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COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR 1996
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
JANUARY 31, 1997
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM GOODLING, Pennsylvania
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
JOHN McHUGH, New York
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
LEE HAMILTON, Indiana
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD BERMAN, California
GARY ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
WALTER CAPPS, California
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
DENNIS J. KUCINICH, Ohio
STEVE ROTHMAN, New Jersey
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
GROVER JOSEPH REES, Staff Director, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
ALLISON K. KIERNAN, Staff Associate
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Hon. John Shattuck, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State
Mr. Stephen Rickard, Director, Washington Office, Amnesty International
Ms. Holly Burkhalter, Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
Ms. Elisa Massimino, Acting Director, Washington Office, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Ms. Nina Shea, Director of Religious Programs, Freedom House
Opening statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
Statement of Congressman Donald M. Payne
Statement of Assistant Secretary John Shattuck
Statement of Nina Shea
Statement of Elisa Massimino
Statement of Holly Burkhalter
Statement of Stephen Rickard
Responses to additional questions submitted for the record
COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR 1996
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 1997
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House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 11:15 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Christopher H. Smith presiding.
Mr. SMITH. The Committee will come to order.
Good morning. This hearing of the House International Relations Committee is for the purpose of hearing testimony from the State Department and from nongovernmental organizations on the 1996 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. This hearing is usually held every year by the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. Because the Subcommittee will not be formally organized until next week, Chairman Gilman has graciously agreed to let us use the auspices of the full International Relations Committee hearing for the purpose of receiving the Country Reports and testimony about them.
The last hearing of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, just a little over a month ago, was on the occasion of the official visit to the United States of General Chi Haotian, the Defense Minister of the People's Republic of China.
The General, who was the operational commander of the forces that attacked the pro-democracy demonstration at Tiananmen Square, had been invited to the United States by our government. The expenses of his visit were paid for with tax dollars. He was given full military honors, a 19-gun salute, visits to several military bases, and a tour of the Sandia Nuclear Laboratory.
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General Chi, whom many of us regard as the butcher of Beijing, not only was there on the scene when those students and activists were gunned down, but he actually gave the orders, and he also had a personal visit and meeting with President Clinton at the White House. During his visit, General Chi stunned the civilized world by announcingin response to a question about whether the Chinese Government had learned anything from the killings at Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989, and thereafterthat nobody was actually killed at Tiananmen.
We held a hearing, as I indicated, and we heard from many people who were there on the scene, reporters, including one from People's Daily, who himself landed in a prison because he spoke out and sided with the activists, and also from a correspondent from Time Magazine, and then some of the activists themselves, who confirmed the truth of what happened and pointed out that this was another manifestation of the big lie so skillfully employed by the Chinese dictatorship. Thus, the official wining and dining of the butcher of Beijing is an important symbol, not just of our one-way love affair with the brutal Communist Government of China, but also of the broader systemic problem and relationship between the protection of human rights and other goals of foreign domestic policy.
As James O'Dea, who testified for Amnesty International at our hearing on the 1994 Country Reports, put it, ''Human rights is an island off the mainland of U.S. foreign policy.'' This Country Report, like those in previous years, appears to be generally accurate and carefully compiled. The reports, however, should only be the beginning of our official commitment to human rights. Instead, too many government officials treat them as items to display on a shelf and to point to when someone complains that we are not doing enough about human rights. As Mr. O'Dea put it, when the reports are not used as a ''basis for a plan of action,'' they only serve to prevent integration of human rights into the full range of policy development and implementation.''
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To put it even more bluntly, the message we are sending to the world is that the Government of the United States is committed to the protection of fundamental human rights only insofar as such a commitment does not threaten to interfere with anything else it wants to accomplish.
This is a terrible message to send, not only to the international thugs who know that they can murder and torture with impunity so long as they are hospitable to U.S. trade and investment, but also to their victims. And the current administration, which came into office on a strong human rights platform, and justly criticized the previous administration for coddling dictators in China and elsewhere, suffers from an even wider gap, a human rights credibility gap, between its rhetoric and its record.
Our first witness today, Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck, has shown himself to be an encouraging exception to the rule. Mr. Shattuck, I know that you and the people who work for you in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, are working every day to give human rights protection the priority it should have in our foreign policy. But I also know that you have got a very, very tough job. Not only has the Administration failed to provide leadership at high enough levels to make a difference on these issuesthe shameful installment of Most-Favored-Nation status with China comes quickly to mindwe all remember the fanfare and the accolades the President rightfully received when he linked MFN with China and human rights and said that there had to be significant progress or there would not be a conveyance of MFN for an additional year. But when there was significant regression, what did he do? He ripped it up and said there is no longer any link between human rights and trade with China.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also know that you have struggled with the institutional mind-set of the career bureaucracy at the State Department, which is that human rights protection is at best one goal to be balanced against other priorities, and at worst an embarrassing distraction from the real business of diplomacy, which everyone knows consists of maintaining friendly relations with terrible governments.
Unfortunately, the reports themselves sometimes appear to reflect a sort of guerilla struggle between those in the State Department who wish to tell it like it is and those who would rather avoid embarrassing dictatorial regimes.
For instance, the concluding paragraph of the introduction to the China report begins with the observation that, and I quote, ''In many respects, Chinese society continued to open further during 1996.'' The principal evidence of this remarkable assertion was that satellite television broadcasts are widely available, and that increasing numbers of citizens have access to the Internet. But the same paragraph also points out that the regime is doing its best to shut down access to the satellite broadcasts and Internet sites that might provide a genuinely free flow of information to Chinese citizens.
The pro-human rights forces also managed to include a final observation that during 1996 the government placed new restrictions on the news media. But they apparently did not prevail in getting the department to delete the false conclusion about the alleged opening of Chinese society during 1996, or even to modify it to make clear that such an opening was despite the regime, certainly not because of it.
Another section of the China report acknowledged the brutal crackdown on what the report calls the unofficial Christian religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant ''house churches.'' Unfortunately, the report carries over the ridiculous assertion from prior years' reports that the Beijing Government has returned certain churches, mosques, and monasteries that were confiscated from religious organizations. The report fails to mention that the so-called ''return'' was not to the religious groups from whom the properties were confiscated, but to the new official religious organizations that were designed to supplant the real ones. As the report makes clear, these official organizations are directly supervised by government organizations which are dominated by atheists.
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You and I in the past have met with the leaders, both here in Washington and I met with them on at least two occasions in Beijing, and these people care about only one thing: control, control, control. They don't care about religious freedom at all. So the report is giving the government credit for returning confiscated properties to itself, not to the people it stole the properties from.
To its credit, the Department has included in this year's Mauritania report a statement that, ''Slavery, in the form of unofficial forced or involuntary servitude, exists.'' This replaces a statement in last year's report that only the, ''vestiges'' of slavery still exist in Mauritania. Unfortunately, the report later includes a statement that slavery in which government and society join to force individuals to serve masters no longer exists. This assertion is contradicted by the conclusions of antislavery activists and independent human rights observers, who believe that the Government of Mauritania has never really enforced the antislavery law which it enacted in response to international pressures in 1980.
Despite these concerns, Mr. Shattuck, I know you speak, and I speak, for the other members of the Committee in saying that the Country Reports are a bright spot in an otherwise dismal landscape of international oppression and of silence in face of oppression. But it is important that we send a strong message to the world that the United States is not content merely to identify tyrants and victims, but the centerpiece of our foreign policy will be opposition to tyranny and support for those who resist it.
As you know, many of us in Congress have worked with the Administration, and our subcommittee last year had some 41 hearings, most of them about violations of human rights, including forced abortions and sterilization in China; slavery in Mauritania and the Sudan; child labor; torture; the forced repatriation to Vietnam of people who have been persecuted because they or their family members fought on our side against the Communists; attempts to influence U.S. policy by Libya and other rogue regimes; the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the former Soviet Union; and the persecution of Christians around the world; and we had many other hearings as well.
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It seems to me, Mr. Secretary, that the test in 1997 will not be the mere protesting of human rights abuses, but the concrete actions that are taken, the deeds, if you will, to mitigate and to end these abuses. I believe in the core of my soul, as I believe you do, that human rights are indivisible, that all human rights are sacred and precious, and I include in that the rights of the unborn. The last 4 years have been a disappointment. Perhaps 1997 will be different, and hopefully with our new Secretary of State at the helm we will see some real changes in the weeks and months to come.
I would like to ask our very distinguished ranking member of the Full Committee, Mr. Hamilton, if he has any opening statements.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith appears in the appendix.]
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I don't really have a formal opening statement, but I do want to express my appreciation to Chairman Gilman and to you for this hearing on human rights. It is an important subject, and even though the Committee is not organized, I appreciate the efforts you and others have made to have this hearing.
I also want to express my appreciation to Secretary Shattuck. I think he has one of the more difficult portfolios in the foreign policy field. He has carried that work out in the last 4 years, I believe, with extraordinary distinction, and I thank him for that. I don't know exactly what the new shape of the State Department under Secretary Albright will be, but I am hopeful that you will be able to continue your responsibilities, because you have carried out this difficult assignment very well indeed.
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I think your voice has helped to elevate human rights as an important part of American foreign policy wherever you have gone. You have made a great contribution, and it has been exceedingly helpful in American foreign policy. So thank you, Secretary Shattuck, and we look forward to your testimony.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. Payne, do you have an opening statement?
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Let me, first of all, thank you again for calling this very important hearing. I think that most of the newspapers today have had stories about the report, Mr. Shattuck, that you did a very outstanding report, and I would also like to continually praise you for the outstanding, very difficult work that you do around the world in viewing these various situations and reporting back to us.
I have had a chance to read some of the report, and overall, I think it is a very comprehensive report, as I have indicated it usually is. I think everyone on this committee is familiar with my stand on countries and the human rights of its people. I have spoken out on the abuses of minority Catholics in Northern Ireland, individuals in East Timor, opposition to the Myanmar's ruling generals, those innocent victims of child slavery in Sudan and Mauritania, the problems of children soldiers in Liberia, the Polisario in Western Sahara, and the minorities in Kosovo, and many of those around the world that experience discrimination and religious discrimination in Germany with, for example, the Scientology religion.
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So I think that there are certainly enough problems going around. But in regard to China, as our chairman was talking about, I believe that the report gives an accurate picture of the Jiang Zemin Government.
In the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, we convened a hearing to discuss the visit of General Chi Haotian to the United States. At that time, he stated that no one died during the Tiananmen Square massacre. He also mentioned the fact that the use of force was still a very viable option as it relates to Taiwan. So you can see that I find it appalling that on the one hand we read about these egregious violations on the part of the government, but on the other hand we still manage to delink trade and human rights and say that the two cannot be commingled. And even as the trade deficit with China grows and our Secretary of State, who was recently designated Madeleine Albright, plans to visit China, I am not sure whether this gives an approval to what they are doing or whether we will once again try to re-engage them on the question of human rights in that country. I believe this would send a signal to the Chinese authorities that they cannot act without impunity if we would have a firm stand with them. We still have a possibility of becoming independentgoing to become linked to China as Hong Kong has been, and so there could probably be some other problems.
In this region, though, I am pleased to see in Haiti, the Preval administration has taken aggressive action to increase economic reform and police training as compared to the period from 1991 and 1994, under the Cedars regime when approximately 4,000 people were killed. I think that we can see that human rights abuses have declined tremendously.
I do think, though, that the Haitian Government will not be able to succeed, and they are having some problems with the police department because they are unable to get the training needed, and we need to have the $10 million promised to do training in Haiti if we expect that situation to improve.
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In Nigeria, I see in your report that you state that it is dismal, as you paraphrased, and I paraphrased the lack of progress, and I certainly agree with that. As you do in your report, you mention Alex Ibru, the editor of the Guardian who was permanently injured in February. That kind of situation continues to exist, and we now see the linking of China with Nigeria, with China sending defense missiles to Nigeria, and I think that that is a situation that needs to be really looked at.
Mr. Abiola is still in prison, Chief Abacha is still there, but I hear that there may be some move to lessen the visa ban in Nigeria on diplomats and government officials. I think that that would really be a wrong move.
In conclusion, I have just recently returned from the Great Lakes region where the refugee situation is still critical, and there is still a large number of unaccompanied children in Zaire, and the problem of rape has not been addressed by the international tribunal or the Government of Rwanda. Many children are now orphans or abandoned children in Rwandathis is still a very, very important issue.
I will actually submit the rest of my statement, but I do have concerns about what is happening in Zaire, and I think that we need to take a strong look at what is happening in the eastern region.
I met with Mr. Kagame in Goma recently where that area has been taken over by rebel troops, and I think that we need to really pay attention, strong attention to Zaire, and also what is happening in the Sudan as the rebels of Khorenous forces are moving further toward the capital city there, in Khartoum.
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So once again, I will be listening very carefully, and I have a number of questions when my time comes up. Thank you very much.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Payne.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Payne appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. I would like to now turn the floor over to Assistant Secretary John Shattuck, who was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in the Department of State in June 1993.
Previously, Mr. Shattuck served as vice president of Harvard University where he taught human rights law. In 1976 to 1984, he was the executive director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union. He holds degrees from both Yale University and Cambridge.
STATEMENT OF JOHN SHATTUCK, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. SHATTUCK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for calling this hearing.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am privileged to be the first Administration witness to appear before this Congress, not for a confirmation proceeding, but for a substantive hearing. I think it is a very important symbol that the very first hearing that this Congress is conducting is on a subject as important as human rights, and I congratulate you and all of the members of the Committee for agreeing to do it that way.
I would like to, of course, thank you for the opportunity to appear here to discuss the Human Rights Reports of the State Department. I will discuss them generally in my prepared statement and then am prepared with the Committee, to discuss what we are doing about the situations in the countries that are characterized in the reports. I think perhaps more than any other element of our Nation's foreign policy, the democracy and human rights agenda reflects American principles and beliefs, and our vision for a safe and peaceful world.
Let me make three points at the outset about why the reports are so important and why the work of your committee is so important as well as, we believe, our Bureau. Truth and candor are the ultimate instruments of human rights progress. Truth and candor bring into the spotlight abuses that would otherwise never be known. When that spotlight is cast around the world, and it is cast in this case by the U.S. Government working closely, I might add, with many other governments, the spotlight itself can have a very significant impact on the situation involving human rights.
Our government and President Clinton have allied ourselves with a great global movement for democracy and human rights, a movement that has fundamentally transformed many countries in this world. But it is a movement at the grass roots; it is not a movement of governments. It is a movement of people who are trying to advance their own cause of human rights and democracy under international standards under the universal declaration of human rights. It is a movement unleashed at the end of the cold war that has brought profound change in many countries, South Africa perhaps in many ways most dramatically. But it has also brought change of course in all of the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, also in parts of Asia, and certainly throughout Latin America where there is now a formation of democracies where there was once repressive government.
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To be sure, there are huge human rights abuses that continue and these reports chronicle those abuses. But what we see in the work of your committee, the State Department under the leadership of now Secretary Albright and President Clinton, is that the United States stands on the side of those who are asserting their own rights, and that is what we are all about in these reports.
The third point I would make is that keeping faith with people around the world who are struggling with their governments and with other situations that violate their human rights is what the long-term process of human rights development is all about. It is very important for us to keep our eye on the ball as we work on these issues, to condemn immediate abuses and put them in the spotlight, but also to work for the long-term progress that I believe can come if we keep very firmly engaged in the way that we are.
Let me turn to some of what we are doing about what is in the reports in this very creative collaboration between the legislative and executive branches that I think is what the establishment of my bureau was all about some 20 years ago. This is a creative enterprise that involves two of the key elements of our government.
The Country Reports' role in human rights advocacy and diplomacy is far reaching. To begin with, just look at it in terms of, as you were saying, Mr. Chairman, the bureaucracy. Thousands of personnel hours are devoted to preparing the report at our embassies in every corner of the world and here in Washington. The reports serve to concentrate the minds of U.S. diplomats and their foreign counterparts on the commitment to the promotion of human rights and to bring personnel into ongoing contact with extraordinary human rights activists in every country whose independent reporting is indispensable to our own.
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The annual presentation of the Country Reports to host governments, which is incidentally going on as we speak all over the world in 193 capitals, is itself a way of creating a dialog on human rights in those countries, and affording a regular benchmark for progress and a steady reminder of the U.S. commitment in this field. As Justice Brandeis once observed, the best disinfectant is sunshine, and the spotlight on abuses cast by these reports, backed by the credibility of the United States, is itself a major boost to the work of human rights advocates.
The Country Reports set a factual basis for the formation of our human rights policy. Highlighting abuses is an important first step in our approach. Repressive regimes often cringe at criticism. As Secretary Albright said yesterday in introducing the reports, they are read even by those or perhaps even most closely by those who condemn them. The number of condemnatory comments that have been made from countries around the world over the last 2 days is an indication of how much that criticism reaches those countries. Human rights advocates around the world are heartened that the United States has spoken out on their behalf. The Country Reports will quickly make their way around the world, and in doing so, will advance U.S. interests.
Just to give you one measure of the widespread interest in the reports, last year after we posted them for the first time on our Internet web site, WWW.State.Gov. They drew over 20,000 hits in just over the first few hours. The World Wide Web, in fact, has become an extraordinary tool in not only helping us get our message out, but in promoting human rights more generally.
But casting the spotlight on abuses is only the first step in our policy. Our goal has been, and will continue to be, to use all of the tools at our disposal to advance the cause of human rights democracy and justice, to be sure, differently in each country. There is no one-size-fits-all approach toward human rights, but in every country it must be a key element of our work.
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Our arsenal for promoting human rights is a broad one and we employ it actively. It includes both traditional diplomacy and a range of new approaches that we continue to expand and develop. I would like to review for you briefly some of the means we employ:
First, is getting out the information, as we have done in the reports delivered this week.
Second, we express our views vigorously and publicly. Hardly a day goes by that the State Department does not offer its public view on a human rights violation or development in some country. In recent days, for example, we have voiced our concerns about Chinese decisions that could restrict civil liberties in Hong Kong. We have condemned the deterioration of human rights in Burma. We regularly voice our human rights concerns regarding the Soeharto Government, both in Jakarta and in Washington. We expressed our lack of confidence in the integrity of the Armenian elections. Speaking is not a small step; it is very important. When the United States speaks, people listen.
Third, we conduct an energetic diplomacy in support of human rights. Let me mention just a few examples:
The President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State have regularly raised human rights concerns in their meetings with foreign leaders, including most prominently China and Indonesia, and at regional forums, such as ASEAN.
Recently, at the conclusion of his trip to China, former Secretary of State Christopher stated that he had spent more time on human rights than on any other issue, except nonproliferation. Or to cite another example, last October, Secretary Christopher and I met with a broad range of Ethiopian human rights nongovernmental organizations, opposition party representatives, and government officials in Ethiopia.
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I myself, as you noted, Mr. Chairman, have logged hundreds of thousands of miles to 40 countries to raise human rights issues with foreign leaders. Among other recent initiatives, I have pressed President Milosevic of Serbia for democratic reforms and freedom of the media; I met with Bishop Tutu in South Africa to encourage the South African Truth Commission; and worked with the leaders of Rwanda to promote national reconciliation.
Members of my staff have visited Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in recent months to press for the evolution of democracy, and have participated in monitoring elections in Bosnia and Albania.
We have initiated the first series of formal human rights dialogs with Russia, Colombia, and Vietnam to highlight our concerns and press for progress.
Secretary Christopher and now Secretary Albright have issued worldwide cables, the first ones ever issued in the State Department, to all of our ambassadors instructing them to raise human rights issues and concerns with governments around the world. In particular, we have asked them to pay special attention, and to be ready to raise with host governments, issues of religious persecution.
And we have worked with our allies in the European Union, in the OAS, ASEAN, and the OSCE, the United Nations' many forums, and in a host of multilateral organizations, such as the OECD, to develop common approaches and coordinated strategies on issues of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fourth, we have worked to build new international institutions that will advance human rights. Most notable are the war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Just last week, the Rwanda Tribunal took a major step forward with a transfer from Cameroon of Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, a major architect of the 1994 genocide. I might add that was a major diplomatic initiative of the United States, working with the Government of Cameroon, the Government of Tanzania, and a number of European governments, and then providing security as this major figure in the Rwanda genocide was transferred by plane from Gallum to Arusha.
We have been the chief political, financial and logistical supporter for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Tribunal has proven critical to the Bosnian peace process as a way of isolating opponents of peace, helping to create breathing room for moderates to emerge and beginning to answer the demand for justice by victims who would otherwise seek retribution. We are working with our allies to assist and enhance the ability of the tribunal to bring war criminals to justice.
We are deeply involved in programs promoting the rule of law, administration of justice and training police, prosecution and judges in human rights.
While at the international level, the most significant and promising of the institutions being created today are the war crimes tribunals. We are also deeply involved in the development of new quasi-international human rights institutions. In the former Yugoslavia, 1996 saw the creation of both the Commission on Human Rights for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the International Commission on Missing Persons in the former Yugoslavia, chaired by former Secretary Cyrus Vance.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, we have actively supported new institutions of accountability in countries around the world, such as the National Truth Commissions of El Salvador, Haiti, and South Africa and National Human Rights Commissions in India, Indonesia, and Mexico.
