Magazine article UN Chronicle

El Salvador

Magazine article UN Chronicle

El Salvador

Article excerpt

El Salvador

In 1980, the Assembly expressed deep concern at grave violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in El Salvador and asked the Commission on Human Rights to examine the situation. The Commission appointed Jose Antonio Pastor-Ridruejo as Special Representative to investigate the alleged violations.

The Special Representative submitted an interim report in 1981 and 1982 to the Assembly. A final report was given to the Commission in February 1983. The Commission decided to extend his mandate for another year and asked him to present a report on further developments in the situation to the 1983 Assembly.

The report on the situation of human rights in El Salvador (document A/38/503) states the Special Representative was in that country from 11 to 17 September. He found some measures adopted during the current year "worth mentioning', but states that "massive violations of human rights, particularly of the right to life, continue to occur'.

He interviewed the President, Foreign Minister and other public officials, as well as church authorities and heads of non-governmental organizations, diplomatic representatives of other countries and private Salvadoran citizens. He also had confidential talks with political prisoners in their detention cells and wounded guerrilla fighters in military hospitals.

In Mexico City, he talked with members of the left-wing opposition and representatives of non-governmental organizations. In Washington, D.C., he had talks with Richard Stone, Special Envoy of the President of the United States, and Henry Kissinger, President of the Bipartite Commission for Central America, as well as the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and others. He also consulted, in New York, with local representative of the opposition and he spoke with Karen Parker, author of a study on observance of the Geneva Conventions in the Salvadoran conflict.

In his report, he draws attention to efforts of the governmental Human Rights Committee and the implementation of an Amnesty and Rehabilitation of Citizens Act proclaimed by the Constituent Assembly. He cites a considerable gap between the declared intentions of the Salvadoran Government to improve the situation and its ability to achieve results, which he attributes to various political trends and views within the bodies exercising power.

The Special Representative concludes that violations involving attacks on the life, physical integrity, liberty and security of persons are largely attributable to members of the State apparatus and violent groups of the extreme right, but also to the guerrilla organizations, whereas the acts of sabotage against public and private property are mainly due to the guerrillas. …

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