September 28, 2022

ACN Center

Area Control Network

Secretary Antony J. Blinken on the Release of the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

24 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

Press Briefing Room

MR PRICE:  Good afternoon.  Good to see everyone.

Today, I once again have the privilege of introducing and welcoming Secretary Blinken back to this briefing room so that he can mark the release of the 2021 Human Rights Report.  Secretary Blinken will have some opening remarks, and then he’ll take a couple of questions.

After that, I will then introduce Lisa Peterson, who’s the acting assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.  Acting Assistant Secretary Peterson will have remarks of her own, and then she will stick around for a few more questions, and then we’ll proceed with our regularly scheduled programming.

So without further ado, Secretary Blinken.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Ned, thank you very much.  So we got a full program for you this afternoon.  I am very pleased to be here with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Lisa Peterson to, indeed, introduce the 2021 Human Rights Report.

So this is the second time that I’ve joined the launch of this report as Secretary, because it’s important to U.S. foreign policy; it’s important to this department; it’s important to me personally.  For many years running, we have seen an alarming recession of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights in many parts of the world.  In the time since releasing our previous report, that backsliding has, unfortunately, continued.

In few places have the human consequences of this decline been as stark as they are in the Russian Government’s brutal war on Ukraine.  That’s especially true in recent weeks, as Russian forces have been pushed back from towns and cities they occupied or surrounded, and evidence mounts of their widespread atrocities.  We see what this receding tide is leaving in its wake – the bodies, hands bound, left on streets; the theaters, train stations, apartment buildings reduced to rubble with civilians inside.  We hear it in the testimonies of women and girls who’ve been raped and the besieged civilians starving and freezing to death.

In response, people and governments in every region are voicing their condemnation and calling for those responsible to be held accountable.  This global outcry has been clarifying.  In its disdain for human life and dignity, the Kremlin has reinvigorated a belief in people worldwide that there are human rights that everyone everywhere should enjoy, and underscored why these rights are worth defending.

At the same time, civil society, governments, and people around the world are rightly pointing out that Ukraine is, tragically, far from the only place where gross abuses are being perpetrated.  They want the international community to shine a spotlight on human rights abuses wherever they’re being committed and to bring the same urgency to stopping abuses and holding perpetrators accountable.

The United States shares that goal.  This report is just one of the ways that we’re working to achieve it.  It contains individual chapters on nearly 200 countries and territories, each of which offers factual, objective, and thorough accounting of their records on internationally recognized human rights.  Whether a country is a friend or one with which we have real differences, the measuring stick we apply is the same.

That reflects a core principle of human rights: they’re universal.  People of every nationality, race, gender, disability, and age are entitled to these rights no matter what they believe, whom they love, or any other characteristics.  This is especially important as a number of governments continue to claim, falsely, that human rights need to be applied based on the local context.  Little coincidence that many of the same governments are among the worst abusers of human rights.

The universal nature of human rights also means that we have to hold ourselves accountable to the same standards.  Even as this report looks outward to countries around the world, we’ve acknowledged from day one of this administration that we have challenges here in the United States.  We take seriously our responsibility to address these shortcomings, and we know that the way to do it matters: together with citizens and communities, out in the open, transparently – not trying to pretend problems don’t exist or sweeping them under a rug.

And in fact, that’s what distinguishes democracies – our willingness, our commitment to pursue that more perfect union.  And practicing what we preach at home gives us greater legitimacy when we encourage governments abroad to do the same thing.

The report also shows that the United States is concerned not only with civil and political rights, but also economic, social, cultural rights.  That means, for example, affirming that promoting access to education and health services, including for reproductive health, is just as critical to advancing human rights as defending freedom of expression and assembly.

These interconnected rights are critical to ensuring individuals can reach their full potential, and they’re critical to sustaining healthy democracies.

So with that context, let me highlight some of the most alarming findings of the report, which I want to emphasize covers the events of 2021.

Governments are growing more brazen in reaching across borders to threaten and attack critics.  To give just a few examples, over the last year alone, Iranian intelligence agents plotted to kidnap an Iranian American journalist from her home in Brooklyn; the Assad regime threatened Syrians who were cooperating with efforts in Germany’s courts to prosecute former officials for atrocities; the Lukashenka regime in Belarus forcibly diverted an international commercial flight to arrest an independent journalist.

