WASHINGTON (Jan. 15)
Representatives Herbert Tenzer, New York Democrat, and Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, today co-sponsored a House resolution urging U.S. ratification of the international genocide convention and three other treaties as part of American participation in International Human Rights Year, being observed by the United Nations in 1968.
The two Congressmen joined on the opening day of the new session of Congress to point out that, while it is the responsibility of the Senate to ratify treaties, the genocide convention has been pending for 19 years without Senate action. They said America has failed to act although the genocide convention, covering prevention and punishment of the crime of destroying religious and racial groups, was unanimously approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948, without a dissenting vote. To date, 71 nations, including the Soviet Union, have approved this convention.
Rep. Tenzer told the House, in a speech on the floor, that the “failure of the U.S. to ratify these conventions is a blot on our record as a leader in the protection of basic human rights and the development of international law.” He asked how America could effectively participate in the 1968 observances of human rights year without ratifying a convention which even the USSR approved. He said “It is a shame that the U.S. has not approved the genocide convention, and that we do not have the means to effectively protest the oppression of a people — whether it be the Jews in the Soviet Union, Catholics in the Congo or Buddhists in Vietnam.”
Rep. Halpern stated: “It is with a sense of moral outrage that I contemplate this country’s failure to acknowledge these basic rights and obligations in the world community.” He insisted that “the U.S. should act now to remove the stigma of our non-ratification of these conventions, which embody the basic democratic political ideas on which our nation was founded.”
The other conventions advocated included measures banning forced labor, political rights for women, and protection of the right to freedom of association and protection of the right to organize.