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Question 4. How many former national guardsmen have been executed inside Nicaragua?
Answer. The Minister of Interior admitted in a press conference on November 14 that many abuses had been committed in Nicaragua since the new government assumed power. He said that many elements which the FSLN cannot yet control have taken advantage of disorder in the country to abuse prisoners, that many Nicaraguans had been unjustly imprisoned and there had been some deaths. Specifically, he mentioned the case of National Guard Colonel Fonseca who was killed at Puerto Cabeza despite the government's intention to prevent such occurrences. The Minister promised that as the Sandinista police and army get better organized they will combat such abuses.
Earlier, on October 11, the private Nicaraguan Permanent Human Rights Commission charged that the Nicaraguan Government was holding 7,000 prisoners and that over 22 persons had been executed and another 304 listed as missing.
Question 5. Have any Nicaraguan nationals living outside of Nicaragua been executed by Sandinista “death squads?”
Answer. The only specific allegation concerns the case of former "Commander Bravo” (Emilio Salazar), who was reported to have been killed in Honduras by Sandinista elements. The Nicaraguan Government has denied involvement but acknowledged that Bravo
was considered an enemy of the state. Question 6. How many Cuban “educators" are presently in Nicaragua? Answer. Reportedly, some 1,200 Cuban teachers are programmed to go to Nicaragua to participate in the secondary education program. There are credible reports of other Cuban advisors and/or technicians now in Nicaragua which would add to the above figure, but the Department does not have a total.
Question 7. I am told that peasants near Matagalpa resisted the Cuban influence. If so, how many Nicaraguans and Cubans were killed?
Answer. We have no information on resistance to Cuban influence in Matagalpa by inhabitants of the region and, therefore, cannot comment in a factual manner in this charge.
Question 8. How many Cuban doctors are in Nicaragua? Is it true that a number of Cuban doctors sought and received asylum at several Latin American embassies? Were any turned away from the United States Embassy?
Answer. Cuban medical teams began entering Nicaragua shortly after the FSLN victory and there may now be roughly 200 such personnel in the country. To our knowledge no one from these teams has sought asylum in Nicaragua with a foreign or the U.S. Embassy.
Question 9. Does fighting continue in Managua? Why? Who are the participants? Are captives from the Model Facility being systematically executed? Where are and how are the bodies being concealed?
Answer. Skirmishes reportedly do continue to occur in Managua, usually during the night. There are charges by Nicaraguan authorities that former National Guardsmen, engaging in what are described as “counter-revolutionary activities”, are responsible. There are also charges that elements of the Sandinista movement not under control of the government may be responsible for some of the incidents.
As mentioned in question 4, the government has admitted abuse of some pris. oners and some deaths, but would categorically deny systematic execution of prisoners at Tipitapa. The question of prisoners is a sensitive subject for the Nicaraguan Government which has made several public efforts to show the prison to outsiders in order to reveal more completely the actual situation. The InterAmerican Human Rights Commission has been invited to visit (probably in early 1980), and hopefully will provide another objective source of information on the prisoner situation.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights will review the human rights situation in Nicaragua at its 1980 session. A sub-body of the Commission has invited the Nicaraguan Government to provide information on human rights violations not only “in the recent past” but on “measures" being taken “to prevent such violations from recurring in the future.”
Question 10. Explain the clashes between Sandinista Nicaraguan troops with the Hondurans inside Honduras. How many times have the Sandinista forces entered Honduran territory?
Answer. There have been reports of a number of border incidents involving Honduras and Nicaragua, most recently involving charges by Nicaragua that Honduran flights have violated Nicaraguan airspace. Also at issue are allegations that former National Guard elements enter Nicaragua from havens in Honduras, and the Honduran Government does not effectively interdict such activity. A specific example of the localized nature of the border problem occurred on October
16 when FSLN troops crossed the Honduran border touching off a shooting incident in which one Sandinista died. The Nicaraguan Government explained that troops who were in hot pursuit of "Somocistas” accidentally crossed the border. The Nicaraguan Government, in effect, apologized by stating that good relations were desired with Honduras and expressing hope that the incident would not impede these relations. These and other examples of strain have resulted in high level efforts between the two governments to reach an accord in order that normal relations not be seriously jeopardized.
