This report is Human Rights Watch's sixteenth annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in sixty-eight countries, drawing on events through November 2005.
Each country entry identifies significant human rights issues, examines the freedom of local human rights defenders to conduct their work, and surveys the response of key international actors, such as the United Nations, European Union, Japan, the United States, and various regional and international organizations and institutions.
The volume begins with separate essays on the social responsibilities of corporations and effective HIV/AIDS prevention. The first essay argues that momentum is building for enforceable human rights standards for corporations and concludes that corporate executives would do well to begin engaging the debate now to ensure that the rules eventually adopted create a level playing field for all firms. The second essay details how abuses of marginalized populations are fueling the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and notes that in several countries moralistic approaches to prevention programs are replacing the science-based, human rights-informed responses that work best. It makes the case that, to succeed, prevention programs must be premised on basic respect for individuals and their rights.
This report reflects extensive investigative work undertaken in 2005 by the Human Rights Watch research staff, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in question. It also reflects the work of our advocacy team, which monitors policy developments and strives to persuade governments and international institutions to curb abuses and promote human rights. Human Rights Watch publications, issued throughout the year, contain more detailed accounts of many of the issues addressed in the brief summaries collected in this volume. They can be found on the Human Rights Watch website, www.hrw.org.
As in past years, this report does not include a chapter on every country where Human Rights Watch works, nor does it discuss every issue of importance. The failure to include a particular country or issue often reflects no more than staffing limitations and should not be taken as commentary on the significance of the problem. There are many serious human rights violations that Human Rights Watch simply lacks the capacity to address.
The factors we considered in determining the focus of our work in 2005 (and hence the content of this volume) include the number of people affected and the severity of abuse, access to the country and the availability of information about it, the susceptibility of abusive forces to influence, and the importance of addressing certain thematic concerns and of reinforcing the work of local rights organizations.
The World Report does not have separate chapters addressing our thematic work but instead incorporates such material directly into the country entries. Please consult the Human Rights Watch website for more detailed treatment of our work on children's rights, women's rights, arms and military issues, academic freedom, business and human rights, HIV/AIDS and human rights, international justice, refugees and displaced people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender peoples rights, and for information about our international film festival.