We are also supporting the efforts of regional bodies like the OAS and the OSCE to deepen and broaden their human rights efforts and capabilities in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.
In the U.N context, we have supported the creation and strengthening of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Another major initiative that has resulted from U.S. leadership and support has been the creation of U.S. human rights field missions and field offices in countries from Rwanda to Colombia to Cambodia. These missions have spotlighted abuses, helped us coordinate response on the ground, and provided valuable early warning of impending human rights crises.
Fifth, we have worked to build multilateral coalitions to promote human rights, whether a sanctions coalition on Nigeria, which we are still very actively pursuing, a human rights monitoring and humanitarian relief coalition in Haiti, or coalitions to promote democratic development and peace in El Salvador and Guatemala.
Sixth, another new departure in which my bureau is involved is on the program side. We have succeeded in establishing several new assistance programs: the newly created Middle East Regional Democracy Fund will finance small, highly focused programs promoting democracy, rule of law, the rights of women and institutions of civil society, aiming at nongovernmental organizations. The Democracy and Human Rights in Africa Fund provides an accessible and quickly disbursable mechanism to support democratic transitions in Africa through NGO-managed programs, local and U.S.-based. We are currently working to develop a South Asia regional democracy fund.
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My bureau also now manages economic support funds that we allocated for democracy and human rights programs, and has directly managed the implementation of the congressionally mandated earmark for Burma, allocating grants only to NGO's that conduct democracy and humanitarian programs.
We have extended ESF programs to Haiti, Cambodia, and throughout Africa geared to democracy, rule of law, administration of justice and police training for human rights. And we administer the U.S. contribution to the International Commission on Missing Persons in the former Yugoslavia.
In addition, a DRL human rights fund is currently being established, budgeted at $7 million in fiscal year 1997, to provide the Secretary of State with an instrument to respond to human rights emergencies, conflicts, and crises as they occur. Among the activities that we think could benefit from this fund are human rights monitoring missions, justice, and accountability projects, and victims of torture.
Seventh, we are increasingly collaborating with USIA on programs such as bringing human rights activists to the United States to observe our own democratic processes at work, or arranging legal exchanges that can bring American jurists overseas where they can advise new democracies on law reform.
Eighth, building on the President's model business principles, we are engaged in extensive outreach to the business community to develop new ways of linking human rights and worker rights and concerns of child and slave labor, with corporate responsibility. We have created awards for corporate responsibility abroad.
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Ninth, we work closely with the International Labor Organization on its program to eliminate child labor, drawing on our own labor attaches and reporting officers around the world to report extensively on child labor. Working with USTR, we have achieved a partial suspension of Pakistan's GSP benefits because of concerns over child labor, targeting industriesparticularly sporting goods, surgical instruments, and hand-knotted carpets.
Tenth, we have identified a number of key thematic issues to which we are giving special attention, and we will be stepping up our work in these areas in the next year. We have formed a State Department working group on women's issues, ranging from women's participation in political life to female genital mutilation to trafficking in women and girls.
The President and the Secretary of State have established the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, which will create ongoing linkages between the State Department and religious leaders and authorities who are working to combat religious persecution abroad, and will interact with religious organizations promoting conflict resolution, human rights, and civil society. The first meeting of that committee, which I chair, will be on February 13th.
In my tenure, we have tried to foster greater coordination between the human rights community and our country's armed forces. Next week, for instance, I will be making the latest of a number of trips to the U.S. Southern Military Command for discussions with Latin American Ministers of Defense and military chiefs of staff. This is but one illustration of how far I believe we have come in this hemisphere where a dialog of this type would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Similarly, in Bosnia, we have developed path-breaking new forms of cooperation between U.S. military forces and human rights institutions and personnel. I should say that of course we have, I believe for the first time in history, linked human rights diplomacy backed up by military force in both Bosnia and Haiti to address catastrophic human rights situations in those countries.
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Most of the steps I have been describing are approaches that are aimed at encouraging and assisting people and countries to improve human rights. In our bilateral human rights diplomacy, we employ a range of measures, some ''carrot'' and some ''stick,'' a few of which let me illustrate with some examples.
Economic sanctions: In Nigeria, we maintain a range of sanctions on the Abacha regime, including a ban on the sale of military goods and suspension of consideration for Exim and OPIC financing. We have suspended our economic aid program to Burma and have urged others to do the same; our post-Tiananmen sanctions on China remain in place, as do the restrictions on arms imports from China announced by the President in 1994; and we have sanctions in place for rogue regimes like Cuba and Iraq.
We have imposed visa restrictions on leaders of repressive regimes. Those who benefit from the dictatorial regimes of Nigeria, Burma, and Zaire are routinely denied visas to the United States and their movements are severely restricted on their visits to the United Nations.
We have restricted arms sales in countries with poor human rights records. As you know, DRL reviews applications for arms and munitions sales for their human rights ramifications. As a result of our interventions, export licenses for a wide range of munitions or crime control commodities have been denied or held for review during the past 2 years for Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, China, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Liberia, Mauritania, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Turkey, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zaire.
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We have regularly voted against development bank loans to Mauritania, and conversely, worked to direct multilateral assistance in support of human rights progress, as in Guatemala where we pledged large amounts of assistance for the peace accord implementation.
Mr. Chairman, we have pursued all of these policies in a new post-cold war world with a focus on three primary areas: facilitating the expansion of new democracies; promoting adherence to international human rights standards; and reducing regional conflicts among ethnic, religious, and national groups.
Over the past 4 years, we have worked steadily to integrate these issues into the mainstream of our foreign policy. Our experience has taught us that much can be accomplished when the United States exercises leadership, but at the same time we can be most successful when we pursue our objectives in close coordination with our allies and with those organizations outside government which share our goals.
Mr. Chairman, these remarks have offered just a brief overview of some of the human rights policies and activities we have pursued in recent years. We are pleased to work in close partnership with the Congress to advance human rights as a critical component of our foreign policy.
In closing, I would like to offer my thanks to the Congress for its strong support of our efforts over these past 20 years to promote and protect human rights. This support has been bipartisan and it has come from both Houses of Congress. The encouragement and the tools you have provided have given us the wherewithal to make a real difference in the world. With your continued support we can achieve a great deal more. I look forward to continuing to work closely with you in the months ahead in our common effort to advance the cause of human rights and democracy.
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Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Shattuck appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Secretary, thank you for your very comprehensive statement, and again the very fine work that you and your department do on behalf of human rights.
I would like to ask a few opening questions and then yield to my colleagues, and then we hope we will go to a second round and continue to delve into these issues.
The first one I would like to pose is on China. Obviously, it is the largest country in the world, the largest population. It is certainly a country whose brutal dictatorship seems to be getting stronger, not weaker. While improving its markets and its economic circumstances, particularly for those who are part of the People's Liberation Armyit is going in the opposite direction on human rights, in several particular areas.
The Country Report points out that there is virtually no dissent toward the centers, people like Wei Jingsheng and others. You and I were among the last people to see Wei before he was rearrested and his show trial was undertaken to put him back into prison.
When he met with me and when I talked to other dissidents, there was a general sense that the Chinese Government is getting the best of us. They are getting the trade relationship, exporting to the United States at about a 3-to-1 ratio over what they import from us. I think there is now about a $35-million trade deficit in their favor, so we had some leverage that we lost.
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When I asked you, when you were asked last year, whether or not you thought that the Administration's policy reversal on MFN was a wise one, you said that to deny China MFN was very likely going to have a negative impact on the human rights situation in China.
My first question would be whether or not you feel this comprehensive engagement has led to improvement in the human rights situation? Why couldn't there have been sanctions targeted toward those industries and businesses owned by the military? Although it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly who owns what, there could have been an effort made.
Let me ask you also on the issue of the dissidents: What is our embassy, our government doing to see them, to determine whether or not they are being maltreated, whether or not they are being tortured? Is the release of Wei and all of the religious dissidents an absolute front burner issue?
I will never forget handing Li Peng a list, Frank Wolf and I handing him a list of incarcerated bishops and house church leaders, and he said it was simply not true; that there is nobody in China who is arrested for his religious beliefs. An utter boldfaced lie, but he said it.
On the issue of gulag labor, there is an understanding in effect that was negotiated during the Bush administration. I have actually been to one of those gulags and saw things being made that were for export, that particular one is closed down, but I am told, and I was told during that day, both during the Bush administration and now the Clinton administration, that we have very limited access to these gulags. So what is being done to aggressively implement the MOU on prison-made goods? How many investigations have been undertaken? What have we found and what kind of cooperation are we getting from the Chinese?
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I have always found it astonishing that the Chinese have the ability to deny us access and to put off inspections for a time certain so that when our investigators do go in, they are likely to see a village that has been sanitized to the point of being ridiculous.
On the issue of forced abortion and forced sterilization, our office continues to get very credible reports that coercive population control as part of the one-child-per-couple policy is worse and getting worse by the day. And just as recently as this morning, I checked with the man who wrote the story back in the 1980's, Steven Mosher, who was there living among the rural Chinese when women were being coerced to kill their unborn babies and did so only because they had no other choice and were shackled and forcibly aborted. It was a crime against humanity at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, and certainly it is a crime against women and humanity in 1997. Yet what has been done by the Administration on this?
My sadness is that we have continued to give money to the U.N. Population Fund which is there on the ground in China as part of that program. And while they say that there is no coercion going ontheir leader in New York, Dr. Sadik, says thatthe evidence is totally contrary to that. The practice is widespread, pervasive, and it is being focused on the handicapped now as well.
Has the mistreatment of the indigenous population in Tibet gotten worse or better, particularly the Buddhists and the Buddhist monks and nuns who have borne the brunt of the Chinese dictatorship for some time now? And of course there is the issue of religious freedom, which you and I have spoken out on frequentlythis ongoing repression of the Catholic church and the house church movement. If you could speak to that as well.
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Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, Mr. Chairman, China is definitely a major human rights preoccupation, as we all know. Let me be as candid with you as you are being here with me. We share, I think, a deep concern over the human rights situation in China. Nowhere in the world is the spotlight that I described at the beginning of my testimony more important than with respect to the human rights situation in a country which has the most people in the world by a very long shot.
China is a very complex country and a complex society, but our report is very clear, as Secretary Albright has said, in calling it like it is. We know historically that isolating China not only doesn't work, but is counterproductive from a human rights standpoint. The cultural revolution, which is perhaps one of the great human rights catastrophes of the last four decades, took place at a time when China was totally and completely isolated. There was no engagement in China by the rest of the world.
It is important as a basic cornerstone of our policy that we engage fully, freely, and aggressively with China on issues of great interest to the United States, China and the rest of the world. Human rights is a very paramount issue in that regard.
Mr. Chairman, we are engaged very directly with China, and at the highest levels, and repeatedly we are engaged in terms of raising very specific cases. I, as you indicated in your remarks, have traveled frequently to China, as have you. I was most recently there with Secretary Christopher, when he raised the cases of Wei Jingsheng, Wang Dan, Chen Zi Ming, and other prominent dissidents whose releases on medical parole we are all, under international standards, ardently seeking.
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Secretary Christopher raised issues involving access to prisons by international humanitarian organizations, which has not happened. He raised the fact that China has not signed or ratified international treaties and covenants. He raised, and other officials have as well, the severe persecution of freedom of religion, both of all religions and all minority religions in terms of their requirements of registration and restriction of the kind that are laid out in some detail in our report. These issues are squarely on the agenda of the United States and China. There is no perfect formula, Mr. Chairman, for obtaining year-to-year progress in a country as large and complex as China.
But in terms of the long term, isolation is dangerous to human rights. Dissidents in China and Chinese dissidents in this country take that view, and are strongly against a policy that would not involve engagement.
Second, we need broad cooperation and communication with the Chinese people through exchanges, through open communications as much as can possibly be done. This, of course, is what Radio Free Asia is all about. It is a strong initiative in this administration, but it is also what the hundreds of thousands of Chinese visitors to not only the United States, but many countries elsewhere in the world are all about. That is a critical long-term effort with respect to China.
But let me be very, very clear, that in the short term we will not shrink from calling all of these issues by their proper names. Secretary Albright has made that very clear. Issues of prisoners, religious freedom, access to prisons, adherence to international covenants, and other issues of human rights will be very squarely on her agenda with Chinese leaders. We will work in appropriate international fora, such as the International Human Rights Commission if there is no progress in China, and there is no area more important in our policy than human rights.
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But it is clear to me personally that a policy of restrictions, isolation, and withdrawal is not the right policy for us to pursue. We will make very clear what our human rights views are on these matters and work with other governments around the world who have concerns about human rights in China.
Now, on the subject of access to the Laogai prison camps, which is also detailed in the report, we are disappointed with the quality of cooperation. There has been one visit this past year. There are a number of detention orders for goods that would come into this country that we know, based on previous information, would have been, or have been made in Chinese prison camps. The U.S. Customs Service can provide a briefing on the specifics of detention orders, which are not public information. The Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and China is an important advance in that area, but right now its enforcement is not anything like what we would like it to be.
On the subject of forced abortion and coercive family planning, the United States is very strongly opposed to any forms of coercive family planning. I would commend to you the statement the First Lady made at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, when she said it is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.
The President made the same point just a few weeks ago on December 10th, on Human Rights Day, when he said that we must recognize that it is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, including through forced abortions.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We oppose any establishment of a U.N. FPA program in China because of the record on forced abortions. In my own visits to China, I have had occasion, as I am sure you have, Mr. Chairman, to raise these issues directly with appropriate ministries. I think what we see is that poor supervision of local officials, who are under intense government pressure to meet family planning targets, result in abuses, including forced abortion and sterilization. It is very clear in the report. We document what we know, which is that there is a considerable amount of evidence that there can be situations where people are coerced.
I think that covers it.
Mr. SMITH. Just one brief followup, in terms of isolation. Nobody has suggested isolation. We need targeted sanctions and a calibrated approach to let the Chinese leadership know that we mean business. Otherwise, the message that goes out is that our words are strong but our deeds lag far behind. And there were a number, and continue to be a number, of targeted proposals that many of us have suggested to try to let the dictatorship knowyou know, and hopefully let the business community know as wellthat if a country so brazenly violates the rights of its own citizenry, why are we to believe that when it comes to contract law or intellectual property rights, that they are any less believable or credible? When it serves their interests, they will violate those as well.
I look at everything that comes in on this, and I talk to people who have been there. Michael Weiskopf did an expose when he was in Beijing for the Washington Post. In a three-part series he pointed out publicly the leadership denies that they are into coercion, but a closer look reveals that previous coercion is part and parcelI am paraphrasing, but it is closepart and parcel of the way they govern. It is the way they get the job done to enforce the one-child-per-couple policy. And that big lie continues to be circulated by the leadership.
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I will never forget meeting with the head of the population control program in Beijing for about 3 hours, and it was surreal. I thought I was hearing Orwellian double-speak the entire time, to hear the kinds of lies that were spewing out of the mouth of that particular official.
So just like there are no religious prisoners, there is no forced abortion. And let me also raise one issue where I believe your good office can be very helpful.
As you know, some of those who made their way to this country when the Golden Venture ran aground and have now been incarcerated for over 3 years had claims of suffering under China's coercive population control policy, and they were able to prove to an immigration judge that they were credible. However, the Administration changed the law to remove such claims as a grounds for asylum. Well, as you know, we have changed the law back to what we had under the previous Administration, where a well founded fear of persecution based on opposition to forced abortion could obtain one asylum.
We had in a hearing room on this floor three of the women who were forcibly aborted and one man who was forcibly sterilized who told chilling stories of how, at 6 and 7 months gestation, they were forcibly aborted by the cadres. One woman talked about how she had found a girl abandoned, about 7 or 8 days old, took that child, like a good samaritan, as her own, and that counted against her allotted one, and she was penalized and forcibly sterilized for that.
These women and some 40 others like them continue to languish in our own prisons, and I plead with you, as I have with the Administration, as I did in Beijing at the women's conference in a face-to-face meeting with Mrs. Clinton, to let these people go. Why should they suffer so cruelly in our own system for the crime of having been forcibly aborted and having the good sense to get out of that country in any way that they could? It seems to me nowespecially since the law has been changed back to what is, I think, a humane lawthat we need to implement the law and provide asylum for these people.
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I am dumbfounded. Last Christmas, not this Christmas, a year ago, a group of Members, including several Democrats and Republicans, and I called on the Administration, as a gesture of humanitarianism, to let these people go. Some of them have grown so frustrated that a few of them went back to China. We have a sworn affidavit that one of the men who returned had his legs broken. All of them had targets on their backs as being, you know, enemies of the State. To send any of them back would be cruel, and now I think the time has come to let them go.
You know, we talk about human rights abroad. Here we have people who have been victimized by human rights abuses and now have an extension of that within our own country. And so I ask you, I actually plead with you, to please let those people go.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Mr. Chairman, if I could just respond to that just as a matter of factual information and give you a status report. As you know, this is a matter within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, but I have looked into this myself, and I wanted to respond because this is a matter of concern for sure.
Here is the status of the Golden Venture that you just referred to. Nine have been offered resettlement in Ecuador and are now living there. One has been granted asylum in the United States, and three remain in custody and are being held in an INS facility in Bakersfield.
However, I understand that at least one of those threeperhaps all, for all I knowhas actually filed a motion to reopen her asylum case under the new law, and that of course will be treated under the law that you described, and I think that is an appropriate resolution of that case. I can't give you any more information at this point, but we could certainly provide you more if you wanted more.
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And just one comment on the issue of China and the rule of law. There have been law reforms in China, even as there has been a crackdown on dissent that is very severe. One of the important law reforms last year was in the area of criminal procedure law. They finally provide some more access by attorneys to criminal cases in advance. Even so, they still fall short of international standards.
I am not sitting here and saying Chinese law in the area of human rights is significantly approaching international standards. To the contrary, I think what we see is a complicated situation. The crackdown on dissent continues and is of a very severe nature, but at the same time, China's legal reform effort, driven by pressures from contract issues and commercial ventures, also is proceeding. This legal reform may, over the long term, have a positive impact on the human rights situation.
Mr. SMITH. And I do have additional questions on that which I will get to, but I will ask Mr. Hamilton to proceed.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Secretary, my recollection is that the first Country Reports on Human Rights Practices came out about 20 years ago in the mid 1970's, and we may even in this year be observing the 20th anniversary of the Human Rights Report.
Looking over your statement, I am impressed that your emphasis, as I think you identified in your statement, is on process, and I commend you for all of the things that you are doing. But at the end of the day, of course, we have to judge efforts the government makes not by means but by results.
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So the question on my mind is, what have we really accomplished in terms of our human rights programs? I am not speaking now just about the last year; I am speaking about the last 20 years. Do you think we have really saved lives? Do you think we have reduced torture? Do you think we have reduced the number of political prisoners? Do you think we have raised the level of human rights consciousness in governments and seen tangible results of that?
You referred briefly to the effort that the Department makes to put out this report, and it is an enormously huge undertaking. If you compare the reports today with 20 years ago, they are much more sophisticated reports, they are more informative; no question about the improvement in them. But what about results?
You know, if you talk about economic aid, we love to point out the success stories of American economic aid in Korea, and Taiwan, and so forth. Do we have success stories that we can talk about in terms of human rights? What are the results of this human rights policy?
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, Mr. Chairman, that falls in the category, ''I'm glad you asked.'' I won't give a lengthy answer, because I know there are others who want to ask questions. But that is a very important question and it is one I feel very deeply about. I think the evidence is very powerful.
I said at the beginning of my statement that I believe there has been over the last decade, and even more powerfully over the last 5 years, an extraordinary hunger for human rights. I think what we see in this global movement for human rights and the number of countries whose democratic processes have come into being just in this short period of time is, in very large measure, a direct result of the United States having made this such a priority bipartisan concern, which has been incorporated into the mainstream of our foreign policy over the last 20 years.
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That is a general statement. Let me be very specific. Haiti and Bosnia. Those are two country situations in which this administration has concentrated enormous foreign policy resources, including diplomacy backed up by military force, and enormous coalition building in the multilateral world. Haiti and Bosnia were human rights catastrophes drawn to the attention of policymakers at the highest level by these Human Rights Reports.
I will never forget the day that the President asked me to come and brief him on the human rights situation in Haiti. It was in September before the deployment of a multinational force, and our reports were really the only source of information that was available, because the Organization for American States had its monitoring mission removed due to the horrendous security situation in Haiti, where over 3,000 people were killed during that previous year.
So it was only through the report of the State Department and the Embassy that we could keep tabs with what was going on as much as possible day in and day out. And I wouldn't presume to suggest that I can tell you all the factors that were in the President's mind when he finally determined that he was going to put the United States on the line in resolving a human rights catastrophe in Haiti, but I can certainly tell you that these reports played a very major role in that process, as have, of course, the implementation of the process and the deep involvement by
Mr. HAMILTON. I am always impressed, Mr. Secretary, with the ability of our government to quantify things. It is really quite remarkable. But interestingly enough, you don't
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Mr. SHATTUCK. I never considered it one of my major achievements.
