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Commission on Human Rights, 7th session : summary record of the 222nd meeting

UN Document Symbol E/CN.4/SR.222
Convention International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Document Type Summary Record
Session 7th
Type Document

23 p.

Subjects Civil and Political Rights

Extracted Text

UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL E/CN.4/SR.222 8 June 1951 ENGLISH ORIGINAL: ENGLISH and FRENCH Dual Distribution COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Seventh Session SUMMARY RECORD OF THE TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SECOND MEETING. held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Wednesday, 2 May 1951, at 10.30 a.m. CONTENTS; Pages Draft International Covenant on Human Rights and Measures of Implementation (item 3 of the agenda): (b) Inclusion in the Covenant of provisions concerning economic, social and cultural rights (continued):; 1. Special provisions concerning women and 4-15 children (E/CN.4/532, E/CN.4/585, E/CN .4/AC.14/2/Add .3) 2. Special provisions concerning the right to an 16-23 adequate standard of living and the right to living accommodation (E/CN.4AC.14/2/Add.3) Present; Chairman: Mr. MALIK (Lebanon) Members: Australia Mr. WHITLAM Chile Mr. VALENZUELA China Mr. YU Denmark Mr. SORENSEN Egypt AZMI Bey France Mr. CASSIN Greece Mr. EUSTATHIADES Guatemala Mr. DUPONT-WILLMEN India Mrs. MEHTA Pakistan Mr. WAHEED Sweden Mrs. ROSSEL Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Mr. KOVALENKO Republic Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Mr. MOROSOV United Kingdom of Great Britain MISS BOWLE and Northern Ireland United States of America Mrs, ROOSEVELT Uruguay Mr. CIASULLO Yugoslavia Mr. JEVREMOVIC Representatives of specialized agencies: International Labour Organisation Mr. JENKS Mr. PICKFORD United Nations Educational, Mr. HAVET Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Health Organization Mr. BERTRAM E/CN.4/SR.222 page 3 Representatives of non-governmental organizations: Category A International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Miss SENDER Mr, PATTEET International Federation of Christian Trade Unions Mr. EGGERMANN Category B and Register Caritas Internationalis Mr. PETERKIN Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Mrs. CARTER Catholic International Union for Social Service Miss de ROMER Mrs. SCHRADER Commission of the Churches on International Affairs Mr. NOLDE Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations Mr, BENTWICH Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations Mr. MOWSHOWITZ International Council of Women Mrs. CARTER International Federation of Business and Professional Women Miss TOMLINSON International Federation of University Women Mrs. ROBB International League for the Rights of Man Mr* BALDWIN Prof. de MADAY International Union for Child Welfare Mrs. SMALL International Union of Catholic Women' s Leagues Miss de ROMER Miss ARCH1NARD Liaison Committee of Women's International Organizations . Mrs. ROBB Pax Romana Mr. HABICHT Women's International League for Peace and Freedom MISS BAER World Jewish Congress Mr. BIENENFELD Mr. RIEGNER World Union for Progressive Judaism Rabbi MESSINGER Secretariat: Mr. Humphrey Representing the Secretary-General Mr, Das Secretary to the Commission E/SE.A/SN.222 DRAFT INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND MEASURES OP IMPLEMENTATION (item. 3 of the agenda) (b) Inclusion in the Covenant of provisions concerning economic, social and cultural rights (continued): 1, Special Provisions concerning Women and Children (E/CN.4/582, E/CN.4/585, E/CN.4/AC.14/2/Add.3) The CHAIRMAN recalled the terms of reference of the Commission in relation to the item under discussion, as laid down In General Assembly resolution 421 (V), paragraph 7 (a) of which read as follows:- "[The General Assembly] Decides to include in the Covenant on Human Eights economic, social and cultural rights and an explicit recognition of equality of men and women in related rights, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations;" Proposals concerning specific provisions concerning women and children had been submitted by the delegations of Egypt, the Soviet Union, the United States of America, Yugoslavia and by the World Health Organization. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America) said that her delegation believed it would be very difficult to avoid overlapping if separate articles on the special rights of women and children, on the right to living accommodation and on the right to an adequate standard of living were included in the Covenant* It had therefore attempted to combine all those issues in a single proposal (E/CN.4/582), which she now asked should be further slightly amended to reads:- "The States Parties to the Covenant recognize the right of everyone to improved standards of living, including: (a) adequate housing; '(b) the enjoyment of the highest standard of health obtainable; and (c) special protection for mothers and children". The phrase "the enjoyment of the highest standard of health obtainable" was taken from the World Health Organization's proposals. All the points made in the Yugoslav proposal were covered by the phrase "special protection for page 5 mothers and children", and she thought there was no need to refer again to the principle of equal pay for equal work, as the Soviet Union proposal did, since that principle had already been adopted by. the Commission. Mr, DUPONT-WILLEMIN (Guatemala) pointed out that the several proposals, concerning women and children reproduced in section V (page 3) of document E/CN.4/AC.14/2/Add,3 dealt with different rights. The Soviet Union proposal sought to guarantee the principle of equal remuneration for men and women, but contained no provision for according special protection to women during pregnancy and