Eastern Europe's Human Rights Record
PARIS — RESPECT for human rights varies in Eastern Europe. Hungary has the best record, and Romania the worst, according to the International Helsinki Watch Group in Vienna: Bulgaria. The 15 human rights activists jailed on Jan. 11 have been released, but three remain under house arrest. Others are subject to police harassment and threat of expulsion.
A large Turkish minority faces continued harassment and pressure to take Bulgarian names. Amnesty International in London reports that large numbers remain in prison.
Czechoslovakia. In addition to the mass arrests after last week's peaceful demonstrations, former Foreign Minister Jiri Hayek was refused an exit visa to travel to West Germany.
Vatican relations have soured because of repression against the Roman Catholic Church.
``It looks like the authorities are trying to shut themselves off from the world,'' Helsinki concludes.
East Germany. Activists arrested in Leipzig on Jan. 15 have been released. An estimated 1,000 political prisoners reportedly want to emigrate.
A new, still restrictive, travel law was decreed last month.
``We're very skeptical,'' a Helsinki official comments. ``Every provision promising freedom has an escape clause.''
Poland. ``No serious problems,'' Helsinki judges.
There is relatively free travel, but the government still reserves the right to deny passports on political grounds.
Romania. ``A disaster,'' Helsinki says.
Nicolae Ceausescu's regime persecutes the country's large Hungarian and German minorities. Strict limits are placed on religious freedom. Plans have been announced to ``modernize'' agricultural production by bulldozing rural villages.