HC Deb 28 July 1982 vol 28 cc572-3W


The imposition of martial law in Poland in December 1981 and the resultant suspension of civil and human rights there contravened principle VII "Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms". More than 7,000 people have passed through the internment camps since the imposition of martial law and some 2,000 remain interned including the Solidarity leader Mr. Lech Walesa. An estimated 3,000–4,000 people are believed to have been arrested for martial law offences. Notwithstanding the Polish Government's stated intention to terminate as rapidly as possible their restrictive measures, there have been few signs that the Government are ready to lift martial law and release those in detention.

In other Eastern European countries there has been no significant improvement during the period under review.

In the Soviet Union persecution of those seeking to exercise their human rights in the various fields continued. On 1 April, Mr. I. Kovalyov of the Moscow Helsinki monitoring group was sentenced to five years in the camps and five in internal exile. The Moscow group has thus been reduced to three active members, including Mrs. E. Bonner, the wife of academician Sakharov who continues to be confined in internal exile in Gorky. Other Helsinki groups have been silent. Information has belatedly been received about the resentencing of three members of the Ulrainian and one of the Georgian Helsinki groups in the last nine months or so, before they had completed their previous sentences. Arrests and trials of religious believers—particularly members of unregistered evangelical groups—continued at a high level. In the first five months of 1982 some 1,350 Soviet Jews emigrated via Vienna compared to 4,500 in the same period last year. Permission to emigrate was granted to some members of a small "divided families group" but only after they had gone on lengthy hunger strikes. Teachers of Hebrew and Jewish culture were subjected to increasing pressure. Several Jewish scholars who had applied to emigrate were deprived of their higher degrees—a practice which also affects non-Jewish scholars involved in dissent.

The Soviet Union applied clear and strong pressure on the Polish authorities to apply martial law, in contradiction of principle I "Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty" and principle VI "Non-intervention in internal affairs".

Confidence Building Measures

Only one Warsaw Pact manoeuvre was notified: DRUZHBA 82, which took place in Czechoslovakia from 25 to 30 January 1982, involving 25,000 troops from the ground and air force units of the Czechoslovak, Soviet and Hungarian armies. Her Majesty's embassy in Prague received notification of this manoeuvre 21 days in advance: observers were not invited.