International Organizations United States. Congress. House. Committee on Forei.

Oversight of State Department country reports on human rights practices for 1992 and U.S. human rights policy : hearing before the Subcommittee on International Security, International Organizations, and Human Rights of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Co online

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OVERSIGHT OF STATE DEPARTMENT COUNTRY
REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR
1992 AND U.S. HUM AN RIGHTS POLICY

' 4. F 76/1-15: 992/OVER.

versight of State Departnent Count... ..^t^^^,

xxx^JIING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, INTERNATIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
FIRST SESSION



MARCH 4, 1993



Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs




<5 'town okjo,

DEC 2 3 1893



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
70-702 CC WASHINGTON : 1993

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-041695-7



^ OVERSIGHT OF STATE DEPARTMENT COUNTRY
y REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR
1992 AND U.S. HUM AN RIGHTS POLICY

4. F 76/1-15: 992/OVER.

rsight of State Departnent Count... ^-^^~.

xxx^xARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, INTERNATIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
FIRST SESSION



MARCH 4, 1993



Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs







DEC 2 3 M3



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
70-702 CC WASHINGTON : 1993

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington. DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-041695-7



COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS



LEE H

SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut

TOM LANTOS, California

ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey

HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York

HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida

ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York

ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American

Samoa
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
ERIC FINGERHUT, Ohio
PETER DEUTSCH, Florida
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN, Maryland
DON EDWARDS, California
FRANK McCLOSKEY, Indiana
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio

(Vacancy)

Michael H. Van Dusen, Chief of Staff
Jo WEBER, Staff Associate



HAMILTON, Indiana, Chairman

BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JAN MEYERS, Kansas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DAVID A. LEVY, New York
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, Florida
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California



International Security, International Organization and Human Rights

TOM LANTOS, California, Chairman

HOWARD L. BERMAN, California DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine

MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey

FRANK McCLOSKEY, Indiana DAN BURTON, Indiana

THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio

Robert King, Staff Director

MICHAEL ENNIS, Republican Professional Staff Member

KENNETH R. TiMMERMAN, Professional Staff Member

MARYANNE MURRAY, Professional Staff Member



(ID



CONTENTS



WITNESSES

Page

Hon. James K. Bishop, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Human Rights

and Humanitarian Affairs, Department of State 5

James O'Dea, Director, Washington Office, Amnesty International 25

Holly Burkhalter, Washington Director, Human Rights Watch 27

APPENDIX

Prepared statements:

Ambassador James Bishop 53

James O'Dea 55

Holly Burkhalter, with biographical sketch 66

Letter from Ambassador Bishop dated March 29, 1993 responding to a num-
ber of questions raised during the hearing 77

Introduction to "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1992", Feb-
ruary 1993 78



(III)



OVERSIGHT OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S
COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
PRACTICES FOR 1992 AND U.S. HUMAN
RIGHTS POLICY



THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 1993

House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on International Security,
International Organization and Human Rights,

Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:38 a.m., in room
2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Tom Lantos (chairman
of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. Lantos. The Subcommittee on International Security, Inter-
national Organizations and Human Rights today will consider the
annual State Department Report on Human Rights Practices
across the globe.

Of all the tens of thousands of publications issued by our Govern-
ment, this publication, all 1,196 pages of it, is probably the most
important and the most consequential because it documents man's
continuing inhumanity to man. It documents that the dark ages
are still with us. It should be a best seller.

I shall explore with the Department of State having a shorter
version published. It is unrealistic to expect people to read through
1,196 pages, but maybe a pamphlet outlining the most outrageous
and egregious human rights violations would serve a useful pur-
pose.

This annual report to the Congress is required by law under pro-
visions of the Foreign Assistance Act which specifies that the Unit-
ed States shall promote and encourage increased respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world without
distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

This report reviews human rights practices of all countries which
receive U.S. economic and military assistance, as well as all coun-
tries which are members of the United Nations.

This report is the key official statement regarding the observance
of human rights for U.S. policymakers as well as for nongovern-
mental organizations and American citizens throughout our coun-
try.

The principal purposes of our hearing today are twofold. Number
one, consider the quality and accuracy of the information on human
rights conditions contained in this latest edition of Country Re-

(1)



ports. And secondly, to focus on the broader issues of the role of
human rights in U.S. foreign policy.

My own experience in both the field of human rights and with
these reports and the government action in recent years, reveals a
remarkable dichotomy because, on the one hand, the reports are
accurate on the whole. In 1,200 pages there obviously are honest
differences of opinion concerning emphasis, completeness, and per-
haps some errors, but I think the Department of State deserves a
great deal of credit for accuracy in these reports.