Governments are locking up more critics at home.  Today, more than a million political prisoners are being held in over 65 countries.  They include more than 600 people unjustly imprisoned in Cuba for taking part in peaceful protests last July; countless Russian anti-corruption activists and opposition leaders, including Aleksey Navalny; opposition presidential candidates in Benin; and Egyptian advocates like human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer.

We’ve also seen a rise in governments arbitrarily detaining individuals to try to gain leverage in bilateral relationships, to use them as human pawns.

The Chinese Government continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, among other minority groups, to erode fundamental freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong, and to carry out systematic repression in Tibet.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s takeover precipitated a humanitarian crisis, and has resulted in serious erosion of human rights, from arbitrary detentions of women, protesters, and journalists, to reprisals against security forces for the former government, to growing restrictions on where women and girls can study or work.

In Ethiopia, all parties to the country’s conflict, as well as Eritrean forces, have committed atrocities, and thousands of Ethiopians are being unjustly detained in life-threatening conditions.

We invest so much effort into documenting these and other abuses year after year, not only because it aligns our most sacred values, but also because respect for human rights is a fundamental part of upholding the international rules-based order, which is crucial to America’s enduring security and prosperity.  Governments that violate human rights are almost always the same ones that flout other key parts of that order, just as – such as invading, coercing, or threatening trade rules – excuse me – threatening other countries or breaking trade rules.  So our interest in standing up for human rights isn’t only principled; it is vital to our national security.

Here are some of the other ways that we’re working to support human rights.  When senior members of the State Department travel abroad, we meet with human rights advocates, with journalists, and other frontline defenders, as do our ambassadors at every post, even when foreign governments make it clear that they wish we would not.

We work with the Treasury Department to apply sanctions and impose visa restrictions on human rights abusers and those who enable and profit from them through the Global Magnitsky Act, the Khashoggi Ban, and other tools.

We methodically collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of atrocities and make this information available to the appropriate bodies.  Indeed, it was the department’s rigorous documentation, which included our own fact finding and reports by a range of independent, impartial sources, including human rights organizations, that provided a basis for my determination last month that Burma’s military committed genocide and crimes against humanities against Rohingya.

We work with business to foster greater respect for human rights, both by encouraging compliance with labor standards and discouraging exports to governments and other entities that may use those goods or services to commit abuses.

We’re fully engaged in multilateral institutions, even flawed ones.  After regaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, we just led a successful effort to suspend Russia from that body, because a country that’s perpetrating gross and systematic violations of human rights shouldn’t sit on a body whose job it is to protect those rights.

And we’re working to strengthen democracy, human rights, and the fight against corruption through the Summit for Democracy.  Last December, President Biden convened 100 world leaders, as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector, for the first summit.  That kicked off a year of action that we’re in the midst of pursuing.  We’re focused on delivering progress, not just pronouncements, by encouraging countries to make concrete commitments to advance human rights and democracy.  And we’re holding one another to our pledges.

Before turning to questions, let me just thank everyone who’s had a hand in producing this report.  This is an enterprise that cuts across the entire State Department.  We have local staff and career officers in posts around the world as well as here in Washington whose determination and rigor are shining a bright light on these issues every single day, and the brave human rights defenders, journalists, and others documenting those abuses from up close, frequently at grave risk to themselves and their loved ones.  This is your report too, and we thank you for it.

So we’re approaching the 15-month mark since this administration took office.  We still don’t have a confirmed assistant secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.  Outstanding career officers have stepped up to lead a devoted DRL team that carries this mission forward, and I want to thank you, Lisa, in particular for exceptional service and stewardship at this time.

But for the United States to be the best possible advocate of human rights and democracy worldwide, we need a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary.  We have a highly qualified nominee for this position, Sarah Margon.  I urge the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to allow her nomination to move forward soon.

With that, I’m happy to start taking some questions, and then I’ll turn it over to Lisa.

MR PRICE:  Missy.

QUESTION:  Well, (inaudible) again.  Could you talk about how you think about the tension between the desire to elevate human rights as part of American foreign policy and the desire to halt this recession that you mentioned with the need to shore up alliances that are seen as crucial to American interests with some countries that have problematic human rights records?  I’m thinking of Egypt and its relationship with Palestinian authorities, or Saudi Arabia and its oil supplies.  How do you think about that tension?  And how do you respond to the criticism that the United States is implicitly condoning abuses by those governments?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So this not a new tension.  In some ways, it’s an age-old one.  And administrations that in the past and now ours that are putting human rights and democracy front and center in their foreign policy have to confront it, and we work through it every single day.  It’s different from country to country, partner to partner, circumstance to circumstance.