Mr. HAMILTON. You don't seem to have a way to quantify progress in the area of human rights. I know it is a very complicated business.
You look back over the 20 years; what is the trend? Are you optimistic about the trend in promoting human rights? Are you discouraged? I know you even point to one country or another where you have ups and downs. But let's take a 20-year perspective on it; how are we doing?
Mr. SHATTUCK. I think the 20-year perspective is dramatic. I mean, if you look at the world in 1977, you had a bipolar world where almost half the world was suffering under the scourge of totalitarianism, and there were vast governmental abuses of human rights throughout major portions of the world, and dictatorships in Latin America, in many parts of Africa.
In the period since 1977, Latin America has been transformed. There is only one country in this hemisphere that is now not a democracy, and every country in Latin America now has some degree of commitment to the human rights area. There are many abuses that continue, but you will note in my reports and in all the discussion of them, there is not a lot of focus on Latin America. I can take you through many abuses there for sure but the interest tends not to be there because I think the situation has improved.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Africa, I think the same trend is there. I would not presume to say that the trend is certain and that it can not be reversed, but I think the popular forces in Africa are now no longer willing to tolerate the kind of an authoritarian one-person rule that we saw for a long time before.
Mr. HAMILTON. It may be in talking about human rights it would be better to talk about some of these successes than to talk about approaches and means, because I think there is a lot of cynicism sometimes attached to human rights reports.
Mr. Chairman, if I may raise one other question, and that is this whole business of linkage.
Now, we know your statement cites a number of cases where we link various means of applying pressure to a particular country's human rights performance, and it seems to me we do that sometimes and sometimes we don't. Can you give me any guidelines about linkages and how you view them generally?
We have a lot of ways we can apply pressure on any particular government, and sometimes we do that, sometimes we don't. You hear criticism from time to time that we are inconsistent in our human rights policy, and I guess it relates to this question of linkages and applying pressure.
Can you help me with understanding how our government views the question of linkage and pressure to get countries to improve their human rights performance?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, that is of course a very difficult question. There is no ''one-size-fits-all'' human rights policy. In fact, there is a differently constructed human rights policy for each situation, but I think an overall consideration has always to be whether a country is engaged in some positive way with us on a range of issues, including human rights, or whether a country is systematically constructing its own cocoon within which it refuses to engage or is openly hostile to us on a wide range of our issues.
In the latter case, clearly ''sticks'' and appropriate forms of sanctions are appropriate, but I should add, only when they can really be effective, when they are truly multilateral. And I think the one great sanction success story of the last decade of course is South Africa, where multilateral sanctions were able to attack a horrendous situation, apartheid, which is one of the worst forms of human rights abuse.
So I think the willingness of a country to work with us on a range of common interests does determine to a large extent whether or not we are going to either isolate or try to engage with that country.
Mr. HAMILTON. I thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Chairman, may I just point out that we are very pleased to have Congressman Kucinich with us this morning, attending his first committee meeting, I believe. He is going to be a new member of the Committee. We are delighted to have him, and I wanted to acknowledge his presence here.
Mr. SMITH. I too want to extend my welcome and am happy to have you on the Committee.
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Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you very much.
Mr. SMITH. At this point, Mr. Houghton has graciously allowed Ms. McKinney to go ahead. So please proceed.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to thank my colleague from New York for allowing me to go ahead. I do have to leave, and so I won't be able to ask questions, and I would like permission to submit my questions for the record and have them answered by the Secretary.
Mr. SMITH. Without objection, those questions and answers will be made part of the record.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you very much.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Ms. MCKINNEY. I would like to state for the record, however, that despite the fact that I sit on the other side of the aisle from my chairman, I want you to know that I do share his concerns on the issue of human rights, and in particular with China, recognizing that Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan are to follow. We have heard a lot about what the wrong policy is, but I am interested in what the right policy is.
I also have concern about those Spanish language manuals that were produced by the Pentagon in the School of Americas which is located in Georgia, and I think that the people who wrote those manuals should be held accountable.
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I have a concern about U.S. arms transfers and the transfer of U.S. weapons technology. I wonder whether or not any such technology and weapons have been used to commit human rights violations, and I would like to get a report on that.
Finally, I also hope that the case of scientology and its treatment in Germany will be included on the agenda as an issue to be discussed by the Advisory Committee on Religious Liberty Abroad.
So with that, Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much and yield back my time.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Ms. McKinney.
Mr. HOUGHTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have two questions.
I wonder if we turn the mirror on ourselves. I wonder whether you get questions, as you go around sounding off this human rights issue, as important as it is, do people ask us about Native Americans? Do people ask us about the drug culture? Do people ask us about the murders? Do people ask us about the subtle barriers for race or sex in this country?
I mean, I think what we are reaching for is right, but I think we have also got to consider we are part of the pool, not just standing off and casting judgments on others. So that is No. 1.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC No. 2: I am wondering whether the United States can continue what it is doing on its own. It seems to me that it is out there all by itself, and I have a feeling that maybe the time comesand you may disagree with thisthat we should do as we do in trade, is to have a world trade organization or a world human rights organization to be able to pull together the feelings of other peoples in other countries rather than just having those represented by the United States.
Maybe you could answer those two questions.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Mr. Houghton, on the first one, a very important question: Do we cast the mirror on ourselves? One of the things I am proudest of in having been able to serve the President as a Human Rights Assistant Secretary, is that for the first time in this administration we have, in fact, done a report on U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil or Political Rights, and we have appeared in an international setting, the United Nations, before the U.N. Human Rights Committee to discuss very openly and candidly our own situation in the human rights area. And of course, candidly, there are plenty of problems. We have had no difficulty setting those out and being clear with other countries.
We had that report translated into Chinese. On one of my trips to China I took our own Report on Human Rights in the United States, and distributed it in Chinese to my counterparts in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I think it is an important signal that we are willing to do that.
Much more important, of course, is the fact that we have a vigorous Civil Rights Enforcement Division of the Department of Justice. We tackle our own human rights problems aggressively enough that we can talk with other countries about that. In large part our dialog in human rights in these settings does involve discussion of our own shortcomings.
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And you are absolutely right that there is plenty of criticism of U.S. problems with crime, drugs, the very powerful claims of indigenous rights made by indigenous peoples. Incidentally, we worked on that subject as well.
So I think we are, in fact, credible in that regard.
On the other question, surely we need to work and do work with other governments in many of these settings. The U.N. Human Rights Commission is in many ways the world body that you described. It needs to be reformed; it needs to be strengthened. In this administration, we helped create the new office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. We would like to see that office strengthened, and I am pleased that the new U.N. Secretary General has shown interest in strengthening the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations.
We work with the OSCE and of course the Helsinki Commission, which the chairman co-chaired, and on which I also serve. The OSCE in Vienna is a very important instrument in democracy and human rights in that part of the world.
The OAS needs to be strengthened, and we are working actively with that regional organization.
So I think the thrust of your question is, should we be doing more in the multilateral area? The answer is yes, and we are stepping up our work in that area. We are not by any means doing this alone.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOUGHTON. If I can just follow up a second, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for letting me take this time.
I am going to make a statement that probably you are not going to agree with, but I want to try to get at the issue. You know, we do pretty well as far as war crimes; we have tribunals; we have enforcement; we really go at this pretty well. But when you get into the other areas where you are talking about accountability and deepening and broadening efforts and having offices and field coalitions, it just seems to me that what the World Trade Organization does for trade you do not have in terms of human rights, and maybe just a little more force rather than the jawboning might be able to be of help to you and certainly satisfying to us.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, if I can just in a way turn that around for a moment and say that I think this is why it is so important that the commitment that the new Secretary General of the United Nations was making to address issues of reform in the United Nations be responded to by our government by strengthening the United Nations. It is the United Nations which will be the principal instrument of this international human rights work that you are talking about.
The United Nations doesn't have the wherewithal to do that now, and our not having paid our dues for several years now is a serious, serious problem in the ability of these organizations to advance. So I would hope that this committee, and the Congress in general would work closely with Secretary Albright as she pursues this very important initiative.
Mr. HOUGHTON. So just let me understand this. And I agree with you, I think we are not paying our dues to the United Nations, but what you are saying in effectand I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I want to understand itbut if we do pay our dues, we are out of arrears, that the mechanisms are there to have some enforcement over and above some of the things in the past.
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Mr. SHATTUCK. I believe we would be able to strengthen the offices in Geneva of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the special rapporteurs of the United Nations, and the whole system of human rights compliance and advisory services that we now have. At the moment, our contributions are not sufficient, nor is the budget of the United Nations sufficient, to be able to do that.
Mr. HOUGHTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Houghton.
I yield to my friend and colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Along the same lines that Mr. Hamilton was asking questions, I was just looking over your statement of yesterday reported in the Post today, and you go on in the statement, ''Every country is different in the world. Every country needs to be treated in our foreign policy with a particular approach,'' that there are many different interests in the United States and it would have different interests in different countries of the world.
Then it follows in the next paragraph where it says that business leaders and strategic planners apply this approach and it is a matter that is realistic, cuts are too important to have U.N. rights be a stumbling block.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I guess my basic question is, when you take winners and losers, I guess, and we are talking about a philosophy or a policy or a strategy, would you therefore conclude at this time anyway, since one has been de-linking of human rights in China to trade, there has been a looking the other way into some other strong allies?
Do you think that this new policy is that the strategic planners, the business leaders, the people who are applauding this new policy, have won and that we can expect more of that philosophy to reign and less of the old U.S. policy of, you know, protecting the weak against the strong and having human rights and all those things that have been learned about in school? I just wonderedperhaps it would only be your opinionwhat philosophy is winning.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, Mr. Payne, let me answer categorically no, if you say the question is some philosophy that is contrary to the promotion of human rights winning. That is, there is no battle that is being lost for human rights.
Let me be very specific and concise about what I mean when I say every country is different. By that, I don't mean that there are whole countries in the world that should not be the subject of human rights policy by the United States and the rest of the world; to the contrary.
The point is, no one-size policy fits all, and there needs to be an aggressive human rights policy by our government and by others with whom we work for every country in the world. I would argue that over the last 20 years, and certainly in the last 4 years, there has been more and more of a mainstreaming of human rights as an element of U.S. foreign policy, than ever before.
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There are two or three countries we are going to work on and everything else is just not of interest no matter how much suffering or human rights abuse may be.
I could take you through every country of the world and lay out for you what, in fact, is the human rights policy and the way in which we pursue it. But let's also be realistic. There are many countries in the world in which we have multiple interests. Human rights is never going to be downgraded so it is not one of those interests. There are U.S. strategic interests. There is certainly the whole question of our own welfare and well being of American citizens. That does not have to downgrade the importance of human rights, but it means that there are going to be other interests in those areas.
Human suffering, when it amounts to a human rights catastrophe, is quickly communicated through the media these days, and is something to which our government has consistently responded, maybe never as well as we would have liked, and, after tragically, thousands, hundreds of thousands, of lives are lost. It certainly took long for us to engage the way we did in Bosnia. It was, I believe, catastrophic that the world was not able to address the situation in Rwanda in advance; but it occurred and we aggressively engaged.
We need to constantly perfect ways of trying to prevent these losses of life and human rights catastrophes by working harder on conflict prevention and conflict resolution. That is one of the main focus points of our philosophy right now. The best way to avoid human rights catastrophes is to try to prevent the conflicts before they occur, and to try to encourage countries that are authoritarian to loosen their grip on their citizens. That is what we do everywhere.
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Mr. PAYNE. Let me ask this then. In your report, you indicated that one of the goals is working with regional organizations, and I think that is really great. But with our sort of Western allies, our European allies, do we try to suggest to them what we believe the righteous position should be on issues?
For example, right now in Zaire, Mobutu is very ill. I just came from eastern Zaire. You know, there is a possibility the country could disintegrate. Of course we have had a policy to support Mobutu because the answer that we got from the 9 years I have been here was that we don't know what will happen to Zaire if Mobutu wasn't there. And that was sort of a general answer from the experts dealing, say, with that region.
You know, no one is going to be here forever. Nine years ago there was some planning for 10 or 20 or 15; 5 years ago. They could be sort of in place, a plan of what do we do, why don't we do it now because we have got to do something after Mobutu50 million people, a very large region. But now it looks like Mobutu is terminally ill, so we are at the point where there is no more Mobutu, and so now, rather than have a policy in hand that we worked out with our allies, there is still the potential of collapse and chaos, which, it seems to me, could have been prevented had people started working toward the day that there would be no more Mobutu.
I think we should have moved, you know, 90 years ago. But the State Department didn't think we should. Well, now it is going to be a crisis perhaps, an emergency.
And so I guess, getting back to my original point, do you have conversations with human rights people from the Western countries that have influence? For example, it is alleged that the French, for example, have mercenaries there, in his army, to try to retrain them, and South Africans have some more mercenaries getting ready to lay land mines to keep this rebel from coming more to the west.
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Do you talk to the French people or the Belgians to say that maybe human rights ought to be an issue like we try to do it, and how does that work?
Mr. SHATTUCK. Mr. Payne, there is very close coordination through the Great Lakes Working Groupwith all due respect to Mr. Kucinich, it is the Great Lakes of Central Africa that we are talking about. The working group includes all of the major countries engaged in the area, certainly France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, and others, including most importantly, regional leaders.
Rwanda, Burundi, and Zaire are right now, as you quite rightly pointed out, in a very, very delicate and volatile phase. All of the refugee, political, human rights and ethnic conflicts are intertwined in the region, and therefore there is a great deal of coordination.
There is also, I think, a constantly changing situation, and therefore our policy can't ever be fixed for a long period. You have to review it based on what is going on.
For example, right now the issue of elections in Zaire is very much in our sights. The question of whether these elections can be satisfactory is important, but we believe that they are necessary because clearly, with the leadership vacuum you indicate, there is an urgency of addressing the leadership problems in Zaire.
But the answer to your question is, there is coordination. That is what multilateral efforts and conflict prevention are all about. And as you know, the United States has also taken the lead in proposing the establishment of an Africa crisis response force that might be able to address, in advance, some of the kinds of catastrophic situations that occurred in Rwanda in 1994.
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Mr. PAYNE. I think my time probably has run out. But I would certainly urge that in order to prevent the catastrophe and sometimes, with some of our allies, who seem to misbehave and are mischievous and do not help the general climate in areas sometimes if we could strongly urge them to be, you know, a little more cooperative, that it would, I think, help out especially those volatile regions like we just mentioned, the Great Lakes region.
I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
Mr. KUCINICH. Thank you very much. I am appreciative to be here, and I want to thank the Chair for the Chair's interest and the Chair's line of questioning in defense of human rights. I think that we can have a bipartisan success in approaching this issue, and I certainly appreciate the chance to work with you on this committee.
In that spirit, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, what I hear from this testimony and from Secretary Shattuck and in reading the report is that there apparently is a dichotomy which exists over our pursuit of economic trade interests and our desire to pursue the interests of human rights.
On one hand we have what I would call the lower, practical, even pragmatic concerns, real politic concerns, economic concerns, versus the higher, spiritual, and moral concerns of human rights, a kind of contrast between a ''live and let live'' policy on one hand that we may propose in human rights and let that policy on the other hand for those who want to link trade and economic concerns to the enforcement of human rights.
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What strikes me, Mr. Chairman, as a preface to the questions that I wanted to get into, is that we are here, in a sense, to cry tears for the victims, but they seem to be somewhat crocodile tears because we are so sad that our pet crocodile is eating people, and the question is, what do we do to discipline those pet crocodiles around the world?
So the first question I have relative to this report and specifically with respect to child labor: Has the State Department identified specifically, country by country, those countries that are practicing child labor? And specifically, have you identified the multinational corporations within that country who are marketing goods produced by children worldwide?
Mr. SHATTUCK. Let me make a general comment and then answer specifically the point about child labor.
The pursuit of human rights and democracy is absolutely critical to our economic interests. There is no conflict in that respect. It is fundamental to our long-term economic interests that China operate under the rule of law rather than some arbitrary regime, and that contracts are subject to enforcement, and international obligations respected. This is true for every country in the world. Those countries where we have the sharpest concerns about an authoritarian regime violating human rights are also countries where, over the long term, our economic interests will be undermined in the event that there is not more legal reform. For that reason the issue of legal reform in China is a very important one.
On the question of child labor, sections 5 and 6 of our Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, document the situation involving child laborso you can get a screen of 193 countries on that issue by looking at the reports. Following up on those reports, we have done policy work in the last year, particularly with regard to two countries. One is Bangladesh, and the other is Pakistan.
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In Bangladesh, through some very creative work between our embassy and our ambassador, and the Government of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the ILOI, IPEC and UNICEF, a program has been developed whereby children who are employed in child labor situations are now, through the offices of UNICEF, going to be given an opportunity for education and removed from their workplace situation. Bangladesh is a country where there is a huge amount of unemployment, so adult labor is available to replace the children.
This is a pilot project, but I think it is a very interesting one. A government has been willing to engage, together with corporate interests and a U.N. agency.
In Pakistan, we have been very disappointed in some aspects of Pakistan's response in this area and therefore have actually denied GSP trade benefits with respect to some of the apparel manufacturing and sporting goods manufacturing that is going on there.
So the issue of child labor is just beginning to get a lot of attention, and there is, frankly, not a lot of law on the subject. I think it is something that the Congress itself would want to look at, and we certainly have documented the issue.
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, if I may ask a followup question, how does the Administration feel with respect to ensuring that American consumers, for example, would be able to be informed through labels that a rug or a soccer ball or an article of clothing was made by child labor? I mean, are you responsive to that type of approach?
Mr. SHATTUCK. We are responsive to that. I think certainly the rug mark approach is one that makes sense. This issue has only been on the screen internationally for the last couple of years. We need to look at a variety of different ways that this can be addressed, including working with business.
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And let me be very clear. One of the things that didn't probably come out enough in my opening statement is that we believe that we not only should, but can, work very closely with American business and other business interests, in a lot of these human rights areas. I am pleased to say there is quite a lot of development in that over the last 2 years.
Mr. KUCINICH. Well, if I may suggest this, Mr. Chairman? It seems to me that if we take the profit out of child labor, then perhaps that would be one way to start to apply some discipline into the marketplace, and one way that we could, and certainly in this country, is to give consumers an opportunity to enforce our own standards of human rights, because if we can look at an article of clothing and if it is labeled ''Made by child labor'' in whatever country, it then gives us the opportunity to reject participating as consumers in those policies.
So, you know, we recognize we have responsibilities too as citizens, and whatever the Administration would do in cooperating with Congress in trying to bring about that kind of a labeling practice I think would probably be more beneficial.
I want to thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Shattuck.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Kucinich, for raising that very important issue. And knowing of your interest, I certainly hope you will seek to get on the International Human Rights Subcommittee.
As Mr. Payne knows, we had in excess of 40 hearings in the last Congress on a myriad of important human rights issues, and one of the drawbacks of a hearing like this is that there are so many areas of concern, deep concern, that never get the kind of exposure and questioning that they deserve.
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Mr. Payne has been one of the most faithful members of our subcommittee at every hearing, asking very, very incisive questions and carrying it forward with legislation, including his sanctions bill with regards to this, and then worked with us last year to get language passed on Mauritania which was signed into law.
And on the issue raised of child labor, we held two hearings on child labor in the last Congress. Some of them were very high profile and generated a lot of publicity. But the important thing is the followup. I introduced, along with a number of cosponsors on both sides of the aisle, comprehensive legislation. One piece was a sanctions bill, which probably was a dead letter because of the Ways and Means Committee, in all candor. The other authorized an additional contribution to the ILO, which is doing magnificent work in trying to regulate this problem, and also would identify, as you were saying, each country and whether or not it is engaging in this egregious practice, and then would stop nonhumanitarian aid to that country so that we really can get a handle on this and say we have leverage and we ought to use it.
I would ask Mr. Shattuck, Mr. Secretary, if this child labor bill, which has been available now for several months, has the endorsement of your shop. H.R. 3812 was the first bill, and H.R. 4037 was the second, which did not have the sanctions, but the other did have the other provisions as well.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, as you know, Mr. Chairman, we do want to work with you on this.
If I can just return to one topic very briefly. It relates to a question you asked me about the Golden Venture cases, and I responded on the basis of those particular cases. I just want to clarify for the record. I understand that there are some additional cases of men who testified before this subcommittee who themselves claimed in their testimony forced sterilization, and those cases are in limbo.
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I am not sure exactly what their status is, but what I am suggesting is that the issue of their detention is something I will be happy to look into and respond further to you. I don't have any information that I could offer to you here this morning; I am sure we can get some additional information.
Mr. SMITH. We would very much appreciate that.
[The information had not been submitted at time of printing.]
