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U.N. Council Approves Procedure on Human Rights Complaints

The U.N. Economic and Social Council last night adopted a resolution approving the procedure suggested by the Council’s Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations for handling communications received by the United Nations from non-governmental groups in consultative status which contain complaints against governments for violating human rights.

The procedure provides that the U.N. Secretary General shall handle such communications. He will complete two lists of communications: A non-confidential list with a brief indication of the substance of each communication dealing with the principles involved in the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights, and a confidential list containing a brief indication of the substance of other communications concerning human rights.

In the non-confidential list, the identity of the authors of communications will be revealed, unless they express a wish to the contrary. In the confidential list, their identity is not divulged, except in cases where they state that they have already divulged or intend to divulge their names or have no objection to this being done. The Secretary-General furnishes each member state of the United Nations with a copy of any communication concerning human rights which refers explicitly to that state or to territories under its jurisdiction.

Any communication from a non-governmental organization containing a complaint against a government, on matters which fall within the competence of the Council, other than alleged violation against human rights, shall be distributed only after the government concerned has been notified by the Secretary-General. Any reply which the government concerned might wish to make shall be circulated in the same document as the communication from the non-governmental organization, provided it is received by the Secretary-General within six weeks after the date of transmission of the communication to the government concerned. It the reply is received later than six weeks after such date, the reply of the government shall be circulated as an addendum.

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