But I think what we’re doing is to just be very forthright in what we stand for, what we look for, and we try to work with countries to make progress.  And again, this varies from place to place, but we’re not holding back in what we’re saying.  We’re not holding back in what we’re trying to do, but we also are looking carefully to determine how we think we can be most effective in advancing the ball.  And whether that is focusing in public on some of the concerns, shortcomings, problems that we’re seeing, whether that’s pushing people in private, we have to make that judgment in each and every case.

Having said that, this report, a public report, is very clear about the issues, challenges, concerns we have across the world with nearly 200 countries.  And as I said before, it doesn’t distinguish between friend and foe.  We apply the same standard everywhere.  We do it publicly as in this report.  We do it publicly often when I have an opportunity to speak, including in the countries that we’re visiting where we have concerns.

But again, part of this is making determinations on how we think we can be most effective.  And in most cases, this is a process.  It’s not flipping a switch.  We don’t expect that things will change from one day to the other.  It’s the result of sustained engagement and trying to move partners along.

Finally, I’d just say that I think we have in a way added credibility, precisely because when it comes to our own shortcomings at home we’re not dodging them, we’re not ignoring them, we’re not denying them.  We’re confronting them directly, and in so doing we strengthen our position, we strengthen our voice in advancing rights.  But again, this is a process.  It’s not something that happens from one day to the next.  We’re engaged in it.  Let’s see where we are over the coming years and the progress that we make in individual places..

MR PRICE:  Francesco.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, you were mentioning the situation in Ukraine.  Have you made an assessment of any alleged use of chemical agents or weapons in Ukraine?  And how credible would you say the reports coming from the Mariupol area are, or do you have any intelligence about an imminent use of chemical weapons?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So when it comes to the reports you’re referring to, we’re not in a position to confirm anything.  I don’t think the Ukrainians are either.  But let me say this:  We had credible information that Russian forces may use a variety of riot-control agents, including tear gas, mixed with chemical agents, that would cause stronger symptoms to weaken and incapacitate entrenched Ukrainian fighters and civilians as part of the aggressive campaign to take Mariupol.  We shared that information with Ukraine as well as with other partners, and we’re in direct conversation with partners to try to determine what actually has happened.

So this is a real concern.  It’s a concern that we had from before the aggression started.  I think I’ve pointed to the possibility that these kinds of weapons would be used, and it’s something that we’re very, very focused on.

MR PRICE:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  All right.  Lisa, over to you.  Thanks, folks.  See you later.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

  • Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis to Ensure Polling Place Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today reached a settlement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis to ensure that St. Louis polling places are accessible during elections to individuals with mobility and vision impairments. 

    [Read More…]

  • Promoting Fair and Transparent Selection of Justices to Guatemala’s Constitutional Court
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Aircraft Noise: FAA Could Improve Outreach Through Enhanced Noise Metrics, Communication, and Support to Communities
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses established policies to assess potential noise effects of implementing performance-based navigation (PBN) at airports. FAA has been implementing PBN to allow aircraft to fly more precise flight paths intended to reduce flying time, fuel use, and emissions, and PBN may reduce aircraft noise for some communities. FAA uses the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) metric to meet legal requirements in assessing how these more precise flight paths—which can concentrate noise over a smaller area—might affect noise levels at various locations surrounding airports. DNL accounts for the noise intensity, duration, frequency, and time of occurrence for flights above a particular location over an average day. GAO’s analysis showed that because DNL combines the effects of several components of noise into a single metric, it does not provide a clear picture of the flight activity or associated noise levels at a given location. For example, 100 flights per day can yield the same DNL as one flight per day at a higher decibel level, due to the averaging effect of FAA’s metric (see figure). GAO’s analysis and other research demonstrate the limitations of FAA relying solely on DNL to identify potential noise problems. Also, community concerns about increased noise after PBN implementation, among other factors, have led to legal challenges and delays, reducing the realized benefits of PBN. Since no single metric can convey different noise effects, using additional metrics—such as changes in number of flights overhead—in designing proposed flight paths could help FAA identify and address potential noise concerns. Examples of Different Flight-Frequency and Sound Exposure Levels Resulting in a Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) of 65 decibels (dB) Over time, FAA has increased its community outreach efforts throughout the PBN implementation process. However, most community stakeholders GAO spoke with said information on potential noise impacts was not clear enough to understand the planned changes. For instance, because FAA’s description of the impacts is grounded in DNL, communities may not have the information needed to understand how the number of flights over each location is expected to change. Similar to the use of supplemental metrics in designing a flight path, using them in public outreach may help communities better understand expected noise changes. Furthermore, after implementing PBN, FAA primarily conducts outreach through community forums established to address noise concerns. However, members of some forums GAO spoke with were frustrated and unclear on how to productively engage with FAA to address noise concerns. FAA has some guidance on this process, but it is unclear about the extent to which communities can expect assistance from FAA in proposing changes to flight paths that cause noise concerns. Clearly communicating FAA’s expected role in this outreach to the public may help alleviate community frustration. Why GAO Did This Study As part of its effort to modernize the National Airspace System, FAA has been implementing new flight paths using satellite-based navigation, called PBN, at airports across the country. GAO reviewed FAA’s implementation of PBN with regard to noise and FAA’s related public outreach activities. This report discusses: (1) how FAA assesses potential noise impacts for proposed PBN changes; (2) the extent to which FAA’s noise impact analysis conveys expected changes; and (3) FAA’s community outreach related to PBN and actions to improve this outreach. GAO reviewed FAA documents and guidance related to PBN implementation and to community outreach and mathematically analyzed how DNL levels reflect changes in noise caused by aircraft overhead. GAO conducted case studies at 13 airports selected to achieve a range of perspectives based on annual operations, the timing of PBN implementation, and geographic location, among other factors. GAO interviewed FAA and local airport officials, industry stakeholders, and community representatives in the selected locations.

