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Mr. Secretary, following up on my question on El Salvador, there are several things, at least, that are necessary to get to the bottom of the human rights situation.

Is El Salvador a place where there is the will on the part of the President but no capacity to follow through? And what new programs, if any, should the United States have? What can be done to give El Salvador the investigative abilities to get the facts? And what can we do as a nation to help them strengthen their system to make certain that those who are guilty will be punished?

Mr. ABRAMS. These are some of the toughest questions, I think, that face Congress and the executive branch with respect to El Salvador. Some of the problems stem from the fact that it is a developing country, and one does not find there, for example, the kind of police expertise even in times of peace that we see in metropolitan police departments or the FBI.

All of the problems that they had are, of course, 10 times greater now because of the violence and disorder, the violence, I think, especially because you have a criminal justice system in which almost nothing works. There are still some convictions in what I call common crimes, not political, but of course in political crimes you are in a situation where there are threats, there are bribes, and it is very difficult to get the whole network of people you need for a successful system to work honestly.

You need a prosecutor. You need a defense attorney. You need a jury.

And we have been asking ourselves the same question. For example, a group from the association of the bar of New York went down to El Salvador recently and was appalled at the legal situation. They came up with a few recommendations. For example, they suggested-it was really a strong suggestion-suspending jury trials for 5 years on the grounds that it is so easy to threaten jurors that we just ought to give up on that for a while until the situation improves.

We have been contemplating things like trying to find experts in this country that we could send to El Salvador who could help them reconstruct the system. It was not clear to this bar association group that anything much could be done under these circumstances of violence. Their position was, it would take a few years before there could be major improvements.

Some people have proposed better use of court martials, that if you think civilian courts will not work for a while, do not say there is no punishment, at least try to get the military court system going, which I think is an idea worth examining. But our sense is that a great step forward was taken when the election was held, and a constitution is now being written, because it is essential to the rule of democracy and the rule of law. That is laying the foundation for improvement in the situation.

I do not think it is a lack of will power on the part of the President, but it is clear that the progress that has been made on this question of the criminal justice system is very, very small, and is probably one of the single worst aspects of the overall government-the overall institutional setup there now.

I guess I will leave it at that. It is a terribly difficult problem that you raise.

Mr. YATRON. Going in another direction, the United Nations has created a torture fund. What is that?

Mr. ABRAMS. This has been under consideration for a number of years. The idea was that in addition to trying to avoid instances of torture, we ought to take account of the fact that they have it. Perhaps some day they will not, but now they do have it. There are victims who tend to have identifiable problems, both psychological and physical problems. So many of the same tortures are committed around the world.

So, a fund was set up. It is essentially directed to medical and psychiatric help, helping people, for example, who may have lost the use of their limbs, or having psychological problems adjusting to normal society.

The idea was to build up a body of expertise so that there would be doctors who had dealt with these cases before and really knew how to help these people under the circumstances.

That is a fund that was created.

Mr. YATRON. Does the United States contribute toward that fund?

Mr. ABRAMS. It is a new fund, and we have not yet made a contribution.

Mr. YATRON. Do you think we should?

Mr. ABRAMS. I believe that we should. I think that, again, wishing that it does not happen does not help much. It does happen, and my sense is that almost regardless of the amount, that it is an important symbolic thing for us to show that we want to be involved in this kind of effort.

Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Abrams.

Mr. Leach, did you have any further questions?

Mr. LEACH. Yes, I do, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Secretary, in your confirmation hearings over a year ago, you told Congress the Genocide Treaty would be one of your highest priorities. There are other treaties on which the administration has not yet taken a stand. Has there been any progress on a decision on these treaties? I stress this because a long time has passed now. All administrations take some time to make determinations, but the longer a nondetermination is made on an item, I think the more reasonable it is for outside observers to conclude that there is no interest.

The question is, do you have a decision on whether the administration will support the Genocide Treaty and send it up for ratification, as well as the other ones?

