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We speak to you now from the international aviation building in downtown Montreal Quebec the scene of the world assembly for human rights. This remarkable convention which takes on the appearance of a miniature United Nations meeting has drawn 40 distinguished delegates from 30 nations in various parts of the world such as for example New Zealand Tanzania Yugoslavia Indonesia and many others. The assembly has been arranged by the Johnson Foundation of Racine Wisconsin and by the fund for tomorrow. The Lakeview fund and Mr. Jacob Blaustein. It's six days virtually nonstop discussions have explored practically every important aspect of vital human rights problems. In 1968. It is an unofficial private sector assembly as it's called whose delegates are not here speaking for their respective governments but as individuals as the assembly nears its conclusion the time has come for a summing up of the outstanding ideas and proposals for action to come out of this important meeting here around an improvised roundtable at the conference site. We have four outstanding
participants who are going to give us a concluding summary. Our speakers are the Reverend Hershel hell Bert York City secretary for international affairs and representative to the United Nations for the physical church who serves as an assembly observer. And next an assembly delegate. Professor Gandhi who heads the Center for graduate study and International Affairs in Tehran Iran. Mr. Clark Eichelberger chairman of the commission to study the organization of peace. He is serving as an observer and is from New York City. And our discussion moderator Mr. Leslie packrat president of the Johnson Foundation who serves as cochairman of this assembly for human rights and now here to open the discussion is Mr. Befort. Thank you very much. There are at least two ways in which we might approach a summing up of this assembly for human rights in Montreal. We might turn to the
text of the recommendations and conclusions which will have been screamed by the rapporteurs a steering committee and the. But dispense each of them in their own way an expert in some aspect of human rights. All we might freewheel if the US financial is not of order in Montreal and I asked our colleagues what they find coming most readily to the tops of their mines freshly after this experience of a number of days of meeting sharing of dueling orally exchanging ideas on the basis of the agenda. I think I would opt for the latter COS and I ask that each of us in turn briefly to begin with. See what the
flotation process the intellectual flotation process brings up. And what the salient ideas are that have come out of it. We can add a few minutes perhaps then turn to the translation of the ideas into programs into action both on the international level and on the national level with governments and then on the not on the non governmental level. I wonder if Mr Eichelberger first who has had a full career still active career in this field how you would sum up two or three of the of the. Principal most forceful ideas that you found expressed or your impressions. Mr paragraph I'm glad you mentioned the latter because I didn't want to open with an impression that was the. Impression of how much has been
accomplished in the human rights field. So is the United Nations Charter was drafted and there's so much misery and suffering in the world so much violation of human rights. I'm afraid in the last few years years all of us are commencing to be a bit jaded. And Demi a great deal of good to hear some of the distinguished authorities point out that it was really you know intellectual recognition of human rights for how the charter was drafted the Declaration of Human Rights. And that really the Declaration of Human Rights in the charter are positive international law and with that foundation we were given the first day it was that much easier for us to examine the. Fundamental violation of human rights. And keep in perspective and not despair because so much has been accomplished since 1945.
I wonder Mr. Gundry as you have. Experienced this assembly what comparable reaction you were where would come in the course of five days in consideration of important agenda items. Well the gender of the assembly is indeed comprehensive. We have had so many items that one would have imagined that we wouldn't be able to treat even two or three items within such a short period of time. But what has been striking to me and I have participated in non-governmental gatherings in addition to that of United Nations assemblies commission human rights within a very short period of time. We have done so much mostly due to the fact that. In my opinion their expertise and knowledge of the participants has been
very high. There simply has been and did have a representative assembly of various schools of thought and expression of opinions and concern for human rights throughout the world. It's been good to participate in an assembly in which free exchange of ideas has taken place and inhibition and we've gotten instructions government instructions a great deal of interest that participants have shown I think as their agenda and concrete conclusions has been more than promising and has been really and inspiration to those of us who are devoted to this field. This is just. My take Mr. Corey has joined us.