Question 11. Have the Sandinistas supplied arms to the Marxist terrorists in El Salvador?
Answer. Undoubtedly there was contact between the extreme left in El Salvador and the Sandinistas during the effort to topple Somoza. Conceivably, these contacts have been maintained and El Salvadoran terrorists may have had some access to training while serving as volunteers in the Nicaraguan conflict, We are unable to confirm this. The Nicaraguan Government publicly denies that it is assisting revolutionary movements elsewhere in Central America.
Question 12. How often are military supplies arriving from Cuba in Managua? Answer. We have no specific information on this subject.
Question 13. Why is the Sandinista government changing the Nicaraguan monetary system and have they forced Nicaraguan workers to deposit practically all of their earnings in government banks with no right of withdrawal for at least six months? Why have all 50 and 100 cordoba notes been forced from circulation with no compensation to the workers?
Answer. It is our understanding that a proposal to withdraw cordoba notes from circulation and require deposits in the banking system was put forward soon after the overthrow of Somoza, but because of worker objections haş not been put into effect.
Senator PELL. I thank you all for being here this morning
Is Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of Members of Congress for Peace Through Law; here?
Senator Pell. Since the Congressman is not present, we will try to schedule his appearance for another day in this series of hearings.
Now. I would like to take off, or at least put aside, my chairman's hat and appear before this committee for a few minutes as a witness in my capacity as Cochairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, more commonly known as the Helsinki Commission.
Our Chairman, Congressman Dante Fascell, was unable to be here this morning. In his absence, I am pleased to represent the views of the Commission on this important matter.
In this regard I will ask that my statement be inserted in full into the record, and I will comment briefly on this matter.
As many of you know, the Helsinki Commission was created in 1976 and charged with monitoring and encouraging compliance with the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe that was signed in 1975 in Helsinki, Finland.
The Commission always has expressed the view that other Helsinki signatories will better understand the depth of our concern for the full realization of the Helsinki pledges if we demonstrate that we are working hard at home to fulfill our side of the bargain.
U.S. efforts to foster compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords are seriously hampered by our failure to ratify the covenants which are before us. For this reason, we hope that they will be ratified by the time we have our next CSCE review meeting, to be held in Madrid in November 1980.
I would ask that my statement appear at this point in the record. (Senator Pell's prepared statement follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT or Hon. CLAIBORNE PELL, COCHAIRMAN OF
COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE I would now like to take off-or at least put aside-my chairman's hat and become a witness for a few minutes, in my capacity as Cochairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, commonly known as the Helsinki Commission. Our Chairman, Representative Dante Fascell, was unable to be here this morning d, in his absence, I am pleased to represent the views of the Commission on this important matter.
As many of you know, the Helsinki Commission was created in 1976 and charged with monitoring and encouraging compliance with the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe that was signed in 1975 in Helsinki, Finland, The Commission consists of six Senators, six members of the House, and thrée executive branch officials, one of whom--Assistant Secretary of State Patt Derian-80 eloquently addressed the committee earlier this morning. Since its inception, the Commission has taken seriously its mandate to promote improved implementation of the provisions of the Helsinki agreement by all 35 signatory countries, including the United States.
The Commission has always expressed the view that the other Helsinki signatories will better understand the depth of our concern for the full realization of the Helsinki pledges if we demonstrate that we are working hard at home to fulfill our side of the bargain. In this regard, one of the Commission's first recommendations was that the United States sign and ratify the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Optional Protocol. Such action, the Commission said in a report issued in August of 1977, would substantially enhance the U.S. record of compliance with the Helsinki Final Act. The Commission reiterated this view. point in our recently-released comprehensive report on U.S. complianee with the IIelsinki agreement, entitled: “Fulfilling Our Promises—The United States and the Helsinki Final Act.” In that report, the Commission stated that:
“* * * ratification of the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Optional Protocol should be given the highest priority by both the Administration and the Congress. The Commission also believes that a minimum number of reservations, consistent with the U.S. Constitution, should be attached.
