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conscience of government leaders everywhere.” But the increased consciousness is in the first instance and I want to underline this point-due to the work of Africans themselves, both, African peoples and African Governments.
This new consciousness is evident in a number of concrete developments: First, in the building of a Pan-African legal and institutional structure for the protection of internationally recognized human rights; second, in the fall from power of three African rulers-in Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Empirewho were particularly repressive. Third, in the movement of a number of African nations toward constitutional rule under civilian governments.
Of these developments, I think the move to establish regional institutions for the protection of human rights in Africa may prove to be the most significant. This is because it involves multilateral efforts that transcend national sovereignty to attempt to achieve greater respect for human rights.
I want to outline briefly the instruments we have used to implement the human rights policy in Africa and the importance of American human rights policy for other U.S. interests in Africa. We have tried to use a range of diplomatic instruments to implement the human rights policy. Our preferred method involves private communications from one government to another. We have made human rights a regular part of our diplomatic agenda with all countries with which we have relations. Where countries have good records, we encourage their practices and invite their support for our efforts. In the case of governments which seriously restrict the rights of their citizens, we express concern over specific abuses and emphasize that the state of relations with the United States will depend on progress occurring in the human rights field.
Second, we underline those government-to-government discussions with other acts such as meetings with opposition political figures and victims of human rights abuses.
A third instrument involves U.S. programs of economic aid and security assistance. We have sought to insure that human rights considerations are reflected in such programs in accordance with the statutory criteria enacted by the Congress.
Finally, in the Multilateral Development Banks we take human rights concerns into account. We attempted to implement the congressional mandate not to vote for projects for a country the government of which is engaged "in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” unless the project meets basic human needs.
I would like to end by discussing briefly what I think is the critical contribution of human rights policy to American national security. The consequence of the human rights policy in the changing world is to support those with legitimate aspirations who seek change in a moderate, reasonable, and peaceful fashion. When those legitimate aspirations are ignored, they can cause violent change and political instability inimical to our national interest.
The human rights policy also helps insure friendly relations with other countries over the long run. If we ignore oppression, we may obtain closer relations with a particular regime for a short period of
time, but there is a significant risk that its successor will be hostile to American interests.
As we look back over the past 2 years of human rights diplomacy, there is much in the way of tangible progress to which one can point. We have been very careful not to take credit in the U.S. Government for the positive steps. When they occur it is the result of decisions taken by the people and governments concerned. But we believe that the U.S. human rights policy and the intense interest of the U.S. Congress in the importance of human rights have contributed to an atmosphere that makes such decisions more likely.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity and I will be happy when all the testimony is concluded to try to answer any questions.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEPHEN B. COHEN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY
OF STATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND SECURITY ASSISTANCE
Mr. Chairmen, it is a pleasure to appear before this joint session of the House Subcommittees on Africa and on International Organizations to discuss the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy. We have benefitted from the extensive interest and involvement in human rights issues on the part of both committees and their distinguished chairmen. We hope to continue to work closely and cooperate fully with you.
My testimony today will deal with two subjects: first, the annual country reports on human rights practices; and second, human rights in Africa.
I. THE HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTS
On January 31 of next year the Department of State will submit to the Congress its report on Human Rights Practices in 155 counties around the world. It describes conditions with respect to three different categories of human rights:
(1) The right to be free from governmental violation of the integrity of the person, such as arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and summary execution ;
(2) The right to enjoy civil and political liberties; freedom of thought, religion, assembly, speech and the press; and
(3) The right to fulfillment of such vital needs as food, shelter, health care, and education.
Next year's report will include forty countries that were previously not corered. Among them are six African countries—Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. The expanded coverage is due to a recent amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. It directs that the Reports cover, in addition to recipients of U.S. economic or security assistance, all members of the United Nations.
This year marks only the fourth time that the State Department has prepared these reports and, in addition, the first time we will report on some 40 additional countries world-wide. It is therefore still a relatively new activity for us and we are still seeking to improve the process.
Reporting on human rights conditions is not an exact science. It inevitably involves subjective judgments, and, therefore, differences of opinion. Moreover, the quantity and quality of data may differ from country to country. We hope that, as we gain experience each year, the reports will provide fuller and more accurate information, and therefore, more useful aids to the Congress in its decision making.
I would like to describe briefly the reporting process, from the gathering of raw materials to transmittal to the Congress. It has, by now, become a considerable operation which continues throughout the year, so that as soon as final reports for one year are completed, the process of compiling the next year's reports must begin. To oversee this task, we rely in the Human Rights Bureau on a Country Reports Office with two Officers. They are aided, throughout the year, by substantial efforts of many others in the Bureau of Human Rights, the Regional Bureaus, and other offices.