while ©ringing up their children. the Yugoslav proposal, on the contrary, although providing for special protection for women during pregnancy and while nursing and bringing up their children, and for protection for minors, did not mention equality of remuneration for men and women, * The United States proposal was very wide in scope, and provided for a wide variety of social benefits, without however stipulating that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work, Lastly, the Egyptian proposal, which he regarded as excellent, made specific provision for equal pay for men and women. As it would, he thought, be difficult to combine the various texts, he was submitting a proposal (E/CN.4/585) in which the remuneration and special protection of women were made the subject of one article, and the protection of children dealt with in another* It might, of course, be argued that the Commission had already adopted the principle of equal pay for equal work, since it was in fact enunciated in paragraph (b) of the second article in document E/CN.4/L.19. However in view of the great importance which women's organizations justly attached to the principle of absolute equality between men and women, he thought it advisable to affirm that principle in a separate article. There was the further consideration that the French text of the article to which he had referred spoke of "workers" in the masculine gender. The several principles referred to in the United States proposal should in his opinion form the subject of separate articles. Miss BOWIE (United Kingdom) considered the United States proposal the most satisfactory. The first clause in the Yugoslav proposal and the Soviet Union proposal were inconsistent with the Covenant, in that they singled out women for a special non-discriminatory article. That might easily be interpreted as implying that women were not included in the word "everyone", and practically all the women's organizations would oppose it, The previous day, the Commission had adopted an article laying down the principle of equal pay for equal work for everyone, and the adoption of a further article guaranteeing such rights to women in particular would be fraught with danger since it would imply that they were' not protected by the previous article. The right which the article under consideration was designed to cover was that of special protection necessary for women in their family responsibilities. From that point of view the first Yugoslav proposal was the best, but the revised United States proposal was more Comprehensive, and she would support it for that reason. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America), replying to the Guatemalan representative, stated that the word "worker" in English covered workers of both sexes, whereas in the French text grammatical considerations might necessitate a distinction between the two sexes, She endorsed the United Kingdom representative's remarks on the danger of distinguishing between men and women in a document such as the draft Covenant* page 7 Mr. MOROSOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) recalled that document E/963/Add.l3, dated 17 August 1948, contained a statement from the United Kingdom Government on the question of equal pay for equal work. In that statement the United Kingdom Government had accepted the general principle of equal pay for equal work, but had said that, on account of the country's financial situation, it had not at that time been in a position to apply it, and had asked for the question to be examined at a later date. He asked the United Kingdom representative whether her Government had since taken steps to implement the principle, or whether it was still not prepared to apply it. Miss ROBB (International Federation of University Women), speaking, at the invitation of the CHAIRMAN, wished to endorse the remarks of the representatives of the United Kingdom and of the United States of America as to the undesirability of including in the article under consideration a provision for equal pay, as suggested by the Guatemalan and Egyptian proposals. She wished also to associate herself with the remarks of the United States representative as to the desirability of substituting the expression "everyone" for "men and women", adding that she had intended to raise the point later in connexion with the General Assembly resolution which proposed that those words be substituted for "everyone". As the language of the Charter and of the Universal Declaration, that expression should be retained in the text of the Covenant. The representative of the International Council of Women wished to associate herself with the above remarks. Mr. VALENZUELA (Chile) feared that to advocate special legislation to ensure the protection of women would be to invite discrimination unwittingly. It might be better to abide by the wishes expressed by certain non-governmental organizations and to make clear once and for all that the term "worker" applied to men and women alike. The representative of Guatemala was perfectly right when, instead of considering the question as an academic one, he took into account the true E/SC.4/.222 situation as it existed not only in advanced countries, where female labour was indispensable and where Wesson had demonstrated their equality with men, but also in every country in the world. Although it was theoretically true that a very brood definition might suffice to ensure the equality of men and women, it should not be forgotten that, in countries with restricted opportunities of employment, women wore in practice discriminated against for economic reasons, or because of religious prejudices. He felt that the Commission should bear in mind the true situation in countries and territories the development of which was not in keeping with the academic criteria advocated by certain delegations. The Commission was not concerned