Mr. ABRAMS. In the last year or so, I have understood why it has taken 35 years and the Senate has not acted on the Genocide Treaty, both from the point of view of political and legal complications. I had anticipated much quicker action. In fact, I remember telling some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff that I thought we would be ready to move months and months ago.

The present status is that there are a number of legal issues on which there is disagreement within the Department, and we are in the process or actually have essentially completed a memorandum which will go forward to higher levels asking for a decision on the

legal issues, feeling that we would not want to move ahead whether the decision was positive or negative to explain it.

That is the next step. So, I think that memo will be ready shortly. Not this week, but next week.

Of course, it is true, and I should mention, that the treaty still is before the Senate, and they could just act, just as they have over the past 30 years, act now on this matter. Just as a matter of courtesy, they have been waiting.

We have been worrying and arguing about the Genocide Treaty rather than looking at other treaties. The only other one that I spoke about in my other statement with deep problems is the Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Treaty. On the others, we have really waited on the Genocide Treaty, because frankly, I thought the action would be much quicker.

Mr. LEACH. Would you care to comment on the other two treaties?

Mr. ABRAMS. No. I would say on the American Convention it is widely known that one of the major problems is that possibly it is the right to life issue, although one could easily put in a provision that says we will disregard that and we will go by domestic law. It is hard to believe that that should get us into a huge fight on that provision.

Another reason that we are waiting is in part because we did not think the wait would be this long.

Mr. LEACH. I appreciate that. Returning to the questions of asylum, last year this subcommittee held a hearing on the Baha'is. I remember well my distinguished friend from California asking what the definition of a Baha'is was.

Mr. DYMALLY. I almost joined you. [Laughter.]

Mr. LEACH. The conclusion was that, by God, that is me.

Mr. ABRAMS. Stay away from Tehran. [Laughter.]

Mr. LEACH. I think the American public in looking at the national group had come to the conclusion that, by God, I wish that I had Polish charity.

The fact is there are a lot of Poles in America asking for asylum. Is the department going to take another look at Poland with regard to these issues?

Mr. ABRAMS. Yes. We have two different problems. Of the Poles that are in America now, a number have applied for asylum, but actually a very small number, just on the order of a few thousand. Nobody knows exactly how many Poles are here, but estimates range from 20,000 to up to 50,000, and we just have a few thousand asylum applications in, so the larger group of people have not filed for asylum for whatever reason.

We have to face this problem again by June 30, because we have given them an extended 6-month voluntary departure, and it runs out, so the Government needs to say something about it.

We are just now beginning to look at that, because we do not want to wait until the last date. There were some complaints, I think justified, from Poles and Polish Americans that it really is sort of unfair to them to make them wait until the last date, to make them wait to find out what's going to happen.

We have begun to really think about that in a systematic fashion, but of course their condition is—well, here is the dilemma.

Their immigration status should be keyed to the situation in Poland. Therefore, one wants to give a very short time horizon so we can watch Poland carefully, but on the humanitarian side, that is not really fair to them, because people really have to have the ability to plan, to enroll in school, for example, and need to know if they are going to be here for a while.

So, it is a dilemma, and something we have to make some kind of a statement on by June 30. We are looking at that now.

Mr. LEACH. Let me just stress, as one Member of Congress, that when you look at the situation of the Baha'is and the Poles, I think there is a strong case for compassion in interpretation of the law. I would certainly argue for compassion in the extreme. This does not exclude some very serious problems with Ethiopians and Latin Americans as well, but I think that given the world situation, compassion should be a driving instinct to the Human Rights Bureau as well as the State Department's judgment.

Let me come back just a little bit to the human rights policy of the United States. We have, through the information contained in the human rights reports, the possibility of being critical of governments. We also have, through the human rights reports, the opportunity to recognize progress. Very recently in one country in the world in Latin America, in Colombia, a civilian government has actually begun to hold the military responsible.

