U.N. Assembly Committee Starts Discussions on Human Rights Covenants

Nearly seven years after the United Nations proclaimed its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was merely a manifesto of good intentions, the General Assembly’s Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee today tackled the job of trying to codify some sort of international law in the general field of human rights.

In accordance with a decision made last year, the Committee started article-by article discussion of two draft human rights covenants now on the agenda. Both covenants are intended “to put teeth” into the UN’s human rights planning. One of the covenants deals with economic social and cultural rights, while the other is concerned with civil and political rights.

The discussions are expected to last five or six weeks. It is not expected that either of the covenants will see final adoption this year. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted at a session of the General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948.

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