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UN condemns three Latin nations for rights abuses

The UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions which point an accusing finger at Guatemala, El Salvador, and Chile, for grossly violating human rights. The US opposed all three condemnations.

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During debate preceding Friday's vote, other countries were criticized, including South Africa, the Soviet Union, Poland, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Turkey, to name a few. But only with regard to the three Latin American countries could any consensus emerge, reports Monitor UN contributor Louis Wiznitzer.

One reason is that the definition of human rights in the West does not generally coincide with that of third-world and communist nations.

''Western democracies emphasize the political rights of the individual, while many developing nations and communist nations stress his economic and social rights,'' says an African delegate.

One UN official says the UN ''has been and can be in the future more useful by discreetly negotiating the liberation of political prisoners in violator countries than by condemning publicly."

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