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Report on human rights falls short in several countries

January 30, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Human rights conditions worsened in several countries last year, including China, Nigeria, Cuba and Myanmar, according to a Clinton Administration report, The New York Times reported Thursday.

A general assessment of Russia’s record was mixed, according to the report, which the Times said was to be released Thursday. That was because the relatively free Russian presidential elections and the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya were offset by discrimination against minorities, uneven legal reforms, hazing of military recruits and a worsening of already harsh prison conditions, the report said.

Meanwhile, Belarus was noted as ``seriously backsliding″ toward dictatorship, while the democracy in Armenia was ``set back by flawed elections.″

Despite China’s trade and commerce with the United States and other countries, it continues its documented abuses of human rights, and while Myanmar formally ended the house arrest of a pro-democracy leader, it still violated human rights, the document said.

In Nigeria, the military council arrested or killed opponents and tortured suspects and legislators, the report said.

Cuba, meanwhile, was called ``a totalitarian anachronism,″ where human rights deteriorated in 1996.

Officials say the human rights reports are gaining importance in American policy decisions and that human rights is a formal criterion for imposing trade sanctions, selling arms and providing aid.

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