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