In El Salvador, Rights Abuse Continues, Says UN Report

A UNITED Nations Observer Organization released a report Tuesday that says the human rights situation is improving in El Salvador, but that violations persist. It said overall conditions in El Salvador are markedly better since peace accords were signed last year, ending 12 years of civil war.

The report, spanning February, March, and April, identified at least six murders it said were political. Humanitarian and religious groups remain deeply concerned about a possible resurgence of the rightist death squads that killed tens of thousands in the 1980s, it added. The study said an increase in common crime also is contributing to rights violations problems. US officials' rosy view

United States Rep. Robert G. Torricelli (D) of New Jersey, citing a report by the Congressional Research Service, said administration officials in the early 1980s "clearly attributed more violence to guerrilla forces and less to the Salvadoran government than they knew to be the case."

The report compared administration testimony and reports during the Reagan and Bush administrations to findings of the 1993 UN Truth Commission report on abuses in El Salvador during the 1980-1992 civil war.

It said the administrations' reports were unlike the UN's, which blamed the Salvadoran armed forces and right-wing death squads for 85 percent of the political violence. "This report documents ... a clear pattern of administration deception with respect to human rights abuses," said Mr. Torricelli, a critic of US support for right-wing governments in El Salvador.

A report by the State Department last week said US officials also showed little inclination to learn the truth of the El Mozote massacre in December 1981. The Truth Commission found that members of a US-trained battalion killed more than 200 people in El Mozote, while the administration testified there was no evidence that a massacre had taken place.

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