Mr. SMITH. And I appreciate that information from your folks behind youI was going to ask that followup because there are more cases than you originally mentioned. Again, foot dragging, not by you but by others such as the INS has been very, very disturbing, and those people have already paid such a price. For what? Having a baby and then having that baby cruelly ripped out of their bodies to be destroyed.
Let me ask a couple of other questions, if I could, first on the issue of refugees. And you may find this interesting, I say to my friend, the former mayor of the Cleveland, that our subcommittee also reviews refugee policy, which is very closely linked to human rights, generally speaking.
There is a statement made by Amnesty International, Stephen Rickard, that I would ask you to respond to, and it is kind of like a very strong criticism: ''The U.S. refugee and asylum procedures should take into account the serious human rights violations documented in these reports, but they do not.'' And he goes on to explain as to why that is not the case.
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We have had a number of hearings in our subcommittee over the last 2 years and legislation that I have offered, some of which has passed, some of which has not, dealing with the issue of forced repatriation, the issue of returning Vietnamese to Vietnam camps.
I went and visited the camps myself, and was convinced many of those were real refugees that were improperly screened out through an infirm procedure that was in place by the UNHCR, particularly by the host countries.
In looking at the Country Reportsif you want to respond to that, I would appreciate thatbut in looking at the Country Reports, you seem to accept uncritically what UNHCR officials and others have said regarding the status of those who have been forcibly repatriated which they claim is not forced.
Do you have in your shop, in your bureau, independent verification and analysis of information, or do you pretty much accept as truth what some of these people say, however well meaning they may be, as well as the U.S. consular offices that provide you with that information?
Mr. SHATTUCK. We have actually undergone some major revision of the way in which our asylum review process is conducted, and I think it is a very positive development.
I have directed our asylum office, in preparing country profiles on some 60 countries where most of the asylum applications come from, to sharpen the analysis, draw directly from the Human Rights Report, and focus in particular in recent months on the issue of religious persecution. That will enable us to highlight that as a topic that we want to bring to the attention of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Then when they have these individual cases which we do not rule on, they will have much more sharply focused human rights information. That information will reflect what we have in the Country Reports as well as some additional material that is relevant specifically to asylum in the area of, right now, religious persecution.
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On the question of UNHCR and its role in resettlement, as you know, I think, Mr. Chairman, we have been very active, especially in the refugee section of the State Department, in not only working on this comprehensive plan of action for Southeast Asia, but also on the new program for re-interviewing individuals who want to assert refugee status even after having returned to Vietnam or other countries. This is the so-called Rover program.
Having looked at that from a human rights standpoint, I am satisfied that it is a way, a very effective way, of providing in-country monitoring of returnees in terms of the human rights situation. It is also a very effective way of giving those who have rethought the situation an opportunity to be re-interviewed. I think that is a very positive development.
Mr. SMITH. Could you tell the Committee how many people have been interviewed?
Mr. SHATTUCK. I could get you that information; I don't have it available.
Mr. SMITH. Our understanding isand this is an ongoing problem that we have been having with the Administrationthat it is zero. Nobody has agreed. Many thousands have returned under the promise that they could receive this.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, I am now speaking in part from memory from some of the vast material sitting in front of me, but I am not sure where the document is. I think it was on January 26i.e., just 4 or 5 days agothat the final conclusion of the Rover process, getting it fully authorized and established, occurred.
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I may be wrong about that, and I am happy to give you a further answer in writing. But it is a program for monitoring and reviewing returnees which I would be happy to provide more information about.
Mr. SMITH. Again, our information is that nobody has been re-interviewed. I have raised this to the NSC and others as time to get there and have action
Mr. SHATTUCK. Yes.
Mr. SMITH. Because these people were promised.
In terms of the monitors, we have heard from witnesses, from refugees, from organizations, and a monitor himself thatand I say this, you know, regrettablywhen the monitors go to a particular hamlet or village, they are accompanied by somebody from the government who happened to be the secret police. Who, in their right mind, when someone comes in and says, ''How are you doing? Is there any harassment?'' is going to be completely up front when they are right next to somebody who can make life miserable?
It seems to me it is almost like those who have made their way from Hanoi during the Vietnam war and asked the prisoners of war if there is any torture. He said, ''If I say there is torture, I go back and I get my legs broken.'' It is very seriouswe have had several reports. It is hard to get this information about people having repercussions visited upon them upon their return, and so the monitors that you have provided us more information about your understanding as to whether or not it is an unfettered access to a person or whether or not somebody is in tow from the government.
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Mr. SHATTUCK. I would be happy to do that.
[The information had not been supplied at time of printing.]
Mr. SHATTUCK. I would just point out that we have initiated a regular high-level human rights dialog with Vietnam, and the next session of that dialog is going to take place in Vietnam in March. Certainly this topic, to the extent that we want to look at the mechanics of the monitoring situation, could be on the agenda.
Mr. SMITH. Let me just say, the report said that a man jumped from a roof and died. This was the Thai military's version of the story, uncritically accepted by the United States and any ARC people in the region would be involved in repatriation. But I have seen the picture and my staff has looked at the picture, and the man appears to have been beaten to death, rather than falling off that particular roof. Have you looked into that case?
This is reminiscent of something that I remember was carried on page one of The Washington Times of a man who was being nonforcibly returned from one of the camps to Vietnam, being carried by several rather stocky and strong police officers with obvious swelling all over his face, and this was supposed to be a nonforced repatriation. So I would ask that you get back to us on that particular point.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. On the issue of the Clinton-Castro agreement on repatriation or on returning migrants to Cuba, during your appearance here last year, we discussed, you may recall, what steps the United States was taking to monitor Cuba's performance under the 1994 Clinton-Castro agreement. As a followup to that discussion, you provided us with this information: It says, as of April of last year, we have returned 324 migrants of Cuba under the Joint Statement. Of those 324, 16 were in prison, but, according to your office, on charges unrelated to their attempts to leave Cuba.
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Why wasn't this information in the reports? We looked for it and didn't see it. How many more people have returned to Cuba since then? How many of the total number of returnees are now in prison? How do we go about monitoring Cuba's treatment of returnees, how many monitors do we have, what kind of access, how often do we get to meet with the returnees who find themselves in prison, and how do we confirm that imprisonment of returnees is genuinely unrelated to their attempts to leave Cuba?
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, as I indicated last year, Mr. Chairman, we cover human rights through our interest section in Havana. We have engaged in a process of looking at returnees as they arrive. I do not have data with me this morning. I will be glad to provide you the same kind of information that I provided last year and we could certainly make that a part of the record, obviously.
Mr. SMITH. We look forward to seeing that. I do appreciate last year you getting back to us.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Many of us are concerned that in dictatorships, and I know you know this, that they always find some other reason for putting somebody into prison, even though the real reason is that they wanted to leave or they didn't practice their religion as they saw fit or made a call for democracy.
According to the report, Mr. Secretary, the use of plastic bullets is banned in the United Kingdom. Detainees are granted the right to have lawyers present during the interrogation, except in Northern Ireland. The accused in the United Kingdom have a right to a trial by jury for certain terrorist-related charges except in Northern Ireland where such offenses are tried by a diplock court. And warrants are normally required for a police search of private premises, except in Northern Ireland where armed forces, or policemen, may enter and search any premises.
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As you know, this double standard is a result in part of the Northern Ireland Emergency Provisions Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act which many human rights groups have criticized over the years. What is the Administration doing specifically above and beyond the ongoing peace talks to encourage the British Government to eliminate the discrimination and double standards, and extend the same rights it grants to most people to those of Northern Ireland?
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, the report is as candid in that area as it is in others, as you point out, Mr. Chairman. I have myself visited Northern Ireland on one of my many human rights missions and had an opportunity to meet with officials as well as nongovernmental organizations working in both a human rights and reconciliation context, but not directly as part of this peace process, and I intend to continue to follow that approach. I think it is very important that we engage directly on this subject and we certainly plan to do so.
Mr. SMITH. Let me jump back for a moment. In her testimony, Holly Burkhalter from Human Rights Watch suggests one plan of action or course of action is that we evaluate weapons transfers, that the State Department Country Reports should be closely linked to the approval for all weapons transfers, and either aid credits or licenses for commercial sales. Governments that do not meet a minimum human rights standard should not receive any military support. This is a recommendation from Human Rights Watch.
We know that there are problems in Turkey with the razing of villages, particularly the Kurdish villages, and presumably this is being done with some of the U.S. military hardware. Saudi Arabia now is apparently going to request a rather significant number of purchases of M16s from Lockheed Martin, and in Mexico, where increasingly the National Human Rights Commission has complained that torture involving authorities has increased dramatically in the last year. And we have only one human rights monitor, if my information is correct, in our Embassy. It seems like we should have more.
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The United States has loaned helicopters and given training to the Mexican military. Ought there be human rights preconditions to military sales? Do you think that the Human Rights Watch report here is a good one? And again, specifically, as it relates to these four countries.
Mr. SHATTUCK. This is an area where we have been quite active in the last several years.
The United States has a global policy of restricting conventional arms sales for the purpose of maintaining regional stability. And I listed in my opening statement more than 20 countries, including some of the ones that you just mentioned, in which that policy has been enforced. That is the first-time central policy ever developed by the United States.
Pursuant to the legislation establishing the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, we use security assistance policy proposals so that human rights can be taken into consideration when considering arms sales. There may well be other considerations. Clearly, strategic interests of the United States are extremely important. Human rights will always be taken into consideration. Frankly, in an open setting, I don't want to get into the details of particular arms sales, because of their sensitivity. But, I can certainly assure you that on that list of more than 20 countries that I gave you in my opening statement, there are a number of very close allies and there are a number of arms sales where human rights issues are being taken very closely into consideration.
Mr. SMITH. What is your assessment of the Mexican record on human rights? Has it gotten worse as some would suggest over the last year? And is the military sufficiently under civilian control to assure that weapons we might provide are not misused to terrorize?
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Mr. SHATTUCK. There are certainly severe human rights problems in Mexico, as the report documents. There have been human rights problems in Mexico for a long time. In some measure, over the last several years, there has been an improvement in the areas of basic democracy and some institutions of human rights protection, including the Mexican Human Rights Commission.
But the problem of impunity remains very great, and the failure to actually prosecute those who have engaged in severe human rights abuses is one of the main problems there. And I think that certainly is an element of our overall policy toward Mexico.
Mr. SMITH. Let me ask one final question and then yield to my good friend, Mr. Payne.
On the issue of the United Marines Charter Act, which we passed twice in the House, I offered it one time, we authorized the bill and it did pass, but it eventually got into an appropriations bill; it is now the law. There is still no overlaying proof for the provision of medical or humanitarian supplies to Armenia.
Is the Administration going to implement that section of the law, section 629, which is the Humanitarian Standards Act, vis-a-vis humanitarian aid?
Mr. SHATTUCK. That is not in my area, but I am happy to make sure that you get an answer to that, Mr. Chairman.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. I appreciate that, because again, in Armenia, people are dying because our medical supplies and humanitarian goods are not allowed over to that group, and a mass of supplies are needed.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I just have a followup to one of the questions of our new colleague.
I was extremely impressed with the former mayor's comments regarding child labor, and I just wonder whether the Administration ever decided to think of new approaches. For example, since many of these items are allegedly made through child labor efforts which are used in sports, for example, it would appear that a new approach may be to talk to the commissioner of the NBA or NCAA or the NFL. I know Mr. Tagliabue is always looking for in the NFL new ways to be more responsive to the community, and it may be that if some of those big users of sportswear would come together and that might be an additional kind of a leverage, since most teams now wear some emblem or some type of sneaker or whatever.
I think we need, since the government is reluctant to push, we may need to look at new approaches and maybe some way to get citizens more involved. I would just like to throw that out as another suggestion.
You related earlier about elections in Zaire, and I would hope that you might look at the fact that rebel leaders or many people who have been under the Mobutu regime for 30 years feel that the government is an illegal government and it is going to be very difficult. Mr. Kabila mentioned it to me 2 weeks ago, that how can you have elections when it will be run by an illegal government? Strong supports from the United Nations or the European Community and the United States and anyone else coming in supervising, he feels that that is the only way it can work.
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But he also suggested that there may be a new interim government or at least a commission that is appointed with all parties involved so that there could at least be a possibility of a fair election. I think that if it is going to proceed, and if elections are going to be respected by the individual groups, that there would have to be a new provisional government or at least a new provisional electoral commission made up of all of the Tutsis, the Kabilas, and people from even the current government, but it cannot succeed if the current government is going to call all the shots.
Also, the concern about Northern Ireland, I was in west Belfast for a week or so this summer, and this whole question that applies to the bullets is really something that is being abused by the authorities in Northern Ireland. We saw incidents where thousands of these, and these things are pretty lethal if they hit you at short distances, and there is a tremendous amount of suffering going on by the use of these, and I think that our government should continually urge the British forces there in Northern Ireland and the constables that are appointed by the government of Northern Ireland to cease and desist using those bullets.
Also, I think that we ought to engage more in the marches, you know, those marches that were held this summer, if there could be more preparation suggested by us before these marches take place. But if there could be some kind of discussion with the leadership, I think that the tragedies that we saw this summer could possibly be avoided.
I would just like to quickly mention too that I have some real concerns that I might ask you to respond about in Germany as it has been indicated in the paper today about the discrimination on a religious basis. They contend that the Scientologists areit is notthey don't recognize it as a religion. I have met with people like Eisenahasen, Chick Corea, talked on the phone to John Travolta, many of these persons are of that religion and they are being banned from acting, or not being given visas to come into the country.
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And I think for overt religious discrimination to go on, I think that that is something that we ought to sort of protect and ask the Government of West Germany, or the Government of Germany. I know they did agree to the 48 declarations on human rights and that was in 1966 with the covenant on civil and political rights, and this is definitely a violation I think of that.
Also, we heard a report recently that in the Sudan, a typical oil company was allowed to bid on a big oil pipeline to pump oil. Once again, you know, Sudan probably, over the last 30 yearsmore people have died in Sudan simply because of a pariah covenant, and for us to even have normal relationsthey used food as a weapon, for us to be supportingI mean not supporting, but allowing an oil firm to bid on thisonce again, I think there has to be some line drawn at some point, and I continually try to find the line, as you say. There is a line and I am looking for the line.
Finally, the situation in Rwanda with the U.N. Tribunaland let me make it clear, I do not support the death penalty, but in Rwanda you have trials going on where the death penalty is a part of the law, but then in Arusha where the Interhamwee, where the people who were the perpetrators of the genocide, the ones that planned it, the ones that executed it, are being tried in Arusha by the United Nations by that tribunal.
Now, the most serious offense is being tried in Arusha by the U.N. Tribunal; the lesser military people are being tried in Rwanda. There is a definite difference between the ultimate penalty, and I just wonder how that is going to work out, if you have given any thought to that.
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Just the last issue of Kosova, I know the Arbanian minority, actually the majority, are still being mistreated by the Arbanian folks, by the Serbians, and elections are supposed to be held and there is a question whether they can be fair and transparent.
Oh, the last final issue is Nigeria. Mr. Abiola is still in prison. Six months since they have allowed a physician to see him, he is ill. Chief Abisonjo is still in prison. The Chinese are sending weapons to Nigeria. Human rights abuses are continuing. We just think that there should be some kind of movement on places like Nigeria, Sudan, and Zaire, because they are so important in Central Africa, and as I have indicated in Europe, the bigNorthern Ireland, we ought to continually push and support those. Although they did have elections in Albania, there is still questioning by the majority folks that they are not being transparent and open. So I would just wonder if you could just respond to a couple of questions that I asked, not on every issue though, necessarily.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Well, Mr. Payne, you have just illustrated why the human rights beat is a tough beat. Those are a lot of very, very difficult issues. But let me give you a sentence on each one.
Zaire, we funded the NDI assessment team that went out there to look at the pre-election situation. If there is to be, as you suggest, an election, we now want to support the U.N. supervision process, including the appointment of the senior U.N. official to be responsible for the elections and contributions from the U.N. trust fund for elections and a whole monitoring and technical team support. That is going to be a difficult process.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The scientology issue in Germany clearly has struck a nerve. But it is another example of how these reports call things by their proper names. When a group gets discriminated againstand it is a group, a religion or a religious groupit raises both issues of freedom of religion and religious persecution and freedom of association. Since there are many Americans who are feeling a direct impact of this who themselves are having their worked banned or otherwise restricted in Germany, that is a topic that we have raised in Germany.
I am not familiar with the contract that you are describing in Sudan, but certainly the human rights situation is very, very poor. That is a country in which slavery still exists, and, clearly, that is a horrendous abomination in the late 20th century.
We have focused a lot of international multilateral U.N. attention on the Sudan. We also helped facilitate the most recent visit by the U.N. Special Rapporteur in Sudan.
The Rwanda Tribunal, the dichotomy between domestic trials and
international trials is very challenging, to be sure. Frankly, we are particularly concerned about the lack of due process in the domestic trials in Rwanda. It is not just the issue of what the different penalties may be, but rather that trials are going forward without attorneys. We have been very active with the Government of Rwanda on this subject, and we are hoping to engage the United Nations in some efforts to look more closely at the trial situation and make recommendations.
Nigeria, very, very sad state of affairs on human rights. I was there in June and was able to see firsthand what the situation is like.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As I detailed in my testimony, we have come up with a clear set of negative responses by the United States, sanctions-related, and we continue to try to form an international coalition that can impose additional sanctions. I truly believe that only multilateral sanctions work in the context of broad economic efforts.
Nor are we ruling out even unilateral sanctions, as we have said in our conversation with the government.
Kosova. If democracy prevails in Serbia, which we certainly hope it does, we hope that will produce a positive impact in Kosova. Certainly the ethnic tensions are very great in that area, as you know.
I think that was it. Northern Ireland. Again, I discussed that briefly in response to the Chairman's question.
Mr. PAYNE. The Sudan deal, $30 million oil deal by Oxidental Petroleum Company, a California-based company that was bidding on this. You know, it is a pretty significant deal, and if we are really seriousI mean, if there is any country where we should certainly continue to just demand that there be no new investment, it would be Sudan. It was unfortunate to allow an exception to the rule last year; to allow this bid to be made. They didn't win the bid, but it just doesn't make sense to me to have that done.
Just about the Rwandan domestic situation, I brought the question up about defense attorneys and so forth for the defendants and that there were some trials that may go on without having defense attorneys. They mentioned that this, their system, they never necessarily always had defense attorneys anyway. In other words, they don't have many attorneys, and it is not uncommon.
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So I think that needs to be kept into consideration too, that the feeling is starting to become, well, these perpetrators of genocide are really going to get a special privilege that we have never had in our country. As a matter of fact, in the United States it wasn't until 1964 before it became a part of the law that you needed to have a defense attorney. I mean, before if you were poor, you were just out of luck with certain kinds of issues. But I do think that there, in order that the hearings proceed correctly, that we should make attempts of doing that.
Just one last issue. In Ghana, we have a situation, since no one brought up the Western Hemisphere, there seems to be, you know, a movement by the Ghanaian Governmentstrong racial overtones of the Afro-Ghanaianeze being pushed off their land, the farmers; election fraud, the fact that newspapers or TV stations that allow the minority to speak up on being banned, and I would hope that you might pay some attention to what is happening there in Ghana.
And I asked you last year about Brazil. As you know, there has been a practice for the last several decades of the killing of street children, boys, primarily who are considered nuisances. Most of them, of course, are black, and it has been alleged that it is the police that have donned civilian clothes on off-time and are given bounties for children that could be killed. I think 18 were found in a churchyard about 2 years ago, and that was when the United Nations first raised the question.
So I would hope thatand perhaps if you have a quick comment, my chairman is from New Jersey, so he is allowing us some extra time. So if you could just quickly respond and I guarantee I will not ask another question.
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Mr. SHATTUCK. I don't have a response on the Guyana situation, but I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I sure will want to look at it.
The situation in Brazil, the killings of street children, is one of the more tragic aspects of the terrible violence that is done to children in our world today; it is one of the themes of the overview of the Human Rights Report, and of course the report itself goes into the situation of Brazil in some detail.
We hope to make the issue of rights of children very specifically in terms of the U.N. covenant a priority. It is a matter that I know strikes deep chords at very high levels in our government. The First Lady has made a great attempt, a great effort in drawing this issue to the attention of the world and has spoken out on it. So not only in Brazil, but elsewhere, we look forward to working on issues of children's rights.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Payne. I, frankly, think it is better to be longer and more exhaustive, so I appreciate you doing this, and for the time you have taken at our hearings to go into detail on these very important human rights issues. And maybe it means you are a chronic coffee drinker, like some of us are, but I think it is important.
Our subcommittee will follow up exhaustively, and I will pledge to do even more than we did in the last Congress on each of these countries. We had over 40 hearings in this subcommittee. We looked at Chechnya and what is believed to have been the green light that was given during that terrible atrocity by the Administration, and we will try in these next couple of years to really work in close cooperation with the Administration, always believing that, like you said, light and scrutiny is a great disinfectant. Hopefully, legislation will be forthcoming, and I do look forward to hearing back from you on the child labor issue. We hoped to push that last year and ran into some roadblocks on the Administration's side, and even my good friend, Mr. Moran, tried to get some Administration comment back so that we could get a done deal at the closure of the 104th Congress, but we will try again this year. We will work bipartisan, because human rights certainly are something that we all care about.
