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Helsinki accords

August 22, 1985



The two excellent articles on human rights in Eastern Europe [``Little improvement in human-rights situation in Eastern Europe,'' July 30, and ``Human-rights policies in E. Europe: from Draconian to liberal,'' July 31] clearly reflect the violations of the Helsinki Final Act by most of the countries reported. However, although inexcusable, these violations take place in the non-free societies of the Soviet bloc. If the free world is to have any impact upon the Soviets to alter their oppressive practices, then it would have to address the issue within its own sphere and set its own house in order. There are several ``free world'' countries, some considered our closest of allies, whose human-rights record is as despicable as the Soviet bloc.

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Turkey is the perfect example where, according to the US Helsinki Watch Committee, there are 13,000-20,000 political prisoners -- many of them Kurds imprisoned for speaking their ethnic language and asserting their cultural identity vs. 1,000-10,000 in the Soviet Union, a country five times the population of Turkey. And let us not forget the five missing Americans taken prisoner by Turkey over 11 years ago. Dean C. Lomis Newark, Del.

I praise the recent US decision to use helicopters to expedite food delivery in Sudan. But as the Monitor's African Famine Update [Aug. 2] pointed out, available transportation is far short of delivering required amounts of food. I urge other concerned readers to write to President Reagan requesting that he take appropriate action. It seems unconscionable that 2 million people in Sudan face starvation while mountains of food sit idle at Port Sudan. We need to do all we can so this lifesaving food is quickly delivered to those who need it. Steve Alderson Tallahassee, Fla.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''