Summary record of the 162nd meeting
|UN Document Symbol||E/CN.4/SR.162|
|Convention||International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Civil and Political Rights|
GENERAL E/CN.4/SR.l62 28 April 1950
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SECOND MEETING
Held at Lake Success, Now York, on Thursday, 20 April 1950 at 11 a.m.
Visit of Mrs. Gonzalez Videla, wife of the President of Chile. Draft international covenant on human rights (E/1371, E/CN.4/365, E/CN.4/353/Add.10, E/CN.4/15, E/CN.4/415/Corr.1, E/CN.4/424, E/CN.4/432, E/CN.4/433, E/CN.4/434) (continued) Article 17 (continued)
Chairman: Mrs. ROOSEVELT United States of America
Members: Mr. WHITIAM Australia
Mr. NISOT Belgium
Mrs. FIGUEROA ) Chile
Mr. CHANG China
Mr. SOHEHSON Denmark
Mr. RAMADAN Egypt
Mr. ORDONNEAU France
Mr. KYROU Greece
Mrs. MEHTA India
Mr. AZKOUL )
Dr. MALIK ) Lebanon
Mr. MENDEZ Philippines
Miss BOWIE United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland
Mr. OREBE Uruguay
Mr. JEVREMOVIC Yugoslavia
Representative of a specialized agency;
Mr. LEMOINE International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Representatives of non-governmental organizations:
Miss SENDER International Confederation of Free
Trade Unions (IFCTU)
Mrs. BERG World Federation of United Nations
Mr. CRUICKSHANK Inter-American Council of Commerce and
Miss SCHAEFER International Union of Catholic
Mr. GROSSMAN World Jewish Congress
Miss ROBB International Federation of University
Mr. BERNSTEIN Coordinating Board of Jewish Organiza
Mr. BEER International League for Rights of Man
Mrs. NOLDE Commission of Churches on International
Mrs. FREEMAN International Council of Women
Mr. HUMPHREY Director, Division of Human Rights
Mr. SCHWELB Deputy Director, Division of Human Rights
Mr, LIN MOUSHENG Secretary of the Commission
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 3
VISIT BY MRS. GONZALEZ VIDELA, WIFE OF THE PRESIDENT OF CHILE
1. The CHAIRMAN welcomed Mrs. Gonzalez Videla, wife of the President of Chile, on behalf of the Commission on Human Rights and expressed gratification at her visit and her interest in the work of the Commission.
2. Mrs. FIGUEROA (Chile) expressed appreciation of the welcome extended to Mrs. Gonzalez Videla who shared in the concern of the President of Chile for the promotion of human rights. The visit of the wife of the President of Chile to the Commission constituted a tribute to the noble work of its Chairman, Mrs. Roosevelt, and a reverent tribute to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
3. As a citizen of a country which not only respected but defended human rights against totalitarian forces which threatened the very existence of democracy Mrs. Gonzalez Videla symbolized Chile's faith in the value of the work of the Commission on Human Rights and the Chilean nation's firm belief that real peace was dependent upon respect for the rights of the individual and that the international covenant on human rights would represent a substantial advance in the achievement of a democratic world which was safe from the enemies of liberty.
DRAFT INTERNATIONAL COVENANT OH HUMAN RIGHTS (E/l371, E/CN.4/365, E/CN.4/353/Add.10,
E/CN.4/4l5, E/CN.4/415/Corr.1, E/CN.4/424, E/CN.4/432 E/CN.4/433, E/CN.4/434)
Article 17 (continued)
4. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of the United States of
America, recalled previous comments regarding the essential similarity among the
French, United Kingdom and United States proposals for Article 17. In deference
to requests that non-essential differences should be reconciled, the
United States delegation had prepared a revised text of its proposal incorporating
as much as it could possible support of the formulations proposed by the
United Kingdom and France (E/CN.4/433) and taking into account most of the points
raised by the representatives of Australia, Denmark, India and Lebanon,
5. The first paragraph of the revised proposal accepted most of the language
of the corresponding paragraph of the United Kingdom text, the only major difference
being the omission of the phrase "or by duly licensed visual or auditory devices".