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Thank you, Mr. Shattuck, for your fine testimony, and we look forward to seeing you very soon.
Mr. SHATTUCK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. I would like to welcome our second panel, and again I thank you for their forebearance, but they who are the daily workers in the vineyards on behalf of human rights know that we can't do enough of this. This has to get out, this information, and the more detailed on the record, the better.
I would like to welcome Steven Rickard. From 1994 to 1996, he served as the Senior Advisor for South Asian Affairs in the Department of State. Mr. Rickard also worked in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is a graduate of Yale Law School.
Holly Burkhalter is the director of Advocacy For Human Rights Watch. Before joining that organization, she worked at the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and is frequently counted on by this subcommittee to provide expert guidance and information in regard to human rights.
Nina Shea is the director of Religious Programs on Religious Freedom for Freedom House, a 55-year-old human rights organization. She has been an international human rights lawyer for 17 years, and was recently appointed to the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom. Whenever we are developing a list on religiously persecuted pastors or bishops anywhere in the world, we turn to Nina for expert information, and we rely strongly on that.
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Elisa Massimino is the acting director of the Washington office of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. Elisa holds both a law degree from the University of Michigan and a masters degree of philosophy from Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Rickard, would you please begin.
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN RICKARD, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON OFFICE, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Mr. RICKARD. Thank you very much for inviting us to testify before the Committee on the important topic of the annual Country Reports. I am pleased to have the opportunity to testify before the Committee for the first time, and I commend you and the distinguished members of the Committee for conducting this important oversight hearing. I have to say, I am willing to stay as long as you are, because I agree about the importance of this hearing. I would like to request that the full text of my written statement be made a part of the record of the hearing, and I will try and summarize as quickly as I can.
Mr. SMITH. Without objection, yours, and anyone else's. You may proceed as you like.
Mr. RICKARD. Thank you.
I would also like to state I am delighted to be here with my very distinguished colleagues from the human rights community. This is my first time testifying, but I know my colleagues have much more experience than I do. Holly Burkhalter has been doing her best to keep me out of trouble since about 1985 when we first came up to the Hill together. So it is just shifting that job to a new forum.
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Before addressing the substance of this year's report and its significance, I would like to take just a moment to pay homage to the many human rights heroes whose stories are told in its pages. Last year's report ran for over 1,300 pages, and while that represents a frightening compilation of inhumanity and brutality, it is also an extraordinary chronicle of courage, of everyday people in every corner of the globe who have somehow found the courage to resist and to demand their rights. In China, in Burma, in Nigeria, in Colombia, around the world, people have risked their very lives to come forward with the information that is contained in these annual reports. They have earned our respect and they deserve our support.
It is also worth taking a moment to note that there would be no annual human rights report without the Congress, and to take a moment to commend you and your colleagues for your unstinting efforts on behalf of human rights and of the people whose stories are told in this report. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of congressional letters, resolutions, hearings and legislation and the role that they have in keeping hope alive around the world for those people who have found the courage to resist. It sometimes seems that congressional letters get lost in the mail between here and Foggy Bottom, but they certainly seem to travel with the speed of light around the world, to the far corners of the world where they are received with great appreciation.
This Congress will adjourn 2 years from now virtually on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. AIUSA members across the country look forward to working with this committee over this 2 years as we approach that important celebration.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Amnesty International USA also recognizes and appreciates the importance and positive role of countless public servants in the State Department and elsewhere in the executive branch. Up and down the line there are people in the Administration whose contacts, commitment, protests, demarches have saved lives and brought about change.
When we in the human rights community are critical of the Administration, perhaps that is in part because we have seen what a difference effective efforts on their parts can make, and regret those instances where that doesn't occur. We also appreciate the open invitation extended to Amnesty and other organizations by Secretary Shattuck and the staff to submit information that are reflected in the reports.
As you noted, Mr. Chairman, 2 years ago my predecessor, James O'Dea, used striking language to describe his concern about the place of human rights in the overall Administration policy saying: ''Human rights is an island off the mainland of U.S. foreign policy.'' Unfortunately, that comment seems just as valid today. While I will discuss some specific reports, as in previous years, our biggest concern is the gap between what the organization knows and what the Administration does.
Perhaps the most egregious example is the tough China report published this year which was being written at the same time that the White House was rolling out the blood red carpet for an Oval Office meeting for General Chi, the man who personally directed the massacres at Tiananmen Square. The fact that this meeting occurred literally on the eve of International Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, compounds that tragedy.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC While we appreciate and support the timeliness of this hearing, Amnesty is necessarily still reviewing the voluminous reports which we have only just received. Thus, our comments are unavoidably preliminary and somewhat ad hoc. As I have indicated, the content of the reports is generally strong. What follows are some general observations based on the reports and then a few specific comments about individual country reports, not because they are the most important or because the problems that I am going to raise with some of them are that dramatic, but simply to illustrate our reaction to some of the reports.
On the subject of military transfers and counternarcotics aid, the report documents serious human rights violations in a number of countries receiving vast amounts of U.S. military and counternarcotics assistance, including Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Colombia, and others. AIUSA believes that the United States must accept some degree of responsibility for violations that are committed with weapons that the United States supplies, and accordingly should act to monitor those weapons and restrict their use when they are misused.
AIUSA applauds the congressional initiative adopted late in the last Congress as an appropriations rider offered by Senator Leahy to prohibit U.S. counternarcotics assistance to security force units where, one, there is credible evidence of gross human rights violations; and two, where no steps are under way to hold the guilty accountable. We look forward to learning how the Administration intends to implement that provision. On the evidence of this year's reports alone, it seems to us that it should be adopted as permanent authorization language and even expanded to include, at least, excess defense articles.
We welcome the fact that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also noted in her press conference that human rights includes women's rights. The reports for the last several years have included a specific section on each country, which we applaud, devoted to the situation of women.
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The reporting is not consistent from report to report. Some reports, including those on Afghanistan and Mauritania, draw the reader's attention to traditional violence against women. These references seem strikingly out of step with Secretary Shattuck's very strong statement in the introduction to the report which correctly stated that, ''Those cultural practices which derogate from universally accepted human rights must not be tolerated.''
Once again this year, the report also shows that the lack of criminal accountability for those who commit even the most serious offenses is a serious problem all around the world. Despite this, we face the almost unbelievable spectacle of heavily armed stabilization force units in Bosnia literally walking by on the street in the presence of people who have been indicted for such crimes as mass slaughter, the use of rape as a weapon of war, and other crimes.
We applaud the recent steps taken by the Administration to help bring the former Minister of Defense of Rwanda before the Rwanda Tribunal, and we also welcome Secretary Albright's repeated statements that the Administration plans to, ''do more,'' and to fully support the tribunals.
We look forward to seeing that ''more'' put into practice, especially in light of President Clinton's remarks the previous day before Secretary Albright's statement yesterday to the effect that U.S. forces absolutely will not be involved in arresting indicted persons in Bosnia.
We would also like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your very powerful statement on this subject which was read to a rally of hundreds of human rights activists in Lafayette Park last December at a rally on this subject.
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Mr. Chairman, you have already cited our comments about refugees and our concerns about that. I would simply note that on this point, in fairness to the Administration, that some of the policies of concern to Amnesty were adopted by the Congress over the strong objection of the Administration. So while the Administration bears some responsibility for some of these policies, it has also resisted some of the initiatives which we find troublesome.
The problems documented in the reports on Africa underscore as a general matter the tragedy of the Administration's relative inattention to the continent. The reports show that the Administration is aware of those problems, but it has still failed to take vigorous action supported consistently and effectively at the highest levels of the Administration. The most telling examples were former Secretary Christopher visiting the continent for the first time a month before the end of his 4-year term and the Administration's failure to respond effectively to genocide and the refugee crisis in Central Africa. Amnesty members have a strong interest in seeing more attention paid at senior levels of the Administration to the situation in Africa.
The situation in Nigeria has been discussed extensively in earlier testimony, and I had already noted that the report on China seems to be a striking contrast to the Administration's policies.
One report of interest to us is the report on Afghanistan, because of the extremely critical situation facing women in that country. The Afghanistan report provides a great deal of welcome information about specific violations against women, and Assistant Secretary Shattuck's introduction forcefully states that discrimination against women reached new heights of severity in Afghanistan with the rise to power of the Taliban.
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However, the portion of the report devoted solely to abuses against women contains no less than four specific references to Afghan tradition, conservative areas, socially conservative areas, and severe dress restrictions which are ''normal'' for women in these areas.
We are concerned that the cumulative effect of this kind of reference is to implicitly downplay on cultural grounds the culpability of the governing authorities for those abuses against women, and as I noted earlier, Assistant Secretary Shattuck expressly rejected such arguments in his introduction.
To pick just a couple more specific reports and then I will turn to my colleagues, in Colombia, the strong content of the Colombia report is seriously marred by its repeated references to the declining abuses attributable to government forces and the rise of supposedly independent paramilitary units. The report thus fails to convey the essential fact that approximately 70 percent of political killings are still carried out by either the security forces or their paramilitary allies.
The notion that paramilitary forces are independent of the Colombian security forces is one of the enduring myths about Colombia. To its author's credit, the report does note some of the links between the two, but it repeats a troubling tendency from reports of the last decade, namely, to place responsibility on supposedly independent extreme right wing groups which are, in fact, closely aligned with the government.
The Guatemalan report documents serious violations in Guatemala, and AIUSA notes with regret that evidence has recently become available of official U.S. relationships with some of the human rights violators there who were paid as U.S. intelligence assets. AIUSA calls upon the Administration to prohibit U.S. payments to any person at any time where it has evidence that that person has committed gross human rights violations and to make public additional information in its possession concerning human rights violations in Guatemala.
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In light of the contents of that report, AIUSA is particularly dismayed that the Administration chose to revoke the security clearance for Richard Nuccio, the Administration official who finally revealed to a Member of Congresswho had a clearance to receive the information and a need to knowthe extent of U.S. knowledge of and potential involvement in human rights abuses in Guatemala.
Mr. Chairman, AIUSA's first and last comment on all of the reports is that there must be a stronger link between them and the Administration policy and that the Administration must build a strong and permanent causeway between that human rights island and the mainland of U.S. foreign policy. I look forward to answering your questions and hearing from my colleagues.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Rickard.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rickard appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Ms. Burkhalter.
STATEMENT OF HOLLY BURKHALTER, ADVOCACY DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Ms. BURKHALTER. Thank you very much. I am also pleased to be back. I feel like a veteran of the Committee staff. It always feels good to come back, I enjoy it very much, and I enjoyed the exchange between you and the other members and Mr. Shattuck earlier.
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Just a word about the value of the reports. The reports have improved so much over the years that almost none of us are here to say that they are problematic or that they do a disservice. I think that is a measure of how far the reporting of this whole institution has come.
The last couple of years, my colleagues and I have always echoed each other by saying that the reports alone are not a human rights policy and they do not create change. But in so doing, I do not want it to appear that somehow it doesn't make a difference whether they are good reports or bad reports. It makes a huge difference, and I can assure you if they were bad, we would be the first ones to be clamoring.
We know that there is value in telling the truth and in applying the spotlight, as Secretary Shattuck said, and that is what we at Human Rights Watch do as well. However, if the Administration doesn't get it quite right, you can be very sure that abusive governments are reading it extremely closely for these nuances.
There are still places where we are going to quibble and we will get back to you with material for the record when we have had a chance to digest the reports a little more fully so that we can comment; I know the Administration always wants to see that material as well, and we can tell it is taken into account because the reports of future years often reflect some of the criticisms we offer.
I wanted to skip on to talk about the uses and the value of the report beyond the printed volume, but I would like to also say that truth-telling on human rights is not something we take for granted, because there have been many times in the past when our government has not been a truth teller and it does make a positive difference even when we disagree with some of the other policies involved.
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There were just three areas I wanted to look at where we want to see tighter links between what the Administration knows and what the Administration does, as my friend and colleague Steve Rickard has said.
One, a great place to release these reports in part or in full is the international donor meetings. I have a list that the World Bank provided me on the annual donor meetings that will occur throughout the course of the year for many dozens of countries. Many of the countries that have come up at this hearing are on this list. The donor meetings are often in Paris or Tokyo or Brussels, and the World Bank or Japan chairs those meetings. This is a real good place for these reports to be put into practice.
In the past, there has been success when the Administration, joined by some of our allies, have attempted to craft a common policy and gotten the World Bank to cooperate, too, I might add. We have seen that when the international community speaks with one voice, governments are almost forced to listen. Whereas if the report is disengaged from such a venue as a donor meeting, they don't have nearly the influence.
With respect to Kenya, where there were very specific human rights benchmarks set by the donors and the World Bank echoed them, the reforms were quick to follow.
The Administration and our European allies did a similarly good job in Zambia, which is an AID recipient. They made it very clear at the 1995 meeting that because of the distinct backward motion in political rights that that country is experiencing there would be consequences. And indeed, there were, and the United States played a key role in that.
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Seeing how successful such a strategy is, we would like to see it employed more often. And one thing this committee could do to help us, because we press this all the time, is to ask the Administration what their plan is for each of these donor meetings. It can't be decided the day before the meeting. We have to, again, consult our allies and the other donors months before the meeting. There ought to be such a plan to put forward very specific concerns that will be raised and that will be looked at in terms of the next donor meetings so that governments see a link between AID and human rights. It can really promote positive change.
Just one more specific concern about AID; and that is Bosnia. The fact that the war criminals indicted and unindicted continue to basically run the show in particularly the Republic of Sepska means that all of the good intentions with respect to reconstruction and all of the good intentions for Bosnia are undermined.
I think that it is wrong to push ahead with reconstruction when the very people who have become rich and fat from the slaughter of Muslim businessmen and other non-Serb businessmen and women, lawyers, hospital administrators, the labor force, some of the plant managers, the industrialists, will inherit the contracts. The minorities are dead, they are gone, and those that killed them have taken over their businesses and now stand to reap the rewards for the cleansing, economically speaking.
So it was not a war about centuries-old economic hatred. It was a war about power and money and those that brought it on to this country are now going to reap the rewards if the war criminals remain in power and if there isn't a consistent effort on the part of all of the donors to make sure that those who drove the ethnic minorities out cannot get a cent, other than humanitarian assistance which should be given by NGO's.
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But those are some of my concerns, and we would be glad to talk with your staff about working with the Administration at the upcoming donor meeting for the former Yugoslavia.
Another obvious place for the use of the State Department Country Reports is at summit meetings and important government meetings of all kinds, whether that is a trade roundtable, whether that is a strategic meeting, or the APEC ASEAN summit. For example, whether it is the Chinese coming here or Vice President Gore going to China, these are all occasions where human rights reports and the material contained therein should be much of the focus.
When President Mubarak visited the United States a couple of years ago, I was told that human rights weren't even brought up at the meeting with President Clinton. I wasn't in the room, but the United States has been pretty quiet in public utterances about the record of Egypt and others of our allies in the region. Presidential meetings are precisely the places where, without insulting our foreign visitors, human rights has to be seen as a matter of top concern to our government.
In this light, I would say that I think it would be a mistake for Vice President Gore and for President Clinton to even consider traveling to China or receiving Chinese leaders in the form of a summit unless they have received in advance some kind of human rights concession. We don't ask for the moon, but we love Wei Jingsheng, and perhaps ICRC access. The Chinese want this summit very badly indeed and are more eager for it than we are. To have the meetings on their terms without getting a thing to show for it I think would be an embarrassment to the Administration.
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Three, I would like to see the Country Report used consistently with respect to evaluating weapons transfers. This has been discussed by some of my colleagues and by Mr. Shattuck himself. Indeed, this is a policy much promoted on the Hill over the objection of the executive branch in some cases.
A good case in point is Colombia. I have a slightly different take on the Colombian report than my colleague did. We at Human Rights Watch were absolutely delighted to see the Administration for the first time making a linkage between the paramilitary death squads and the Colombian army. It is a linkage that we have never seen them make before; it is one that our organizations have made for years. Indeed, it is the key to stemming the incredible bloodshed in the country; the fact that the Administration could say that, Battalion 20, which is the most prestigious and the most influential battalion in the army (and the site of military intelligence) is an enormous contribution in understanding the state of affairs in Colombia.
Today, if I remember correctly, the Colombian ambassador to the United States is up in Connecticut receiving the contracts for the U.S.-supplied helicopter that is going to Colombia. This is an area where I think given the nexus between the death squads and the army, military transfers need to be pinched off until there has been a sea of change.
Finally, if I could just pick up on a comment by Representative Hamilton, who regrettably is no longer at the hearing. And that is about a look at ourselves, the United States. The report, of course congressionally mandated, started out, back in my time in the late 1970's, as a requirement that the United States report on those countries which received foreign aid. It was a really very selective list. And then the Congress wisely extended the mandate to cover the whole world. But now that it covers all the countries in the world, it is badly marred because it doesn't include a chapter on the United States. I speak with particular urgency because the United States (the executive branch) has been nonchalant to the point of neglect in its reporting obligations on the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Torture Convention, which the United States also signed.
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U.S. reports are long overdue, a year in a couple of cases, and this is a reporting requirement that we ought to look at. We need to look at ourselves. It not only helps human rights in the United States, but it makes the United States much more credible abroad.
Finally, I want to thank your excellent staff for making it possible for me to be here. I don't usually work on Friday, and your chief counsel was lining up friends to babysit for me. And the chief counsel of the Full Committee had chocolate and coffee, and I just have to say that the staff of this committee are really very kind indeed. Thank you so much.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much. Like E.F. Hutton, when you talk, we listen, because we do value your opinion. The U.N. organization is incredible, and I think that is important, and truthfully telling the story at the beginning of China helped solve the problems, so it is important that we get your insights.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Burkhalter appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Ms. Massimino.
STATEMENT OF ELISA MASSIMINO, ACTING DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON OFFICE, LAWYERS COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
Ms. MASSIMINO. Chairman Smith, thank you for convening this hearing and for inviting us to share our perspective on the State Department's Country Reports this year.
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We are deeply appreciative to you for your steadfast attention to human rights issues and for your continued efforts to highlight these concerns in the Congress. You have truly been an activist on these issues, and we value your activism very much.
As you know, the Committee has paid particularly close attention to the State Department's Country Reports for a number of years. This summer, we will issue our annual book-length critique of selective chapters of the Country Reports, marking the 18th year we have engaged in this exercise. Since the Lawyers Committee began publication of its annual Critique, the Country Reports have become a progressively more thorough and reliable guide. In the words of the preface to this year's reports, their aim is ''to provide a resource for shaping policy, conducting diplomacy, and making assistance, training, and other resource allocations,'' and in many respects, they do that job admirably. At the same time, it has been an increasingly useful resource to the international nongovernmental human rights community.
The reports also serve an extremely important educative function, which Secretary Shattuck mentioned, within the Foreign Service. By requiring reports from U.S. diplomats covering more than 190 countries, Congress has provided these diplomats with a mandate to gather information on the human rights situation in the countries they serve, information that might otherwise be ignored or regarded as too sensitive to investigate. Over two decades, literally thousands of Foreign Service personnel participated in this effort, and it has had a significant effect in sensitizing U.S. diplomats to human rights concerns.
We view the Country Reports as an essential instrument of U.S. human rights policy and of foreign policy generally. Effective decisionmaking in any other area requires accurate and objective information. Although human rights considerations will inevitably be weighed against other U.S. interests, including economic, strategic, and political priorities, the process of qualifying and weighing these considerations should occur only after comprehensive, accurate and objective human rights information is compiled and studied.
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Production of the Country Reports is mandated by Congress, but their content is dictated by a detailed and formal set of State Department instructions annually updated, revised, and sent to all U.S. embassies.
Last year the instructions incorporated a number of valuable revisions, many of which are directly responsive to criticisms made in previous editions of our Critique.
The latest revisions are nowhere near as substantive as those which emerged from the comprehensive review of State Department procedures initiated by Secretary of State Christopher in 1993. The instructions, however, are generally successful in reconciling two different and, at times, contradictory agendas.
On the one hand, they reflect the Bureau's continued effort to oblige embassies to provide accurate and detailed reporting. On the other, they seek to reduce the work load of beleaguered diplomatic posts and to respond to the intense pressure from the legislative branch to cut back on State Department resources.
The clear practical instructions that have emerged from this process contain many improvements. The reporting instructions show a welcome and consistent emphasis on government accountability and enforcement mechanisms and on the proactive as well as remedial measures needed to make paper rights a reality. They require the drafters of the reports to tackle head on the problem of official impunity, which continues to bedevil a number of societies emerging from one-party or military governments that were characterized by massive human rights violations. The instructions require each report to include an assessment of the treatment of refugees and the extent of cooperation afforded UNHCR.
