WASHINGTON (Apr. 27)
A leading expert on Soviet policy accused the Soviet government of “systematically violating” the humanitarian provisions of the Helsinki Accords.
Testifying last week before the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Dr. William Korey, director of international research for B’nai B’rith, said the Helsinki pact obligates its signatories–including the Soviet Union–to “expedite in a positive and humanitarian manner the handling of applications for reunion of families.”
Korey testified that the Gorbachev regime’s apparent public acceptance of the basic thesis of the Helsinki Accords–the linkage between human rights and security matters–differs markedly and alarmingly from Soviet government actions.
He pointed out that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told the recent Communist Party congress that “resolution in a humane and positive spirit of questions related to the reuniting of families, marriage and the promotion of contracts between people and organizations is a fundamental principle of an all-embracing system of international security.”
Nonetheless, Korey said the Soviet government has consistently harassed, imprisoned, and abused Soviet Jews wishing to leave the country to be reunited with family abroad. According to Korey:
“By 1984 the number of Soviet Jews permitted to leave was less than 1,000. Contrast this amount with the 51,000 who emigrated in 1979. Soviet authorities contend the bulk of Jewry who had wished to leave have done so. The facts are otherwise. More than 380,000 Soviet Jews have applied for emigration visas. At least 11,000 other Soviet Jews have been refused permission to leave.”
CITES EXCRUCIATING PLIGHT OF REFUSENIKS
Korey testified that the plight of the refusenik is particularly excruciating. “Someone who wishes to leave is often faced with a loss of his job, deprivation of academic standing, vilification and social ostracism, imprisonment, and physical attack.
“This harassment,” said Korey, “stand in stark and glaring contrast to obligations under the Helsinki Accords assumed by the signatories. The Soviet government seems to have ignored a crucial provision of the accords which specifies that the rights of applicants for exit visas are not to be modified.”