In assembling raw material, our goal is to seek information from as many and as diverse a spectrum of sources as possible. The primary source of information is our embassies abroad. All U.S. Ambassadors have been instructed to report on human rights conditions in their host countries on a regular and detailed basis. We rely in addition on the published reports of non-governmental organizations engaged in human rights activities, the reports of international organizations, findings of Congressional Committees, private citizens and other information in the public domain.
Because information is gathered from many sources, contradictions and inconsistencies sometimes arise. Charges of serious human rights abuses often elicit official denials. Official claims of significant progress may be challenged by private human rights groups. We try to check carefully the accuracy of critical information and the reliability of the source of it.
After materials are assembled, a first draft is usually prepared by the concerned country desk officer at the State Department in Washington largely based on the reports provided by our embassy abroad. The draft is then subject to a preliminary review by the Human Rights Bureau to ensure the coverage is as complete and accurate as possible. After the draft is deemed sufficiently complete, it is forwarded for criticism and review by several other offices. including the Policy Planning Staff, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Legal Advisors' Office, AID, and the Congressional Relations Office. Each of these offices performs its own independent assessment of each report. The agreed draft is then reviewed by the NSC and by the office of the Deputy Secretary.
At the same time the final reports are submitted to the Congress, copies are delivered by our embassies abroad to their host governments. We believe that it is helpful for other governments to receive copies from us directly, before accounts—which may be incomplete or inaccurate-are published in the press. The delivery of the reports to a host government often provides a useful occasion to conduct a constructive dialogue on human rights matters. Our representative will take a positive stance, citing improvements that we have no ticed, and requesting comments, including any inaccuracies, so that they may be communicated back to the State Department in Washington. One of our ambassadors to Africa recently told us that delivery of the human rights report on his country provided "a useful supplement to a continuing dialogue".
The basic function of the reports is to provide information with which the U.S. Congress can make its own judgments. They also help inform the American public on human rights conditions around the world. They communicate to the world the continuing importance of human rights to our own decisionmaking. Finally, the reporting requirement has imposed an external discipline on the process of obtaining the best possible information for our own internal needs.
As you read the human rights reports on African countries, it may be useful to set out three separate categories for analytical purposes.
One categroy includes states with multi-party democracies such as Senegal, Gambia, and Botswana. Another category includes highly repressive governments that have violated rights of the integrity of the person on a massive scale such as the Amin and Macias' regimes in Uganda and Equatorial Guinea.
A final category-between the first two---includes the so-called one-party states and a majority of African countries fall into this category. They are distinguished from category one countries by the absence of more than one political party and from category two countries by the absence of massive violations to the rights of the integrity of the person. But among the so-called one-party states there is considerable variation in actual conditions and that variation occurs along a number of different dimensions.
The press may be controlled, free, or allowed some leeway to criticize official policies within well-understood limits.
Political prisoners may be held in significant numbers or virtually not at all. Or, because of a haphazardly functioning legal system, there may be no clear distinction between who is a political prisoner and who is not.
There may be considerable oppotrunity for people to participate in politics or such participation may be limited to a select few.
Prison conditions may be adequate or abysmal. And, if abysmal, it may be due to conscious malfeasance or it may be that the country is so noor that conditions of prisoners more or less resemble those of the general population.
In some "one-party” states there may be an independent judiciary, while in others the executive may hold the power to hire, promote, and fire judges at will.
Depending on the mix of these factors, a one-party state may be comparable to a multi-party democracy, highly repressive, or somewhere in-between.
In the human rights reports, we attempt to describe for each country, human rights conditions along each of these dimensions.
II. HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFRICA
Messrs. Chairmen, there is clearly evident today in Africa a new consciousness regarding human rights. A Western correspondent who covers Africa recently told me,
"During the past year, human rights has really come home as an African issue. The Bokassa Affair crystallized African opinion and was a turning point. Now the OAU is trying to grapple with the whole problem."
In a study entitled “African Perspectives on Human Rights", Prof. Warren Weinstein concluded, “A general positive African opinion is emerging on the need for greater attention to be paid to human rights in Africa by Africans."
While Africans have consistently focused on the problem of apartheid, they have now expanded their human rights focus to encompass the treatment of African peoples by their governments throughout Africa. During the 16th OAU Conference at Monrovia this past July, one participant stated: “We cannot talk about the denial of human rights in South Africa without ensuring that we ourselves are defensive of human rights."
This development takes place at a time when the U.S. has not only placed renewed emphasis generally on human rights in foreign policy, but has also taken a clear position against apartheid and for majority rule in Southern Africa. One African official recently told us that the U.S. policy was “useful" in "disturbing the conscience of government leaders everywhere". But the increased consciousness is in the first instance--I want to underline this point-due to the work of Africans themselves, both peoples and governments.
