UN 'timid' on Salvador abuses

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The Independent Online
San Salvador (Reuter) - The human rights group Americas Watch criticised the United Nations peacekeeping force in El Salvador, saying it was too soft in challenging the government on human rights abuses. The UN mission in El Salvador, or ONUSAL, 'has been timid in openly criticising the government on human rights matters, even when its own investigations have pointed to state involvement in abuses,' the Washington-based group said in a strongly-worded report released yesterday.

Americas Watch said top UN officials were too cautious in investigating rights violations, urging judicial reforms and pressing for government action in serious cases. 'With its public silence, ONUSAL - far from doing anything to break the cycle of impunity - runs the risk of contributing to it,' the report said.

Both ONUSAL and Americas Watch say the end of the war has reduced human rights violations but that summary executions, arbitrary arrests and cruel treatment of police suspects continue.