Magazine article UN Chronicle

Violence Continues, Dialog Urged

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Violence Continues, Dialog Urged

Article excerpt

The situation of "generalized civil violence" continued in El Salvador in 1984, says a report on the situation of human rights in that country prepared by Professor Jose Antonio Pastor Ridruejo, a Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1985/18).

The report was reviewed by the Commission during its 1985 annual session, held at Geneva from 4 February to 15 March.

There were serious violations of civil and political rights attributable to the State apparatus and armed paramilitary organizations, "presumably tolerated by, or connected with, that apparatus", the report stated. There was concern about the numbers of violations of the right to life through political murders of civilians that were not combat-related. However, according to all indications, the numbers of "these kinds of murders" as well as detentions and disappearances of individuals, had considerably declined compared to recent years, "undoubtedly" as a result of the adoption of a new government policy recommended by the Special Representative in his previous reports of greater prevention and control of the activities of the "death squads and specific State organs".

The Special Representative said he welcomed that policy and the subsequent development of events, although he felt obliged to point out the "inescapable" obligation of the authorities in El Salvador--legislative, executive and judicial--to adopt the necessary measures for the total eradication of violations of the fundamental right of human beings, namely, the right to life.

Professor Pastor Ridruejo said different branches of the opposition guerrilla forces had committed grave violations of such basic human rights as the right to life and liberty--through murders and abductions--although, according to most sources, they were fewer in number than the violations committed by the State apparatus and armed paramilitary organizations. The capacity of the Salvadorian judicial system to investigate violations of human rights committed in the country continued to be "patently inadequate".

Regarding violations of human rights committed during or as a result of the fighting between the Salvadorian regular army and the guerrilla forces, the report observed, there had been favourable developments during 1984, such as the exchange of persons captured in combat. However, other events were of grave concern to the Special Representative, in particular the persistence of bombings and other attacks by the Salvadorian armed forces, that had resulted in what was probably a high number of unnecessary deaths among the non-combatant civilian population. …

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