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security forces identify and eliminate suspected collaboraAs we pointed out in criticizing
tors" of the opposition. the same practice in the 1981 Country Reports, "giving such absolution is inappropriate where such abuses are numerous and where a government has not tried to punish criminally those responsible for abuses." Yet the Department of State is still trying to get away with blaming political murders on "extremes" and "groups associated with the military" rather on the security forces themselves.
One of the most objectionable aspects of the Country Reports for 1981 was the way the State Department characterized some groups that monitor human rights abuses in circumstances where monitoring itself is extremely dangerous. Although we have repeatedly criticized the Department of State for this practice, it has again demonstrated its intent to persist.
The report on El Salvador in the 1982 Country Reports contains this passage:
In spite of a pervasive fear of extremist
is extremely critical of the government.
This is an astonishing passage. It acknowledges "pervasive fear of extremist reprisal" and then enhances the likelihood of such reprisal (if the term "extremist" is broad enough to include government security forces) by characterizing several Catholic Church connected groups as "pro-FMLN.' The "pervasive fear" in El Salvador is well-founded, as several persons employed by human rights monitoring groups were murdered or "disappeared" during 1982, including an American citizen, Patricia Cuellar. For the U.S. Department of State to publish an official document labelling such groups as proFMLN when they operate in circumstances where such a label can be a death sentence is irresponsible. Moreover, the only example the Department of State provides to illustrate that these groups are pro-FMLN is that one journal devoted an issue to an article that is "extremely critical of the government" and that this journal "advocates negotiations with the guerrillas, which is contrary to government policy." Many members of Congress are extremely critical of the government of El Salvador and favor negotiations with the guerrillas. daresay, however, that most or all such members of Congress would resent being labelled pro-FMLN even though the label is not life endangering as it is for groups in El Salvador trying to monitor human rights abuses.
Another criticism that we made of the 1981 Country
Reports must be repeated in connection with the 1982 Country Reports. It is misleading to attempt to portray improvements in human rights by drawing comparisons to long past periods when particularly gross abuses were committed. The report on Chile is illustrative. It contains the assertion that, "The human rights situation in Chile has improved significantly in comparison with the post-coup period, 1973-77."
The only purpose that appears to be served by such an assertion is that it permits the State Department to use the term "improved significantly" to describe the human rights situation in Chile. Nothing of the sort could possibly be said if comparisons were drawn to a more recent period. Moreover, the assertion betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of human rights. It is characteristic of repressive governments to commit extreme abuses during their early years. Generally, however, such extreme abuses are superfluous after they have consolidated control. To assert that such consolidation of control implies significant improvement in the human rights situation, however, is simply false.
The assertion in the report on Chile about significant improvement as compared to 1973-77 is followed by a sentence in which it is said that "the pace of improvements has slowed in the past two years." In view of the sharp rise in the number of political arrests in 1982, the institutionalization
of torture, the upturn in the number of exilings, and the
Our Critique contains many favorable comments about the
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Ms. Laber.
Mr. Carliner and Mr. Posner, the Banking Committee has agreed to a change in the key legislative language defining U.S. human rights policy applying to international financial institutions. The change would remove the word "consistent" from the phrase which limits U.S. support for aid to countries other than those whose governments engage in a "consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."
Now what significance does removal of "consistent" have? It has been argued that the administration uses the word to permit U.S. support for aid when so-called improvements in human rights violations change the consistency of the pattern of abuses.
Would either one of you care to comment?
Mr. POSNER. We supported that change. I think it represents an effort to have the law enforced as I believe it originally was intended to be enforced. There need not be a disappearance or an abduction every day. Killings do not have to reach the level of genocide, conditions don't have to approximate Cambodia for the United States to begin to consider the votes of our directors to the Multilateral Development Banks.
When there is a strong pattern of abuse, an ongoing pattern of gross abuse, we should respond in any way that we can. In this context I think that the change in the law is good. Hopefully it will lead to a more responsible and more realistic appraisal of future loans.
Mr. YATRON. Mr. Carliner.
Mr. CARLINER. I agree with that also. The word "consistent" just gives one more word in the language to have an argument about, to know whether it is doing it all the time or most of the time. What we are primarily concerned with, as Mr. Posner says, is the fact that there are violations of human rights. The occasional episodic one would not trouble human rights groups, but the types that are institutionalized do and when there is a pattern of violations of human rights.
We do not have much trouble identifying the countries which engage in this pattern, and the word "consistent" does not add anything to enforcement of the statute and sometimes has helped to cloud the issue, so we also support deleting the word.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you, Mr. Carliner. Ms. Laber, would you care to comment on that?
Ms. LABER. I agree completely with what both gentlemen have said.
Mr. YATRON. Do you all agree that it should be done in a foreign aid bill as well?
Mr. CARLINER. Yes, I think wherever the phrase appears the reason it should be removed applies equally to all laws.
Mr. YATRON. Ms. Laber, has the Reagan administration handled the Madrid Conference properly and what more can the administration do to affect Soviet behavior?
Ms. LABER. I think the Reagan administration and the Carter administration which preceded it have done an admirable job in Madrid. I think Ambassador Kampelman has done, from our point of view, just about everything possible, both to keep the NATO alliance together and at the same time to take a very strong and forceful position for human rights in Madrid.
I am not quite sure what more can be done. I think whatever can be done is being done at this very moment as Madrid is winding up its negotiations.
Mr. YATRON. Do you care to comment, Mr. Carliner?
Mr. CARLINER. Yes, I would. I join in the high praise given to Ambassador Kampelman. I have known him for many years. He is an extremely effective and persistent and adroit diplomat on behalf of the U.S. Government.
However, I do not believe our role in Madrid has enhanced our credibility among other countries of the world, because we have focused almost exclusively on violations of human rights by the Soviet Union and its allies, not at all upon the violation of human rights by other countries. I mentioned earlier in my testimony the comparison between Turkey and Poland. My mention of that was not done casually. It was done because
Mr. YATRON. Would you speak into the microphone, please. No one can hear you.
Mr. CARLINER. I mentioned that, Mr. Chairman, because the European Human Rights Community and the European governments have made particular note of the failure of the U.S. Government to comment about Turkey. The Government of the Netherlands has specifically. The labor movement, the socialist labor movement in the European countries, have sent repeated delegations to Turkey to observe the conduct of trials there.