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Bishops Report Latin Rights Gains

March 03, 1985|Associated Press

SAN SALVADOR — Five Roman Catholic bishops from the United States ended a three-day visit to Central America on Saturday and said that they found the human rights situation improved but that much remains to be done.

They also said they were reassured that investigations into several murder cases, including those of four American churchwomen and three labor specialists in El Salvador, were continuing and had not been closed.

They plan to present their findings to the United States Catholic Conference, the policy-making body for Catholic bishops in America.

"We are not expert investigators of human rights," said Archbishop John J. O'Connor of New York, the spokesman for the group. "But the impression we were given by the (Latin) bishops and others whom we've questioned is that there has been continuing progress in the area of human rights."

Left-wing rebels have been battling the elected Salvadoran government for five years, and U.S. military aid to the government this year is expected to reach $126 million. The American bishops lobbied against the military aid until 1983, when they modified their stand after a visit here. They now support a modest amount of aid, but they tie it to human rights conditions.

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