That phrase was susceptible of completely arbitrary interpretation because it would
appear that with such language a government might deny licenses for any reason and
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 4
without regard to the limitations set forth in the second paragraph. No standard or teat was provided and, in the view of the United States delegation, such a clause had no place in an article on freedom of information. Moreover, as the representative of Australia had indicated, the inclusion of such language was completely unnecessary to Justify the normal practice of controlling radio frequencies through a licensing system. No reasonable interpretation of the general limitations contained in article 17 could exclude the licensing of broadcasting facilities,
6. The only other changes, which the United States suggested in the first paragraph of, the United Kingdom proposal were almost entirely questions of style, "Everyone" had, been substituted for "every person" to follow terminology employed in other articles. "Freedom of thought" had been omitted because it was covered by article 16 and repetition seemed unnecessary. The word "seek" had been added because the important, right to seek information, as distinguished from the passive right to receive information, seemed to have been omitted inadvertently from the United Kingdom draft Finally, the revised United States proposal suggested the phrase "through splotch, the press, art or any other media" to replace the United Kingdom wording "either orally, in writing, or in print, in the form of art". The more compact and expressive language of the United States proposal seemed more appropriate for an article on freedom of expression and had the advantage of including specific mention of the classical components of freedom of expression.
7. It was to be hoped that the representative of the United Kingdom would not find it difficult to accept the first paragraph of the revised United States text and that the representatives of India, Lebanon and Australia would be in a position to support it.
8. In paragraph 2 of its revised proposal, the United States had' substituted the phrase "the reputations or rights of other persons" for its previous wording "rights and freedoms of others". That addition, taken from both the French and United Kingdom texts, seemed useful and appropriate in order to take care of questions of libel and slander.
9. Paragraph 2 in its revised form was very similar to paragraph 3 of "the French proposal and included everything in the French text except '"in a democratic society" and "respect for law". The French delegation was free to propose the inclusion of "in a democratic society" as an amendment if it felt strongly on the matter. The United States Government could not, however, support that phrase because it was subject to varying interpretations and would introduce ;an ambiguous and unnecessary concept into the formula of general limitations previously employe.
in other articles of the covenant. .
/10. The basic
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 5
10. The basic difference between the French and the United States proposals still remained. The French delegation felt that the article on freedom of information should not be limited to governmental interference alone while the United States believed that any attempt to broaden the scope of the article beyond governmental interference would involve serious complications and difficulties.
11. The United States could not support the phrase "respect for law" which appeared in the French text because in its view that expression was equivalent to the United Kingdom wording "for the prevention of disorder or crime" which might serve as an arbitrary basis for limiting freedom of information. Governments would merely have to enact legislation designating any act as a crime in order to be able to prohibit or punish any expression relating to that act. In" the absence of any possible test or standard to evaluate the reasonableness of such a measure, the United States delegation deemed that provision an improper and unreasonable limitation for an article on freedom of information.
12. The United States could not agree to the inclusion of the la3t two clauses of the second paragraph of the United Kingdom text because it considered that their content was already provided for in the general limitations which had been included and because the last clause relating to the authority and impartiality of the judiciary was an unnecessarily broad and restrictive statement. In the opinion of the United States delegation, the only proper elements in that clause, the guarantee of a fair trial and the maintenance of order in the courtroom, were covered by the general limitations on public order and the rights of other persons,
13. Recalling the United States arguments against specific limitations, she reaffirmed the conviction that a general limitation paragraph in article 17 should follow the same approach used in article 16 and under consideration for articles 18 and 19. The United States was more certain than ever that it was neither feasible nor desirable to attempt to enumerate specific limitations. Action
by the Commission to list specific limitations would almost certainly lead the General Assembly to add further limitations. If, however, the Commission presented a general limitation formula, the General Assembly was far less likely to suggest additional exceptions.
/14. The revised
14. The revised United States proposal represented a sincere attempt
to meet the views of the majority in the difficult and controversial question of formulating an article on freedom of information. Agreement in a spirit of reasonable compromise was of. the greatest importance in the interest of all.
15. Mrs. MEHTA (India) requested clarification of the decision of the
General Assembly in connexion with the work of the Conference on Freedom of
Information. Was it the intention of the General Assembly to consider the
convention on freedom of information or would it replace the convention by an
article in the covenant? The decision of the Commission would be determined
by the answer to that question since the simple United States proposal would
be adequate if a separate convention on freedom of information were contemplated while the more detailed United Kingdom text would be advisable if the convention were to be dropped.
