Warsaw, 27 October 1998 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S. official says progress has been achieved during the last 10 years on implementation of human rights in Europe, but says fundamental freedoms are still being violated on the continent.
Ambassador Robert H. Frowick was speaking yesterday in Warsaw as head of the U.S. delegation to an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on human rights. The 15-day conference opened yesterday in the Polish capital.
Frowick said "OSCE participating states can take considerable satisfaction in overall progress achieved in helping to bring the blessings of liberty to millions of Europeans ... since the overcoming of the divisions of Europe (in 1989 and 1990)". He said "the OSCE played a major role in bringing about those changes by steadfastly pressing for compliance with the Helsinki Final Act."
Frowick was referring to the international agreement signed by all European states and the United States and Canada in Helsinki in 1975. The agreement imposed the obligation to respect human rights on all signatories.
But Frowick also said that a great deal still remains to be done to protect human rights. He said that "despite remarkable progress in some (OSCE) states, it must be noted that these guarantees of fundamental freedoms have been massively violated in other areas."
In particular, Frowick mentioned Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, where he said "policies of ethnic cleansing directed from Belgrade have included pervasive and even horrific violations of all these rights."
Frowick was formerly an OSCE representative in Bosnia.
Frowick said the OSCE should expand its work and cooperate "with other European and Euro-Atlantic institutions". And he also said military force may have to be applied to those who disregard the international community's condemnation of human rights abuses.
He said "in crisis situations" the OSCE will have to consider how it can improve "coordination with appropriate military authorities" such as the NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia.
Frowick said that, in his words: "All of us in (the) OSCE, Europeans and North Americans alike, must do better, above all, in exercising a will to confront those who blatantly violate our commonly agreed principles."