with philological niceties, but with drafting a Covenant which would be understandable to people living in the world of reality. He was therefore in favour of the Yugoslav and, Guatemalan proposals, which he hoped might be combined to form a single text. AZMI Bey (Egypt) pointed out that the synoptic table prepared by the Secretariat (E/CN.4/AC.14/2/Add.3) set out in sections V, VI, VII and VIII, four distinct rights, listed in the order in which they were presented in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States proposal sought to combine those four rights in one article. In his view it was undesirable to do so, It would be better to adopt the procedure implicit in the synoptic table. With regard to provisions concerning women and children, he much preferred the new Guatemalan proposal. In the case of women, the important point was that they should be afforded the special protection which they needed during pregnancy and while "nursing their children. In connexion with the equality of remuneration between men and women, he was prepared to concede the point made by the United States representative, and therefore suggested that the first clause of the Guatemalan proposal should be redrafted to read: "The States Parties to this Covenant recognize that women should have the right to the same working conditions as men and that special protection should be afforded to women during pregnancy and while bringing up children" He felt that the wording of the second clause of the proposal was satisfactory. page 9 So far as. concerned the rights to living accommodation and to an adequate standard of living, he thought that if absolutely necessary they could be combined in one text* In that case he would accept the United States proposal (E/CN.4/582) up to and including the words «... adequate housing." The question of health rights should be treated in a separate article, and might be considered at a later stage, Mrs, MEHTA (India) pointed out that the question had been discussed at great length during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some representatives of women's organizations, as well as women members of the Commission, had objected to mentioning women in that one instance, on the grounds that "everyone" included women, whereas if "women" were mentioned in one place, it would mean that they were not included in "everyone". Hence the Commission had arrived at the text in the Universal Declaration which read: "Everyone without discrimination is entitled to equal pay for equal work". For the same reason, Article 25 (2) of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights referred to "motherhood and childhood", thus avoiding specific reference to women and children. She felt that to draw a distinction between, men and women at that stage, after having consistently used the word "everyone" to cover both men and women, would jeopardize the whole principle so far adhered to of the equality of women with men. Hence, she considered the Guatemalan proposal unacceptable. Mr. CASSIN (Prance) agreed with the Egyptian representative that the provisions of special applicability to women and children should be treated separately from the questions of an adequate standard of living and living accommodation. He would object to any procedure which would involve the re affirmation in every article of the principle of equal rights for women, particularly as the principle of non-discrimination was dealt with in Article 1 of the Draft Covenant and the Commission had already accepted the principle of equal pay for egual work. The. more frequently a principle was re-affirmed, the more force it lost. He accordingly wished to submit a new text combining those submitted by the Guatemalan and Yugoslav delegations It would reads "The States Parties to this Covenant recognize that, without prejudice to the right of women to the same working conditions as men, they are entitled to special protection during pregnancy and while bringing up their children." That text set out the provisions specially applicable to women, not as something new, but as a re-iteration of an already accepted principle. 3y . referring to special protection during pregnancy and while bringing up children, a special rule was established postulating a difference, between the rights of men and women respectively. On that point, he objected to the line of thought which dismissed the pregnancy issue by claiming that all that was necessary, in the event of pregnancy, was that the woman concerned should request a medical certificate confirming her incapacity to work* Whey, he wondered, should women be condemned to remain unemployed throughout their pregnancy? While they undoubtedly stood in need of special care, they were nevertheless capable of • working for a considerable "part of the time. In the case of the special provisions concerning children, he was prepared to accept the Guatemalan proposal. He suggested, however, that it might be preferable to limit them to a separate paragraph, on the general grounds that it would be better not to have too many articles. Lastly, he reserved his opinion on the question of the right to living accommodation, health and an adequate standard of living. Mr. CLASULLO (Uruguay) agreed with the representative of Guatemala. while he understood the United States representative's intention in proposing a text drafted in general terms, he considered that the rights dealt with in that text should be set out in separate paragraphs in order to bring out their distinctive differences,, In particular, it was necessary to specify the particular character of the measures to be adopted to ensure working women special protection. Of course, there should be no undue emphasis on the E/CN.4/SR.222 difference between men and women, lest discrimination be encouraged, but it was impossible to avoid making a certain distinction oh the score of physiological