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the past two sessions of the Commission has unfortunately perpetuated the double standard so abhorred. One can only characterize as a double standard U.S. votes which condemn Poland but which side with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in refusing to condemn human rights in Guatamala. Not to condemn human rights in El Salvador while inveighing against the Soviet Union, Cuba and Nicaragua again, is only imitating that which we criticize. Ambassador Kampelman has done an excellent job holding the line on human rights during the interminable Madrid Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; however, even there an effort should be made to criticize with evenhandedness abuses in Poland and Turkey alike. I agree with Ambassador Kirkpatrick; the double standard should be criticized in every
But if we all begin to play that game the spanner may be in the wheel for good and we will all be the losers.
One of the more interesting initiatives of the Reagan Administration is Project Democracy. It would be premature to judge how this program will affect human rights but if carried out with integrity, it may help to foster democracy. I would advise
the Congress to monitor well how any appropriations are being used to accord, not only with the stated aims of the Project, but with the overall goals of the U.S. human rights policy articulated by Congress in the many statutes.
It must be remembered that the human rights statutes reflect the concern of the people of the United States, as voiced by their representatives in Congress, for victims of human rights violations. The obligations these laws impose
upon the Executive branch are not subject to change every four years. They must be observed, despite political and diplomatic ramifications, to ensure our long term national security interests and to promote the image of American democracy abroad.
Mr. Chairman, these hearings serve a very useful purpose in bringing to the attention of Congress the ways in which the Administration adheres to the human rights policy proclaimed in these laws. This is also an opportunity to suggest to the Congress ways to amend or strengthen the laws. One area in which Congress could assure better observance of the laws is to insist that the Executive Branch submit all the reports required by the various statutes. A close examination of all reports required under existing legislation would force the Administration to take these reports seriously. The laws and the reports required by them include:
Sec. 112 (a) and (d) of the Agricultural Trade Dev-
b. Sec. 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961,
c. Sec. 502B (b) of the FAA (Country Reports).
Sec. 703 (a) of the International Financial
f. Sec. 701 (c) (1) of IFI Act (Report on progress
g. Sec. 30 (a) of Bretton Woods Agreements Act (IMF
h. Sec. 725 (b), 726 (b) and 728 (d) of International
i. Sec. 729 (a) of International Security and De-
Another suggestion would be for the House Foreign Affairs Committee to request a statement from the Secretary of State, under Section 502B (c) (1) (4) of the Foreign Assistance Act, on the human rights situation in any country which receives U.S. security assistance. This would require the Administration to make a public statement on what extraordinary circumstances exist and how the U.S. national interest is served by such
Several terms repeated in the human rights legislation are not well defined, allowing their vagueness to be used as a loophole through which unwarranted aid is channelled. The concept of "improvement" of a human rights situation as it appears in Section 502B (f), must require definite standards. Currently security assistance be provided to countries which have made minor cosmetic improvements or changes, but which by no means meet the standards of improvement envisioned by those who enacted the law.
The term "basic human needs" occurs in Section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act and in Section 701 of the International Financial Institutions Act. Aid for projects which do indeed directly benefit the most needy people in a recipient country, such as health and education programs, should be funded, but without clearer definition of this term loans which are not within the meaning of "basic human needs" will slip through, as did the rural telephone loan to Guatemala.
The most difficult term to define is "consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights," which appears in Sections 116 and 502B of the FAA and 701 of the IFI Act. This phrase was adopted originally to distinguish human rights conditions of a chronic and grevious nature from those which were an aberration and to allow the Executive some leeway in its decisions on foreign assistance in such instances. This Executive discretion has frequently been exercised in an arbitrary manner, and at times to an absurd degree, as manifested in statements at hearings in South Africa in December 1982. These representatives from both the Department of State and the Department of Commerce refused to state publicly that South Africa's government is engaged in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. This term must be more clearly defined so that the Congressional oversight role is strengthened.
The role of Congress must also be strengthened in the certification process concerning El Salvador, Argentina and Chile. It should no longer be possible for the Executive to certify that such countries have progressed in human rights without Congress having some input. Public hearings on the certifications are important, but without Congressional concurrence these certifications will be meaningless.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. YATRON. I want to thank you very much for providing that for the subcommittee. I now would like to call on Mr. Posner to give us his statement.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL POSNER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS Mr. POSNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for inviting us to appear here today.
I have a lengthy written statement which I would like to insert in the record and to summarize briefly.
Mr. YATRON. Without objection.
Mr. POSNER. I am the executive director of the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights, which is a public interest law center based in New York City. For the last 4 years, the committee has prepared critiques of the State Department's annual country reports on human rights practices. In each of the last 2 years the Americas Watch and the U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee have joined in this effort.
I have submitted a copy of the full critique, which is 115 pages, to the subcommittee staff, and I ask that the introduction be submitted into the record.1 In my testimony today I want to discuss briefly the value of the country reports themselves and then to summarize a few of the findings and recommendations that we make in our critique.
Most importantly, the country reports are designed to provide information on human rights to help Members of Congress make decisions about foreign policy, trade and aid policy. But a collateral benefit that is also quite important is the educational function that the reports serve within the Foreign Service.
By requiring reports from more than 150 embassies, Congress has given U.S. diplomats a mandate to gather information on human rights that might otherwise be ignored or regarded as too sensitive to investigate. By investigating human rights situations in countries where they serve, embassy personnel have become sensitized to conditions that have a substantial impact on the U.S. Government's ability to conduct successful foreign policy.
In the last 6 or 7 years that these reports have been prepared we have seen both an increase in the attention and energy placed on preparing them and a more sensitized Foreign Service, which is, commendable.
The critique we prepared earlier this year examines the State Department's 1982 report on 22 countries, chosen for their ideological and geographical diversity. The critiques conclude that many of the 1982 reports are well documented, detailed, and for the most part objective. Yet in several important instances, objective analysis appears to be seriously undermined by efforts to further various political objectives of the administration.
In these instances, we find the reports suffer from improper emphasis, selective omissions or distortions rather than outright factual mis-statements. For the purpose of illustration I want to exam
1 See app. 4.