UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jan. 31)
With Justice Philip Halpern, American Jewish jurist, pressing to the very end for participation of non-governmental organizations in more studies that might reveal discrimination against minorities around the world, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities ended its four weeks of deliberations here today.
The subcommission–a group set up by the UN’s Commission on Human Rights–is composed of 12 independent experts elected by the commission. Each of the experts had been nominated by his country. Justice Halpern is the sole American on the subcommission.
One of the most important reports presented to the subcommission was a preliminary survey of discrimination in religious rights and practices made by Justice Halpern. The subcommission discussed the possibility of undertaking a full-scale study of the subject, but postponed such a study for lack of funds. The group recommended that the United Nations appropriate funds for discrimination studies similar to the one proposed by Justice Halpern.
Justice Halpern declared that he was hopeful that studies in both fields–religious and political discrimination–would be launched. He added that he had been told by a Secretariat official that, to the best of the official’s knowledge, the unanimous recommendation for the studies was unprecedented in UN history, and that he had gotten “tremendous support” on the study in religious discrimination.
The jurist also expressed the hope that the year’s delay might be turned to advantage in that representatives of the non-governmental organizations would have the opportunity to consult with their respective groups to make studies and preparations for the work ahead. He said he already had assurances from several groups that such consultations would be undertaken.
Representatives of a number of large national and international non-governmental organizations attended the subcommission’s sessions and were given a voice in the proceedings. Among the Jewish groups represented were the World Jewish Congress. American Jewish Committee, Alliance Universelle Israelite. Angle-Jewish Association, Board of Deputies of British Jews, and organized Jewry in South America and South Africa.