differences, which, in certain cases, called for special protection for women. He agreed with the proposal of the Guatemalan representative that a special article be devoted to specific stipulations regarding children. He also supported the revised version proposed by the French representative for the first article in the Guatemalan proposal. Mr. DUPONT-WILLEMIN (Guatemala) considered that the French representative had defined the issues very ably. Both he and the Yugoslav representative could agree to the French wording, provided that the phrase While bringing up their children" was replaced by the words "while nursing children". Mr. CASSIN (France) accepted the suggested amendment, * Mr. JEVREMOVIC (Yugoslavia) stated that the proposal under discussion 9 served two ends. The first article provided for the protection of women against discrimination of any kind, and also protected women during pregnancy and while nursing children. He felt, however, that the use of the word "children" in the second article of the Guatemalan proposal was too restrictive, and that the scope of the article should be extended to cover all minors. He could accept the revised proposal provided that was done, Mr. JENKS (International Labour Organisation), speaking at the invitation of the CHAIRMAN, said that, in the hope that it might be of assistance to the Commission, he would suggest the following text, which, he thought, took account of most of the points of substance made by the representatives of France, 'Guatemala and Yugoslavia, '"The States Parties to this Covenant recognize the right to special protection for maternity and motherhood and for the development of children and young persons". page 12 There was only ONE thing lacking from that text, namely, a specific reference to the general principle of equality of treatment of men and women. He suggested that that reference could be omitted from the text at that particular peace in the Covenant, first, because so far as the question of equal pay for equal work was concerned, that had already been dealt with in the preceding article, and, Secondly, because in its wider aspects the principle could be more appropriately stated elsewhere in the Covenant, in a general provision rather than in one dealing primarily and directly with maternity and the protection of children and young persons. Mr. WHITLAM (Australia) thought that the text suggested by the representative of the International Labour Organisation would be helpful. He rather regretted that a discussion which had started on the question of an Adequate standard of living should have become narrowed down to the issue of the protection of women and children, He supported the United States text in respect of its form and general content, but suggested that the arguments of its opponents could perhaps be met by dividing it into two separate clauses, one relating to the standard of living. The CHAIRMAN thought that as he had no more speakers on his list, the Commission could take a decision. Mr. MOROSCO (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) expressed his respect at the way in which the Commission's business was being conducted. . The *** proposal (E/CN.4/585) had been submitted only at the present meeting, during the course of which it had been amended, No final version had yet been circulated, and he could take no farther part in the discussion until that had been done. In accordance with rule §1 of the rules of procedure, he. therefore requested that a decision be deferred until the next morning, and reserved the right to make a statement on the substance of the proposal at that time if necessary. E/CN.4/SE.222 page 13 Mr. VALENZUELA (Uruguay) agreed with the Soviet Union representative that the situation was a complicated one. If the discussion was to be closed before the Commission had seen the written text of the Guatemalan and International Labor Organisation proposals, members would be unable to seek clarification of their provisions. He himself wanted certain explanations about the provisions regarding the 'protection of minors, without which he could, not properly pass judgment on the proposals. Mr. DUPONT-WILLEMIN (Guatemala), apologizing for the delay in presenting his proposal, pointed out that the discussion was of such great importance that it would be preferable to prolong it a little rather than risk adopting a text which had not been adequately considered and which the Economic, and Social Council or the General Assembly might accordingly refer back to the Commission. He, therefore, supported the Soviet Union proposal that the vote be deferred* The CHAIRMAN asked the Soviet Union representative whether he would be prepared to agree that further discussion on the Guatemalan proposal should be deferred until the afternoon meeting, on the understanding that all the relevant documentation would be circulated by 3 p.m. Mr* MOROSOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) said that he was the last person to wish to hold up the Commission, but when an entirely new proposal was put forward it was desirable that representatives should have enough time to give it full and careful study. He must therefore press for the strict application of rule 51 of the rules of procedure, and would have, to do so again should there be a recurrence of the present situation. Mr. YU (China) suggested that in certain cases the rules of procedure should not be applied too rigidly} otherwise the Commission might find itself in difficulties* As agreement appeared to be in sight, the Commission might consider waiting rule 51. He believed that a Compromise text could be evolved on the basis of the United States proposal and the suggestion put forward by the representative of page 14 the International Labour Organisation, account being taken of the views put forward by the women members of the Commission and the representatives of women's non-governmental organizations. He also hoped that a final text of the Guatemalan proposal as amended by the French representative would shortly be available. If the Commission was in possession of the two final texts by the afternoon meeting, it should be possible, with the agreement of the Soviet Union representative, to take a decision. The CHAIRMAN observed that rule 76 certainly empowered the Commission temporarily to suspend any of its rules of procedure, but only at 24 hours notice. Resort to that rule would therefore not overcome the present difficulty, and the Soviet Union representative's request that further discussion of the special provisions concerning women and children be deferred until the following morning, must be granted. It was so agreed. