Statement by Deputy
Press Secretary Popadiuk on United States Participation in International Human Rights Conferences
January 4, 1989
Reagan has authorized the U.S. delegation in Vienna to support, in
cooperation with like-minded allies, U.S. participation in an
agreed schedule of Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe follow-on conferences
dealing with human rights. The first conference will be in Paris in 1989, the second in Copenhagen in 1990, and the third
is scheduled for Moscow in 1991.
President decided to agree to this schedule, including the Moscow conference, as a means
of encouraging continuation of the significant progress in human rights that
has taken place in the Soviet Union over the past 3 years.
That progress has included the release of hundreds of political prisoners and
exit permission for many people long refused the right to emigrate. Emigration
rates from the Soviet Union are substantially higher. And jamming of the
Voice of America, Radio Liberty, and other Western broadcasts have ceased. New
laws respecting individual liberties have been promised to the world by
President Gorbachev in his recent speech to the United Nations.
new laws, the institutionalization of reform, are crucial; and the President
recognizes that there is much yet to be done in the Soviet Union before that nation
meets acceptable and universal human rights standards. We will make it clear to
that the lack of future and institutionalized progress or a reversal of
progress made to date will cause us to reconsider our decision to attend a Moscow conference in 1991. At
present, we believe that Western concurrence in principle in such a Moscow conference may be the
best way to encourage and support future improvement in Soviet human rights
performance. The Soviet Union now has a unique opportunity to take further
action to demonstrate its continuing and irreversible commitment to achieve
commonly accepted human rights standards.