State Department reports on human rights conditions in 82 U.S.-aided countries, made public yesterday by a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, portray a wide variety of limitations on political freedoms in the non-Communist world.
The reports, which are required under last year's Foreign Military Assistance Act, are likely to provoke charges from some nations that the United States is seeking to interfere in their internal affairs.
Brazil on Friday canceled its 25-year-old military assistance treaty with the United States on grounds that the State Department report on human rights there was an intolerable interference in its internal affairs. As in other cases, the U.S. report was handed to Brazil as a diplomatic courtesy prior to its submission to Congress.
In Beverly Hills, Calif., Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.), chairman of the foreign assistance subcommittee which made the reports public, called the Brazilian move "unfortunate," and said he planned to contact Brazilian Ambassador Joao B. PInheiro about the action. Humphrey commented, according to the Associated Press, that "the report on Brazil is not that bad."
For the most part, the 29-paragraph report on Brazil is a factual account of developments in the past several years, including government positions and previously publicized charges by the Roman Catholic clergy and political opposition groups.
The report said that "cases of arbitrary arrest and detention have occurred" in Brazil and that "fair hearings by impartial tribunals are not consistently available to political detainees."
But there were no sweeping value judgments and no U.S. finding that "internationally recognized human rights" have been consistently violated. Such a finding can lead to the termination of U.S. aid under the 1976 law.
Brazil, traditionally the firmest U.S. ally in South America, has a 196,000-man army, the largest in South America. In recent years it has become less dependent on U.S. military aid and has been developing its own arms industry.
There are some indications that the Carter administration's efforts to stop the Brazilian acquisition from West Germany of a nuclear reprocessing plant, capable of making atom bomb material, is partly responsible for the strong Brazilian reaction to the human rights report.
Among the reports made public yesterday were those on Argentina, Ethiopia and Uruguay, nations which were subjected to proposed foreign aid reductions last month on human rights grounds.
In the aftermath of Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance's announcement of the cuts, both Argentina and Uruguay announced they will reject further assistance from the United States as a matter of national policy.
South Korea, which was roundly criticized by President Carter during his campaign because of human rights abuses, was not subjected to foreign aid cuts. Vance said the reason was overriding security considerations.
The report made public yesterday said the human rights of South Koreans "have been infringed upon" by the use of surveillance, detention for questioning and lengthy interrogation without counsel under the "emergency decrees" of President Park Chung Hee.
The report notes that former prisoners have publicly charged that they were tortured, and also notes the government's denial of a torture policy.
Among the other countries in the reports made public yesterday:
Philippines - President Ferdinand Marcos' "martial law" administration is such that fundamental rights can be abridged. The number of reports of torture has declined since the immediate aftermath of the 1972 martial law, but newer reports are "more fully documented."
India - Despite Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's 1975 "state of emergency," political activity is now being carried on "in much the same way" as before. Freedoms of expression and opinion have been fully restored, the report said.
Israel - Residents of occupied Arab territories have frequently been expelled from their homeland on suspicion of terrorism or anti-Israeli political activity in violation of the Geneva Convention. Freedom of assembly is circumscribed in the occupied territories, but freedom of expression is "relatively uninhibited."
Syria - Political rights have been suspended or ignored in an undetermined number of instances concerning persons arrested on security or political grounds. Syrian security authorities "retain considerable latitude."
Panama - There is no evidence that the government practices arbitrary imprisonment, torture or murder for political purposes. With "a very few exceptions" in political cases, Panamanians enjoy guarantees of life, liberty and security of person.
William Richardson, a staff member of the Senate subcommittee, said the group plans to request a human rights report on Chile from the State Department. That country does not receive U.S. military aid, but continues to obtain some economic assistance.