Democracy efforts and human rights in Africa face severe challenges. These result from continuing conflict in some countries and regions, weak institutions and leadership, disunity among racial, linguistic, religious and tribal groups, corruption and poor governance. Two years after deeply flawed presidential elections, the brave people of Zimbabwe continue to struggle under the heel of a despotic regime. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa and the Rwandan genocide. The anniversary of both events continues to raise awareness on the need to promote and respect universal human rights. Some African leaders recognize the challenge; one promising initiative is the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). To be effective, both NEPAD and the African Union must demonstrate their credibility by holding each participating state to high standards of democracy and human rights and imposing consequences for those African nations that fail to uphold them. Sub-regional bodies like the Southern African Development Community and Economic Community of West African States also have important roles to play. This document explains the United States role in expanding capacity building and professionalizing African militaries. It also examines U.S. efforts to resolve conflicts, defuse religious tensions and strengthen rule of law, free media and civil society.
United States Department of State, http://www.state.gov
Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2003-2004, Africa