He has served as chairman of observer activities two principal categories of individuals here participants and servers. And just to get you into the conversation so that he'll be good to speak in a few moments we've asked Mr. Cory if each of us might speak to the impression of the salient issues that have been inscribed on our minds as a result of these few days of discussion during the assembly for human rights but when you catch your breath Alaska's Mr. Herschell hell but who has been here also as an observer. If you speak to that question what comes to the surface. Yes I'd like to make my opening comment a positive one. Agreeing with Mr. Berger and with Ganji on balance I think this assembly was very worthwhile very informative quite challenging to me as an observer that I would like to agree that it was an accent mix of governmental and non-government governmental people and I was happy to see the
openness of the conference to hearing from them. Non-governmental the observer private sector was also greatly impressed by the expertise. Mr Ganji referred to the agenda I think it's a mask for gender because we began. By looking at the positive achievements in the field of human rights which I think is where we ought to begin. There have been achievements and we should celebrate those. But as we got into that part of the agenda and looked ahead to the conflicts and problems of inducing compliance and international implementation and then moving on to new areas of concern such as the rights of civil disobedience and the protection of non-confidence in war torn areas we became see is the problem which all mankind has still before them and achieving the human rights. I might also add that coming from the United States I was delighted that a special session could be held in honor of Mrs. Eleanor
Roosevelt who is held in high esteem by citizens around the world. Corey I wonder what the point conclusion or their conclusion of the assembly. How do you react to the issues that have been discussed and if I may add a sub sub question. What about translation. Also how can they be translated into programs. Your ideas are always a matter of fact. Translation programs was one of the main. Focuses of attention of the conference that is to say two things emerge rather clearly from the discussions that took place. One was that the state of human rights left much to be expected that while considerable progress has been made by no means the kind of progress which was hoped for or anticipated by
those who all elaborated the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. That was the first point the second point that emerged rather clearly. It was that we could not by any means rely upon governments for the effect to ation of positive programming in this in this area that if we were to get effective implementation machinery. If the machinery for implementation is to be close to responsive to the actual complaints. If there is to be a story and awareness of the rights that individuals do hold then the great burden of responsibility falls upon the private sector. They must stimulate governments to act they must stimulate to Harare to do something about implementation machinery. They must
bring to the attention of people the rights that they enjoy. They must stir and I rouse the international community they must become the eyes ears and conscience of the world so that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights can become a living realities than merely that more than merely being a set of documents a set of principles that must be translated into reality. And while the conference did focus upon new areas of concern such as is emerging in the scientific field the technocratic technological field and the problems that emerge from the new scientific discovery discoveries and what they portend for men calling the possibility of transforming man coming into robot dream. The principal objective is that of programming in the area of human rights and there there emerge really a great hall to the
private sector too to begin programming to sensitize their communities to give thought to how best. To make meaningful and effective human rights how to make the instruments of implementation more effective. There was special interest shown in the right of petition there was a special interest shown in in the matter of a High Commissioner for Human Rights to whom there would be a kind of transmission who will become a kind of transmission for the receipt of complaints from individuals which heretofore simply have been received but not acted upon at least there would be some concern. So that I think that what emerges most clearly of all is the need for the private sector to respond to this conference by
thinking clearly and more specifically concretely about what has to be done to translate bold ideas bold imaginative ideas into reality. In the United States there's little need to explain your most citizens what the Bill of Rights is but commonly I think the declaration of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Is not identified. As a part of customary law international customary law. Mr Dungy where do we stand on that. What does the citizen of whatever nation need to know about the binding character of the Universal Declaration of Human Right. Yes I think this was brought up in the conference again in 1948 when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was at ducted by the
General Assembly and. The atmosphere holdover at that time every year during their early years of the existence of United Nations it was much more conducive in getting an international agreement on the question of human rights than it has been since 48 and still was such that no binding instrument could come into being ridden in a short period of time Tree years after the. United Nations was established. Therefore a Universal Declaration of Human Rights was at that time in this region. And adopted as a resolution of the General Assembly which had only the force of recommendation and which set the goals to be achieved by states members of United Nations and international community at large. Therefore
therefore at that time in 48 the declaration was a statement of hope set down the goals aims and that the policies of the government should be directed towards achievement of these goals and aims. Now 20 years has passed during this time to take revision has indeed had an effect of humanizing mankind. In forming man in the street over his rights. Of. Blood his freedom and his most basic rights mean in practice they have resorted to the degradation. In many countries they have resorted to its articles in courts in support of their contentions and question of
violation of their rights. They have insisted that these norms be. Spelled out in the Constitutions. Of. Countries. Which have. Become independent since 1948 and other countries as well. So in addition to that one factor which is very important is that not a single country within 20 years lifespan of the adoption of the universe of The Creation of Human Rights has in one gathering international together. Opposed the Universal Declaration of Human. Rather than death. We see very often the resolutions of General Assembly Security Council. You can only can Social Council International Labor Organization unit school. And national assemblies reference made to the universe of The Creation of human rights. Over and over again.
