Menu JTA Search

Canadian Official Recommends Measures to Pursue Soviet Compliance with Human Rights

Mark Mac-Guignan, Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs, recommended to the government several measures to pursue Soviet compliance-with human rights accords in the aftermath of the Helsinki review conference in Madrid. Mac-Guignan also heard a report from Irwin Cotler, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, on the rapidly deteriorating situation of Jews in the USSR.

Cotler, a professor of law at McGill University last Thursday briefed the minister on the Madrid conference which he attended. He noted that one-third of all Jewish Prisoners of Conscience in the Soviet Union have been convicted in the last six months alone.

He said that the arrest of Soviet Jewish scientist and activist Viktor Brailovsky, seen in the context of the dramatic drop in Jewish emigration from the USSR and the intensification of anti-Semitism, was profoundly disturbing. Cotler observed that Brailovsky’s arrest in particular was “an ominous note, Brailovsky being for the Soviet Jewry movement what (Andrei) Sakharov is the dissident movement.”

CANADA’S STAND APPRECIATED

Cotler expressed appreciation for Canada’s strong stand in Madrid by Ambassador Louis Rogers, particularly his outspoken condemnation of anti-Semitism. Mac Guignan replied that “Canada regards Soviet anti-Semitism as unacceptable and has told the Soviets in Madrid that all persecutions, harassments and violations of human rights must stop at once.”

The Canadian minister has recommended a post-Madrid continuing review of human rights violations by an internationally established committee of experts to monitor compliance with the Helsinki human rights agreements. He also proposed to the Soviets the establishment of a bilateral round-table conference on the implementation of human rights.

NEXT STORY