    [Read More…]

  • Joint Statement between the United States and Uzbekistan Following the Inaugural Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Dialogue
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Woman Charged in For-Profit Visa Fraud and Alien Smuggling Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Nevada woman was arrested today for her alleged role in a multi-year scheme to commit visa fraud and money laundering, and to illegally bring Chinese nationals into the United States for financial gain.

    [Read More…]

  • F-35 Sustainment: DOD Needs to Address Key Uncertainties as It Re-Designs the Aircraft’s Logistics System
    In U.S GAO News
    The Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is integral to supporting F-35 aircraft operations and maintenance. However, F-35 personnel at 5 locations GAO visited for its March 2020 report cited several challenges. For example, users at all 5 locations we visited stated that electronic records of F-35 parts in ALIS are frequently incorrect, corrupt, or missing, resulting in the system signaling that an aircraft should be grounded in cases where personnel know that parts have been correctly installed and are safe for flight. At times, F-35 squadron leaders have decided to fly an aircraft when ALIS has signaled not to, thus assuming operational risk to meet mission requirements. GAO found that DOD had not (1) developed a performance-measurement process for ALIS to define how the system should perform or (2) determined how ALIS issues were affecting overall F-35 fleet readiness, which remains below warfighter requirements. DOD recognizes that ALIS needs improvement and plans to leverage ongoing re-design efforts to eventually replace ALIS with a new logistics system. However, as DOD embarks on this effort, it faces key technical and programmatic uncertainties (see figure). Uncertainties about the Future F-35 Logistics Information System These uncertainties are complicated and will require significant planning and coordination with the F-35 program office, military services, international partners, and the prime contractor. For example, GAO reported in March 2020 that DOD had not determined the roles of DOD and the prime contractor in future system development and management. DOD had also not made decisions about the extent to which the new system will be hosted in the cloud as opposed to onsite servers at the squadron level. More broadly, DOD has experienced significant challenges sustaining a growing F-35 fleet. GAO has made over 20 recommendations to address problems associated with ALIS, spare parts shortages, limited repair capabilities, and inadequate planning. DOD has an opportunity to re-imagine the F-35’s logistics system and improve operations, but it must approach this planning deliberately and thoroughly. Continued attention to these challenges will help ensure that DOD can effectively sustain the F-35 and meet warfighter requirements. The F-35 Lightning II is DOD’s most ambitious and costly weapon system in history, with total acquisition and sustainment costs for the three U.S. military services who fly the aircraft estimated at over $1.6 trillion. Central to F-35 sustainment is ALIS—a complex system that supports operations, mission planning, supply-chain management, maintenance, and other processes. A fully functional ALIS is critical to the more than 3,300 F-35 aircraft that the U.S. military services and foreign nations plan to purchase. Earlier this year, DOD stated that it intends to replace ALIS with a new logistics system. This statement highlights (1) current user challenges with ALIS and (2) key technical and programmatic uncertainties facing DOD as it re-designs the F-35’s logistics system. This statement is largely based on GAO’s March 2020 report on ALIS ( GAO-20-316 ), as well as previous F-35 sustainment work. GAO previously recommended that DOD develop a performance-measurement process for ALIS, track how ALIS is affecting F-35 fleet readiness, and develop a strategy for re-designing the F-35’s logistics system. GAO also suggested that Congress consider requiring DOD to develop a performance-measurement process for its logistics system. DOD concurred with GAO’s recommendations and is taking actions to address them. For more information, contact Diana C. Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or

