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Jewish Congress Submits Recommendations on Human Rights to U.N.

Recommendations to advance the drafting of international covenants on human rights were submitted today to the 10th regular session of the United Nations General Assembly by the World Jewish Congress. The Third Committee of the General Assembly–Social and Humanitarian Committee–is to devote itself to a discussion of the articles of draft covenants prepared by various UN bodies, chiefly the Commission on Human Rights.

In its submission, the World Jewish Congress, which enjoys consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, urged that the committee restrict its discussion to the basic principles of the Covenant rather than seek to formulate precisely each article and its subdivisions. The Congress further recommended that after agreement that after agreement within the General Assembly is reached on the basic principles a special committee be assigned the task of drafting the Covenants pursuant to these principles and of submitting its draft to the eleventh General Assembly for final action.

To support its view the World Jewish Congress points out that it “is almost impossible to discuss usefully the various articles unless clear agreement has first been reached on the basic principles.” Moreover, its memorandum adds, “the drafting of individual articles is a task which requires detailed work and can hardly be satisfactorily accomplished by a body as large, and disposing of as little time, as the Third Committee.”

The WJC emphasizes that the problem of implementation of the Covenants must be solved, or otherwise “the material provisions of the Covenants would be of little practical value.” It urges in this connection that the right of petition, at least by recognized nongovernmental organizations,” should be provided for in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To limit the right of complaint to states, the memorandum asserts would be an invitation to diplomatic conflict among them and would deprive the Covenant of a great part of its usefulness.

In a letter to Jose Maza, president of the General Assembly, which accompanies the memorandum, Dr. Maurice L. Perlzweig, the WJC’s permanent representative to the UN, expresses “the earnest hope that the present session of the General Assembly may succeed in securing a large measure of agreement in favor of the early adoption of the Covenants.”

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