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Soviet Record Worsens

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The record of the Soviet Union with respect to emigration and family reunification “continued to worsen” during the six month period ending last April 30, according to the President’s 12th semiannual report to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe on Implementation of the Helsinki Final Act. It cited “the continuing deterioration of East-West relations” as the cause.

The report, submitted by the State Department to Rep. Dante Fascell (D. Fla.), chairman of the Congressional group which monitors compliance with the Helsinki accords, said that while freer travel policies were detected in Eastern Europe, the Soviet government denied its citizens that right. The report noted that the Soviet government is signatory to several international documents which assert the right of citizens to leave their countries.

Family reunification is the only officially recognized basis for emigration from the Soviet Union. The report found that Poland, Rumania and the USSR had the largest number of unresolved family reunification cases in the six month period reviewed. Other Eastern European countries covered by the report are Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic and Hungary.

The report stated: “The Soviet record in areas of emigration and family reunification continued to worsen during the review period … With the continuing deterioration of East-West relations, family reunification applicants from widely varying areas of the Soviet Union reportedly are being denied exit permits ‘because of the current state of relations between the U.S. and the USSR.”

The report noted that in 1979 Rumania established a system of voluntary registration with the Federation of Rumanian Jewish Communities for Rumanian Jews wishing to emigrate. But there was a backlog of approximately 300 individuals who registered over a year ago, the report found. Emigration to Israel in 1982 is somewhat lower than in 1980, the report observed. Other human rights aspects discussed in the report included religious contacts; dissemination of information; working conditions for journalists; bi-national marriage cases; and cooperation and exchange in the fields of culture and education.

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