U.S. Human Rights report sees positive trends worldwide

Washington, USA
February 25, 2000

Washington - The USA has determined in its annual Human Rights report that, worldwide, there is a positive trend. In its report published on Friday, the State Department sees a tendency towards democratization. A positive comment was made about Germany in that the number of attacks against foreigners in the past year has decreased again. However, there still continued to be dark spots on the world map, like Serbia, Iraq, Cuba and Sierra Leone.

In contrast to previous years, the attitude of the German authorities toward the Scientology Organization was not criticized, but merely recorded. For instance it was stated that the organization is not regarded as a church in Germany, but as a commercial business. In addition, it was noted that civil service applications in Bavaria include a mandatory, detailed questionnaire in which contain questions about connections to Scientology.

The State Department report noted that attacks against foreigners in Germany continued. However, the number of attacks in the first ten months of the past year decreased by 25 percent compared to the equivalent period in the year prior. Anti-semitic attacks had also decreased by 27 percent in the first nine months.

The U.S. State Department described the traffic in women and girls as a serious problem. It said that Germany was a transit as well as a end country for women who are forced to be prostitutes. At the same time, the U.S. State Department recorded several positive measures being taken by the German authorities against traffic in women. For instance women who testify against the traffickers have some hope that they will not be immediately deported.

According to the estimate made by the U.S. State Department, developments in Nigeria and Indonesia have contributed to the positive worldwide trend. Because of the political change, people in two of the world's most densely populated countries are living under democratic conditions.

On the negative side, the U.S. State Department commented on the "ethnic cleansing" of the Serbs in Kosovo. President Slobodan Milosevic's administration was said to have brutally employed military and police force against Albanians and other groups. The violent acts of the Indonesian military in East Timor was also sharply criticized.

The Cuban government was accused of routinely employing chicanery against regime opponents. It said that critical journalists and business experts were deliberately apprehended - often with the goal of forcing them into leaving the country.

The U.S. State Department accused the government of the People's Republic of China have having increased suppression of regime opponents. For instance, the Democratic Party was said to have practically been dissolved by the imprisonment of its leaders. The Chinese government was said to have used similarly harsh procedures on the Falun Gong meditation movement.

In its annual report, the U.S. State Department evaluates the human rights situation in nearly all countries in the world. dpa tm xx hf

German Scientology News