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Extension of Minorities Rights to All Members of League Will Be Urged

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

The question of extending the rights of minorities to all States members of the League of Nations, instead of limiting them, as now, only to those countries which are bound by Minorities Treaties will be raised at the League by the International Federation of League of Nations Societies, according to a resolution adopted at the Congress of this organization which was concluded here today.

Another resolution raises the question of the renunciation of their minorities rights by minorities in a country which is bound by the Minorities Treaty, with a view to the specific case of Turkey. The resolution declares that “every renunciation of Minority rights is null and void and every Government which compels such renunciation is working against the principle of international right and in opposition to the welfare of the State.”

The Permanent Commission on Racial, Linguistic and Religious Obligations reported to the Congress that it had during the year dealt with numerous questions among which it mentioned specially the following:

Procedure to be followed by the Federation in the matter of minorities, creation of a bulletin of Minorities, Racial Minorities in States, Congress of European Minorities in Geneva 1925, the future of national minorities, cultural autonomy of minorities in Esthonia Statelessness (Staatenlosigkeit), procedure of the League of Nations in regard to petitions of minorities, refugees in Bulgaria.

The question of the Polish-Jewish Agreement had been included on the list, but was removed from it in view of the recently changed situation in Poland.

The Minorities Commission submitted to the Congress a resolution which was adopted unanimously, reading:

“Seeing that it is the duty of the racial, linguistic and religious minorities to be loyal to the State of which they form part; and that this cannot be so if these minorities are discontented with their lot through being deprived of the full enjoyment of their own language, religion or special culture or through being subjected to treatment the effect of which is to absorb the Minorities, against their will, into the nationality of the majority.

“This Congress, being of opinion that variety of race, language, religion or culture amongst citizens of a State is not inconsistent with loyalty to a State or detrimental to its solidarity and that therefore attempts at such absorption as mentioned above are both undise and unjust,

“Declares its conviction that, in order to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the question of these Minorities, it is necessary to regard them as being a valuable element within a State, and that in acceeding to their desire for special treatment in regard to their language, religion and culture the majority will best serve both the ends of justice and the interest of the State.”

The following recommendation was added:

“In order to contribute to the realization of the principles enunciated above, the Assembly prays the League of Nations to be so good as to remind its members of the resolution adopted by the Third Assembly in which the hope was expressed that the States which are not bound by any legal obligations to the League with respect to minorities will nevertheless observe in the treatment of their own racial, religious or linguistic minorities at least as high a standard of justice and toleration as is required by any of the treaties and by the regular action of the Council.”

The question of Russian refugees in the various countries was also considered by the Congress. The legal commission submitted a resolution declaring that Russian refugees in all countries where they are resident should be given there all rights with the exception of political rights, and in addition, they should, when leaving the country where they are resident be given in the new country the protection of the Consulate of the country where they were resident.

The British League of Nations Union submitted an amendment which was adopted by the Congress, declaring that all States should be called upon to issue passports to Russian refugees and to give them their protection. The other questions connected with the subject were adjourned for consideration by the next meeting of the Central Council which will be held on October 1st-4th at Salzburg.

The Permanent Minorities Commission will meet also at Salzburg on October 5th.

In the past, each country was represented in the International Federation by five seats. In the case of the Jewish League of Nations Society in Czecho-Slovakia this caused a difficulty in the matter of its representation. The Czech Society insisted on three of the seats which left only two seats for the three minorities, Germans, Hungarians and Jews.

The representation of countries has now been increased to ten seats. This eases the situation in regard to Czecho-Slovakia; the Czechs will hold seven of the seats, leaving three seats to be divided by agreement between the German, Hungarian and Jewish minorities.

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