U.S. role in human rights conferenceIn Vienna this June...

the Forum

April 27, 1993

U.S. role in human rights conference

In Vienna this June, the United Nations will host the World Conference on Human Rights, its first such international conference in 25 years.

U.N. member states will be represented at discussions of many topics important to the protection of human rights around the world.

Amnesty International U.S.A. is calling on the U.S. government to send a high-level delegation, led by President Clinton, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Counselor-Designate Tim Wirth (who, if confirmed by the Senate, will oversee democracy and human rights affairs at the State Department) and to press for steps to strengthen global protection of human rights.

At preparatory meetings currently being held around the world, proposals have been advanced that would severely restrict international protection of human rights.

Some Asian countries are saying that an individual nation's sovereignty supersedes global efforts to uphold a single standard for human rights.

Amnesty International considers this approach very damaging and believes its acceptance would be a major setback in the struggle for human rights. The advances made in the last 40 years in human rights practices and protections are being called into question.

The United States has not articulated its goals for the conference and seems not to be in a mood to rise to the Asian countries' challenge to the U.N. and to the universality of human rights.

If the United States wishes to play a substantive role at the conference, Amnesty International believes, the U.S. delegation must be led by President Clinton.

President Clinton has said that he wishes the U.S. to play a stronger leadership role in the U.N. and to see the U.N.'s role strengthened.

President Clinton's presence at the conference would send a clear message that the U.S. is committed to strong protection of human rights and to a strong role by the U.N.

There is a great deal at stake with the upcoming World Conference on Human Rights. The U.S. had to be dragged to last year's Rio de Janeiro conference on the environment.

This year, we want President Clinton to lead the march to Vienna.

Grason Eckel


Go by rail

We would like to thank Leon Reinstein for his April 12 letter regarding Sunday Metro service to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

While we realize that the mass transit options are different from those which were offered last season, fans going to the ballpark still have many more options than were available in previous years at Memorial Stadium.

The Mass Transit Administration certainly encourages fans to use mass transit, and in fact, almost 19 percent of those fans who attended opening day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this year took transit.

That compares to an average of 15 percent throughout the 1992 baseball season. We attribute the success to the variety of transit options available to Orioles fans.

We've added new park-and-rides this year and opened four new light rail stations. However, we've also modified service due to ridership concerns. One of those changes is to Sunday Metro service.

In November of last year, the Metro began operating on a new schedule which does not include Sundays. However, for those attending Sunday baseball games (13 games this year), new park-and-ride express bus service is now available.

And while we agree with Mr. Reinstein that it is not the same as Metro service, it is less costly to operate bus service as compared to Metro service to the ballpark.

To address Mr. Reinstein's concern for the environment, we agree that the Metro is a clean-air alternative to driving, as are our other modes.

We encourage commuters and baseball fans alike to share a ride with a friend or with the MTA to reduce emissions and help save the environment.

John A. Agro Jr.


The writer is the acting administrator of the MTA.

Thomas verdict

Mona Charen appears ecstatic that a new book purportedly exposes "How Clarence Thomas was pilloried by the liberal media" (Other Voices, April 19).

According to Ms. Charen, "This book blows the lid off the most shameful episode of recent American history."

Does the book show that Justice Thomas was not an obsequious political hack rewarded for his peculiar sensibilities on the race issue?

Maybe it proves former President Bush was right to proclaim Justice Thomas the best qualified person for the job.

Let's hope that this book is not buried or ignored. If that happens, Ms. Charen says, "Justice Thomas will have been raped twice."

Gregory L. Lewis


Renewable sources of energy

It just all seems so petty. We have a new Democratic administration, and the Republicans just seem to want to throw a wrench in what needs to be done

Listen, I don't like tax-and-spend politics. However, I don't think that's what President Clinton is doing.

Somehow we've got to make up for the huge military debt we've incurred unnecessarily over the past 12 years.

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