The increasing importance of human rights in Africa reflects both recent struggles for independence and more ancient African traditions. The struggle for independence and against colonialism emphasized human rights, and the OAU, at its founding, endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
In his study, Professor Weinstein noted,
"Human rights have been a continuous part of African tradition articulated in fundamental values such as fairness ..., popular participation in public affairs, non-discriminatory participation in the life of the community and respect for the individual within the community. African tradition is replete with mechanisms and procedures which had a limiting effect on the power exercised by any one official. ... Communal welfare was a basic value which mitigated against any one individual amassing great surpluses of wealth and property while it ensured that every individual in the community had access to the means for his survival and protection."
This new consciousness is evident in a number of concrete developments : First, in the building of a pan-African legal and institutional structure for the protection of internationally-recognized human rights ; second, in the fall from power of three African rulers-in Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Empire-who were particularly repressive. Third, in the movement of a number of African nations towards constitutional rule under civilian governments.
In my testimony today on the subject of human rights in Africa, I would like to begin by delineating these positive developments in more detail. Next, I will review continuing human rights problems in Africa. Finally, I will conclude by discussing implementation of the human rights policy and its importance to other U.S. interests in Africa. Regional institutional structures
A number of significant steps have been taken this year to create regional institutions for the protection of human rights in Africa.
In May of 1979, a meeting of French-speaking African countries established a regional mechanism-albeit on an ad hoc basis—for investigating reported abuses in the C. A. E. The 6th Franco-African Conference at Kigali created a six member commission with representatives from Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Rwanda, and Togo. The Commission visited Bangui in June and issued a 175 page report in July. The report concluded that in April some 100 children were massacred under orders of Bokassa and with his almost certain participation.
The creation of a special commission to conduct one specific investigation was followed soon afterward by a call for the establishment of a permanent Pan
African body for the protection of human rights. At the 16th annual OAU conference in Liberia in July of this year, a resolution was adopted calling for an African Charter of Human Rights directing the Secretary-General of the OAU to
"Organize as soon as possible in an African capital a restricted meeting of highly qualified experts to prepare a preliminary draft of an African Charter on human rights, providing inter alia for the establishment of bodies to provide and protect human rights”.
The OAU is now in the process of organizing the experts' meeting. It is possible that it will be held in March of 1980, and submit a draft Charter for discussion at the OAU summit in July of that year.
At about the same time of and soon after the OAU meeting, two other significant efforts were also occurring.
During July and August of 1979, seven prominent African jurists were invited by the Department of State to undertake a mission to study regional human rights institutions in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. They consulted with the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, and the InterAmerican Human Rights Commission. Their study mission was funded by an AID grant.
In addition, in September, the United Nations sponsored a meeting in Monrovia to discuss the creation of a Regional Human Rights Commission for Africa. Representatives from 29 African countries attended, as did a number of nongovernmental human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists. The conference recommended the establishment of a 16 member commission under the auspices of the OAU to conduct investigations of human rights abuses in African. During the deliberations, those in attendance affirmed that questions of human rights supercede principles of sovereignty and of non-interference in a country's internal affairs.
By these efforts, Africans have recognized the existence of certain fundamental rights owed by all governments to their citizens and the need for international institutions to protect such rights when a soverign government refuses. Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Empire
These three African nations shared a common tragedy. Each was ubject rule through brutality and terror. In Uganda, Idi Amin's regime killed up to an estimated 250,000 persons and many thousands fler into exile. In Equatorial Guinea, it is estimated that one-third of the population either fled or was killed during the administration of Marcias. In the CAE, Bokassa ordered numerous arbitrary detentions and may, himself, have participated in a massacre of schoolchildren.
I might note here, parenthetically, that both the Amin and Marcias regimes received from the Soviet Union and its allies military support. This support had a direct bearing on the ability of those countries to carry out programs of repression.
The fall of all three from power within the space of a few months is of considerable significance, for the people of their countries. Yet, there are still serious problems which remain, because, in each case, years of mis-rule have left devastated societies. The U.S. has tried to respond to their needs with the resources available.
In Uganda, we promptly re-opened our embassy after the fall of Amin. Several senior level officials including Andy Young and Assistant Secretary Moose, have visited Kampala to demonstrate support for the new government. And we have provided about $6.2 million in aid and are actively encouraging other western donors to do what they can.
In Equatorial Guinea, we have begun discussions aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations. We are concentrating assistance in the health delivery system which Marcias left virtually destroyed. An initial $25,000 worth of U.S. medical supplies have been sent and we plan to provide medical training to Equatorial Guineans who could begin to staff hospitals and clinics in their country.
In the Central African Empire—now the Central African Republic--we are reviewing an earlier decision to terminate on-going economic assistance projects and are investigating the possibility of providing emergency assistance to meet public health needs.
The economic needs of all three countries are enormous. And the ability of each to recover will depend, at least in part, on what the West is prepared to do to assist that recovery. Movement toward constitutional process under civilian governments
The changes in Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, and the CAE described above were all effected by the use of force. Perhaps less noted, but of as great significance,