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Fwd: Text of Human Rights Report

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>From:	AOLNewsProfiles@xxxxxxx
Date: 97-01-30 18:56:44 EST

<HTML><PRE><I>.c The Associated Press</I></PRE></HTML>
      Major conclusions of the U.S. State Department's annual human
rights report:
      Although Rwandan military killed hundreds of civilians during
1996, the country as a whole ``took a major step toward national
reconciliation'' with the return of masses of Hutu refugees. In
Burundi, serious human rights abuses continued under
Tutsi-dominated security forces, such as numerous extrajudicial
killings. Elsewhere, the situation in Sudan ``remained extremely
poor, as both the government and insurgents committed serious human
rights abuses.''
      Serbian authorities committed ``extensive and systematic'' human
rights violations, including murder, torture, rigging of elections.
Bosnia and Croatia -- two other states of the former Yugoslavia --
had ``widespread abuses of citizens on an ethnic basis.'' Some
improvements were noted in both nations during the past year, an
assessment that was not made for Serbia. Ethnically motivated
murders and lootings continued, although ``far fewer in number than
in 1995.''
      Authorities stepped up systematic repression of human rights
despite formally ending the house arrest of the nation's leading
pro-democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi.
      The country's security apparatus has silenced all public dissent
against the Communist Party and government ``by intimidation, exile
or the imposition of prison terms, administrative detention or
house arrest.'' The Chinese government ``continued to commit
widespread and well-documented human rights abuses ... stemming
from the authorities' intolerance of dissent, fear of unrest and
the continuing absence of laws protecting basic freedoms.''
      The communist country ``remains a totalitarian anachronism,
where human rights deteriorated in 1996 and suppression of dissent
worsened.'' Cuba's Interior Ministry ``maintains a pervasive system
of vigilance through undercover agents, informers, the Rapid
Response Brigades and the Committees for the Defense of the
Revolution.'' Human rights conditions worsened with a ``large-scale
crackdown'' against a prodemocracy umbrella group and increased
reports of deaths due to the excessive use of force by police.
      Businesses whose owners or executives are Scientologists may
face government-approved discrimination and boycotts, including
expulsion from the government's political party and loss of
employment. The document noted that Germany's parliament formed a
special commission to investigate the church's activities, and the
ruling Christian Democratic Union urged authorities to place it
under police surveillance.
      Setbacks in the Middle East peace process and the hunt for
terrorists resulted in human rights abuses by both Israeli and
Palestinian authorities. Elsewhere, Iraq's government continues to
exercise ``absolute dictatorial authority.'' Saudi Arabia, Iran,
Syria and Libya commit serious human rights abuses. Israeli and
Palestinian police and military authorities arrested or detained
about 1,000 Palestinians each in the wake of several suicide
bombing attacks. Some suspects were tortured, and several died in
custody. ``Terrorist acts had a deeply chilling effect on both
diplomacy and human rights observance. In some countries, such as
Egypt ..., campaigns against extremists have resulted in abuses,
including torture.''
      The military government's human rights performance ``remains
dismal.'' The government of Gen. Sani Abacha ``regularly relied on
arbitrary detention, arrests and wide-scale harassment to silence
its many critics.'' ``Security forces committed extrajudicial
killings, tortured and beat suspects and detainees; prison
conditions remained life-threatening; and security officials
continued routinely to harass human rights and democracy activists,
labor leaders, environmentalists and journalists.''
      On the one hand, free elections were held for a president and a
parliament. On the other, prison conditions worsened, and lengthy
pretrial detention continued. ``Violent hazing of military
conscripts sparked new protests. Journalists throughout Russia
covering controversial issues were subjected to pressure, physical
violence and even death, while the government appeared unresponsive
to requests for investigation of these cases. Discrimination
against minorities remains a problem, and discrimination against
women in some sectors has intensified in recent years.'' A
``genuine bright spot'' -- the withdrawal of Russian forces from
Chechnya, where a conflict claimed tens of thousands of lives.
      The country's human rights record was ``uneven'' and
``deteriorated in some respects.'' Widespread cases were reported
of torture by security forces, deaths during detention and other
killings in which the assailants remain unknown. It called
attention to a ``growing recognition in the government, parliament,
the media ... and the public at large that the country's human
rights performance is inadequate and needs to be brought in line.''
      AP-NY-01-30-97 1634EST
      <HTML><PRE><I>Copyright 1997 The Associated Press.  The information 
contained in the AP news report may not be published, 
broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without 
prior written authority of The Associated Press.</I></PRE></HTML>

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