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U.N. Body Recommends Right of Petition for Individuals on Human Rights Violations

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Completing the work of its present session, the U.N. Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities voted today to suggest to the Commission on Human Rights that individuals and groups be given the right to petition the United Nations to enforce human rights guarantees.

In this it took a position that had been urged on it by various non-governmental organizations. The question at issue has been whether only states which accept the Covenant on Human Rights should have the right to initiate complaints or whether this right should also be granted to individuals and groups. The Subcommission expressed the view that if the right were limited to contracting states, dissatisfied minorities might be impelled to seek the support of a foreign state in getting a hearing.

Speaking before the Subcommission on behalf of the World Jewish Congress, Rabbi Maurice L. Perlzweig urged the United Nations to give a “significant place” to non-governmental organizations in any system of implementation of the International Covenant on Human Rights. He declared that “to leave the sole initiative to governments will jeopardize the whole system of implementation.”

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