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U. N. Commission Opens Debate on Elimination of Religious Intolerance

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights opened detailed debate here today on a proposed draft U. N. Declaration and draft U. N. Convention on the Elimination of Religious Intolerance, The subject, stymied for six years through parliamentary moves initiated by the Soviet Union, was given foremost priority on the Commission’s lengthy agenda, as demanded at the opening of the current session yesterday by the United States delegate, Morris B. Abram.

At the outset of today’s debate, Israeli Supreme Court Justice Haim H. Cohn, submitted an amendment to one draft article under consideration, giving parents and guardians the right “to determine the religion or belief in which their children shall be brought up. ” Justice Cohn insisted that the principle must be laid down without ambiguity that the right of parents to choose a child’s religion be subordinated “to the best interests of the child; ” “The rights of a child, ” he maintained, “should always be considered ahead of the rights of the parents. “

However, Evgeny Nasinovsky,representing the Soviet Union, told the Commission that the draft article should be “of a more general nature, ” He held that the child should be protected “from the forceful imposition of any religion or belief. ” The Israeli amendment, and another submitted by Poland, were only preliminary moves in the religious freedoms debate. It is expected that, as the debate develops further, members of the Commission will voice criticisms, directly or indirectly, against anti-Semitism in the USSR.

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