On the other hand, I believe for a number of years now there has
been far less satisfactory performance in drawing the appropriate
policy conclusions concerning U.S. activities and actions vis-a-vis
the most outrageous perpetrators of human rights violations. It is
not enough to issue a report and continue business as usual,
whether this relates to China; whether it relates to Iraq, as it did
for a good number of years, while the reports indicated an out-
rageous pattern of human rights violations, while important agen-
cies of the U.S. Government continued business as usual with a
gross human rights violator such as Iraq.

So the question that I will ask all of our witnesses to focus on
is not just how accurate the report is, but how this report is used
by the highest levels of the U.S. Government.

I intend to discuss this report with the President, the Secretary
of State, and others. And I will assure them that this subcommittee
is determined to see to it that the findings of this report find their
way into U.S. policy formulation with respect to the various nations
that are the most outrageous violators of human rights on this
planet today.

Recent issues of these Country Reports have been relatively opti-
mistic regarding the outlook for increasing democracy and greater
respect for human rights. This was probably the result of the
breakup of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Communist re-
gimes in Central and Eastern Europe. This report is considerably
more sober in light of the ethnic, racial and religious conflicts that
have followed the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, the former So-
viet Union, and central government authority in Somalia.

Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and elsewhere, which the world has
witnessed with horror over the past year, represents perhaps the
most dramatic and destructive violation of human rights since the
end of the Second World War, nearly half a century ago.

This morning's New York Times reports a telegram to the Sec-
retary General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali, from
the High Commissioner on Refugees, a Japanese woman of extraor-
dinary talents, Sadako Ogata, who says the following. I am quot-
ing: ' Lots of civilians, women, children and old people, are being
killed usually by having their throats cut." This is not a historical
document. This is a telegram from the Refugee Commissioner to
the Secretary General as of yesterday, late afternoon.

To discuss the issues before the subcommittee today, we have a
distinguished group of human rights specialists. Our first witness
will be the Honorable James K. Bishop, Acting Assistant Secretary
of State for the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Af-
fairs. Ambassador Bishop is a distinguished foreign service officer



who was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights
until the change of administration earlier this year.

Following Ambassador Bishop's presentation, we will hear from
Mr. James O'Dea, Director of the Washington Office of Amnesty
International; Ms. Holly Burkhalter, Washington Director of
Human Rights Watch.

Before turning to my good friend and distinguished colleague
from Nebraska, the ranking Republican of this subcommittee, I
would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the biparti-
san staff of this subcommittee in the preparation of this hearing.
I particularly want to express my personal appreciation to Dr. Bob
King, Chief of Staff of this subcommittee.

Congressman Bereuter.

Mr. Bereuter. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

It is important to take a few minutes to set the context of the
report that we are receiving and reviewing today with the help of
some witnesses. It is an opportunity to review the U.S. human
rights policy in general and to take a closer look at the recently re-
leased Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1992.

This is the 17th Annual Report by the State Department, and
there is a general consensus that the quality and the breadth of
these reports has significantly improved over the years. The Coun-
try Report is now generally considered an authoritative source book
in human rights conditions around the world. I join the chairman
in commending the State Department for the continued progress in
preparing this report.

Like the chairman also, I note in this year's report an overall
change in tone. For the last several years, the Country Reports
have conveyed a sense of dramatic improvement approaching mild
euphoria over the changes in Central Europe and the former Soviet
Republics, as well as positive changes in longstanding trouble spots
such as Nicaragua, Golan, South Africa. Unfortunately this enthu-
siasm was closer to being appropriate at the time than it is now.
For while there are still many positive trends in international
human rights behavior, the overall picture is far from rosy. 1992
witnesses the return of concentration camps, systematic raping of
Moslem women in Bosnia, and the introduction of the term "ethnic
cleansing" into the lexicon of man's inhumanity to man.

Because of the nightly news, we have all become better ac-
quainted with the tragic events and conditions in Bosnia and So-
malia. But there are countless other trouble areas where the tele-
vision cameras have not been able to provide coverage.

There is, for example, a bloody junta in the North African coun-
try of Sudan that is implementing a policy designed to exterminate
much of the native population. Conditions in Sudan are every bit
as horrendous as conditions in Somalia, even worse because the
Sudanese Government has effectively crippled international hu-
manitarian assistance.

In Burma we have slave labor working to build roads to reach
tourist spots. The students who in 1990 were arrested during
democratic protests are now slaving on construction crews so that
the Burmese Government can build an international vacation spot.

I would also mention Tajikistan, where as many as 100,000 peo-
ple have, over the course of a few months, lost their lives in a



bloody civil war between Islamic fundamentalists and the unre-
pentant hard-line Communists.

