International Parley Backs Cultural Rights Sought for Jews in Russia
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International Parley Backs Cultural Rights Sought for Jews in Russia

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The two-week international conference on a multi-national society, dealing with problems of human rights and protection of national minorities, concluded here today with recommendations which deal indirectly with the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union.

The recommendations urged all governments “to promote and protect the rights of ethnic, religious, linguistic or national groups” by encouraging their activities inside the country and permitting them to associate with national and international organizations in other countries. The conference was sponsored by the United Nations with the cooperation of the Yugoslav Government. The participants were named by 19 governments but attended the parley in their personal capacity. They included Cabinet Ministers, Supreme Court judges, other high ranking government officials and university president.

The recommendations were transmitted today to U. N. Secretary General U. Thant with a request that the proceedings and conclusions of the conference be submitted to the Commission on Human Rights of the U. N. Social and Economic Council and to the sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The countries represented at the conference included the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union, Canada, Israel, and several countries of South America and Africa, Greece and Turkey sent observers. There were also observers from 13 non-governmental organizations.


There was general agreement that the UN member nations, as well as the different UN institutions, should undertake more intensive research on ethnic, religious, linguistic and national problems affecting human rights. Several participants recommended creation of a United Nations High Commissioner to help ensure the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms to all without discrimination.

The participants discussed measures to be taken to ensure realization by ethnic, religious, linguistic or national groups of special rights necessary to enable them to preserve their traditions. In that connection, the conference agreed it was not desirable for a nation to impose the use of an alien language on an isolated and culturally less developed group.

The participants also agreed unanimously that the right of association included the right of international association, which meant the right of national associations to associate with international organizations, the right of individuals to associate with both national organizations in other countries and international organizations, and the right of individuals in one country to associate with individuals in other countries.

The conference agreed that various forms of international cooperation, based on both bilateral and multi lateral agreements, should be encouraged and utilized to supplement measures already being undertaken to promote the maximum exchange at all levels in the fields of trade and culture, as well as contacts between individuals, regardless of differences in political systems of participating nations.


On the question of the right of ethnic, religious and linguistic or cultural groups to establish autonomous educational institutions, it was agreed by the participants that a group could establish private schools to impart its heritage to its children, provided that these schools conformed to national standards. The participants agreed that the right of autonomous action to ensure the preservation and continuity of the group’s traditions and characteristics formed an integral part of its way of life and provided the surest means of protecting its collective identity.

A contrast was noted between the support by the Soviet delegates for the conclusions of the parley and the consistent denial of most of those rights by Soviet authorities to Russian Jewry for which the Soviet Union has been under repeated criticism throughout the western world. The Soviet representatives originally opposed the recommendations, especially the conclusion that minorities have a right to maintain contact with their coreligionists abroad. After several days, however, during which they probably consulted Moscow, they gave up their opposition.

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