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U.N. Unit to Recommend Study of Religious Discrimination

October 8, 1952
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The United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities agreed today to add a study of religious discrimination to recommendations from three of its experts for studies of discrimination in the fields of education, employment, political rights, travel and residence.

The sub-commission rejected a resolution which would have the Economic and Social Council recommend to governments of member and non-member states review of their national legislation and administrative practices with a view to abolishing all measures of discrimination that might exist in the field of immigration.

The sub-commission also, after a two and a half hour debate, failed to accept an Indian motion placing the sub-commission on record as favoring establishment of the office of an Attorney-General for Human Rights.

The group acted on the question of religious discrimination after Dr. Isaac Lewin, of the Agudath Israel World Organization, appeared before it and described discrimination against the Jewish religion in many countries. He referred to laws introduced by the Nazis which still remained in force in many countries. Among discriminatory measures he cited were bans on schechita and restrictions on Sabbath observance.

The United Kingdom, United States, Swedish and Indian delegates immediately announced their support of the proposal.


The resolution on discrimination in immigration was defeated by a vote of six to four after the view was expressed that the sub-commission should not act on the question without first making a study of it.

The proposal for a U.N. attorney on human rights was first made by the Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations and was submitted to the General Assembly in a resolution introduced by Uraguay. The General Assembly in turn referred it to the Commission on Human Rights.

The Indian resolution would have had the sub-commission express its view that the office of attorney general for human rights would be helpful in making the work of the U.N. more effective in preventing discrimination and in protecting minorities. During the course of the debate it was pointed out that the Human Rights Commission would handle this question next year. The resolution was supported by Ecuador, Haiti, India and Sweden and opposed by Belgium, China, Poland and the Soviet Union. The United Kingdom and Iran abstained and the United States was absent.

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