Sub-Commission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection
Agenda item 10
Unfortunately, he has not left India because he has been unable secure the necessary travel documents. In his absence, we urge all members, governments and non-governmental organizations to study this report -- a report conclusively showing the dire situation in Kashmir. We welcome the initiative of Mrs. Palley to secure discussions under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General to resolve the Kashmir dispute. We understand the representatives of the Kashmiri people and the government of Pakistan are ready participate in such discussions and we hope that India will join in as soon as possible so that necessary arrangements can be made. We urge the Sub-Commission to not let this historic opportunity to make a positive contribution to human rights pass it by.
International Educational Development has presented the situation of Japan's World War II war rape victims, forced labourers and allied POWs who remain uncompensated for prolonged arbitrary detention, rape, torture, slavery and other gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Another group of World War II victims also remains uncompensated -- the situation of Latin American Japanese. From 1942 - 1945 the United States seized 2264 men women and children of Japanese ancestry from 12 countries in Latin America of which 80% were Peruvian. They were shipped to detention centers in Panama and in several states of the United States.
Those interned in Panama were forced to perform hard labour. In 1943 and 1943, the United States and Japan carried out two prisoner exchanges, exchanging American POWs for Latin American Japanese civilians. The forced abduction, internment, treatment and exchanges of these persons constituted gross violations of humanitarian law at that time. The surviving Latin American Japanese were excluded in the program carried out by the United States to compensate American Japanese for their internment in camps and other related damages, and therefore suffer discrimination. We have documents provided by the Japanese Peruvian Oral History Project that fully describe these events. The Project seeks the support the Sub-Commission and interested non-governmental organizations. The 50th anniversary of the end of World War II is a fitting time to ensure that all parties to that conflict provide full apology, release of all information and provision of meaningful compensation for all civilian and POWs whose rights were violated.
IED has also worked cooperatively with the Centro Nicaraguense de Derechos Humanos. We bring to your attention the arbitrary detention of a Nicaraguan member of the National Assembly, Mrs. Leticia Herrera. Mrs. Herrera, traveling with a diplomatic passport was seized in Miami airport on July 24 while in transit from Caracas where she had attended a session of the Latin American parliament. She was arrested, interrogated, had her passport and personal effects taken and was not allowed to communicate with her family or with attorneys. The next day, she was held in a bathroom at Miami airport under heavy guard. In early evening, she was finally allowed to leave after the government of Nicaragua interceded. According to Mrs. Herrera, United States agent showed her a letter from the American Consulate in Managua indicating her opposition to the Somoza dictatorship, her political affiliation and the information that she had traveled to Cuba as a representative of her government was grounds to consider her a "terrorist".
IED maintains that Mrs. Herrera suffered from arbitrary detention and degrading treatment while in custody of the United States. Sadly, her case is not unique, either for government officials, nobel laureates, international scholars or just ordinary people who must transit through United States airports while en route to other destinations. While in some cases, such as that of Mrs. Herrera, people are finally allowed to continue planned travel, the United States has made a regular practice of seizing people having entry visas to Canada as political asylees and returning them to the place from which they fled rather than allowing them to continue to safety in Canada. We urge the Sub-Commission to condemn this practice.
IED also brings to the attention of the Sub-Commission the cases of Severino, Hermelindo and Sebastian Santiz Gomez in Morelia, Chiapas, whose bodies were found with evidence of torture on February 11, 1994. The Mexican authorities have not yet instituted adequate measures to carry out an impartial investigation into these deaths. IED currently has a nine member delegation in Mexico as international observers in the elections. We are aware of the political turmoil facing that country, not the least arising from the assassination of a leading presidential candidate. Even so, Mexico is obliged to have full facility to carry out full investigation all instances of alleged military and police wrongdoing.
IED is gravely disturbed by the practice of administrative detention in China. The Chinese Constitution refers to rights and duties of citizens, provisions of which protect people form administrative detention. Nonetheless, under unpublished regulations, Chinese authorities may detain people for "shelter and investigation." In theory, this detention is limited to three months, already a gross violation of human rights. In practice, this time limit is rarely observed, and there are confirmed cases of people detained for 10 years.
Chinese security forces also have the power to order individuals to undergo "Re-education through Labour" in labour camps for a maximum of 3 years. This sentence can be imposed without reference to the courts. Most recently, this June, implementing regulations of the 1993 National Security Law were issued giving the Chinese state security officials power to designate any organization as a "hostile organization". Members of these organizations are then subject to administrative detention. In light of the work done on administrative detention by the Sub- Commission, we ask that the Sub-Commission condemn these Chinese practices as violations of human rights.
In conclusion, we note with interest the outcome of elections in Sri Lanka and the designation of the winning party to form a new government. We also note that the winning party has indicated that it seeks unconditional talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, supported by spokespeople of the LTTE. We urge that such talks take place as soon as possible. However, we note that on Tuesday, the President of Sri Lanka reimposed the Emergency Regulations, severely curtailing the rights of all people in Sri Lanka. We urge the Sub-Commission to request that the government of Sri Lanka lift the Emergency Regulations in order to protect the rights of people and in order to establish a climate in which unconditional talks may take place.