The human rights picture in communist-ruled Eastern Europe ranges...


WASHINGTON -- The human rights picture in communist-ruled Eastern Europe ranges from dismal in isolated Albania to encouraging in multinational Yugoslavia.

A brief summary of the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 1982 shows:


-Albania. The Marxist-Leninist government of this tiny Balkan nation of 2.8 million people, that has remained aloof from Moscow, Peking and the West, maintains 'rigid, pervasive control over nearly all aspects of life, severely restricting the exercise of political and civil rights. ... There continue to be reports of serious human rights violations (with) arbitary arrest and imprisonment for political deviation.

-Bulgaria. The goverment exercises 'almost total control,' and genuine political freedom does not exist. Western broadcasts are jammed. Travel to the West is severely limited, restricted as regards Eastern European countries.

-Czechoslovakia. The government imposes severe restrictions on basic civil and political freedoms and punishes overt opposition to Communist Party laws and guidelines in any field, including the arts. The government suppresses Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted, the best known human rights activist groups, with arrests, harassment and forced emigration and exile. 'The outlook for improvement in the realm of human rights in Czechoslovakia appears poor.'


-East Germany. Although East Germans have access to West German television and radio and millions of West Germans visit the East annually, the Communist government 'exercises extremely tight control over its citizens.' The presence of some 400,000 Soviet troops has led to 'almost total subservience to Soviet foreign policy and security interests.' The Berlin Wall is still there and guards shoot to kill those who try to pass from East to West without authority.

-Hungary. The Moscow-supported Hungarian government and party maintains a thorough monopoly on political power. 'Although a number of citizens' rights are prescribed by the constitition, in practice the exercise of such rights is determined and controlled by the Communist Party.' Some 60,000 Soviet soldiers still are stationed in Hungary, and dissident activity remains largely confined to several hundred intellectuals who live primarily in Budapest.

-Poland. Military rule 'has become a facade for the exercise of power by Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and a small group of close associates' and Solidarity, the free trade movement, has been crushed. But 'the martial law regime has so far been unable to realize Jaruzelski's pledges to restore the Communist Party's leading role. The party remains ... divided, disorganized and ineffectual.' The regime suppresses human rights groups and there are 'increasing reports from credible sources that large numbers of prisoners have suffered beatings and other forms of deliberate mistreatment.' The number of people wounded in police actions since the start of martial law probably is in the thousands. Arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, warrantless searches of homes and severe restrictions on travel within Poland continue. But there still is more tolerance of religion than in any other Warsaw Pact country.


-Romania. The Communist Party 'directs every significant aspect of life in the country' and does not tolerate political dissent and deviation. The government uses 'intimidation and, to a lesser extent, physical pressure to discourage such activities.' Romanians, convinced of the 'omnipotence, capriciousness, and relentlessness of the government's extensive security apparatus,' resort to private intrigues or apathy.

-Yugoslavia. Post-Tito Yugoslavia 'continues its gradual progress toward a more open and pluralistic society,' although Amnesty International reports an increase in political trials. There was 'some significant change in the human rights situation in 1982.' The media are more open. There is more public criticism of the leadership and its policies, greater decentralization of political decision-making, fewer political prisoners. The vast majority of Yugoslavs may travel abroad and emigrate. A pocket of unrest in Kosovo resurrects Serbian-Albanian animosities, however, and 'presents a geographically limited but significant challenge to the government.'

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