Nor should the world forget about the Kurds in Northern Iraq,
or the Shiites, including the Marsh Arabs, from the southern por-
tion of Iraq. I have seen some satellite imagery of what is happen-
ing in the Marsh area in southern Iraq. From week to week, you
can see how villages along the causeways have been destroyed,
homes are being systematically burned out, the U.N. enforced no-
fly zone notwithstanding.

It has become quite clear that Saddam Hussein has a carefully
orchestrated campaign to eliminate all centers of opposition among
the Shiite population in southern Iraq. Indeed, as the Country Re-
ports point out, the Iraqi Prime Minister was video taped last year
giving instructions to his generals to wipe out at least three Shiite
Marsh Arab tribes. The subsequent attacks by the Iraqi armed
forces resulted in thousands of casualties. These attacks were fol-
lowed by widespread arrests and execution of Shiite civilians. For
example, the Country Report goes on to note that 2,500 men,
women and children from the Al-Keba'ish Marsh were rounded up
and taken to a military detention camp last summer. A prisoner
who managed to escape has relayed horrifying tales of groups of
100 being taken out and shot every night.

Mr. Chairman, the Human Rights Country Report makes for ter-
rible reading, but useful because it underscores the depth of human
rights problems worldwide. It is hard to convey graphically what
has happened without having a report of this size.

I would urge those who are being asked to serve in the Clinton
administration to read the Country Reports with great care. I know
they will. This is an eye-opening report. It is illuminating, and, Mr.
Chairman, it conveys forcefully the details and locations of thou-
sands of human rights tragedies that occur each and every day
around the globe.

I conclude by joining you in welcoming Ambassador Bishop and
our other witnesses here today.

Thank you.

Mr. Lantos. Thank you very much, Congressman Bereuter.

You have been a strong champion of human rights during your
entire congressional career. And I am delighted to share respon-
sibility with you for this subcommittee.

I would like to call on my good friend and great colleague in the
cause of human rights, Congressman Sawyer.

Mr. Sawyer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I do not have an opening statement this morning, but I want to
thank you and our Ranking Member for your leadership. You really
are a model, not only within this institution, but literally around
the globe for the kind of attention that we all need to pay to the
subject matter of this morning's hearing and the overarching con-
cerns that it represents for this entire committee and this legisla-
tive body.

I have another hearing I am going to have to chair later on this
morning, but just let me conclude by saying the material that is
being brought before us today ought to be required reading for
every member of this Congress.

Thank you.



Mr. LANTOS. Thank you very much.

I have fought together with my friend from New Jersey on
human rights causes across this globe and I am delighted to call
on him.

Congressman Smith of New Jersey.

Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

And I want to join my other colleagues in welcoming Ambassador
Bishop to this important hearing. Let me also say, Mr. Chairman,
you too have been an outstanding leader on behalf of human rights
worldwide, especially in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe. And
we have traveled together to a number of countries from Lithuania
to the Soviet Union, to Romania, pressing the human rights cause.
And if there is anything that is more true today, it is that human
rights are indivisible. And we need to look without rose-colored
glasses at every country of the world regardless of its form of gov-
ernment. And I think strongly, that we must condemn those
human rights practices that violate individual people and groups of
people, regardless of where they take place.

I think this can be said with strong fervor with regards to China,
where we have been in one accord, Democrats and Republicans,
speaking out against the abuses, whether it be in the area of reli-
gious repression, the atrocities committed against those pro-democ-
racy people, who suffered the cruelty of Tiananmen Square, or in
the area of the coercion in the ongoing population control program
in China, which unfortunately gets short shrift sometimes by some
in the area of human rights advocacy.

So I want to welcome our distinguished Ambassador. The Coun-
try Reports on Human Rights remains the very important collec-
tion of human rights practices globally and is the source for all of
us for an evaluation, country by country, of how well the world is
doing in the area of human rights.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman. And look forward to Ambassador
Bishop's testimony.

Mr. Lantos. Thank you, Congressman Smith.

Mr. Ambassador, we are delighted to have you. Your prepared
statement will be entered in the record in its entirety. You may
proceed any way you choose.

STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES K. BISHOP, ACTING ASSISTANT
SECRETARY, BUREAU OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANI-
TARIAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Mr. Bishop. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Members of
the committee.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the latest sub-
mission to the Congress of our Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices. We are very proud of this document and what I have
heard this morning from the Members of the committee makes me
all the prouder. I hope that you will continue to agree that it has
come to be well respected around the globe.

For that reason and because the report is the collective work of
hundreds of dedicated Foreign Service officers, it is a particular
honor to represent the State Department at this hearing on the re-
port.



I have had the honor to be in the Human Rights Bureau
throughout the year-long process that led up to the submission of
this report. And I will be nappy to try to address the full range of
questions that might arise from the report.

I would, however, respectfully note that insofar as the Clinton
administration is engaged in a review of relations with many coun-
tries whose human rights records are cause for concern, it may be
too early to give detailed answers to future policy initiatives in all
cases.