    [Read More…]

  • System Review Report of the GAO OIG Audit Organization (prepared by the Architect of the Capitol OIG)
    In U.S GAO News
    Government Auditing Standards require that each organization conducting engagements in accordance with these standards must obtain an external peer review. The objectives of a peer review are to determine whether (1) the reviewed audit organization’s system of quality control is suitably designed and (2) the organization is complying with its quality control system so that it has reasonable assurance that it is performing and reporting in conformity with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements in all material respects. Peer reviews of Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) must be conducted by reviewers independent of the audit organization being reviewed at least once every three years in accordance with guidance established by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. The GAO OIG received a peer review rating of “pass.” The Architect of the Capitol OIG completed the peer review of the GAO OIG audit organization for the year ending March 31, 2021 and concluded that the system of quality control has been suitably designed and complied with to provide the GAO OIG with reasonable assurance of performing and reporting in conformity with applicable professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements in all material respects. For more information, contact Mary Arnold Mohiyuddin at (202) 512-3087 or

    [Read More…]

  • Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty to Murder in Indian Country
    In Crime News
    An enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma pleaded guilty today to second degree murder in Indian Country in connection with a homicide that took place in 2015 in Oklahoma.

    [Read More…]

  • Former Air Force Contractor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Taking 2,500 Pages of Classified Information
    In Crime News
    A former contractor with the U.S. Air Force pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio today to illegally taking approximately 2,500 pages of classified documents.

    [Read More…]

  • Iceland Travel Advisory
    Do not travel to Iceland [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken to Deliver a Foreign Policy Speech
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Pride Month
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Issues Business Review Letter for Proposed University Technology Licensing Program
    In Crime News
    The Justice  Department’s Antitrust Division announced today that it has completed its review of a proposed joint patent licensing pool known as the University Technology Licensing Program (UTLP).  UTLP is a proposal by participating universities to offer licenses to their physical science patents relating to specified emerging technologies.

    [Read More…]

  • On the Passing of Former Marshallese President Litokwa Tomeing
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Call with Republic of Korea First Vice Foreign Minister Choi
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day; Files Cases Against Marketing Company and Executives Who Knowingly Facilitated Elder Fraud
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced criminal charges in two separate cases against defendants accused of knowingly furnishing fraud schemes with information on elderly potential victims. The charges coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a day intended to raise public awareness of the fight against elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

    [Read More…]

  • Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development: USAID Needs to Develop a Targeting Process and Improve the Reliability of Its Monitoring
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found For fiscal years 2015 through 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) generally planned to spend at least $265 million annually on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) assistance, according to annual reports to Congress known as Section 653(a) reports. We found that planned spending amounts for MSME assistance in operational plans differed from the spending plans in the Section 653(a) reports, with the total planned spending exceeding the annual Section 653(a) report levels. USAID has not developed a process to support compliance with statutory requirements to target MSME resources to activities that reach the very poor and to small and medium-sized enterprise resources to activities that reach enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women. We identified three key gaps that impair USAID’s ability to develop such a process. First, USAID has not identified the total funding subject to the targeting requirements. Second, although USAID has programs designed to help the very poor, it is unable to determine the amount of funding that reaches this group. Third, although USAID has MSME activities that benefit women, it has not defined enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women and does not collect data by enterprise size. These gaps leave USAID unable to determine what percentage of its MSME resources is going to the very poor and enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women. USAID-Funded Small Enterprise Activities in Georgia, Afghanistan, and Ghana USAID collected and reported incomplete and inconsistent data in its process for monitoring MSME assistance. USAID surveys its missions and bureaus annually to collect data on the amounts and results of MSME assistance. However, USAID collected and reported incomplete data on its MSME assistance in fiscal year 2019, the year of the most recent report. It did not send the survey to all relevant missions and bureaus, and fewer than half of those that received the survey responded. Moreover, USAID’s fiscal year 2019 reporting on assistance that reached the very poor included activities from only three of 21 missions that responded to its survey. USAID guidance states that its data should clearly and adequately represent the intended result. Without complete and consistent data, USAID cannot ensure that it is reporting accurate information to Congress on its MSME assistance. Why GAO Did This Study Millions of poor families throughout the developing world derive income from MSME activities. For decades, USAID has sought to use MSME assistance as a tool to achieve economic growth and poverty reduction in low-income countries. To improve programs and activities relating to women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, Congress passed the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act of 2018. Congress included a provision in this statute for GAO to assess USAID’s MSME assistance. This report examines (1) USAID’s planned MSME assistance for fiscal years 2015–2020; (2) the extent to which USAID targeted its MSME assistance to women and the very poor and developed a targeting process that it uses to comply with statutory requirements; and (3) the extent to which USAID has an appropriate process for monitoring its MSME assistance. GAO analyzed USAID documents and planned spending levels and interviewed USAID officials in Washington, D.C., and at 10 missions in regions in which USAID operates.