I consider this to be a very impressive step forward for that government, and an example not only to those people, but also to the rest of Latin America.

I would be hopeful that this administration would trumpet that, and wonder if you would care to comment on the human rights situation in Colombia today.

Mr. ABRAMS. It is extremely encouraging. We are sometimes criticized for the emphasis we put on free elections, but here is an example of why we think it is so important. The human rights situation has improved greatly as democracy has come to Colombia.

As a matter of fact, I was thinking as you were asking the question of Bolivia, that had been under military rule for quite some time, and harboring the Nazi war prisoner Klaus Barbie. As soon as they threw the military out and put in a civilian government, they threw him out.

That is the kind of enormous change that can happen when political democracy comes to a country. There are a number of other examples one could give of this, but I think you're right to point to Colombia as a country in that situation.

Now, what remains to be seen, unfortunately, is how the extreme leftists react. There was at one point a very large and murderous guerrilla movement there. It remains to be seen whether they decide to join in democratic politics, lay down their guns, and essentially compete for office.

The final word is not in on that yet, but if they do not cooperate, then it would be clear that what they are interested in has nothing to do with progress or reform or human rights, but merely the sheer seizing of power. The Government of that country, as I think you are right to make the point, was clearly committed to respect for human rights and social development as well.

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Mr. LEACH. Finally, let me ask you about one of the most controversial issues coming before the Congress which is the issue of the Reagan administration's proposal to proceed with some sort of a democracy program, involving some kind of a price tag. One of the questions I have is, what role will the Human Rights Bureau in the State Department play? Are you integrally involved in the planning by the administration or are you outside the scope of it?

Where do you stand in the administrative decisionmaking process on how projects will be organized if they are funded?

Mr. ABRAMS. Well, I think we are playing a very important role in this. I had, for example, a lengthy conversation about it with Secretary Eagleburger yesterday. I think there has been some confusion, because the relationship of the democracy initiative to human rights policy has been misunderstood.

I think we in the administration share a fair amount of blame for that, but our perspective is really part and parcel of the human rights policy, the establishment of democratic institutions, and ultimately, one hopes, democratic systems and governments in countries is really the best way of ensuring human rights progress.

We go to all the meetings, and we sign off on all the papers. Part of the democracy initiative is not human rights as we usually define it. For example, we have student exchange programs that USIA has been doing for a long time. They will be continued and enlarged. One can see how that forms part of the democracy initiative, although that is not really, narrowly speaking, our part.

But there are other parts of it which are more directly related to trying to help in the establishment of free institutions. Those are more the kinds of things we do in the 116(e) projects. This money will enable us to do more of that kind of thing. So, I think we do have a central role in that. It really is an important element of the human rights policy.

Mr. LEACH. I appreciate that indication, although I must say in my own mind I am less than fully persuaded that we need to go forward with that initiative.

Mr. YATRON. Mr. Leach, we do have a draft letter that will be going to the President of Colombia. You might want to sign that. Mr. LEACH. I would be very happy to.

Mr. YATRON. Mr. Dymally.

Mr. DYMALLY. Just one brief observation, and hopefully a response to you, Mr. Chairman, in writing from Mr. Abrams. Following that visit by Mr. Leach and Mr. Solarz to Central America, I followed them in Guatemala. The Ambassador, the day we arrived, complained that two, and yesterday Mr. Enders said four, Guatemalan employees of the U.S. Embassy bilingual program were missing.

We asked the President about that. He said a report was forthcoming, and I would like to have Mr. Abrams send you a copy of that report if such a report is a fact.

Mr. YATRON. Fine.

Mr. DYMALLY. When we spoke with the general, I will quote as accurately as I can. We know nothing about them, because if we had known about them, we would have either put them in jail or killed them, because they are Communists. And that was the end of his response. So, I would very much like for Mr. Abrams to be in

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