16. The CHAIRMAN replied that the General Assembly had postponed its decision on the entire question until its fifth regular session. At its previous session, the Assembly had found it extremely difficult to draft a convention without having it become increasingly restrictive. It had therefore referred the question to the Commission on Human Rights but had reserved its right to draw up a convention if such action seemed indicated. Therefore further action, by the General Assembly had been deferred pending formulation of an article or articles on freedom of information for inclusion in the covenant.
17. Mr. HUMPHREY(Secretariat) indicated that the convention on freedom of information was among the items on the agenda of the fifth session of the General Assembly.
18. Mr. JEVREMOVIC (Yugoslavia) indicated that he concurred in the general
consensus, that freedom of expression through all media was desirable, but
recognized that certain limitations were essential. He could not, however,
agree with the way in which it was proposed to express those limitations. In
most cases, formal definitions were proposed with such criteria as public
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 7
order and national security. Since" such general criteria were open to abuses by the State, the Yugoslav delegation had proposed specific limitations which would provide for restrictions only "in defence of democracy". The purpose was to limit freedom of information only to prevent abuses such as propaganda for aggression, warmongering, hatred or unfriendly relations "between peoples.
19. Recalling the sufferings of the Yugoslav people, which had been subjected to restriction of its freedom of information from various quarters in modern times, Mr. Jevremovic stressed the necessity for a clear-cut definition of the interests of democracy. Except for a passing reference to that term in the French proposal, democracy was studiously avoided In all the proposals before the Commission. The tendency to gloss over the importance of freedom of the Press as a fully guaranteed democratic right was lamentable. The argument that the concept of democracy was indefinite and subject to various interpretations was untenable, since "public security" was an equally vague concept. He urged the Commission to avoid indeterminate and vague formulae, and to pursue the objectives of the Charter by promoting democracy and the related fundamental rights.
20. Mr. AZKOUL (Lebanon) said the representative of India hart clearly stated the real problem confronting the Commission. It should decide whether it wished to draft a general provision for inclusion in the Covenant, to be supplemented by a convention on freedom of expression or whether it intended to cover the matter thoroughly in the covenant and thereby eliminate the necessity for a convention. Before considering any specific proposals on article 17, therefore, the Commission should first decide the question of principle. Furthermore, failure to present a clear-cut decision on the matter would undoubtedly hamper the discussion on that item at the forthcoming session of the General Assembly.
21. The Lebanese delegation would prefer a general clause if it was under
stood that the article would be supplemented by a convention on the subject. If,
however, the article was intended to take the place of a convention, it would ask
that a detailed text should be drafted in order effectively to prevent States
from infringing the fundamental right of its citizens to freedom of information.
It was apparent therefore that the Commission had first to decide the question
of principle before it pronounced itself on the various texts before it.
/22. In contrast
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 8
22. In contrast to the other articles which had been discussed, the texts
currently before the Commission represented a compromise between a general draft
without exceptions and a text including a detailed list of limitations.
Therefore, the question of whether the article should include a list of
limitations and exceptions did not arise. He pointed out, however, that in the
United Kingdom and the United States drafts, the right to freedom of thought
had been subjected to the same limitations as the right to freedom of expression, which he felt was unwise. Moreover, it was unnecessary to mention freedom of thought in article 17 as it had been included in article 16. On the other hand, article 17 could be redrafted so that the limitations would apply only to freedom of expression.
23. Before those questions of detail were discussed, however, he stressed
again that the Commission should take a decision on the fundamental question of
2k. The CHAIRMAN pointed out that at its forthcoming session the General
Assembly was to discuss the whole question of freedom of expression. Furthermore, it was not the Commission's task, in her opinion, to draft a convention on freedom of information. Its only job was to prepare an article for the General Assembly's consideration which would fit into the general framework of the covenant.
25. Mr. KYROU (Greece) thought that in any case it would be better to draft a brief, general clause for the General Assembly to study.
26. Mr. AZKOUL (Lebanon) agreed with the Chairman that the Commission could not draft a convention on freedom of expression. He pointed out, however, that many delegations had feared, when work on the draft convention had been halted, that if an article on freedom of information were included in the covenant, that would be interpreted to mean that no convention on the subject was necessary. To allay those fears, therefore, the Commission should clearly state that article 17 of the covenant would not make such a convention unnecessary. The assurance that a convention would be drawn up would permit the Lebanese Government to accept a general article in the covenant.
/27. The CHAIRMAN,
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27. The CHAIRMAN, although she understood the Lebanese representative's concern, thought the Commission could not prejudge what steps the General Assembly-might take in the matter, but should merely attempt to draft the most suitable text on freedom of information for inclusion in the covenant. It would then be for the General Assembly to decide if it wished to take any further action.
