Uruguay Backs Proposal for Attorney General for Human Rights

Establishment of an office of Attorney General for Human Rights, empowered to receive and press complaints of human rights violations from any individual against a country was advocated before the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee today.

Dr. Francisco Gamarra, Chief Justice of Uruguay and head of his country’s delegation to the General Assembly, called for approval of the Attorney General principle when he closed the committee’s debate on the draft of a Human Rights Covenant.

His proposal called for such a UN official to receive complaints from individuals and organizations and to make a preliminary investigation of alleged violations of the covenant. The Attorney General’s first duty after investigation would be to attempt to find a solution by “conciliatory negotiations” with the governments concerned, Dr. Gamarra suggested. If these negotiations failed, he would be empowered to refer the complaints to the proposed human rights committee.

Dr. Gamarra said that since the proposed Attorney General would represent the international community rather than an alleged injured party, the plan would avoid such controversial questions as whether an individual were subject to international law or whether a complaint were being made against a state for “ulterior motives.”

The proposal for an Attorney General for Human Rights has been strongly supported by the Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations, which speaks for the American Jewish Committee, Alliance Israelite Universelle of France and the Anglo-Jewish Association of Britain.

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