NEW YORK (Jul. 27)
The head of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry has asked Secretary of State James Baker for U.S. help in resolving the issue of long-term refuseniks.
Shoshana Cardin, chairwoman of the National Conference, wrote a letter to Baker citing Soviet failure to allow long-term refuseniks to emigrate.
Cardin wrote that the problem was still outstanding despite assurances given by the Soviet Union on Jan. 19. That was the date it signed the concluding document of the Vienna follow-up meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors implementation of Helsinki human rights accords.
Soviet willingness to live up to its CSCE commitments should be “a decisive factor in determining whether the United States will participate in the CSCE Human Dimensions Conference now scheduled for Moscow in September 1991,” Cardin wrote.
Specifically, she said, Soviet resolution of 600 refusenik cases since January has “regrettably” fallen far short of the Soviet Union’s obligation under the Vienna accords.
Of those 600, said Cardin, a full 25 percent of them have remained in refusal for over 10 years.
She cited the section of the Vienna document that says, “Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.”
The document specifies that participating states “will take the necessary steps to find solutions as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within six months.”
More than six months have passed since the Soviets put their signature to that accord, noted Cardin.