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The overall effect of these changes in the instructions is very positive, at the same time significantly raising the standards for the drafters of the reports, and by explicitly removing some of the loopholes and imprecisions that have sometimes been exploited by the drafters, the instructions have raised the threshold expectations for the reports. However, despite the rigor of these instructions and their manifestly good intentions, the results continue to fall short in key areas.
In recent years there has been a steady improvement in the overall quality of the State Department's Country Reports, and the 96 reports continue this trend. The strengths of this year's reports are considerable. The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor clearly takes its mandate very seriously.
The overt political biases that marred much of the State Department's reporting on human rights in the 1980's have largely disappeared along with the bipolar conflict which engendered them.
Much of the information contained in this year's report is very detailed. The sources employed by the drafters are visibly more diverse with each new edition of the Country Reports. In particular, the reports show welcome evidence that embassy officers are conferring closely with local independent human rights monitors and are taking their findings increasingly seriously.
In producing the Lawyers Committee's annual Critique, our intention is not to draw up a scorecard of merits and demerits of particular findings of particular reports. Rather, we try to identify patterns, and particularly patterns of weaknesses which, though declining in number, still stubbornly persist in many of the reports.
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A number of the Lawyers Committee's concerns about the quality of the Country Reports echo those we have stated in previous years, and I will just summarize them briefly.
First, the Country Reports remain unwilling at times to hold friendly governments overtly responsible for human rights violations, and we discussed that already a little bit here today.
Although this year's reports go further than they have in the past to take allies and key trading partners to task for rights abuses, exculpatory language continues to appear in the reports on friendly countries. This deficiency takes a number of forms.
In some cases, reports decline to offer opinions about official culpability in the State Department's own voice even where the factual evidence is inescapable. In other cases, they cloud the issue of State responsibility by ascribing violations to individual members of security forces as if these elements were not accountable to the government as a whole.
The instructions which I just described could not be more explicit on the need for violations to be condemned in the State Department's own voice, stressing thatand I quote''We have an obligation to render an opinion on whether reports of a pattern of abuse are credible and who appears to be responsible. Thus, it is not sufficient to say human rights monitors claim that security forces have been involved in political killings or there are occasional reports of police abuse of detainees or prisoners. Wherever possible, you must state whether we believe such abuses occurred and, if so, who was responsible.''
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That is a quote from the instructions to the drafters of the reports, and those instructions highlight the fact that the language of the reports is very important. Nonetheless, the language of many of the reports this year continues to be muted by the use of the passive voice. Turkey is a chief example, I would say, this year, and many governments are still shielded from the full force of criticism by the reports' reluctance to offer a clear opinion on the credibility of the findings by NGO's.
A number of the reports continue to be plagued by the tendency to ascribe responsibility for violations to individual members of the security forces. This perennial defect can only be rectified if the State Department clearly instructed its embassies that there is no distinction between violations committed by the State and those committed by the security forces and that obfuscation of this point is unacceptable in any of the Country Reports.
Second, governments and nongovernmental entities are sometimes not held to a single universal standard of conduct nor are conclusions about their responsibility for violations subjected to the same burden of proof. Here again, the State Department's explicit instructions to drafters are frequently ignored. The instructions require that the standard of evidence applied should be consistent, saying we must not apply a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt when evaluating allegations of abuses by friendly governments and then at the same time applying more lenient prima facie tests to allegations of abuses committed by guerrilla or other opposition forces. Yet this is precisely the approach in many of the reports year after year. Violations by paramilitaries are invariably presented as hard fact, while violations by the friendly State are presented as claims or allegations or reports.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Third, the drafters of the Country Reports should make a much more energetic effort to reflect the findings of the U.N. treaty bodies and other U.N. mechanisms and generally should be more attentive to governments' international human rights treaty obligations. The instructions emphasize this as an important factor that can be taken into account in the drafting, and we have seen some improvement this year.
There is much more mention of U.N. treaty obligations undertaken by governments. There should be a better effort in the future to compare those obligations to actual performance in the reports.
Fourth, although the reporting instructions explicitly address the issue of judicial independence, we find that the report still lacks a coherent framework in which to evaluate the independence of the judiciary and address attacks on members of the legal profession, and we have outlined that criticism over and over in our Critique every year.
The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has appointed a special rapporteur on the independence of the judiciary, and future Country Reports should make an equivalent acknowledgment of the importance of the issue under the description of fair trial proceedings. It may be time now to create a separate section for independence of the judiciary in the reports.
Fifth, while the recent focus on governments' conduct toward human rights NGO's is welcomed, future reports should deal more systematically with the law and practice governing freedom of association, especially as it relates to the ability of human rights defenders to operate freely and independently.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Sixth, the rigid thematic composition of the reports presents information in an itemized way that obscures the connections between different categories of human rights abuse and, in the process, tends in many instances to obscure the degree of governmental complicity and responsibility in abuses.
We have addressed in some length in past volumes of the Critique the structural impediments imposed by the reports' rigid issue-by-issue format and have suggested that the itemized and disjointed presentation of factual data in so many of the reports could only be corrected by allowing the drafters greater latitude to identify themes and convey an overall picture of the rights landscape; for example, as the Secretary did so eloquently in his overview this year and particularly suggested the need for a broader narrative essay to serve as the introduction for each Country Report. This would illuminate the interconnected character of abuses otherwise reported in discrete categories and would be particularly helpful in uncovering patterns of State responsibility.
And finally, the reports continue to show evidence of modulation based on policy considerations, which undermines their effectiveness as an objective record of rights performance. This is a very important criticism, that, although the impact of other policy considerations in the report has lessened over the years, continues to be a problem. No matter what the reporting instructions may say, political considerations show up in the language of the reports. Clearly they are not produced in a policy vacuum. After being drafted in the embassy, they pass through a variety of editorial hands within the State Department and are subject to the pressures of competing policy agendas.
The results are all too apparent when one reads reports which are internally inconsistent or shy away from conclusions about government culpability that the evidence compels or which willfully ignore the findings of reputable monitors.
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There appears to be only one solution to this problem, and that is to insulate the Country Reports from extraneous political pressures. While it would be naive to hope for a purist foreign policy that took into account nothing but a country's human rights performance, it is entirely reasonable to expect that the DRL, the section of the State Department charged with reporting on human rights conditions, should be allowed to do its job free of interference.
An objective and unvarnished record of human rights conditions grounded in a clear understanding of the applicable international law is of enormous value. In the subsequent debates that lead to the formulation of policy, that record must of course contend with other agendas and other interests, but these should come into play when the larger policy discussion begins, not during the editorial process that produces the Country Reports.
Despite the generally high quality of the Country Reports this year and in past years and the continuing improvements in the reporting process, as has been noted repeatedly today, there is a striking gap between the reporting and the realities of foreign policy decisionmaking. Although there are a number of examples, this gap is particularly stark with respect to China.
The report on China is a clear example of the ability of the reports to be true to their mandate. Yet, as you point out, Mr. Chairman, the Administration's policy toward China reflects little of the considerations in the report. The United States has failed to adopt a coherent and imaginative human rights policy towards China.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In view of the hard facts, as they are starkly put in this year's report, there is an urgent need for the Administration to adopt a new strategic approach to advancing human rights in China. Such a strategy must incorporate a comprehensive critique of human rights conditions combining a forthright response to individual cases with consistent pressure on those patterns of abuse that are rooted in defects in China's legal system.
At the same time, it is realistic and consistent with other legitimate U.S. interests to pursue a policy of targeted engagement designed to advance the rule of law and to support the efforts of the people within China who are most interested in bringing their country's law and practice in line with international standards.
The United States can play a constructive role through continued careful monitoring and critique of Chinese law and practice, consistent advocacy of China's observance of international standards, and imaginative programs to expand the range of information available in China on human rights and criminal justice.
As we outlined in our recent report entitled ''Opening to Reform,'' in which we analyzed China's criminal procedure law, this kind of external pressure can exercise a positive influence on legal reform in China. These efforts must be sustained and expanded if they are to contribute to the further systematic changes required to ensure full respect for international human rights in the Chinese criminal justice system.
Last year, the Lawyers Committee published its third quadrennial Report on Human Rights and U.S. foreign policy. The report, entitled ''In the National Interest,'' advances the argument that the consistent pursuit of human rights is, in the long run, not only quite compatible with but is likely to enhance other U.S. national interests that have traditionally been accorded a higher priority. We have made that report available to every member of the Committee. It contains numerous pragmatic concrete proposals that, taken together, begin to define and illustrate a coherent human rights policy to serve national and global interests in the future.
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The report concludes that, far from being a soft or purely moral concern, nothing is more hardheaded than the search for human rights policy designed to serve the national interest. In our turbulent and fragmented world, the national interests of the United States demand stability, the avoidance of conflict, and shared prosperity through global progress on common social and economic principles.
It is those who argue for the unfettered pursuit of commerce or for the primacy of traditionally-defined security interests who lack hardheaded realism and who are out of step with the needs and demands of the real world at the close of the 20th century.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Massimino appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much for that very eloquent statement and good work you do, and your reports too are very well read by members of our subcommittee as well as by other Members of Congress, and we do thank you for your guidance.
STATEMENT OF NINA SHEA, DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS PROGRAMS, FREEDOM HOUSE
Ms. SHEA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Freedom House congratulates you and Mr. Payne and the other members of the Committee on International Relations for holding these very timely hearings on the Country Reports.
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Freedom House believes that human rights and basic freedoms are best protected through the private sector and through the institutions of a strong and vibrant civil society. If we have any bias, it is the belief that strengthening democracy and promoting democratic transitions is the single best instrument for the durable expansion of human rights in the world of law.
In late December, Freedom House released its 1996 Survey of Freedom in the World, and I am happy to report to Mr. Hamilton and to others who may be interested that our survey had some good news.
Today, 61 percent of the countries in the world, 118 in all, are electoral democracies. This is the highest number in history, and while this, Mr. Chairman, does not offer absolute assurance that all citizens in these democracies are guaranteed their basic human rights, it is the single most important factor in assuring a climate of freedom and respect for basic political rights and civil liberties.
In this regard, as the Congress, the media, and the American people turn their attention to the State Department's findings, it is important that we be mindful of this propitious new balance of forces in the world.
The trend toward expansion of democracy offers the hope that a large and growing community of democratic nations can work cooperatively to exert pressure on States that brutally and systematically suppress human rights and to assist new and struggling democracies that are rebuilding from the ruins of tyranny.
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Mr. Chairman, the State Department Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor should be commended for producing a report characterized by a high degree of accuracy. But I would like to raise two thematic areas today which are areas that could be improved and make for a stronger report next year. Those two areas are, first, the political abuse of property rights and economic coercion, and the second is in the area of religious freedom.
In human rights, in Freedom House's view, the State Department reports should evolve in accordance with our understanding of the various mechanisms of coercion and repression used by tyrannical regimes, and, when necessary, the Congress and State Department should make adjustments in the data that is collected.
In this regard, we believe that the report would be strengthened if it gave a greater degree of attention to the use of economic coercion as an instrument of political repression and control, and there is ample basis for collecting such data under the rubric of human rights reports; for example, article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Examples of the use of economic coercion and the absence of established respect for property rights are legion. For example, in Burma local land committees controlled by the ruling junta constitute an important mechanism that acts arbitrarily to deprive people of their homes, land, and livelihood. The absence of firmly established property rights allowed the regime to arbitrarily uproot hundreds of thousands of people in the 1990's.
In China, local officials frequently seize property from couples for failing to adhere to the one-child policy. In a number of States that emerged out of the U.S.S.R., businessmen who support parties challenging entrenched governments are subject to widespread harassment by tax and safety inspectors.
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Even Singapore, widely praised as a paragon of free market virtue, uses economic coercion. Those who oppose government policy face harassment and inquiries by tax authorities. Their businesses are investigated for possible wrongdoing, and they soon find their access to credit and other services cut off as their bankers, in turn, face harassment.
Increasingly in the developing world, authoritarian regimes, mindful of increased pressure by the donor nations, are adopting the trappings of democratic procedures. At the same time, they are increasingly using economic coercion to stifle the growth of independent political life by intimidating those who fund prodemocracy opposition parties and movements.
Freedom House is not suggesting that the Congress mandate a look at the economic practices of the States in hand. We are urging instead that increased attention be given to denial of basic property rights and other forms of economic coercion as mechanisms of political control. Such a focus would be fully consonant with the view that the right to private property is an integral component of a free society and is essential to the preservation of individual autonomy.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to now focus my attention on one area in which the 1996 reports have made some tangible improvements, and that is the issue of religious freedom. This as well as the creation of a new advisory committee to assist the Secretary of State on issues related to freedom of conscience around the world suggest that our foreign policy structures are open to influence and change.
We are grateful in particular to you, Mr. Chairman, for your leadership on this issue. Your vigorous advocacy of the rights of religious believers around the world, your focus on the massive oppression of Christians in such countries as China, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia, have been exemplary.
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Freedom House would like to point out, in particular, the nuanced and relatively comprehensive reporting in the area of religion in such countries as Cuba and Vietnam and, when the freedom of religion section is taken together with the religious minority section, also the reports on Egypt and Indonesia.
In other country profiles, however, the discussion on anti-Christian persecution is lacking. It is disappointing to note that the reports devote more ink to the relatively minor travails of the Scientologists in democratic Germany than to the real terror and persecution in Iran faced by both the Christian and the Bahai communities, combined, or to the egregious human rights violations experienced by the Christians in Pakistan, and in fact the discussion of scientologistson the discrimination they face in Germanyis so detailed that I would recommend that it be used as a prototype for all the discussions in the reports on religious minorities.
The China section has improved since last year. The reports provided more systematic examination of various religious groups and make a better attempt at sorting out the differences and treatment between the government-controlled religious organizations and those which are forced to exist in the underground.
The reports state that, ''the national goal for 1996 was to register or close down all unregistered religious groups.'' The practical effect of thisand it would have been helpful if the reports had said sois that the underground Christian community, both Roman Catholics and Protestant Evangelicals, continue to experience a downward trend in their freedoms, resulting in the worse persecution for them since the immediate post-Mao period in the late 1970's.
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A major omission of the report is its failure to mention that China forbids the appointment of Catholic bishops by the Vatican, which has enormous consequences for religious freedom, both doctrinally and administratively, for the Roman Catholic Church as an institution and for the individual Catholic.
Concerning Iran, though the religious section does give accounts of the murders of Christian leaders in recent years, it fails to explain the harsh penalties, including death, for converts from Islam to Christianity who are considered apostates or how churches are raided and infiltrated by Muslim police, hunting out converts in the congregation. Government threats against Christians and the atmosphere of intimidation against them, reinforced by the murder of four key Christian leaders over the past 2 years, gives lie to the reports' conclusion that, ''they (meaning the Christians) are free to practice their religion.''
The Sudan report section on religion is grossly inadequate and seriously flawed. It focuses principally on the most trivial of problems faced by the beleaguered Christian, and non-Muslim communityissues such as discrimination in adoption rights and visa delays for missionaries. As in the past, the report as a whole misses the big picture by failing to sufficiently connect a devastating war that has left over 1.5 million dead and 3 million displaced with Khartoum's policy of forced Islamization.
The report as a whole gives little hint of the relentless campaign of persecution against the Christian and non-Muslim populations because of religious reasons and that the war has become, as Khartoum itself has declared, a jihad, or holy war. It neglects to acknowledge the element of religious persecution in the discussion on slavery, mayhem, and other atrocities. It omits the critical assessments of Sudanese Catholic Bishop Macram Max Gassis and Christian Solidarity International that religious persecution in the Nuba mountains has reached genocidal proportions.
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The Pakistan sections dealing with religion, while relatively comprehensive in their discussion of the Ahmadi minority, give short shrift to the problems faced by Christians, focusing almost exclusively on one or two cases rather than attempting to assess or describe the overall situation of persecution.
For example, the reports do not relate how the government's blasphemy laws, beyond their own direct impact against Christians and other minorities have, ''let loose private acts of vengeance,'' to quote Professor David Forte who was before this committee last year.
There have been numerous reports of fanatical Muslim mobs terrorizing Christian communities in acts that can only be described as communal cleansing, and there was an incident on August 3 of a Muslim lynch mob attempting to abduct a popular young Christian professor from a government college after other professors belonging to an extremist group accused him of blasphemy. This professor was rescued from certain death by his Muslim neighbors, moderate Muslim neighbors, and was able to go into hiding with the help of the Christian community. His experience with persecution has sown terror in the hearts of other well educated and successful Pakistani Christians.
In stark contrast to the detailed discussion of Scientologists in Germany, the Pakistan report gives little sense of the far more severe economic discrimination faced by Christians. One Catholic bishop of the Church of Pakistan described the situation in his diocese as follows, and I quote: ''Christians are denied jobs in housing. In that sense, they are persecuted all the time. Ninety percent of Christians are either unemployed or have the lowest jobs, such as removing human excrement from the streets. They are not allowed to do anything else. About 8 percent are employed by the church and other Christian-related ministry. Only 2 percent hold what could be called a real job.''
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Unbelievably, the Ethiopia section contains no discussion other than the naked assertion, false assertion, that, ''freedom of worship exists in practice.'' This section ignores the State Department's own guidelines for reporting on religious freedom which call for going beyond the examination of freedom of worship as well as other findings by the Bureau and NGO's of the persistence of anti-Christian harassment and violence.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, Freedom House urges that the Congress, especially those responsible for foreign aid and international spending, will use the data in the reports and additional data collected by NGO'snongovernmental organizationsto assure that the most blatant violators of human rights are not supported with U.S. taxpayer dollars and that U.S. Government funds are instead directed at promoting new emerging democracies and encouraging democratic transition through worthy instruments that promote the free flow of information.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Shea appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Ms. Shea, and thank you for your kind words and sentiments.
I feel very strongly that what you have done on behalf of religious freedom in particular and human rights in general has been very laudatory, and you have been that voice in the wilderness, say that this has been forgotten and our government needs to take some consideration. So I am so glad you are on that task force and commission, but more important, you have been raising this issue over and over in the 17 years I have been there.
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Let me just ask a couple of questions because your comments were very comprehensive, and your recommendations also will be taken under very, very active consideration by our subcommittee, hopefully by the Administration as well.
You make a point, Ms. Burkhalter, in your statement that the planned visits by Mr. Gore and by Mr. Clinton both in Beijing and here with high officials, including the President, ought not to take place unless there are significant human rights concessions made. I think the Chinese dictatorship should know that there is a price.
I was hoping something would happen to stop these high-level contacts such as with Chi Haotian, especially given his credentials and the blood that he has on his hands. But here are the people, too, who are part of that leadership that continue this incredible repression.
And let me just say parenthetically that there are two schools of thought on whether or not there should be engagement or sanctionsand hopefully wise and prudent sanctions. I happen to believe that the rightness of sanctions do bear fruit over time. I backed the sanctions against apartheid, broke with our party at that time on that particular issue, because I felt the dictatorship or the repressive government in South Africa could go on right to near 2001 unless something was done really significantly to change it.
I happen to believe that a torch is being passed to a new generation in China. They are learning, particularly in the army, that so long as they simply use the tools of repression at their command, and continue to acquire the technologies that we are so ably providing, and of course the increased financial situation that we provide, that dictatorship can run on for as long as the eye can see.
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There is nothing to suggest that more money, a higher standard of living, is going to lead to a democracy, to human rights, particularly when there is no record of it in the past. As the Country Report says so clearly, all public dissent against the party in the government was effectively silenced by the intimidation, exile, prison terms, or administratively by House arrest. No dissidents were known to be active at year's end.
What a horrible statement. What a horrible indictment of that regime. But also the fact that we are going on as if it did not exist. How did we cap off the end of the year? We brought in the butcher of Beijing and gave him the red carpet treatment. Mr. Payne and I and others, bipartisan, were outraged at the hearing that we held that that was going on and certainly expressed it. But will 1997 be any different?
It seems to me that the modest request that you make to the Administration, that Human Rights Watch makes, that we shouldn't have these meanings unless there is some progress, let them let these dissidents out, let them pay this price. Others have suffered cruelly for their beliefs, and that is a bare minimalist policy, it seems to me, that the nation be engaged in, because, again, this is a public relations coup for the dictatorship when they are able to show their President, their dictator, cavorting with the freely elected President of the United States. I may not like the policies of Bill Clinton, but I am glad we have the ways and means to put a Democrat or Republican into that high office and every 4 years we have an opportunity to change that. It is certainly something we all have a great deal of respect for. But there they have a dictator.
You know that that would be a public relations coup as it was when Chi Haotian was here. And what does that do to those who are in prison, languishing? It seems to me that that is a demoralizing element: Look to your friends in the United States; they really only pay lip service to you; they really don't care.
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So I thank you for that very strong suggestion.
Ms. BURKHALTER. Just two quick suggestions about China. One, there is a wrongly held impression by many that when the United States was a bit tougher or when economic sanctions were threatened that China did not respond. On the contrary, the Chinese Government is completely capable of responding positively, and, for example, when the United States has been very tough with regard to commercial interests such as property, deeds, patents, and copyrights, the Chinese Government knows how to act in its own interests.