28. Miss BOWIE (United Kingdom) appreciated the United States attempts to achieve an acceptable text, and she agreed to substitute the word "everyone" for the words "every person" and the words "this right" for the phrase "these rights" which appeared in the United Kingdom draft. Nor did she object to the deletion of the words "the right to freedom of thought and" as that concept had been covered in article 16. She preferred the United Kingdom phrase "in writing or in print", however, to the phrase "the press" in the United States text because she felt the latter could be interpreted to exclude books and publications and was therefore too narrow. She hoped, the United States representative could agree to retain the original United Kingdom wording.
29. She thought paragraph 2 of the United States text could not be considered a compromise. The Third Committee had found the task of drafting a convention on freedom of information very difficult, and it was for that reason that the Commission on Human Eights had been asked to draft an adequate article
on the subject for inclusion in the covenant. Bearing in mind the views expressed in the report of the Geneva Conference and the Third Committee's report, the United Kingdom had drafted a precise text and it did not feel, therefore, that it could accept the more general draft of the United States. She pointed out, moreover, that if no adequate article on freedom of expression were included in the covenant, and if the General Assembly did not draw up a convention on the subject, the United Nations would have failed in its duty adequately to protect the individual's right to freedom of information.
30. As to the objection that the phrase "for prevention of disorder or
crime" in the United Kingdom draft would provide a loophole for arbitrary action
by Governments, she said that in her opinion, the words "public order" in the
United States text, were also very broad and might be used to cloak many abuses.
For those reasons, she preferred the United Kingdom draft of paragraph 2. The
meaning of the words "for prevention of disorder or crime" should be perfectly
clear. Moreover, should any Government, availing itself of that phrase, attempt
E/CN.4/SR.162 Page 10
to enact legislation making freedom of expression a crime) it would be acting contrary to the provisions of paragraph 1 of the article.
31. She was gratified that the United States had incorporated the important phrase "or the reputations or rights of other persons" in its text, hut thought that draft was incomplete on another score. The phrase "the exercise of these freedoms carries with it duties and responsibility and may therefore be subject to certain penalties, liabilities and restrictions" was also of paramount importance and should be included in the article. Furthermore some reference should be made to the necessity of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence in the interests of the proper conduct of public affairs. It was equally important to protect persons on trial by preventing the press from commenting on jury cases while they were in the process of trial. For that reason the United Kingdom felt that the phrase "for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary" should be included in paragraph 2.
32. She pointed out that the United Kingdom had adopted the practice of licensing visual and auditory devices, and therefore could not sign the covenant unless some such provision were included. While the phrase "public order" in the United States text might be accepted as covering the licensing system, the United Kingdom delegation felt the phrase was too vague and general to be satisfactory for other purposes and asked that the wording suggested by her delegation should be retained.
33. The United Kingdom had also tabled an additional amendment to article 17 (E/CN.4/432) which would enable Governments to restrict their purchases of certain types of publications, in order to husband their foreign currency resources.
34. Turning to the Indian amendments to the United Kingdom proposal (E/CN.4/424) she observed that if it were included in article 17, it could be interpreted to prevent the free discussion of foreign relations and foreign policy, matters which the United Kingdom felt should be open to debate by the general public. Although she appreciated the motives which had impelled the representative of India to offer the amendment, she could not vote for it in
that context. She suggested, however, that it might be incorporated in article 21
35. Mr. ORIBE (Uruguay) thought the representative of India had raised a question of fundamental importance. He agreed with the Chairman that the Commission would have fulfilled its task if it drafted a concise article on freedom of expression which would provide a firm basis for the General Assembly's discussions of the whole problem of freedom of information.
36. From that point of view, the draft texts of article 17 were incomplete.
If the Commission intended to offer the General Assembly any guidance in the
matter, it would be prudent to refer briefly to the chief problems relating to the
question of freedom of information. The general concept of/ of information and the
proper limitations to that right should be determined. That question was closely related to the problem of the international gathering and transmission of information. There was the further question, of the interactional right, of correction and lastly, there was the matter of how "broad the concept of freedom of information in the covenant should be. Both the Geneva Conference and the General Assembly in the draft convention on freedom of information had urged a broad interpretation of the concept. It was the Commission's duty to consider those problems and include in the covenant the necessary provisions to deal with them.
