First, it is a point of reference for U.S. lawmakers and diplomats, when they have interest in democratic countries-partners or opponents.
Secondly, all such materials of Foreign ministries of different countries it was the American reviews are the most influential to an international audience. This contributes to their global coverage, informative and uniform methodology. The state Department reports often used by scientists and journalists.
However, there is reason for skeptical attitude toward them. The first is differences in the tone sections by country. So, in the first phrase fresh report on Belarus stated that the authoritarian state. About USA friendly, but hardly more free Saudi Arabia intonation sounds different — "the monarchy under the reign of king Salman, who combines the positions of head of state and government".
Latvia in the eyes of lawyers USA
The state Department does not rank the reports on where the situation with human rights better. But the main questions are submitted in summary at the beginning of the report so that the content of this introduction is most revealing.
The main problem with human rights in our country, marked with corruption and it is not a random surge of attention, and the constant formulation since 2012. Until 2010, summary mentioned only the more narrow problem — the corruption in the judicial system. Actually freedom from corruption to human rights do not usually considered. It is therefore understandable that the cash flows coming through Latvia, has in recent years become more interested in the U.S. government. Perhaps this is related to the recent sanctions against banks, "cleansing" in the state revenue Service and the Commission for the supervision of banks. However, the delay of 4 years shows that the references in the report does not mean that the US will be seriously demanding solution.
While fifteen years ago, the examples were rapid response. For example, after criticism from the United States in 2002 have been cancelled, the requirements in the Latvian language for candidates. So what has changed?
Such a powerful political "carrots" as the adoption of NATO, since 2004 is irrelevant. It is characteristic that the same language restrictions for politicians in Latvia was revived — only now checking suitable candidates and already elected legislators. Economic leverage and "soft power", of course, the US remains, but it is unlikely they will be applied for reasons not directly related to the interests of Washington.
Many non-citizens in the summary of the report is constantly mentioned in the beginning of the XXI century — but always with the caveat that their rights by the authorities generally respected. In 2010-2011 the topic of non-citizens in the introduction were absent, and since 2012 is back and now in a paragraph on the problems, without reservations.
Explicit mention as problems in the introduction in 2016 won another four questions. This excessive use of force by police, cruel conditions of imprisonment, the proceedings slow and incomplete return of property to the Jewish community. Softer, with reference to some messages in the summary served four topics: violence against women, human trafficking, anti-Semitic incidents, discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Almost the same was the introduction and in the previous report