The Commission strongly urges the Administration to encourage the Senate to ratify the Covenants. The Commission recommends that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee report favorably on the Covenants so they may be brought before the full Senate during the 96th Congress. The Commission further recommends that the Senate ratify the Covenants and that the President sign the Optional Protocol and submit it to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification * * *
I ask unanimous consent that the full text of the section of the Commission's report on domestic compliance that deals with this issue be included in the record of this hearing.
The reference to the Covenants in the Final Act is contained in the last paragraph of Principle VII in which the signatory countries plerige to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The CSCE nations, in addition to agreeing to "act in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" also reaffirmed their commitment to "fulfill their obligations in this field, including inter alia the International Covenants on Iluman Rights by which they may be bound.” Another less direct reference to the Covenants-as well as to other human rights treaties--is contained in Principle X which commits the signatories to fulfill their existing obligations under international law. Although the Helsinki Final Act does not directly call upon signatory governments to become parties to the Covenants, failure to adhere to those Covenants would clearly be contrary to the spirit of the Final Act.
One of the major aims of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was—and remains—the achievement of governmental respect for fundamental human freedoms and the acknowledgement that human rights are an important element of peaceful, cooperative behavior between the 35 Helsinki nations. While the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights made the subject of civil liberties a matter of international concern long before the Helsinki accord, the Final Act gave questions of a state's conduct toward its own citizens a fresh prominence and new status. By adopting a pledge of respect for human rights, the signatories made their compliance with that promise as relevant a measure of their standing in the community of nations as their respect for their neighbor's frontiers or their willingness to settle disputes peacefully. Thanks to Principle VII of the Helsinki Final Act, buman rights became a legitimate item on the East-West agenda.
However, if the aims of the Helsinki Final Act are to be realized, the development of an international legal framework for the achievement and protection of human rights is essential. The International Covenants on Human Rights-by corifying into international law the principles of the Universal Declarationestablish the foundation for that framework. The Covenants bolster and reinforce, in treaty form, the human rights objectives of the Final Act, which although politically significant, is not legally binding.
United States' efforts to foster compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki accord are seriously hampered by our failure to ratify the Covenants. Our sincerity and credibility are impaired by the fact that while we protest, violations of human rights by others, we refuse to hold ourselves to the same legallybinding standards. In fact, nearly all the eligible llelsinki signatories are parties to the Covenants. Lack of ratification has subjected the U.S. to considerable criticism from the East at such fora as the CSCE follow-up conference at Belgrade. As we approach the next CSCE review meeting—to be held in Madrid in November of 1960 Senate ratification of the International Covenants on Human Rights becomes vital if we are to pursue effectively a strong, outspoken human rights policy. American ability to promote credible respect for human rights in the CSCE context is linked to our willingness to adhere to the same code of conduct we expect--and the Covenants demand-of others. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take prompt action to ratify the foremost human rights documents in the world before the Madrid meeting. Our readiness to wipe out this blot on our own human rights record will significantly enhance our ability to pat pressure on the Soviets and East Europeans to correct their deficiencies.
The following is excerpted from the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe's November 1979 report on U.S. compliance with the Helsinki. Final Act, entitled "Fulfilling Our Promises: The United States and the Helsinki Final ActA Status Report”.
INTERNATIONAL COVENANTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS
One of the major criticisms of the United States' human rights record, voiced both by other CSCE countries and private domestic organizations, is the nation's failure to ratify the International Covenants on Human Rights. The covenants, which were signed by President Carter and are now before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, were adupted by the United Nations in 1966 and brought into force in 1976. They codify--in treaty form-universally accepted standards for the achievement and protection of human rights and legally commit ratifying states to adhere to those standards. Although American failure to ratify the Covenants is not a violation of the specific language of the Helsinki Final Act, it is clearly contrary to the spirit of the document. Furthermore, this failure excludes the U.S. from participating in other international human rights structures only open to those states which have ratified the Covenants. The sincerity and credibility of the United States in the field of human rights are seriously impaired by the fact that we have not yet ratified the Covenants.
