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U.N. Commission Urges Treaties Against Racial Discrimination

October 11, 1951
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United Nations Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities decided this morning to make the following suggestions to its parent body, the Economic and Social Council:

1. That the Economic and Social Council recommend to all members of the U.N. that they co-operate in any treaty to which they become parties to safeguard against discrimination. 2. That the Council recommends that in treaties establishing new states or new boundaries between states special attention should be paid to the protection of any minority which may be created thereby. 3. That the Council arrange for the preparation of an international convention for the protection of minorities.

Speaking for the Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations, Moses Moskowitz re-affirmed his organization’s belief in the “symbolic and practical importance” of the Subcommission. He then declared that its terms of reference imposed upon the Subcommission a task which was nothing short of blueprinting international machinery for the supervision of the carrying out of the promises of non discrimination in the U.N. Charter, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the envisaged Covenant on Human Rights.

The Subcommission, he said, had a continuing responsibility of ensuring that the charter provisions against discrimination would find their way into all relevant international instruments drawn up by, or under the auspices of, the United Nations.

In considering the future program, Mr. Moskowitz went on, priority should be given to the immediate task of assisting the Commission on Human Rights in the revision of the draft Covenant on Human Rights so that the rights which were of vital concern to minorities could be adequately formulated. Secondly, it was especially important that the United Nations devise a method and procedure to enable aggrieved minority groups to seek redress by the United Nations “through agencies of their own choosing.”


Bernard Bernstein, of the Co-ordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, said it seemed now that much more time would elapse before the Covenant on Human Rights would operate, and he therefore underscored the urgent necessity for immediate action by the General Assembly to create conditions in which human rights could flourish. Accordingly, his organization proposed that the Assembly adopt certain resolutions.

The first of these, he said, should cover the following: Each member state should establish its own permanent national commission on human rights. Each such commission would gather information and appraise practices affecting fundamental freedoms and protection of minorities within the country and each member state would keep the U.N. Commission on Human Rights informed of the activities and findings of its national commission.

The second resolution would urge each U.N. member nation to adopt all practicable measures to “narrow the gap” between present practices and the standards established by the Declaration on Human Rights. Thirdly, Mr. Bernstein proposed that the Assembly should–without waiting for the adoption of the covenant–establish a Human Rights committee with jurisdiction to act with respect to all member nations and not limited to the future parties to the covenant. Such a Human Rights committee, he said, could appropriatedly protect those human rights recognized in the U.N. Charter and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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