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U.N. Moves Toward Establishing High Commissioner on Human Rights

March 31, 1966
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The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution here today, marking the first concrete step toward establishment of a U. N. High Commissioner of Human Rights. The task of the new official, when the step is taken finally, would be to use his prestige and moral force to see to it that all human rights are implemented by all countries in the world. No individual’s name has as yet been suggested for the position.

After debates lasting a week, during which the United States pressed for the creation of the post, while the Soviet Union opposed the idea, the Commission this afternoon approved a motion proposed by Israel’s representative, Associate Israeli Supreme Court Justice Haim H. Cohn, to create a study group on the subject, which is to report back to the full Commission in 1967. The vote on Justice Cohn’s motion, by a show of hands, was 16 in favor, two against and three abstentions. There are 21 members on the Commission.

The idea of creating a High Commissioner for Human Rights was first broached three years ago at a Dag Hammarskjold Memorial lecture by Jacob Blaustein, honorary president of the American Jewish Committee, and former U. S. delegate to the U.N. General Assembly, Fighting for the creation of the post was led at the current session of the Commission by Israel and by the U. S. representative to the body, Morris B. Abram, president of the American Jewish Committee.

Strong support of the proposal was voiced before the Commission today not only by Mr. Abram and Justice Cohn, but also by a number of nongovernmental representatives who have consultative status. These included Moses Moskowitz, representative of the Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations, a world group that includes the Canadian branch of Alliance Israelite Universelle; Sidney Liskofsky, of the International League for the Rights of Man, with which the ACJ is affiliated; and Sean McBride, secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists.

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