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The Editor,

The article in the May 19 - June 1, issue of your paper

concerning the recent visit to Cambodia of Nancy Ely-Raphel, Principal Deputy

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, contains

several misstatements about Ms. Ely-Raphel's background and mandate which I

would like to correct. First of all, Ms. Ely-Raphel, characterized as

"inexperienced" in human rights, is in fact a senior civil servant with over a

decade of experience as a State Department Assistant Legal Advisor (a position

with a significant human rights component), as well as a six-year tenure as

Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

She is currently the second-ranking human rights official in the State


Secondly, I would like to correct the assertion that Ms.

Ely-Raphel is being "led to prepare a predominantly 'good news' report." An

official of Ms. Ely-Raphel's stature, of course, has the authority to make her

own assessments. I would urge anyone who is interested in evaluating the

objectivity of the State Department's human rights reporting to read the 1994

report on Cambodia, which is available through my office (and was excerpted by

the Phnom Penh Post earlier this year). I am confident that you and your readers

will find that the State Department adheres to rigorous standards of objectivity

and accuracy in reporting on the human rights situation in Cambodia.

- Franklin E. Huffman, Director, United States Information




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