37. He did not agree that the phrase "freedom of thought" should be deleted from article 17. The idea referred to in article 16 was not the same as the idea in article 17. As the deletion of the phrase "freedom of thought" from article 17 might therefore result in a confusion of ideas, he thought it should be retained.
38. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of the United States of America, said that she had thought, in company with the representative of Uruguay, that there was a distinction between the freedom to hold opinions and the freedom of thought. If, however, the representative of Lebanon felt strongly that freedom of expression implied freedom of opinion, because a man must be free to hold an opinion before he could give expression to it, she would be prepared to delete the phrase "to hold opinions" from the United States revised text (E/CN.4/433).
39. Although she still considered that the phrase "through speech, the press, art or any other media" could be construed to cover books and magazines, she would be prepared to accept the United Kingdom representative's view and to substitute the words "either orally, in writing or in print" for the words "through speech, the press".
40. It should be noted, however, that the United Kingdom representative was again urging that the exceptions should be enumerated; that raised the same problem as had arisen on many previous occasions. A list of exceptions could never be exhaustive.
41. She found the United Kingdom representative's objection to the words "public order" somewhat strange, as that expression had been accepted by the Commission in article l6 and would most probably be similarly accepted in articles 18 and 19. There was no apparent reason why it should receive a broader interpretation in article 17 than in those other articles.
/42 She could
E/CN.4/SR.162 Page 12
42. She could not accept the additional paragraph proposed by the
United Kingdom delegation (E/CN.4/432). It was universally appreciated that the balance of payments currently affected every area of the lives of nationals of countries in which the balance of trade was unsatisfactory. The United States, as was well known, had done its utmost to assist countries in such a plight. Her delegation could not, however, support the addition of a paragraph dealing with such a very specific condition, the more so as its interpretation might lend itself to abuses. As that paragraph stood, Governments themselves were empowered, without any limitation, to decide whatever restrictions or prohibitions on the import of news material they deemed necessary. Nothing in the article impaired the right of Governments to protect their vital reserves of foreign exchange The proposed additional paragraph was, therefore, unnecessary.
43. Mr. ORDONNEAU (Franco) was glad that the Indian and Lebanese
representatives had raised the question of the exact duties of the Commission on
Human Rights in connexion with article 17. The precise intention of the
General Assembly in referring the question of freedom of information back to the
Commission was somewhat uncertain, but it had obviously regarded the
Commission as the body best qualified to pass on the subject from a general
point of view. Since the General Assembly had made the request that the
Commission should include adequate provisions on freedom of information in the
draft international covenant on human rights, the Commission must draft that
article as adequately as it could; but it was free to inform the General Assembly
that it felt that the provisions were necessarily inadequate and to request it
to draft the appropriate convention. It was out of. the question for the
Commission itself to attempt, in the brief time at its disposal, to draft
anything so complex as a convention on freedom of information. He therefore
agreed with the Lebanese representative that the Commission should state that,
in its opinion, the provisions of article 17 could not be wholly adequate and
leave it to the General Assembly to solve the question which it had itself raised.
44. As he had stated at a previous meeting, the French delegation was in
favour of a text which would state the right as fully and generally as possible, without, however, restricting the right of the General Assembly to draft a convention on that subject. Such a text should be simple,, concise and devoid of lengthy legal stipulations rather than the specific one suggested by the
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 13
United States and United Kingdom drafts. It would-be most unwise to reject
a general text at a time when the Commission was aware that the General Assembly
had the question of a specific convention on its agenda. The decision between
a general by an enumerative text had already been taken in connexion with other
articles; and that decision for a general text in itself appeared to dispose
of the United Kingdom proposal.
45. He regretted that the compromise text submitted by the United States
delegation (E/CN.4/433) did not go far enough towards incorporating some of the
fundamental views of the French delegation. The problem in article 17 was the
same as that in article 16. Every freedom had two aspects: that of the
protection of the individual against the State and that of the protection of the
freedom itself by the enforcement of the individual's respect for it. He
could, therefore, accept the United States text in so far as it stated the
first of those aspects, but the expression "without governmental interference"
was too great a restriction on the second. The views of the French delegation
on that question had always been consistent; to adopt the United States text
would be inconsistent not only with those views, but also with the Commission's
attitude to all similar articles. The same question had arisen in connexion
with article 11, in connexion with which the Commission had rejected the same
form of words proposed by the United States delegation. That rejection had
implied that the Commission had decided at that stage that it would in subsequent
articles recognize the two aspects of freedom, No final decision had yet been
taken on article 2, but the Commission had adopted the words "to respect and
ensure to all individuals., the rights defined in this Covenant". If the
United States text for article 17 were adopted, the general principle stated
in the draft of article 2 would be nullified.