So I don't at this time want to beat a dead horse or raise something at this point that is impossible for policymakers. But I would say that in terms of trying to get some new vigor or energy in human rights policy, one area that I would truly love to see the White House initiating and the Hill supporting might be a White House meeting to try to really put some life into his statement of corporate business principles. These principles are quite good corporate principles. If he were to have a meeting exclusively devoted toward China, and bring in top corporate executives, and use the occasion to say how can everybody in whatever way they choose, however quietly, use their relations in this province or that province to try to do a little something for human rights. Corporations can press quietlyI mean no one should be asked to put a gun at their own head and fire it, but to press quietly to get Red Cross access to some of the local prisons, press on behalf of local human rights efforts or other political prisoners. We can give the list in every province in China.
And if there were also a way to engage the corporations in Hong Kong to discuss the trouble that is starting already, how do you want to be set to respond when human rights are attacked and perhaps your own interests attacked too?
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If there were real attention given the idea of corporate summit where people could get to go and be asked to come up with some strategies and we use the White House, to do that, that might bring some fresh ideas to the table; strategic engagement on one side and criticism on the other. I would certainly like to see such a thing happen.
And second of all, to reiterate, I think that the Administration has been cowed by its critics in the newspapers and in the American corporate sector of having had a policy that was all over the map. That means it had a human rights element in it, and whenever the United States raised the human rights issue we are always criticized as being willy nilly and all over the map. In the past there was a policy that had several elements to it, including human rights and now are basically off the map. I am very glad to join with others to try to find ways to put it back on.
Mr. SMITH. I think that incorporates some ideas, is a very good one, and hopefully the Administration will listen. We certainly would encourage that as well.
You know, you as well as I probably met with those U.S. officials when we visited China, and the ignorance factor couldn't be any higher. And maybe it is our responsibility, too, to make sure that they know what is truly going on.
I will never forget comments that were made to me''religious freedom is no problem in China, the churches are open.'' As it turns out, the secretary of the person making the comment went to an officially recognized church which was half full or less, Ms. Shea, and that was enough for him to say the freedom of religions was really there.
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I would like to ask Ms. Massimino to answer a question or just respond.
You pointed out how important the language is of the Report, and I really appreciate the constructive comments and this idea of softening language when it is not in our own interest and all the hands it has to go through. Hopefully the Administration will take it under consideration. And we ought to be looking at it as well, that this should be an absolutelywhether the policy follows through, that is another question, but this should be an unvarnished, unfiltered statement of exactly where the situation was on the ground, without any kind of editorial additions or deletions.
And, you know, with all due respect to the Secretary, when we were talking earlier about the China report as it relates to forced abortion and overzealous officials, that is exactly what the leadership in Beijing wants us to believe, that somebody at the local level is somehow missing the point and going far beyondyou know, they are punished if they don't meet their quotas and there is no punishment when you use coercive means. Therefore, the green light is there and the ends then justify the means, even if you do use coercion.
And I noticed, in reading through several sections, this softening of language almost, like the use of ''however'' when it comes to some of the governments with whom we are friendly or as with China as I mentioned in my opening statement, that it seems to be more open. It is open only as far as the dictatorship thinks it is in their own utility and their own advantage to open, and that is it, not one point beyond.
So it is a very, very good point.
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Ms. MASSIMINO. I appreciate your raising that issue with Secretary Shattuck. That is a point in the China report which, I think, in general, is quite hard hitting and strong.
We haven't done direct investigation in China, we haven't done a mission to China to investigate this particular issue, but the anecdotal evidence that we have from directly interviewing and in some cases representing, individuals who have fled the application of the policy indicates that the policy is implemented in a more organized and overtly coercive manner than is reflected in the report this year.
Mr. SMITH. Again, one of the things I learned through journalism class, the three A's of journalism: accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. And we do appreciate getting the unvarnished truth from your organization, and scrubbing the dataexcept make sure it is accuratehas no place in this report.
So your points are excellent. I appreciate you making them.
I would like to just raise briefly the issue of Rwanda in the hearings of our subcommittee, and Mr. Payne again was a faithful participant in those hearings.
This year's report on Rwanda states the Rwanda Government, ''continues to be responsible for numerous serious human rights abuses, including political killings and the murder of hundreds of civilians with the recent mass repatriation of former refugees in eastern Zaire and beginning of genocide trials.'' That government's respect for human rights and the citizens is critically important.
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Given the close relationship between the State Department and the Rwandan Government, what is the U.S. Government doing to convey the message to the Rwandan Government that this abuse must stop immediately?
Mr. RICKARD. In a phrase, not enough. This is a very serious issue, the treatment of the situation inside Rwanda, the treatment of people who have been arrested, the conditions under which they are being detained, the circumstances under which their trials are being held, the application of the death penalty after trials that don't begin to meet international standards, and it strikes me that it is an extraordinary example of how quickly even the most extraordinary events can become muddled how the moral high ground and the legal clarity that is required for the process of accountability to work can be lost. There is a need for a victimized community to feel that the entire community on the other side is not responsible because the specific individuals who planned and carried out the acts have been identified and their campaign has been exposed and they have been held accountable.
The only way to move beyond these cycles of holding whole peoples accountable for your troubles is through the process of credible and fair trials by international standards. I know the United States is concerned about it and we have spoken about it, but, as I said, not enough is being done.
I know an issue that you are greatly concerned about and raised in your earlier questioning is the whole issue of the repatriation of refugees to Rwanda both from eastern Zaire and most recently from Tanzania. We recently published a report on thatI would be happy to submit it for the recordabout the circumstances under which refugees have been returned which do not, in our opinion, meet the minimal standards for the return of refugees in the sense they were neither informed nor truly voluntary, and the role of the United Statespassive role, at bestin accepting some of those repatriations and the role of the UNHCR needs to be looked at in those cases.
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Mr. SMITH. I appreciate you addressing that situation. I did ask questions regarding that.
Are these people apprised of what their potential options are with regards to being refugees? I would appreciate seeing that report.
Mr. RICKARD. We will be glad to submit it.
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Ms. Shea, let me just ask you specifically about religious persecution in Vietnam that this country is making extraordinary efforts to get closer to. There have been a number of reports about the Buddhists and Roman Catholics being incarcerated. Again, we have official house churchesyou know, where they recognize some but not others, not part of the government mechanismnot yet. What do you think we ought to be doing in Vietnam right now?
Ms. SHEA. Yes, I was very interested to hear Mr. Shattuck say that there will be a meeting in March with the Vietnamese on the human rights issue, but I certainly hope they bring up religious freedom, because the situation is abominable, as you said, for Roman Catholics and for Buddhists and also for Protestant Evangelicals. In fact, they are even mistreating and abusing American citizens who are Christians who go over there and visit.
There was a case that I think points out the weaknesses of the U.S. Government policy. The case occurred with a California woman, Monty Jones. She is a Sacramento nurse who was a naturalized American citizen originally from Vietnam. She went back to her country, visited her village, and was in her family's home in October handing out as gifts ballpoint pens with Christian crosses on them and was arrested for that and charged with unlawful religious propaganda, disseminating religious propaganda, and, ludicrously, for operating a charity without government permission. She was giving gifts, just small little presents, to her family members and friends in the village.
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What is particularly disturbing about this case is that the United States treated her situation as if she were a common criminal and told her to go ahead, pay the fine, shut up, and get out of the country, problem solved. And she, on principle, did not want to pay the fine, which was $1,000. She said if you want the fine paid, then you are going to have to make all the arrangements. The U.S. Embassy did, and they handed over the money, the $1,000.
I think that is just unconscionable. We should have protested. We should have gotten her out of there. We should have refused toyou know, stood with her on principle to refuse to pay that kind of fine for peaceful activity that is sanctioned by the United Nations, and there are laws, and their constitution is our constitution, and so forth.
So I hope that a demarche is made in a very serious way about the treatment of not only our Christian citizens but all the religious believers in Vietnam, their own citizens. This is a country where we hold a lot of the cards. We really could apply pressure. They desperately want our investments in Vietnam, and I think if we were to speak out there would be results.
Mr. SMITH. Let me ask a question then with regard to the conversation earlier. I know you are all very well aware of the continued detention over 3 years nowof those Golden Venture women. I am glad the Secretary pointed out that there were more than just a couple of cases.
At least one very high Administration official had indicated in a news article that we wanted to send a message that we don't want all these people coming over here and therefore if these people got asylum they could send that message. They also said they agree with that practice of birth control, of abortive birth control.
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Well, it seems to be off limits to me, and certainly coercion should play no part. As you pointed out, coercion is part and parcel of that program.
These detainees sought asylum, came here, and found themselves incarcerated after 3 years, but not under house detention, which would be bad enough; they are in prison. When they came to our subcommittee hearingand it took approximately 6 months to get and to subpoena the witnessesthese women walked through the door in chains, and as they went through the door the chains were taken off.
Henry Hyde, the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, was absolutely livid, as was I, as were others who were in that hearing room that day, that these petite, relatively young Chinese women would suffer such cruelty. They were treated like they had committed serious crimes, and they are still in prison.
Would any of you want to respond whether or not, in your view, that violates international human rights?
Ms. MASSIMINO. Well, this relates very much to Representative Houghton's point that we turn the mirror on ourselves, and in fact my colleagues at Amnesty and I have worked on this issue of detention of asylum seekers generally and, in particular, on the conditions of these women and men who came on the Golden Venture and other smuggling ships. Their treatment sent a message, and that was the clear message that was sent. And in fact, many of them, after languishing for, as you pointed out, several years, became severely depressed, suicidal in some cases. The conditions in which they have been held do not comply in some instances even with the Federal Bureau of Prisons standards.
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The INS has not exercised sufficient oversight on the conditions of detention. It ships its detaineesand these women were among themto local and county jail facilities, where there is no access as to basic rights, and I think that is an instance where, clearly, we need to do better in turning the mirror on ourselves.
The report that Secretary Shattuck mentioned to the Human Rights Committee, although it was very lengthyissues like this one, prolong detention to asylum seekerswas very prominent on the minds of members of that committee. It is a question where the Administration delegation in the report was not sufficient in turning the mirror on ourselves in that respect and many other respects.
Ms. SHEA. I would also like to add that in addition to the deplorable conditions they experienced in our own detention centers, prisons, it is very regrettable the U.S. Government does not recognize these people as human rights victims, victims of torture in their own countries, and have been denied freedom of conscience, because that is ultimately what this issue is about, is the denial of religious freedom to them and freedom of conscience.
They did not like the one-child policy and forced abortion that goes along with it, and forced sterilization, and Freedom House has seen a pattern of total indifference to people from all over the world fleeing abusive regimes for religious reasons. There are cases of Sudanese Christians and Iranian Christians who are denied asylum with regularity, and it is very, very disturbing.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. That was the point made in your testimony.
Mr. RICKARD. Indeed, Mr. Chairman.
I would simply add what my colleagues have said, that Amnesty has had very long-standing concerns about the policies and conditions in the United States and that we are, in fact, at the moment launching a nationwide campaign on refugee issues, one major goal of which will be to examine the detention issue. We look forward to working with you on that issue.
Mr. SMITH. Let me just ask, on the issue of refugees, because obviously it is so closely related with human rights: There was an attempt last year to put a cap in the immigration bill, you might recall. I offered the amendment, and I had several bipartisan sponsors to get rid of the cap, which effectively would have gotten to 50,000 after 2 years. But yet the negotiation with Congress encouraged the Administration, which is now doing it administratively and is on a glide slope to what some attempted to do statutorily, and that is to bring down significantly the number of refugees.
We have got a world absolutely awash in refugees. We are calling repatriation voluntary repatriation which is really forced, sending people back who really don't want to go back or not being apprised of other options.
What can we do to get the Administration to do a U turn from this inhumane policy of lowering the numbers, constantly driving those numbers lower? And there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress that feel the same, who just want to keep those people out, even though it only represents currently aboutI think the number is 8 percent of our full immigration load per year.
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I note with regret that there are a lot of people in Africa, which Mr. Payne speaks aboutand you mentioned Sudanese and Christians who were seeking asylum from repression there and were given almost no consideration by the INS, our refugee analysts. It seems like closing the door at the precise time we ought to be opening it. We want real refugees, but we ought to be much more charitable and generous than we currently are.
And again, this new numberwas it 78,000?but it closes it even further down, from 90,000 down from 110,000, constantly moving the number lower. And the number that comes out of some of these other countries is an absolute pittance.
Ms. MASSIMINO. I would like to respond to that, if I may. I think there are issues. One is, what can you do to help make this a process that is more reflective of the current state of affairs with regard to refugees?
One problem is that the process by which the Administration arrives at the number is not very transparent, and in fact we have a very difficult time assessing that process and then understanding it, the number, and where it came from, and how it was arrived at, when it is announced.
The numbers continue to go down, and I think we will probably continue to see thisthere is a real demonstrated lack of leadership on this particular issue in the AdministrationI think an unfounded, misguided attempt to cut the numbers for refugees, based on some discomfort with immigration generally, and I don't think that reflects the views of the American public. And good strong leadership on that issue can go a long way to clarify the difference between illegal immigration and protection of genuine refugees.
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As you mentioned, the number of refugee slots allotted to Africa, I believe, was less than 4,000 this year, unbelievably small, with no rationale for the cut in those numbers. Certainly looking at what we have heard today alone would justify the number from Africa being almost one of the highest of all the regions.
So it would help very much if you would insist, in the refugee consultations with the Administration, for some transparency and for the consultations to be early enough and open enough that we can have a real discussion and make some changes.
Mr. RICKARD. If I could add one point, I strongly concur with what has been said. We really asked the Administration to take a very close look at this, and we would hope that the Congress might revisit some of these issues in light of this. That is, it doesn't seem to us that sufficient attention has been paid to the peculiar impact of some of the procedures that are being adopted and some of the new restrictions that have been placed on women.
There is a very serious issue of whether or not as the law is writtenand currently the Administration is reviewing this issue, and we have appealed to them to make this a very important part of their review in terms of how they are going to apply some of the provisions that they have been given.
There are very particular cases in which some of these new provisions and requirements will have a particularly negative effect on the ability of women, who have been the victims of abuse or fleeing sexual assault or oppression, to adequately state their cases, make their case, and benefit from even the limited provisions that exist, and it is an area that we think deserves a lot of additional attention.
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Mr. SMITH. Thank you for that.
We will make a part of the record a letter on the House side Mr. Berman and I had sent to Warren Christopher and to the Senate side, asking that the number be 90,000 to 110,000 and to reject this misguided policy of going below that number.
My staff points out, when we had that fight on the cap in Congress, we went on record as saying we don't want to lower it, and you know the consultation isin very few Members of Congress, as you know, and I think reflective of the American people and the generous spirit of Congress collectively, bipartisan, is that the numbers should be higher. So that is the whole thing.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much.
The issue you raised regarding two points that you thoughtthe things that you said we should look at more
Ms. SHEA. Political abuse of property rights.
Mr. PAYNE. On the abuse of property rights, I couldn't agree with you more. I think I referred to a situation in Guyana when the Assistant Secretary was here, and there is no question that this question is going to be a very sticky issue in Rwanda with the returning of the refugees, because you have 59 refugees that have come back from Uganda, and so that is creating certainly a situation, although the Europeans may have decreed anything before 65. There was no real claimI think the Belgian Government said that.
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But on this whole question of property rights, I wonder though if it has been or whether you look at just property rights in general for women as relates to just property rights of people that are discriminated against. To bite off this property rights situation I think is very noble, and it would be a step in the right direction if attention could be drawn, because property is simply taken, sometimes by the people in power, and I think that would even be great to get that moving.
But once you do get it going, if you do, I certainly would think that the question of the rights of women and property in general would also be something that I would think would be very important because, as you know, women's rights are very, very narrow in places and, in places, almost nonexistent.
Ms. SHEA. That is an excellent point, and I know that women have been excluded from owning property in some societies and from inheriting property. This is a new frontier in humans rights, and I think it is one that will become more and more important as the free market system expands around the world and there is more opportunity to have property, and there is going to be more opportunity to abuse these rights for political or discriminatory purposes.
Thank you for pointing that out.
Mr. PAYNE. One other point just in general. I think that the whole question of human rights with Amnesty and with your organization looking at in the Committee, all the rest, is very noble in that we definitely should be pushing, as you mentioned, a number of countries that are moving toward these selections.
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I think that there is a whole area that is very rarely discussed, and I think, in my opinion, it has a great deal to do with human rights, human rights abuses, abuses of power, abuses of government in general, and it is certainly something that is probably the least talked about issue, and that is the issue of corruption.
Somehow, there needs to almost be some corruption assessment. That could become very sticky, because usually it is done quietly or it is not overtly that someone comes and takes a home of some minority group and pushes them out. That is overtly you can see that, or refugees going from one country to another, that is physical.
But this underlying question of corruption, I think that corruption is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to lifting the standard of living. Because, you know, companies become reluctant to invest in a place where there is corruption, it is against our laws, and some European countries certainly have laws that allow corruption. It is not against the law, which is unfortunate. But if somehow that issue could really be raised, and I raise it every time I visit a President in any country, about development or investment and so forthbut even if our World Bank or IMF, I mean, I have heard about it just by visiting around, my job is lending money around the world, and it seems to me that these institutions ought to know that this is something that is whispered about and talked about and probably done. And if we could ever remove the stigma of corruption, then investment in areas that are underinvested and the development in places that are underdeveloped could then be a way that democracy could thrive and the rights of people could thrive and so forth.
So I don't know if you have any comment on this question of corruption and how that keeps people impoverished in general.
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Ms. MASSIMINO. I would like to comment on that, because it is a very important issue that you highlighted, and it is an impediment to progress on so many levels.
What it highlights to me is the critical importance of a thriving nongovernmental community in a country. If you think about how corruption in this country is exposed, when it is exposed, it is by nongovernmental watchdog organizations. Non-governmental human rights organizations sitting in Washington and New York are not well equipped to expose corruption in other countries.
The folks that are well equipped to do that are indigenous nongovernmental organizations, to the extent they exist, and that is why it is so critical that the World Bank and other organizations with financial leverage use that leverage to focus on creating a space, a legal space within countries, particularly countries that have a chronic problem with corruption, for a flourishing nongovernmental community to tackle those problems. That, in my view, is really the key to getting at that issue.
It is not going to be done from outside so much, it is by the watchdog agencies, the Public Citizens, the ACLUs of these countries, and in so focusing on the issue of freedom of association, which is an issue that we have taken a great interest in, because we hear from our nongovernmental partners in these countries that there are serious barriers to their operation, practical and legal barriers. I think the Country Reports ought to address that head-on, and that our foreign policy ought to be geared toward helping to create that legal space to attack that problem.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PAYNE. Yes. I think that there are even people in the countries that would probably appreciate some outside help, those government people that are honest and would tend to see this happening around them and knowing that it happensit is difficult for them to take this on as a spokesperson in a country where they have a strong head of State. But if some other entityand like I said, I raise this as an individual speaking to leaders of countries that I visit where it is less that it occurs, but that is just one little pebble in the ocean. I think if it was sort of institutionalized or systemized, that certainly would help.
You know, years ago it was alleged that corruption was very rampant in Asia. Well, it is not talked about that way any longer, at least in the open democracies and the Singapores, and so forth, that kind of thing is not heard about anymore. That was the way it was 30 years ago when they were, you know, maybe emerging, and I think that if somehow that issue, which is a real pet peeve of mine, which is rarely talked about, could be raised in a systematic, institutionalized way, I think it would be helpful.
I do have a question, just to talk about that. It is alleged that when our policy is driven by other issues other than having human rights or integrity and so forthfor example, I think that during the cold war this created an awful lot of bad situations because we supported dictatorial governmentsthat it was corrupt, and we just sort of said against our enemy, we don't care what you do to your people, and we are finally trying to undo that. I think that is one of the difficulties with attempting to come up with a foreign policy, because we really don't know what we are for.
You see, we have been so long against something that is easy, I mean, you are againstyou know, when I was a little boy, the allies were the good people, so you were against them, that was the whole World War II thing and probably even from World War I you didn't have that impression in the meantime. You were against World War II, the Communists, you were against the Iron Curtain countries. So now there is no access to Communists, and so we are not against something that unifies everyone as being against Khrushchev when he was in power and so forth. Then what are we for? What kind of policy do we have?
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I think that is the challenge not only for the Clinton administration, but it is going to be a challenge for whomever takes over the Administration in the year 2000.
And so what is our foreign policy? How can we have a country with individual policies, like China? So that is going to be a real challenge and critical for the Administration.
I understand that the problemswe are not against anything. I hope we don't fall into making, for example, religion the thing to be against next, and we need to be careful that we don't equate Islam per se with something wrong. And I think that a lot of times we hear about, when we hear the word Islam, it is Islamic fundamentalists. Everybody that practices Islam is not a fundamentalist, there are a lot of nice non-Islamic fundamentalist people. I think we have to watch that danger of making that the next enemy, because I think we make a mistake.