Therefore it is it would not be without good foundations to conquer with this statement of expressions made in the assembly that the declaration today is indeed part of customary rules of international law. That its terms are binding on member states. Irrespective of whether they were members of the knife nations in 48 or their members now or they are not members of the United Nations. This expression of opinion there simply. Is in line with the expression of opinion in other international gatherings. Clark I prefer go as a witness I don't like the US. With respect to the slow. Evolutionary grinding process that we call
progress and I want to strike a bit of what you would say to the practical application. To issue. Those are the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and may I give an illustration. Slavery. The prohibition against slavery is clearly covered in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet during this assembly for human rights we've heard Dr. I wired who served as rapporteurs for a special UN report on slavery a very recent one. I point out that it's an irony. That individual African states almost all of the states to be sure have been very slow. Here and in that hearing under law to the principles of the declaration with respect to slavery. This. Was the seed and the sauce of slavery
in the house. And in parts of Africa as we know not exclusively certainly slavery still prevails as a cultural practice. The Twenty years after the declaration of the principles about slavery as a part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in those nations and some others are still reluctant apparently to put it on the line in terms of the law. How do you see this is. Part of the evolutionary process of adoption. Translation to what I think the application of a declaration of human rights. Has to be considered in terms of day. Will the economic revolt against Paul Hawkins called the revolt of rising expectations and colonialism. And the beginning it was thought that the declaration that there was to be an international Bill if you're right.
That's what we was talking about of sentences. Then you have to proceed with the declaration. Which is to be a declaration of the Declaration of Independence that was to be declaration of high standards and that was to be followed by agreements that could be ratified and together they would make no human rights would be three parts of the Declaration the convention has come in its implementation. But they quickly saw that the nations of the West human rights were thought of in terms of. Classic freedoms and the Bill of Rights. Whereas in many countries the first human right is the right. Of the star. So there was a great the need draft that not only human rights covenant and civil rights were coming out on economic and social rights. And when all of this was started. Still probably a great part of the world was
living in the colonial status. And you suddenly had a revolt from Mendis population. It was all the seeds of the liquidation of the colonial system planted in the chart. But it's liquidation came more rapidly than was expected. And. With just 3 percent of the population the world left to colonial status the hard core that hard core is found in a few places particularly in Africa where apartheid is the most disturbing manifestation. And I'm afraid that there are some people in the world today who think of human rights only in terms of the liquidation of this most unfortunate manifestation of prejudice of apartheid. You think of human rights in the terms of liquidation of the last three percent of the hard core of the colonial system. Sometimes our friends forget that there must be human rights for their own people after they have won their independence. And I know it was quite a
shock to all of us to find it when the U.N. proceeded to talk about implementation. Who are some of those that have. Government run of problems they don't want to see implementation in terms of individual rights are the right to action or petition to God. It's been a strange fellow. But yes I mean I don't know what is really going on was quite right. I agree with Mr Eichelberger in the fact that. Right at the beginning three stages vary in visit namely the creation covenants and measures of intimidation the reason for the three stages of course where the impossibility of I don't think of Bill of Rights visually be binding when only investigates. There are various schools of thought and the beginning of Cold War and the question for instance on the right of property in Eastern countries
didn't want to have that in a bit of right people and be willing to ratify a covenant which included the question of the right to property on the other hand the colonial powers didn't want to have an article on self-determination. He said that they would oppose a colonial promise article that is the bill would be apt to get made applicable today. Their colonies as well as to the Metropolitan. Stated on the other hand it was as very right to your point as I could but your pointed out the question of economic and social rights and civil and political rights. The Western countries were insisting that if given Civil and Political Rights economic and social rights will ensue. They said that people if they are free to choose the kind of government that they want to do they will impose on that government whatever economic and social rights they think he is in their best interest. Whereas most of the developing countries