46. It had been objected that the French text for paragraph 3 (E/CN.4/365,
page 51) was more restrictive than the United States text (E/CN.4/433). As
the French delegation had explained in connexion with previous articles, the
restrictions provided by law had been stipulated because it was understood that
such laws would necessarily be in conformity with the Charter, the Universal
Declaration and the covenant itself. The United States phrase "pursuant to law"
gave the individual much leas' protection then the French text did, as legislators
were not always the best judges of the extent to which freedoms might be safely
limited. Furthermore, the United States text nowhere stated what authority
would decide upon the limitations contemplated.
/47. He did
47. He did not think that the difficulties of definition with regard
to the phrase "in a democratic society" in paragraph 3 were so great as had "been asserted. The interpretation of the word "democratic" was quite clear from the context; the reference provided a form of touchstone for the democratic character of governments and would prevent the imposition of restrictions, penalties and liabilities "by an anti-democratic law such as those enacted "by the fascist and nazi regimes.
48. The Chairman had suggested that the French delegation could, if it so wished, submit amendments to the revised United States text; he did not think that possible, because the French text had been submitted as a proposal for the text of the article, not as an amendment to the United States text, He must therefore request that the vote should be taken on the French text in its existing form (E/CN.4/365, page 51).
49. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as the representative of the United States of America, said that she was not objecting to the expression "the restrictions... provided by law" and would be willing to substitute the words "provided by law" for "pursuant to law" in paragraph 2 of the United States revised text. She could not, however, accept the words "respect for law" in paragraph 3 of the French text.
50. Throughout the history of the convention on freedom of information at the Geneva Conference, in the Drafting Committee on article 17 and in the Third Committee of the General Assembly, it had always been the intention to limit the safeguards envisaged to protection against governmental interference. It was essential, therefore, that that idea should be stated in article 17.
51. Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) observed that the confusion about paragraph 3 of the text proposed by the French delegation (E/CN.4/365, page 5l) had arisen out of an obvious mistranslation: the phrase "le respect des droits' de la reputation..." had been rendered "respect for law and the reputation..,"
52. Mr. KYROU (Greece), supported by Mr. ORDONNEAU (France) suggested that the point about the. Commission's duty with regard to General Assembly resolution 313 (TV) raised by the representatives of India, Lebanon and Uruguay might be
E/CN.4/SR.l62 Page 15
met "by the inclusion in the report of a statement that the Commission on Human Eights had concerned itself merely with drafting adequate provisions on freedom of information for inclusion in article 17 of the draft covenant and had never had any intention of drafting a convention on freedom of information.
53. Mr. AZKODL (Lebanon) agreed with the Greek representative that the Commission should state that article 17 was not intended to be a substitute for a convention on freedom of information. Since, however, the Commission on Human Rights was essentially the body most concerned with the subject. such a limited statement might be misunderstood, A statement that the Commission believed that the provisions of article 17 were adequate only for the purposes of the draft covenant, but Inadequate, in the sense that it felt that a special convention would be required, might be construed as a belief that those provisions were inadequate in the absolute and that the Commission had thus failed to carry out the recommendation in resolution 313 (IV) of the General Assembly. The Commission should, therefore, go further and state its continuing concern with the subject. A resolution should be drafted or a statement inserted in the Commission's report to the effect that the Commission regarded the provisions of article 17 as adequate for the draft covenant but not' as a substitute for a convention, in which it still had a continuing interest, which extended beyond the scope of its, duties under resolution 313 (IV)
54. The CHAIRMAN said that the discussion of such a statement was premature at that stage. The text of such a statement must be carefully prepared and might be discussed later.
55. For the vote on article 17 there was no basic text before the Commission. The Secretariat had therefore suggested that, under rule 6l of the rules of procedure, the proposed texts should be voted on in the order in which they had been submitted -- that in which they were to be found in document E/CN.4/365 with the relevant amendments. Rule 6l, however, provided that the Commission could vote in any other order, should, it so decide. Members of the Commission would be given the opportunity to express their views on the order of voting.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m. 28/4 P.m.