Also, in this religious freedom that you did talk about, I really support that a tremendous amount. I think we ought to be sure that in addition toand this isn't in Sudan, there are some very wrong situations happening where the State has been taken over by the government, taken over by religion.
I do think that we have to be careful that there is a balance, that in countries that are opposing the growth of Islam that we don't violate human rights and religious rights trying to decrease the growth or stem the movement. I think that that is going to be a challenge that I certainly don't have the answer to, but that we are going to have to study how do we deal withwe can't be against something that keeps growing, because that is not necessarily a good policy.
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I think understanding what it is and figuring out how you coexist or who are the extremists, you know, we found out that extreme Christians are very dangerous in this country. Many times they have taken up arms and they don't want government interference, and the question is extremism and how do we keep out the extremists, but I think that if we have a connotation that when one group is extreme and the other isn't, I think extreme isn't good in any religion.
Ms. SHEA. I would like to respond to that.
What we are looking at in our religious freedom analysis is whether there is forcible conversion or not and what measures are being used to force a conversion, and we are taking issue with a strain of Islam, not the religion of Islam, which has been historically tolerant and a very rich and diverse culture. But a strain of Islam that is militant, that is politicized, that is aspiring to political power, in fact, is probably more of a political movement than a religious movement at all, and in the process, moderate Muslims have been hurt and are being denied their rights.
One example I gave today of a Christian Pakistani professor who was persecuted by fanatical Muslims, was saved by moderate Muslim neighbors. There is a battle for the soul in Islam going on. This has happened before, you know, in a number of religions, Christianity included. And whatever is going on in Christian fundamentalism in this country, it just pales in comparison to really the Jihad that is taking place in Sudan. We are talking about death and slavery and mayhem.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that you raise another interesting question about now that the cold war is over, who are we for and who are we against?
Freedom House really makes a point of stressing that we really should be fostering democracy, because while there is not a complete correlation between democracy and human rights guarantees, there is a great deal of overlap, and in fact the worst abusers of human rights are not democratic in the worldand that in our era of scarce foreign aid resources, we should not be giving foreign assistance to the governments of these nondemocratic regimes, that we should be giving it to nongovernmental sources in those countries to promote the free flow of information. And that ensures that the funds that are U.S. tax dollars will not be going to perpetrate human rights abuses, and will also address your other concern of corruption, because many of these nondemocratic regimes are also very corrupt, because there is no free press, no free speech, no due process and so forth. So it protects our money and promotes freedom in the world at the same time.
Mr. PAYNE. Well, I certainly couldn't agree with you more. I think when people have the right to put people in power, take them out, it certainly makes the leadership much more responsive to the people, there is no doubt about it.
I do commend the Administration for the past 4 or 5 years, 4 years or so, they have had as one of their main goals democratization, and it has caught hold in the New Independent States, and particularly in Africa where elections have been held in probably 80 percent of the countries, and they are still striving to make them better. But the step is definitely in the right direction, so I don't have any disagreement with the goals.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I just draw that out not necessarily for you or an expert in your organization, but just for people in general, sometimes it becomes very simplistic and we get on the wrong track.
My last little comment here is, I always say last, but I think it is the last, the question of theand I haven't seen the report from Amnesty regarding the repatriation in Rwanda. And I look forward to seeing it. But I think we have to be careful if we do take each case-by-case, country-by-country, I guess, I would likelike the State Department does, now I am agreeing with them, when you take the refugees that went out of Rwanda, they didn't necessarily go like normal refugees would leave, they left with the military, the exforces of Rwanda and the interhamwee who were the people who planned the genocide.
And all of those people were notfirst, there was certainly fear, because it was estimated that close to 1 million people, anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million people were killed. Of course, it started out not as genocide against the Tutsis, although that might have been in some minds, but they took modern Tutsis initially, also, and Tutsis would then, the interhamwee people had the final solution now, and that is just with the radio spread like it did. So the interhamwee and the ex-far sort of pushed the momentum and the inertia to just the 1 1/2 million, 2 million people to leave the country.
Well, also, it has been documented that it was these people who were keeping the refugees from returning also, that the military, the exmilitary of the interhamwee needed that million people around them to protect them from being brought to justiceand when the Banyamelge and Mughali forces in eastern Zaire pushed back the military of Zaire, who was also listed in this whole scheme of keeping people back, former military from Rwanda, and the military of Zaire, and the interhamwee leaders of the genocide were sort of contained in this 1.2 million people, and once the new forces in eastern Zaire routed the ex-far and interhamwee and the military of Zaire, then people came back.
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Now, I think that it is a very complicated area, a very complicated situation. As I said, I just got back 9 days ago and talked to a number of people, the President, Vice President, refugees that were returned, those who left in fear of retaliation, wanted the Congress to convene. And I went into Zaire where there are still people that are being kept back from their own will, and the forces of Zaire interhamwee are still keeping people out. So I think that when we look at forced repatriation in Rwanda, it is a very complicated situation, and that is whylike I say, I haven't seen the report, but I would be interested in seeing that and perhaps getting some comments.
Mr. RICKARD. We would be very interested in having your comments on the report. It is a very complicated situation, so I will let the report speak for itself, for the most part. But I guess I would say as an overall observation, that it is Amnesty's position that when hundreds of thousands of people who were in eastern Zaire, and as you quite correctly point out, were under the domination of very cruel forces, reached a point where the fighting is so bad and they have been victimized from so many sides, that the situation is so horrible there that they feel it is better to go back.
From Amnesty's point of view, that is not the same thing as saying they created a voluntary situation that is now safe to return home, and that they can now return to Rwanda, and in any sense that is truly voluntary and feel that they will be safe. When we put people in a situation where they really are faced with the frying pan or the fire, from our point of view, that doesn't meet the international community's obligation to provide them with that third alternative, which is a safe haven where they can remain until they can in fact make a voluntary choice to return.
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Tanzania is another case altogether, where it is a national government decree that by a certain date the people would go back. You know, we are very troubled by that. We will submit the report and we would be very interested to talk to you about your observations in your investigation as well.
Mr. PAYNE. I certainly agree already that it is a totally different situation between the expulsion in Tanzania and the return from Zaire.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Payne.
Just really to conclude, just ask a couple of very brief questions, and I do appreciate your patience here and your statements.
What is your evaluation of the U.S. response to the document about human rights abuses in East Timor, and to the reports of killings in Indonesia during Operation Cleansing 1994? What do you think the impact has been of Bishop Belo winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Has that gotten our attention more?
Mr. RICKARD. Well, I would be delighted to submit extensive Amnesty documentation about the situation in Indonesia. It certainly is an area where we would hope that the awarding of the Peace Prize will get people's attention and help them to focus on it. I can't help going back, when we speak of Indonesia, to Mr. Payne's very valuable comments about U.S. policy hitching its wagon to individual leaders as opposed to principles. Because I think his point about the situation with Mobutu has so many parallel examples, and lessons for what we need to do in Indonesia. What the United States needs to do in Indonesia, is to stand for principle, stand for some of the things that my colleagues have talked about in terms of the opening of the civil society, and not think that there is a tension between U.S. interests in the stability of the current regime that somehow is a conflict with human rights.
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In fact, whether it is Boris Yeltsin's policies in Chechnya, and this idea that, well, we better not criticize, or whether it is how we approach the situation in Indonesia and in East Timor or Zaire when we decide, well, we are going to mute our criticism because we really are in league with an individual. Then it is not hardheaded, as the Lawyers Committee report notes, it is shortsighted.
The best interests of the United States lie in complying with its international obligations and supporting the principles that it helped craft and that it has endorsed and that we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of at the end of this Congress.
Ms. MASSIMINO. Indonesia in particular, I would say is an example where the words and practices are not yet linked up. You know, Secretary Shattuck has been very eloquent, and, in fact, in his overview he uses very strong language in referring to Indonesia as an authoritarian State. The report itself doesn't necessarily go that far, and I think that contrast is exhibited in the way the policy has been conducted with regard to Indonesia.
It is really important at this juncture, I would say, for there to be a very hard look at the way trade benefits and arms transfers are linked to human rights considerations in Indonesia.
Ms. SHEA. There is another point also, and that is the Administration has gone out of its way to give prestige to the regime in Indonesia going to economic summits and whatnot there, and there is also in my area of religious freedom a problem. There was a church burning just this week and there have been a number of churches burned along with the pastors inside them and their family, not to mention East Timor.
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Mr. SMITH. Could you say that again?
Ms. SHEA. The pastor and his family were inside the church when one was burned by the mobs, and not to mention East Timor where there is the question of religious freedom as well. It is my aim to raise this issue in the advisory committee on February 13th, and review U.S. policy vis-a-vis East Timor and Indonesia.
Mr. SMITH. Let me just ask about reports that we received this week. The Iranian Supreme Court has not upheld the death sentences that have been imposed a few months ago on two Iranian Bahai's who were convicted of apostasy. I wonder if any of you would want to comment on what the implications are for those who convert to Christianity or to the Bahai faith, rather than the more radical Islamic faith there?
Ms. SHEA. It is lethal, and it has been a problem, a continuing problem. And it is one that I think deserved more attention in the Country Reports, it is one of my criticisms that it didn't get enough attention in this year's report.
Also, another problem is that there are people fleeing Iran who managed to get to Turkey and apply for religious asylum in the United States and are being denied it. There shouldn't be any question for people who are converts from Islam getting out of Iran to get asylum in the United States.
What we are seeing is that the Immigration offices are doing something that our clergy won't even do. They are trying to look into their hearts to see if they are really believers, even if they produce certain data or affidavits from their church. It is a tragedy.
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Mr. SMITH. And the daily practice is to exclude and not to include?
Ms. SHEA. That is correct.
Mr. SMITH. Does that comport with your understandings, too?
Mr. RICKARD. The situation in Iran in terms of the lack of religious tolerance is absolutely extreme, and it strikes me that in an odd way there is this very strange paradox that the U.S. Government's strong, strong focus in the external activities of the Government of Iran in some way seems to mask a full discussion and appreciation of the internal situation in Iran, which is truly horrible.
Mr. SMITH. Let me just ask on the Palestinian Authority, a report on the occupied territories emphasizes and includes a great amount of detail regarding abuses by Israeli security forces in the occupied territories, and while it notes some transgressions about the force by the Palestinian Authority, those comments are not as extensive, mitigated at least in toneand it goes to the heart of what you were speaking of earlier, Ms. Massiminoand the PA security forces are not always aware that lawyers have a right to see their clients, or that operating procedures and regulations and conduct of police in various services are not well developed.
We held a hearing on the Palestinian Authority, as you may know, and its alleged abuses, and heard that many of those who were whistleblowers, who spoke out against abuses were very, very quickly dealt with by Chairman Arafat, and he is one of those with whom we are having negotiations. He is not unlike, in a way, Milosevic, who was the pillar of the Dayton Accords. And as a matter of fact, I would just say parenthetically, to my shock to this day, there is still apparently no attempt being made to collect data on him for hisnot just complicity, but ordering of many of the things that occurred first in Croatia and then in Bosnia, as the President of Serbia. I mean, it was his war of aggression, and yet now he is seen as a peacemaker.
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But again, when we talk about these people they get kid gloves. What is your feeling about the reporting on the Palestinian Authority? Is it accurate? Is it strong enough? It is on the Israeli side, but is it on the Palestinian Authority?
Mr. RICKARD. Mr. Chairman, we would be happy to submit comments on that. I will tell you that we do share the concerns that you have expressed, that there have been instances in which the Administration has seemed to place a higher priority on moving forward with the peace process than in taking a strong stand on human rights abuses in Bosnia, in the Middle East. And we were particularly troubled by some rather embarrassing and positive statements that came out of the Administration praising the Palestinian Authority for having swiftly brought to trial people who were accused of being terrorists, when the trials were a total sham, and didn't begin to meet minimum standards. And Amnesty's position on this is that you cannot build a lasting peace process at the same time that you are encouraging new governing entities to disregard minimal internationally recognized standards. It is a false dichotomy, it is shortsighted, we need to be firm and consistent in insisting that internationally recognized standards be adhered to.
And I must say, President Clinton has made this point himself in the Bosnian context repeatedly, that the peace process will not survive unless there is accountability of the crimes that have been committed. I just would like to see action on that front.
Ms. MASSIMINO. I would completely agree with Steve's assessment, and just add that in some ways it is ironic, because it is precisely at this time when there needs to be strong guidance to the Palestinian authorities about the U.S. position on basic due process protections and the independence of the judiciary and the structures that we want to see in place in an ally, in a partner, which is what we hope will emerge from this peace process. If we don't foster that now, then we will not have standing to complain later.
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Mr. SMITH. Let me ask all of you to respond to an issue that I have raised previously and I have seen when I have traveled on human rights missions abroad. Very often there is maybe one person who spends half of his or her time doing human rights work in our embassy in a particular country. In Mexico, I believe we have one, I could be wrong on that, but I believe it is just one person in that entire country, and yet we have heard from the Human Rights Commission that it is getting worse there. There is very little followup because there is a lack of resources applied to it.
There is only one person in Bosnia and there is one in Beijing, my staff advises me.
I will never forget on a trip to China meeting with the people who were in power or in charge, if you will, with fulfilling the obligations of the Memorandum of Understanding with the PRC on gulag labor. You heard Secretary Shattuck testify earlier that we had one site visit in 1996 to a prison. I don't know if it is lack of interest, a lack of us being aggressive.
I have seen more aggressive proactive police units in very small towns in weeding out drugs in those towns, coordinating and being aggressive in their strategies, than in implementing that MOU, yet that is carried out every time we talk to business, that don't worry, this is an MOU in place, it is a good MOU, Memorandum of Understanding with China. We have no real access to those prisons, I don't know how hard we are pushing, maybe you might want to respond to that? But also generally do we have enough resources in the United States in a country working day in and day out, to try to make this a priority and to get to the heart of what is truly happening out there?
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Ms. SHEA. Yes, Mr. Chairman. It is absolutely not. I know that in the field of religion we could use a monitor in some of these countries just doing religious persecution, because the situation is so bad. When I was going through the Country Reports last night, and I do want to say that Ialthough these hearings are very timely, we had less than 24 hours to really digest the reports, so it is not comprehensivebut I did, in looking at some of the countries that I work with, notice that a lot of them seem to be based on reports that were from the outside, that came from the inside, went to the outside and bounced back to the U.S. Embassy person in charge of human rights monitoring in-country. So that they obviously don't have the time or capacity for onsite monitoring, or they don't have time for capacity for developing the networks that they need to do to get to collect all the facts.
I am glad that they are taking into account NGO reports that are coming from the outside, but in some countries there seems to be no original material at all.
Mr. RICKARD. Mr. Chairman, you have raised a very, very important issue, and I think it fits with a number of topics that have been raised today. One of the reasons that Amnesty was so troubled by the Administration's proposal to transfer excess helicopters to Mexico, was that the GAO made it absolutely clear that there was not adequate capability to monitor the use of those helicopters. And, in fact, since the time when it had been discovered that previous deliveries of helicopters had been misused, they had been taken down and used for military missions. The ability of the United States to monitor the helicopters had actually decreased because of cuts in the embassy's staff, which is why we oppose the transfer. Mexico was using its own helicopters to commit abuses, and there was a lack of the United States to monitor the new helicopters going down there.
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In Colombia we have a situation where the Congress has now said to the Administration, it violates U.S. law to provide U.S. counternarcotics assistance to any unit where there is credible evidence that members of that unit have committed gross human rights violations, unless you can show that the people responsible are being held accountable.
We have yet to receive from the Administration the first word about how they intend to implement that law. At the same time, they are going forward with the deliveries of excess defense articles for counternarcotics purposes despite the Leahy amendment.
So they definitely are going to need additional resources, because they have to compile that list, and Congress has said, you have to come forward with a list of pariah units that you will assure us will not receive U.S. counternarcotics assistance. So they are going to need additional resources.
A final point I would make is that because of the inability of U.S. officials or international human rights organizations to be everywhere, I want to strongly reinforce the message that Elisa made about the importance of indigenous human rights defenders working on the grounds of these countries. It goes back to my very opening point about how human rights reports are a testament to those heroes who are working on the ground, and simply to plant a seed to say that one of the things that we think would be very useful for Members of Congress to do to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration would be for each of the 50 State delegations in the Congress to each adopt a group of human rights defenders who are working on the ground.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In many cases, many, many of them are doing their work under death threats, many of them are being killed, and it would be an absolute Godsend if Members of Congress were to say, we are going to watch over, we are going to ask about, we are going to pester the State Department and others about what is going on with these people who are doing human rights work on the ground.
Mr. SMITH. That is a very, very good idea.
You know, my first introduction to monitors of human rights were Helsinki monitors in Czechoslovakia and some other countries, and you are right, they put their lives right on the line and they are the first ones that they cart off and torture, so that is a good idea.
Can any of you quantify how many additional personnel the State Department would need? You may want to think on this and get back to us for the record, to really make a difference?
You know, what do we have now and what do we need to really prioritize human rights and enhance our reporting and enforcement capabilities?
[The information appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Let me just ask one final question on Tibet. As I think many of you know, in Tibet a Fulbright scholar was recently arrested, and we all know the 7-year-old Panchen Lama is still missing. Is this another fruit of our Constructive Engagement Policy, this continued deterioration in Tibet, and what is the likelihood that things may improve in Tibet? Is it even in the dossiers of this administration? Has it raised the issue in a substantive way?
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Mr. RICKARD. I will just start and be brief. In looking at the Tibet section of the Human Rights Report, I was somewhat surprised by some of the background language which I did not feel really conveyed anywhere near the scope of what has descended upon the Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese Government. So it would seem to me there was a lack of context.
Second, Mr. Chairman, you raised the point earlier about our policy with China, whether or not we have really gotten anything out of it. I have to say I am stunned when I hear people in the Administration say things like, we are not going to let any one factor, we are not going to let human rights dominate our policy or distort our policy. It is so far away from that extreme that it is laughable to make that argument.
I would settle as a first step for the Administration just saying, we are going to take the Hippocratic oath. First, we will do no harm. We won't meet with the General, we won't take it lying down when our Assistant Secretary for Human Rights goes to China and while he is there they arrest prominent dissidents, and then our Secretary of State goes and while he is there they arrest a prominent dissident, and then have the President of the United States meet with the Defense Minister who conducted the massacres in Beijing on the eve of Human Rights Day.
Now, if the Administration is deaf to the symbolism there, sinologists tell me all the time that the Chinese are very thoughtful about these things and are looking to see if there is going to be a reaction when they rub our noses in these things. I mean, one just has to start by saying, we are not going to look the other way, we are going to raise these issues and do it forcefully.
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The cases you have raised in Tibet, Panchen Lama, a very serious issue, and the case of Namcong Choepel, also a very serious issue, and they are disturbing. One good thing I will say is that in my experience, Assistant Secretary Lord on Tibet has tended to be pretty forthright in terms of saying, we thought the Chinese would at least do this much and they haven't done anything. So again, like the reports, they have at least been pretty frank in terms of saying they are not getting anything.
Ms. SHEA. Mr. Chairman, I am glad you raise Tibet. It is an abominable situation, it is not getting any better, it is getting worse.
I would just like to say something about the advisory committee. There was a Tibetan representative on it and I am sure that the Tibetan issue will be raised by him and it will be raised by myself as well. It is my fervent hope that this committee does not become a debating society, that real review and reform of U.S. foreign policy can come out of it and benefit the Tibetans as well as the Christians inside of China.
Mr. SMITH. Do you expect that the Commission will make legislative recommendations as well as substantive policy?
Ms. SHEA. That is my aim, is that we will review the situation and come up with some ideas for the reforms, legislatively and through administrative measures, too.
Mr. SMITH. Do any of you have any further to add?
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Mr. RICKARD. If I could just make one more comment, because of the only time any one of the panel even suggested that there was any disagreement among us, and that is just to say about the Colombia report. If there is a disagreement there, it is only of the ''glass half full or half empty'' variety. I think we are really in agreement.
I noted in my written statement and welcome that the Administration did acknowledge some of the links, and as Holly noted, that is a breakthrough. But Human Rights Watch has written a devastating report documenting the links and Amnesty has been talking about the myth, that the paramilitary groups in Colombia are independent. If Human Rights Watch knows it and we know it, then the Administration knows it too, and so maybe that is why, from my point of view, this is only a good first step.
But the bottom line is that they need to be forthright in saying whether the military is doing it or the paramilitary has been directed by the military to do it, the overwhelming number of political killings in Colombia are a result of government policy.
Mr. SMITH. I want to thank all of you for your excellent and very insightful testimony in response to questions as well. But more importantly for the work that you do on behalf of human rights and the dedication that you have made of your lives. Without you and without some others like you, and there aren't many, the lives of those who are languishing in prisons or being tortured or being mistreated, there would be no hope. So I want to thank you for the good work you do.
I want to thank members of the Subcommittee who were here earlier for their participation, and the Administration, and would ask unanimous consent that a statement by Mr. Gilman be made a part of the record.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilman appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. And this hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]