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America) said that as a majority of the Commission appeared to want a definite provision on the protection of mothers and young children, she would withdraw her proposal in favour of the suggestion put i Reward by the representative of the International Labour Organisation. In connexion with the future conduct of the Commission's business, she, would recall that experience showed that very few representatives were prepared to stay indefinitely after the anticipated closing date of a session, even if administrative arrangements could be made for its extension. Developments so far indicated that steps would have to be taken to speed up the present rat* of progress if the Commission was to complete its work in time. She would therefore propose that a time limit be set for the submission of all further proposals relating to economic, social and cultural rights, with two more days grace for the submission of amendments to those proposals. If a better proposal with the same end in view was submitted, she would gladly with draw her own, providing the new proposal was effective in enabling the Commission to accomplish something worth presenting to the Economic and Social Council. page 15 The CHAIRMAN suggested that the time-limit for the submission of all new proposals, or amendments to existing proposals, should be fixed at 6 p.m. on 3 May, and that for the submission of" amendments to new proposals at 10 a.m. on 5 May. After those dead-lines, minor editorial amendments only would be accepted, Mr. Whitlam (Australia) said he would support the United States proposal in the precise form indicated by the Chairman. Mr. MOROSOV(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) also supported the United States proposal which he thought very reasonable. Mr. SORENSEN (Denmark) said that if the United-States proposal was intended to cover the implementation clauses as well, he could not support it* as he believed it would be premature to set a time-limit for the submission of proposals on implementation before the content of the substantive clauses was known. Otherwise he would support it. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America) confirmed that her proposal did not relate to the implementation clauses. The united States proposal,, as amplified by the Chairman, was adopted by 15 votes to 1 with 2 abstentions. Mr. VALENZUELA (Chile) explained that he had voted against the United States proposal because he considered that the questions raised in connexion with economic and social rights were so complex that the 'Commission should endeavour to study their substance thoroughly rather than be influenced by purely procedural considerations. Mr. CASSIN (France), while approving the principle underlying the United States proposal, considered that the dead-line for the submission of amendments should not have been so strictly laid down, because discussion frequently resulted in clarification, and it was quite often possible to achieve almost complete agreement on the basis of drafts submitted at the last minute. page 16 2. Special Provisions concerning the Bight to an Adequate Standard of Living and the Right to living Accommodation (E/CN.4/AC.14/2/Add,3) The CHAIRMAN invited the Commission to take up the clause relating to the right to tilting accommodation, concerning which there wAS a Soviet Union proposal contained in section VI (page 4) of document E/CN.4/AC.14/2/Add.3 * AZMI Bey (Egypt) maintained that the decision taken by the Commission sanctioned the separate treatment of the various rights dealt with in the proposal submitted by the United States representative at the beginning of the meeting (of. document E/CN.4/582). He took the view that the Commission could therefore proceed to consider Sections VI and VII of the synoptic table separately* The CHAIRMAN thought that the Commission could consider the right to living accommodation in conjunction with the right to an adequate standard of living. Mrs. ROOSEVELT(United States of America) said that she would put forward text, based on that presented by her delegation in document l/CN.4/5829 and readings "The States Parties to this Covenant recognize the right of everyone to improved standards of living including adequate housing". Mr. CASSIN (France) agreed that it would be wise to include provisions relating to housing and the standard of living in the same article, for the two questions were so closed, linked in the public mind that it would be difficult to deal with them separately. He attached great importance to the problem of housing, which had top priority in his country. He suggested that the words "and ........ housing* ("et le logement") be substituted for the phrase "including ....... housing" (my compris le logement") in the United States proposal, as the latter expression did not make sense in French. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America) was prepared to substitute the word "and" for the word "including" in her proposal. page 17 Mr. DUPONT-WILLEMIN (Guatemala) thought it incorrect to use the word "meilleur" ("improved") to qualify "standards of living" in the French text of the United States proposal. "Meilleur". like its Spanish equivalent, was a comparative, and it would be necessary to specify what was to be used as the basis for the comparison. Mrs. ROOSEVELT (United States of America)' said that by "improved standards of living" she meant standards better than those obtaining at the present time. Miss BOWIE (United Kingdom) suggested that the use of the word "everyone" in the United States text would give rise to difficulties, since there was a minority in the world oh enjoyed a very adequate, if not an excessively high, standard of living. some considered the wording of Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights more appropriate. Mr. CIASULLO (Uruguay) pointed out that the United States proposal, « as just clarified by the United States representative might be taken as a reflection on existing living standards. The Australian proposal (E/CN.4/AC.14/2/Add.3, Section VII, page 5), on the other hand which said that everyone had the right to "an adequate standard of living" made an entirely neutral assertion, since it did not refer to the prevailing position in the various countries. He therefore preferred it. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Commission would do better to concentrate first on the Soviet Union proposal, which was concerned SOLELY with housing. It could then proceed to consider a clause on the standard of living, and subsequently decide whether the two could be combined in a single provision. Mr. YU (China) suggested that the Commission might formulate a test based on the United States proposal that the right of everyone to improved standards of living be recognised, with special preference to housing, health, clothing, food and means of transportation. It would not be appropriate to single out housing for special mention. The CHAIRMAN recalled that the Commission would be discussing a separate provision relating to health later. Mr. MOdOSOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) said that all the. elements listed by the Chinese representative fell within the general concept of the standard of living, to which the economic, social and cultural rights under discussion were all related. There was no need to enunciate in general terns the desirability of improving the standard of living, which was a self-evident principle that no-one would be disposed to deny. What was necessary was to specify the constituent elements of that standard in a number of separate, specific and obligatory provisions. The Soviet Union Article on living accommodation clearly indicated that governments must take measures to improve housing. That could be done by new building? restoration, capital repairs etc So far no substantive objection had been raised to his proposal. Miss BOWLE (United Kingdom) suggested that the Australian proposal, which reads "Each State Party to this Covenant recognizes that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living" was satisfactory since there was a general understanding of all that was implied by adequate standards of living. It was true that housing was at the present time a particularly pressing problem. That, however, might be only a temporary phase. As the Commission was drafting an instrument capable of application over a long period of years, it might be undesirable to give undue prominence to that one aspect of the standard of living. Indeed, if the prognostications of the Food and agriculture Organisation were correct, the greatest anxiety in the future would be the world food supply* Mr. VALENZUELA(Chile) likewise admitted the desirability of *** between the question of living accommodation and that of m adequate standard of living* with regard to the first, he would support the Soviet Union proposal which provided a realistic approach to the problem, and rightly sought to make the State responsible for taking steps to ensure to everyone living *** worthy of a human being. page 19 He feared, on the other hand, that it would not be an easy matter to draw up a satisfactory text concerning the standard of living, which was a very vague concept defying all attempts at definition. It would be possible, by taking a particular standard of living as a basis, to devise a clear and definite provision, but there were so many widely differing standards in the world that it was difficult to say which of them everyone should have the right to enjoy. He thought that the aim should be to improve living conditions in accordance with the economic capabilities of each State. The Commission should recommend a more equitable distribution of national incomes, with a view to ensuring that working people enjoyed a larger share in them, and were thereby enabled to raise their own standard of living. A study of the current position would show that a number of States which were anxious to improve the living conditions of their nationals were being . obliged to lower the national standard of living for one or two generations to enable long-term plans for economic development to be carried out. It was accordingly difficult to reach any decision on texts as vague as those, before the Commission, since the subject with which they dealt itself lacked precision. To adopt them might endanger the successful execution of economic plans aimed at improving the situation, if not of contemporary workers, at least of their children. Mrs. ROOSEVELT(United States of America) suggested that the terms of the United States proposal, which she would further amend to read "Each State Party to this Covenant recognizes the right of everyone to adequate housing", were broader than those of the Soviet Union text. The latter specified that the State alone should take the necessary steps to ensure to everyone living accommodation worthy of man, whereas the United States draft recognised that other bodies might also