The reference to the Covenants in the Final Act is contained in the last paragraph of Principle VII. The CSCE states, in addition to pledging themselves to "act in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the Universal Declaration of Iluman Rights" also reaffirmed their commitment to "fulfill their obligations as set forth in the international declarations and agi eements in this field, including inter alia the International Covenants on Human Rights, hy which they may be bound." Indirect reference to the Covenants is made in Principle X which commits participating states to fulfill in good faith their existing obligations under international law. Clearly then, the Final Act does not oblige any country to become a party to any international agreement, but rather to fulfill those international obligations it has already undertaken. Background
Promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all was included in the Charter of the United Nations' statement of basic purposes. In the early days of the United Nations, the Economic and Social Council and its Commissions on Human Rights decided that an international document on human rights should be drafted and that it should consist of a declaration of general principles, having moral force; a separate covenant legally binding on those states ratifying it; and measures of implementation.
Within a relatively short time, the Commission drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an historic document that set the standards for the achievement and protection of human rights in the post-war world. The Declaration is an
internationally endorsed statement of principles and an authoritative guide to the interpretation of the U.N. Charter. Although the Declaration does not have the force of law, it has had some legal impact in that it has inspired human rights elauses in national constitutions and international conventions on specific rights since its adoption by the General Assembly in December of 1948.
Having proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the U.N. turned to transforming those principles into treaty provisions which establish legal obligations on the part of each ratifying state. Eventually, it was decided that two covenants were needed: one dealing with civil and political rights; the other with economic, social and cultural rights. The prevailing view was that separate covenants should be adopted because civil and political rights could be secured immediately whereas adequate economic, social and cultural rights could only be achieved progressively, according to each pation's available resources. Vi
It took 18 years before a majority of the U.N. members agreed op the working of the documents. In December of 1966, the General Assembly adopted the International Covenants on Human Rights. Another decade passsed before they were ratified by the required 35 states necessary to bring them into force The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights entered into force in January of 1976 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights became effective in March of the same year. To date, 62 nations have ratified the economic, social and cultural treaty, while there are 60 parties to the Covenant on Civil ánd Political Rights.
While the Universal Declaration is essentially a global bill of rights which proclaims and affirms certain "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human
;"! the Covenants legally commit each nation to guarantee those rights to their citizens while establishing a minimum standard of governmental conduct. 11
The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights assures the right of citizens to employment, safe working conditions, social security, education, health care, participation in trade unions, cultural life, scientific research and creative activity, and commits governments to guarantee the progressive realization of these rights.
Under the Civil and Political Covenant, state parties are obligated to ensure that the individyals within their jurisdiction enjoy a number of rights, including the right to life, liberty, security of person, equality before the courts, presumption of innocence when charged with a crime, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, assembly, expression, association, movement and residence, and the right to participate in voting and public affairs. The treaty also prohibits torture, slavery and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights further provides for the establishment of a Human Rights Committee which may receive and consider communications from one state party alleging that another state party is violating the provisions of the Covenant. Furthermore, under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which 23 countries have ratified, the Committee may also receive and consider communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violations. The Committee is also empowered to review and comment on reports required from each ratifying nation which detail that nation's implementation record. Although far from a fool-proof enforcement mechanism, the Committee provides an increasingly important international forum to focus attention on the problems of human rights violations. U.S. Attitude Touard Covenants
The United States voted for both of the Covenants at the United Nations in 1966 but, at the time, expi essed concern that they “do not go far enough in protecting the rights of all individuals." Up until a few years ago, the official American position was that the Covenants do more harm than good since they provide a dangerous legal basis for the restriction of human rights. This position was based on the fact that the rights enumerated in the Covenants are not absolute: there are clauses which permit a ratifying state to limit the rights and freedoms of individuals within their jurisdiction. However, restrictions may not be imposed arbitrarily, but only insofar as they are necessary to protect “public safety, order
, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.". Additionally, limitations on these rights must be prescribed by domestic law. The Covenants also specifically prohibit interpreting any language in the treaties ais justification for the denial or further limitation of individual rights. Many Western countries, apparently regarding international recognition of human rights in a legally binding document as outweighing the potential risks of abuse presented by these clauses, have become parties to the Covenants. These include the CSCE signatory states of Canada, Denmark, West Germany and Great Britain.