground operations that continued throughout the year. UAE forces continued an active military role in Yemen, including conducting ground operations against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (ISIS-Y) in southern Yemen.

The UN, NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI), and some Yemeni sources voiced human rights concerns about coalition activities in Yemen, claiming some Saudi-led coalition air strikes have been disproportionate or indiscriminate, and appeared not to sufficiently minimize collateral impact on civilians. HRW called for the UAE to clarify its role in an alleged coalition attack in March on a boat off the western coast of Yemen that was carrying 145 Somalian civilians; government sources denied carrying out the attack.

Some press reports and human rights organizations alleged that UAE and UAE-supported local Yemeni forces abducted, arbitrarily detained, and tortured individuals as part of counterterrorism efforts in southern Yemen. HRW claimed the UAE maintained secret prisons in Yemen, estimated at 18 by the Associated Press, including at the Riyan airport in the south, allegedly detaining hundreds in counter AQAP and ISIS-Y operations. Former detainees and family members of prisoners reported cramped and unhygienic living conditions, beatings, electrical shocks and other abuses, including sexual assault. The UAE government denied that it maintained any secret prisons in Yemen or that it tortured prisoners there.

For additional details, see the Department of State’s Country Report on Human Rights for Yemen.

Uzbekistan

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

Zambia

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future