    [Read More…]

  • Defense Health Care: Comprehensive Oversight Framework Needed to Help Ensure Effective Implementation of a Deployment Health Quality Assurance Program
    In U.S GAO News
    Overseas deployments expose servicemembers to a number of potential risks to their health and well-being. However, since the mid-1990s, GAO has highlighted shortcomings with respect to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) ability to assess the medical condition of servicemembers both before and after their deployments. Following GAO’s May 1997 report, Congress enacted legislation (10 U.S.C. 1074f) that required the Secretary of Defense to establish a medical tracking system for assessing the medical condition of servicemembers before and after deployments. GAO was asked to determine (1) whether DOD has established a medical tracking system to comply with requirements of 10 U.S.C. 1074f pertaining to pre- and postdeployment medical examinations, and (2) the extent to which DOD has effectively implemented a deployment health quality assurance program as part of its medical tracking system. In conducting this review, GAO analyzed pertinent documents and interviewed DOD officials.DOD has established a system to comply with the requirements of 10 U.S.C. 1074f to perform predeployment and postdeployment medical examinations through a variety of deployment health activities. For example, DOD’s system includes the use of pre- and postdeployment health assessment questionnaires along with reviews of servicemembers’ medical records. The pre- and postdeployment health assessment questionnaires ask servicemembers to respond to a series of questions about their current medical and mental health conditions and any medical concerns they might have. Prior to deploying, the predeployment questionnaire and servicemembers’ medical records are to be reviewed by a health care provider to confirm whether servicemembers have met applicable deployment health requirements. Also, prior to or after redeploying, the postdeployment questionnaires are to be reviewed by a health care provider, along with servicemembers’ medical records, to determine whether additional clinical evaluation or treatment is needed. DOD has established a deployment health quality assurance program as part of its medical tracking system, but does not have a comprehensive oversight framework to help ensure effective implementation of the program. Thus, DOD does not have the information it needs to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of its deployment health quality assurance program. DOD policy specifies four elements of the program: (1) monthly reports on active and reserve component servicemembers’ deployment health data from the Army Medical Surveillance Activity (AMSA), (2) quarterly reports on service-specific quality assurance programs, (3) DOD site visits to military installations, and (4) an annual report on the program. DOD guidance requires each of the services to create their own quality assurance programs based on these elements. However, GAO found weaknesses in each of these elements. For example, DOD’s policy does not contain specific reporting requirements or performance measures that require AMSA to provide critical information needed to assess departmentwide compliance with deployment health requirements, such as tracking the total number of servicemembers who deploy overseas or return home during a specific time period. Also, DOD does not have quality controls in place to ensure the accuracy or completeness of the information it collects during site visits to military installations. Without a comprehensive oversight framework, DOD is not well-positioned to determine or assure Congress that active and reserve component servicemembers are medically and mentally fit to deploy and to determine their medical and mental condition upon return. Having an effective deployment health quality assurance program is critically important given DOD’s long-standing problems with assessing the medical condition of servicemembers before and after their deployments. Such a program has become even more important in the current environment, where active and reserve component servicemembers continue to deploy overseas in significant numbers in support of ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    [Read More…]

  • Rwanda Travel Advisory
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]

Source: Network News
Area Control Network

Copyright © 2022 ACN
All Rights Reserved © ACN 2020

ACN Privacy Policies
Area Control Network (ACN)
Area Control Network
Area Control Network Center