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The Hong Kong Policy Report

April 17, 2015 Comments off

The Hong Kong Policy Report
Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General

The United States has considerable and longstanding interests in Hong Kong. Cooperation between the United States Government and the Hong Kong Government (HKG) remains broad, highly effective, and mutually beneficial. Our relationship with Hong Kong is based on the framework of “one country, two systems,” enshrined in Hong Hong’s Basic Law, which serves as a virtual (or de facto) constitution. Under this system, Hong Kong exercises autonomy in all areas except foreign policy and defense affairs. Hong Kong participates actively and independently in a range of multilateral organizations and agreements such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), with trade policy objectives that generally align with our own, and is recognized as a separate customs territory by the United States.

There are more than a dozen U.S.-Hong Kong agreements currently in force. Our day-to-day bilateral law enforcement cooperation is on par with many of our closest allies. Hong Kong’s strong traditions of rule of law, low levels of corruption, and high levels of public safety make it a preferred choice for American businesses in the region. The United States enjoys diverse cultural, educational, scientific, and academic exchanges with the people and Government of Hong Kong.

U.S. Department of State — Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Newly Digitized Foreign Relations Volume on the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

April 15, 2015 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Newly Digitized Foreign Relations Volume on the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Appendix to Diplomatic Correspondence of 1865 is a unique volume in the Foreign Relations series. Unlike the rest of the series, this volume was not produced to tell the story of U.S. foreign policy. Instead, it embodied the grief and shattered hopes expressed by foreign governments, civic groups, opinion leaders, religious organizations, professional societies, and ordinary laborers, both at home and abroad, upon learning of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on the evening of April 14, 1865. In doing so, the volume recorded a remarkable global wave of admiration for one of the United States’ greatest leaders. On multiple continents, governments declared periods of mourning for the slain U.S. President and non-governmental associations commemorated Lincoln as a champion of liberty and spokesperson for the aspirations of common people.

The volume also served more subtle contemporary purposes. In showing foreign officials the orderly transition of power from Lincoln to Vice President Andrew Johnson, the volume testified to the durability of the U.S. Government, even amidst unprecedented strain. In some ways, the Appendix to Diplomatic Correspondence of 1865 volume was an early and widely-circulated Lincoln memorial, one that still reflects the hopes and values that Lincoln’s contemporaries ascribed to him, as well as the enduring faith that Americans place in the constitutional system that he fought to preserve.

This release is part of the Office of the Historian’s ongoing project, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center, to digitize the entire Foreign Relations series. The University graciously provided high quality scanned images of each printed book, which the Office further digitized to create a full text searchable edition. This volume is available online and as a free ebook on the Office of the Historian’s website.

FY 2014 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption

April 10, 2015 Comments off

FY 2014 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State

Tables 1 and 2 report the number of intercountry adoptions in FY 2014 involving immigration to the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Hague Adoption Convention.

Table 3 reports the number of intercountry adoptions in FY 2014 involving emigration from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Hague Adoption Convention.

In FY 2014, adoption service providers (ASPs) reported 3 disrupted placements in Convention adoptions, i.e., cases in which there was an interruption of a placement for adoption during the post-placement (but pre-adoption) period. Table 6 summarizes this information.

In addition, information received from the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to §422(b)(12) of the Social Security Act indicated 79 cases of disruptions and dissolutions involving 91 children who were adopted from foreign countries and entered state custody as a result.

Table 4 reports the average time required for completion of a Convention adoption.

Review of the Use of Confidentiality Agreements by Department of State Contractors

April 9, 2015 Comments off

Review of the Use of Confidentiality Agreements by Department of State Contractors (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General

All of the 30 contractors with the largest dollar volume of Department of State contracts used some variation of a confidentiality agreement or confidentiality policy. Some of the contractors had policies or agreements that might have some chilling effect on employees who are considering whether to report fraud, waste, or abuse to the government, such as nondisparagement clauses or provisions requiring notice to the company after receiving an inquiry from a government official. However, none of the companies reported that they had ever enforced any of these provisions against an employee or former employee who disclosed wrongdoing to the government. All 30 contractors also reported that they had a policy in place that encourages the reporting of fraud or legal and ethical violations and provides one or more ways for employees to do so.

From its review of the contractor responses and relevant legal and social science literature, OIG found that several practices are useful in encouraging employees to report fraud, waste, or abuse. These include use of an internal hotline with anonymous option; display of hotline posters in the workplace; a policy that advises employees of their right to contact the government directly if they have knowledge of fraud, waste, or abuse; notification to employees of the statutory protections against retaliation; and a corporate policy that endorses cooperation with a government audit or investigation.

State of Global Partnerships Report 2015

April 8, 2015 Comments off

State of Global Partnerships Report 2015
Source: U.S. Department of State

S/GP’s second annual State of Global Partnerships Report includes the most innovative and scalable public-private partnerships across the State Department that aims to strengthen and deepen U.S. diplomacy and development around the world. The report features 12 partnerships in a calendar format, as well as new partnerships to watch.

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative
Source: U.S. Department of State

Each member of the VPs Initiative is required to report to VPs Initiative participants annually on their efforts to implement the VPs. The U.S. Government has prepared this public report in line with our commitment to make our participation in the VPs Initiative as transparent as possible.

The VPs Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative made up of governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promotes the implementation of a set of principles that guide oil, gas, and mining companies in providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights. Specifically, the VPs guide companies in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment in their engagement with public and private security providers to ensure human rights are respected in the protection of company facilities and premises.

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

The 2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2014. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

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