As former Assistant Secretary

Mr. Lantos. If I may interrupt you just for a second.

My understanding is that the President has just nominated a
new Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, Mr. Shattuck. And he
will be having hearings on the other side within the next few
weeks. Is that the expectation?

Mr. Bishop. I hope it is as early as you forecast, Mr. Chairman.
As you know, there have been some delays in the preparations of
the necessary papers and scheduling of hearings.

Mr. Lantos. Well, we will be looking forward to his appearing
before this subcommittee immediately upon his confirmation and I
would like to ask you to carry this word to him.

Mr. Bishop. I would be delighted to, sir.

Mr. Lantos. Thank you.

Mr. Bishop. As former Assistant Secretary Diaz-Dennis notes in
her introduction to the report, and as several of the Members have
mentioned, hope for more widespread respect for human rights,
which was prompted by the demise of the Soviet Union, and by
democratic transformations elsewhere in the world, was undercut
in 1992 by horrific abuse of the most fundamental human rights
in situation of ethnic conflict. Hundreds of thousands of people lost
their lives when denied humanitarian relief by inhumane govern-
ments and warlords. On a scale the world had not seen for half a
century, barbarous leaders consciously used atrocities of the most
vile nature, including wholesale rape, to frighten hundreds of thou-
sands of people into fleeing their homes and countries.

The values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights were openly challenged by the false prophets of nationalism
and ethnic cleansing and by religious extremists of various persua-
sions.

Although it continued to lose ground as an economic theory, fi-
delity to Leninism remained the pretext for several regimes in Asia
and Castro's Cuba to try to justify continued denial of their citi-
zens' most basic political and civil rights. Without any serious phil-
osophical pretext, authoritarian regimes in far too many countries
continued to repress the rights of their peoples.

However, the balance sheet has had its positive entries as well.
The international community proved increasingly responsive to
widespread violations of human rights, adopting unprecedented
means to try to alleviate those in several instances. Inspired in
part by U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali's reflections
on the role of the United Nations in the post-cold war era, the Se-
curity Council accepted an American offer of military assistance
whicn resulted, as we know, in the dispatch to Somalia of a multi-
national force. Under U.S. leadership, it was able to break the



stranglehold of local warlords and bandits on the delivery of hu-
manitarian assistance, and thereby save the lives literally of mil-
lions of people.

Within the donor community, there was increased linkage of aid
to human rights performance and more effective coordination in re-
sponding to major problems. The U.S. Congress' extension to IMF
lending of the legislation requiring U.S. opposition to international
institution loans to the most serious human rights abusers gives
the administration a powerful new tool to use in encouraging great-
er respect for human rights. Senate approval of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was warmly welcomed by
human rights advocates both here and abroad.

While, as has been indicated, there were holdouts, laggards and
backsliders to the process of democratic transformation, it contin-
ued to make significant headway, particularly on the African con-
tinent. Elections sometimes were seriously flawed and formal adop-
tion of democratic norms did not guarantee consistent respect for
human rights, but on the whole, this trend line remained positive.

In concluding, I would like to take the opportunity to express ap-
preciation to you, Mr. Chairman, and to Congressman Gilman and
to Congressman Mazzoli for introducing H.R. 933, legislation to im-
plement the Torture Convention, a process which we hope will be
completed before the opening of the World Conference on Human
Rights scheduled to be held in June in Vienna.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BURMA, CHINA, INDONESIA, AND SUDAN: UNCOOPERATIVE IN
PREPARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT

Mr. Lantos. Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.

Let me begin by asking you to identify for the subcommittee
those countries which were particularly uncooperative in assisting
our diplomatic personnel in the preparation of this report.

Mr. Bishop. Well, as you will appreciate, some of the worst
human rights abusers are countries with which we currently do not
have diplomatic relations, and for that reason had no opportunity
to conduct on-site investigations.

In some cases, we hoped the United Nations would be able to
provide the necessary on-the-ground investigations, however, the
United Nations was, in some cases, frustrated in that attempt.

In responding more directly to your question, we certainly faced
severe obstacles in Sudan, where our attempts to investigate the
situation in the South were restricted by the refusal of the govern-
ment to allow our diplomats to travel. There are similar restric-
tions on the ability of our diplomats to travel in Burma. Members
of the Congress have been prohibited from entering parts of Indo-
nesia and parts of China when they have attempted to conduct
their personal investigations of human rights abuses in those coun-
tries.


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Online LibraryInternational Organizations United States. Congress. House. Committee on ForeiOversight of State Department country reports on human rights practices for 1992 and U.S. human rights policy : hearing before the Subcommittee on International Security, International Organizations, and Human Rights of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Co → online text (page 1 of 9)