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Jewish Congress Submits Plan on Human Rights to United Nations

A plan aimed at breaking the deadlock which threatens acceptance of the international covenant on human rights is outlined in a memorandum submitted by the World Jewish Congress this week-end to the United Nations Secretary General here.

The WJC proposal suggests that the most effective way to achieve speedier international action on human rights would be for the UN’s Commission on Human Rights to select a specific right, draft it in a covenant form, and present it to the nations of the world for approval and implementation. Once the first has been adopted, a second document dealing with another right could be prepared.

“Covenants dealing each with a single basic human right, recognized by practically all civilized nations as part of their own bill of rights, have much better chances to be widely accepted than an over-all instrument,” the memorandum declares.

The principal significance of an international covenant, the proposal continues, “lies in its international implementation. However, the more comprehensive such a document is, the less its implementation on this level is likely to be accepted by a large number of states.”

To achieve more effective implementation of any human rights covenants, the WJC also proposed in its memorandum to the UN that responsible non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council be permitted to call the attention of the Human Rights Committee to violations of human rights and/or the Committee be authorized to initiate proceedings on its own motion. According to the provisions of the present Draft Covenant, the only way in which a violation may be brought to the attention of the Committee is through a state which is party to the Covenant.

In a second memorandum to the UN, the World Jewish Congress urged the UN’s Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, now meeting in New York, to give priority to a study of discrimination in immigration and travel which impedes friendly relations among nations.

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