and their socialist countries are insisting that unless the man has three square meals a day unless he is free from disease unless he is not illiterate you can't possibly exercise Civil and Political Rights. That's where you had I'd like to pick on Korea. You're starting to talk about the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and one of merges. You started off with reference to slavery to Ganji has made reference to economic and social rights I would like to add the word cultural rights to that one of the interesting observations emerge from the discussions of the assembly is the extent of illiteracy. What we say will feel for the man for us to go. Mr. Saba something like 50 percent of the world is today illiterate in some places the amount of literacy is only 3 percent of the total community. Now if a person is
illiterate he doesn't know his rights. He has no idea what what rights are enclosed by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights he has no sense of how he what his redress is or what his claims of rights are not that the this is a problem only for the developing countries I would be overly optimistic were I to say that in the advanced countries the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is widely known. Unlike the Bill of Rights of the United States I would say that American citizens. Down here in Canada too I would be willing to surmise that if you walk down the street and were to ask Canadian citizens or for that matter anyone in advanced countries what the details are spell out. Give me some examples of articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I don't know whether I would get a very high percentage of knowledgeable answers.
We have been willfully neglect in our school teaching procedures educating the population as to what goes into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And I would be anxious to see a real effort through the edge of the teaching profession of the world. If we could get the educational associations of the educational socio sions of the various countries and of the world to concentrate this year on in terms of materials curriculum materials the education of teachers on how they should teach about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and so far as the US govt programs are and this is this is cynic one. For any advance so far as literacy as well as you know you'll have to really develop a literate population of fundamentals before you can move on to claims upon rights itself. But if I had come back to this is labeled a question I was trying to tell you what I said. Now if both the African countries the question was to paraphrase Rice
raised U.S. slavery it does not have to be necessarily because necessity is not necessarily the kind of his slavery which existed in the 19th century in here early 20th century. We have read articles about the condition. It has certain economic conditions which imposes institutions similar to a slave. Their family for instance now with seven eight children. These are fair hard facts unfortunately of life would be willing to sell. Unfortunately this is unbelievable. SIL a daughter at the age of 8 or 9 or 10 so that they would have sufficient means to support the rest of the family. Varying home An unbelievable. But. Situation which exists now why certain of these African countries have been hesitant in
ratifying the anti-slavery convention. And why do you are hesitant about the right of individual petition. And they have the fear in the United Nations we find the expression of their views that this may be a kind of neo colonialism. Coming there and telling them what to do whereas they don't have the means to do these things. So in a way it is related to the question of economic development.
Assembly for Human Rights: Montreal
Summing Up
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University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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For series info, see Item 3739. This prog.: Summing Up. Dr. William Korey, director, B'nai Brith U.N. Office; Rev. Herschel Halbert; Manouchehr Ganji, Iran; Clark Eichelberger, U.N. Association of the U.S.; Leslie Paffrath, moderator
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-43-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:18
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Chicago: “Assembly for Human Rights: Montreal; Summing Up,” 1968-11-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
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APA: Assembly for Human Rights: Montreal; Summing Up. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from