- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2002

Human rights abusers flex muscles in the U.N.

The maneuvers by countries with deplorable human rights records, such as China, Cuba and Sudan, to revoke human-rights nongovernmental organizations' (NGO's) U.N. accreditation symbolize the abusers' new offensive strategy ("Freedom House denies CIA, terror ties," Jan. 18). (The New York Times reported similar moves against France Liberts, a human rights group founded by the widow of President Franois Mitterrand.) Let's recall that last May the U.N. Commission on Human Rights voted off the United States (a founder of the body) and voted in Sudan in a move that proved that abusers have mustered enough votes that they can to flex their muscles.

If their bullying succeeds, it will undermine the advancement of international human rights and politicize NGOs, which may be cowered to toe the United Nations' "official line." Human rights NGOs educate about human rights violations around the world. They deserve our support.


VINCENT WEI-CHENG WANG

Associate professor of political science

University of Richmond

Richmond, Va.

Heartstopping shamelessness on fuel standards

In Betsy Hart's Jan. 24 Commentary column, "Sacrificing lives for auto fuel efficiency?" she compares the victims of the terrorist attacks to "Americans killed as a result of do-gooder lawmakers" mandating higher fuel-efficiency standards that penalize heavy vehicles that are "safer" in accidents. (Never mind the people killed or injured in cars unlucky enough to get hit by tanklike sport utility vehicles.) If environmentalists tried to capitalize on the attacks by comparing the victims' deaths to those caused by air pollution from gas guzzlers, conservative pundits like Miss Hart would question our patriotism, taste and good sense and rightfully so. Has she no shame?


BILL WALKER

Vice president, West Coast

Environmental Working Group

Oakland, Calif.

Census numbers need no translation

The latest Census Bureau figures revealing the enormous number of illegal immigrants in our country, almost 9 million, are alarming ("Census report finds illegals threat to U.S. security," Jan. 23). Though U.S.ENGLISH, the organization I chair, has long cautioned the U.S. government about its immigration policies, we were not aware of the magnitude of foreign nationals living here illegally.

Let me be clear: U.S.ENGLISH is pro-immigration. I myself emigrated to the United States from Chile and obtained my U.S. citizenship in 1970.

There are millions of immigrants like me who waited their turn, filled out all the paperwork and complied with the law to become part of America. Failing to follow up on newcomers to determine their visa status sends the message that you can come to America illegally and face no consequences. It encourages more, not less illegal immigration and punishes those who obey our immigration laws.

We believe current government immigration policies have been reckless, irresponsible and self-serving. Current Census numbers should serve as a wake-up call to the highest level of our government.

It's time we address the needs of our legal immigrants to help them assimilate and realize the American dream. Census data continue to show that their needs are largely unmet. The high school dropout numbers for immigrants are devastating, and many adults are consigned to a low-wage ghetto because they have not learned elementary work-force survival skills, such as the ability to speak our common language, English.


MAURO E. MUJICA

Chairman and chief executive officer

U.S.ENGLISH

Washington

European hands off Cyprus negotiations

In exploiting a decision of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Turkey's role in Cyprus, Greek-Cypriot Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis deliberately omits the fact that the Greek-Cypriot administration has been found guilty of human rights violations against the Turkish Cypriots, which hardly qualifies it as a legitimate complainant ("No 'reward' for Turkey," Letters, Jan. 24). (Erkan Egmez vs. Cyprus and Denizci and others vs. Cyprus are two such cases).

He who comes to justice must come with clean hands, whereas the track record of the Greek-Cypriot administration shows that what it practiced against the Turkish Cypriots between 1963 to 1974 was nothing short of officially sponsored terrorism. However, conventional wisdom tells us that political disputes such as that of Cyprus cannot be solved in courts or by international organizations or platforms of propaganda. Rather, they must be solved at the negotiating table. Because the two leaders in Cyprus, after a hiatus of more than four years, finally have come together in direct dialogue, let us give them a chance.

Mrs. Kozakou-Marcoullis' pretense that she speaks for the whole of Cyprus is the ultimate offense to the Turkish-Cypriot people, who have struggled for the past four decades for their freedom, dignity and very existence as one of the two distinct, equal peoples of the island. It also points to the root cause of the Cyprus conflict, which is the Greek-Cypriot claim to be the sole owner and legitimate government for the entire island and, in that capacity, lay claim to the whole country. For the Turkish Cypriots, the struggle always has been to defend their existence, equal rights and status in the binational body politic of Cyprus. The insinuation that the "27-year-old illegal occupation" of Cyprus is the source of the conflict is designed to mislead the American public by distorting historical facts. To refresh memories, a U.N. peacekeeping force has been on the island since 1964, soon after the first Greek-Cypriot armed onslaught on the Turkish-Cypriot population of the island in December 1963 aimed at union with Greece.

As for membership of Cyprus in the European Union, the Turkish Cypriots are not against membership per se, but first the Cyprus dispute must be settled and the sacrosanct Greco-Turkish balance over the island must be maintained. Until such a time comes, the European Union should stop interfering with the issue in favor of the Greek Cypriots and Greece, which is a member of the European club, at the expense of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, who are not.


OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

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