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touch with the Guatemalan Embassy to find out the fate of these four Guatemalan-United States employees and submit that information to you.
Mr. LEACH. Would you yield?
I was prepared today to comment on the stays of execution in Guatemala of a number of people as evidence of that government's progress. However, I understand that while the specific people to which the gentleman from California has referred or not involved a number of executions have taken place and I think as a committee we should make it very clear that that is very, very unfortunate. Mr. DYMALLY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ABRAMS. On the four personnel, our information now is that only one of them was an AID contract employee, that two were Guatemalan Government employees, and one was a relative. We do not yet know what happened to them. We have not dropped this at all. We are in very frequent touch with the Government of Guatemala about this. I think the assumption that I am working on, unfortunately, at this point, is probably one you share with me, which is probably that they have faced violence, but we do not know for sure, and we are still pressing on that.
There were, as Congressman Leach said, some executions yesterday. We do not have a formal report on that, but the indications are that there were six. These were people who had been convicted, and the Guatemalans sort of have a star chamber proceeding in special courts that they set up.
Those convictions were appealed to the Supreme Court, which is in itself a good thing. That is, the notion that those courts can be brought under the Guatemalan Supreme Court is a very good step. The Guatemalan Supreme Court upheld those convictions, and the executions of six took place yesterday.
We object both to the executions themselves, since they followed convictions which were made without any due process whatsoever, and needless to say, that the timing for the eve of the Pope's visit, I could not think of a more inappropriate time for those executions. Mr. DYMALLY. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YATRON. Secretary Abrams, we want to thank you very much. Before we adjourn, I would like to say that we may have additional questions to submit to you to be answered in writing for the record. Some of the other members who could not be here today because of conflicts may also have questions. I also want to thank Mr. Fairbanks for appearing here today. We are very grateful to both of you for your contributions.
Thank you very much.
The subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:09 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.]
REVIEW OF U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS POLICY
Review of State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1982
TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 1983
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND
The subcommittee met at 10:10 a.m., in room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Gus Yatron (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. YATRON. The subcommittee will come to order. The first order of business this morning is to continue hearings begun earlier this year to review the U.S. international human rights policies and especially the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1982.
That annual report, provided in compliance with the Foreign Assistance Act, both summarizes the administration's philosophy on human rights and provides an assessment of the human rights situation in virtually every country.
We are pleased to have with us a distinguished group of human rights experts from the private sector. With six witnesses, we would appreciate each of you summarizing your statements, which we will include in the record in their entirety. To facilitate the discussion, we have somewhat arbitrarily divided the group into two panels. We will ask all of those on each panel to make their statements first, and then members of the subcommittee will ask questions of the entire panel.
Our first panel of witnesses include: Mr. David Carliner, chairman, International Human Rights Law Group; Mr. Michael Posner, executive director, Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights; and Ms. Jeri Laber, executive director, U.S. Helsinki Watch.
Please take your seats at the witness table.
Mr. Carliner, would you like to begin?
STATEMENT OF DAVID CARLINER, CHAIRMAN, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW GROUP
Mr. CARLINER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me say first of all that for myself personally and for the International Human Rights Law Group, I appreciate the opportuni
ty to appear before you. We would like once again to compliment this subcommittee for its continuing activity in looking into the question of human rights as an aspect of American foreign policy. At the very outset, in view of the considerable newpaper publicity that has been given to the role of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, by implication, as a result of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, I would like to comment on that.
As the chairman knows, of course, the decision has been widely regarded as having a major impact on the role of Congress, where there is a legislative one-House veto of executive and administrative actions. There has been newspaper discussion, at least, as to the continuing role that the U.S. Congress can have in supervising oversight and effecting a role in the conduct of foreign policy.
Mr. Chairman, I have read the decision closely. I can state that there is nothing in the decision by the Supreme Court which af fects the role of the U.S. Congress in providing oversight to the activities of the administration in carrying out foreign relations policy.
In the particular decision, as you recall, the Immigration and Naturalization Service had recommended the suspension of deportation of a particular person, Mr. Chadha. The U.S. Congress, by resolution authorized under a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act, vetoed that action by the Immigration and Naturalization Service by failing to give approval to the decision that this person's suspension of deportation should be granted.
The Supreme Court, in its opinion, overruled and held invalid only that section of the statute which related to legislative action by the U.S. Congress in vetoing the decision to grant suspension of deportation.
The Supreme Court's opinion specifically referred to another provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act, which requires the Attorney General to provide continuing reports to the U.S. Congress of all administrative decisions to grant suspensions of deportations of deportable aliens.
The Supreme Court's decision specifically stated that that provision was preserved, that, therefore, the power of Congress to continue oversight over such decisions remains unimpaired by the ruling of the Supreme Court. I emphasize this because there will be those who will attempt to cast doubt on the role of the U.S. Congress in its efforts to assure that this administration, as well as any other administration, continues to carry out the policies of our Government as they are mandated by Congress.
There is a complex relationship between the Congress of the United States and the State Department or the Executive in the conduct of foreign affairs. No one can gainsay the power of the President and State Department and other agencies to conduct our foreign relations, but fundamental to our concept of Government is the fact that the people of the United States, through their elected representatives in the Congress, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, can lay down certain fundamental requirements.
As the chairman knows, of course, the Congress of the United States has mandated that no assistance be given to foreign governments that engage in a pattern of gross violations of human rights.
This is part of the law of the land. The President of the United States, the State Department, the Department of Defense, the Commerce Department, and other agencies are obligated to carry out that mandate by Congress.
This subcommittee is conducting a very necessary and useful function in monitoring the activities of the administration in this regard.
With regard to that role of monitoring, we believe as to two of the issues that the subcommittee has before it this morning-the publication of Country Reports and the role of the U.S. foreign policy in its relationship to the Soviet Union-that the activities of the administration, are to be commended.
Although one may find deficiencies in the tone of the Country Reports and in omissions of particular events in nuance in policies and language that we do not all agree upon, the fact that the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs has published a compendious, an authoritative, and on the whole, a conclusive and very fair statement of the conduct of foreign governments in their handling of human rights problems is to be complimented. I do not choose to use my time to dwell on those aspects of the country reports as to which we individually might find deficiencies.
With regard to our role as to the Soviet Union, it is a fact that we have made great efforts through the press and, I am sure, through our diplomatic representatives at Helsinki and in Moscow and in other international fora to emphasize to the leaders of the Soviet Union that we are committed to enforcing the treaties which the Soviet Union has accepted.
I believe it is very useful to have a resolution by Congress on this issue because the peoples in other countries often believe that the role of the President in asserting human rights is acted out for political purposes of his own or for political purposes in our international relations.
They are not always aware that the origin of his programs are, of his policies, has come from the U.S. Congress itself, from the House of Representatives originally, in writing these provisions into statutes. They are not always aware that our interest in the treatment of minorities in other countries is a historic one.
As I am sure this subcommittee knows, we were concerned as long ago as 1864 with the treatment of Maronites and Christians in Lebanon. We have been concerned since 1906 with the treatment of Jews and Armenians in Russia and Turkey. President Theodore Roosevelt and the U.S. Congress sent a historic message to the Czar of the Russian Government at that time protesting the massacre of Jews in Kishnev. At the same time similar messages were sent to the rulers of Turkey with regard to the massacre and mistreatment of Armenians in that country.
If it is known to the heads of governments in other countries that these are not passing, transitory concerns of particular administrations of the United States, I believe that those countries may tend to give more respect to the felt needs that we express in these matters.
Of great topical interest is the fact that yesterday-I believe it was yesterday-that the Pentacostals who had taken refuge in the