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United States Agrees to Proclamation of U. N. ‘human Rights Year’

June 30, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States, Britain and Canada today endorsed the principle behind a move for the proclamation of a United Nations Freedom from Prejudice and Discrimination Year, but all three Governments insisted that human rights in general be stressed by the UN.

The three Western Governments were among others to comment officially on a proposal adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights. That proposal urged the UN to get behind a Freedom from Prejudice and Discrimination Year “in the near future, ” The Commissions proposal also envisaged the fixing of an annual date, after the “Year” had ended, to be called Freedom from Prejudice and Discrimination Day.

The United States comment recalled that, each year, there are world-wide observances of Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly, on December 10, 1948.

“In view of this experience, stated the American comment, “and the close relationship between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and freedom from prejudice and discrimination, the United States would favor some combination between the proposal of the Commission on Human Rights and the annual celebration of Human Rights Day already taking place. “

Declaring that it does not object to a year-long project, perhaps in 1962 or 1963, the U. S. A. proposed that, if such a project is established, it be known as Human Rights Year or Universal Human Rights Year. “This year-long project, ” stated the American comment, “would be an opportunity to highlight the concept of freedom from prejudice and discrimination, which is a basic element in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.”

The British Government’s comment expressed “doubt whether the proposals in the resolution are best calculated to forward these aims or, indeed, likely to be effective.” London’s comment added that, if freedom from prejudice were to be stressed, it should be confined to the shortest period possible if it were to make a major impact.

Canada’s comment, also endorsing the principle of freedom from bias, expressed strong doubt about the need for the “Year” or “Day” proposed, “unless the program rested on positive values. ” Canada suggested that the proposed observance be linked to “the brotherhood theme, ” pointing out that Canada’s Council of Christians and Jews promotes the observance of Brotherhood Week every year.

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