Genocide Convention Before Senate

Sen. William Proxmire (D. Wis.) has again introduced his proposal to the Senate for ratification of U.S. adherence to the United Nations convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. The measure for ratification was first offered in the Senate more than 23 years ago. In the closing days of the last Congress the convention was set aside on a technicality and Sen. Mike Mansfield of Montana, Democratic majority leader, promised its proponents that it would be brought to a vote in the Senate at an early date at this session. The bill has long had the support of numerous religious, labor and civic organizations including major Jewish groups.

“Genocide is a disease whose contagion can never be limited by national boundaries,” Proxmire said in introducing his proposal again late last week. “Only the united resolve of the world community can hope to control it.” Pointing to the “numerous examples of severe ethnic or racial persecutions which have led to or accompanied international conflict,” Proxmire observed that “Nazi plans for the conquest of Russia and Poland were made feasible by their readiness to exterminate the Jewish and Slavic inhabitants of those parts of Europe.”

Continuing, he declared: “This is only the most notorious example of the connection between genocide and aggression. More recently we have seen how violent ethnic, racial and religious hatred between Greek and Turk, Ibo and Hausa, Arab and Jew, Moslem and Hindu, Protestant Irish and Catholic Irish, can lead to the outbreak or danger of international conflict.”

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