assist in providing adequate housing, In many cases, indeed, "such a measure would require international co-operation. Mr, JEVREMOVIC( Yugoslavia) thought that a separate provision on housing was desirable, since there would always been a need for housing. He also believed E/CV.4/SR.222 page 20 that there should be a separate provision on the standard of living, which should comprise two elements, namely: the recognition of the right to a standard of living worthy of man, and the need for continuous improvement in that respect. Perhaps it would be possible to evolve a compromise text based on the Australian and United States proposals on that subject. Mr. WHITLAM(Australia) said that he had approached the problem in the conviction that a provision recognizing the right to an adequate standard of living would be comprehensive. He was not in favour of a separate clause on housing, as he hoped that the need for the present pre-occupation with that subject would disappear. However, if a majority of the Commission was in favour of such a separate clause, he would raise no objection at the present stage, but would reserve his right to suggest later that it be re-embodied in the provision on the standard of living. * AZMI Bey (Egypt) thought that before a vote was taken it was necessary to decide the question of principle, namely, whether or not the Commission should incorporate in the Covenant provisions concerning the right to living accommodation, as certain members had declined to recognize that right. Another point that must be decided was whether the question of living accommodation should be included under measures for raising the standard of living of the individual, or whether it should be do It with separately. Whichever way the latter question was decided, it would be necessary to specify whether the living accommodation should be "reasonable and adequate" or "worthy of man". Mrs. MEHTA (India) considered that the Australian proposal was satisfactory, since an adequate standard of living included all other elements to which reference had been made. She failed to see why housing should be singled out for special treatment. If the majority of the Commission insisted upon it, the words "and in particular housing" could be added at the end of the Australian proposal. - E/CN.4/SR.222 Mr. YU (China) agreed that it would be inappropriate to attach too much weight to the problem of housing. He would support the Australian proposal, subject to the addition of the words "especially with reference to housing, food, clothing and means of transportation", Mr. CASSIN {France) said that the general purpose of the Commission's work should be placed above the various proposals submitted for consideration. , He agreed with the Soviet Union representative that the standard of living was fundamentally a very general concept and therefore felt that the provisions relating to standards of living should appear in the first article on economic and social rights. It was in order to meet the Commission's wishes that the United States delegation had combined the provisions. concerning the standard of living and housing in the same article. The Commission should have the courage to make a selection, because it could not hope to include all economic and social rights in the Covenant. It must therefore realize the absolute necessity for an article of general scope. He would therefore vote for the United States proposal, but his vote in support of the provisions on the standard of living would be provisional, because when the Commission came to review its work as a whole it might decide to keep the provisions on living accommodation in a separate article, while including those dealing with the standard of living in a general clause. From the logical point of view, the Soviet Union representative was right in placing the provisions on living accommodation in a separate article. Unfortunately, that representative, with the object of guaranteeing that everyone should have living accommodation worthy of man, had drafted his text in such categorical and exclusive terms, that he (Mr. Cassin) would be unable to vote for it, since its effect would be to rule out individual initiative and leave the State to take all the necessary steps. That world create an impossible situation in many countries. AZMI Bey (Egypt) proposed that the Soviet Union, text be amended to read: "The States Parties to this Covenant recognize that everyone has the right to living accommodation worthy of man." A/CN.4/SR.222 page 22 Mr. MOROSOV(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) could not accept the Egyptian proposal as an amendment to the Soviet Union Text, to which it was diametrically opposed. It would have to be treated as a separate proposal. The CHAIRMAN observed that the Egyptian proposal could equally well have been moved as an amendment to the United States text, Mr. MOROSOV(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) asked that the Egyptian representative's wording be submitted in writing, and proposed that the meeting rise, the CHAIRMAN put the Soviet Union representative's proposal to the vote. The CHAIRMAN asked the Egyptian representative whether he would be prepared to withdraw his amendment, to enable the Commission to proceed. AZMl Bey (Egypt) agreed that his amendment could be applied both to the United States text and to that of the Soviet Union, but in order to simplify Matters he would formally Move it to the United States text. Mr. EUSTATHIADES(Greece), referring to the last statement of the French representative, said that he would vote in the same way and in the same spirit. the CHAIRMAN put to the vote the Soviet Union proposal on living accommodation in section VI of document E/GN.4/AC.14/2/Add.3. The Soviet Union proposal was rejected by 6 votes to 5 with 7 abstentions. Mrs. ROCSEVELT (United States of America) said that the Egyptian representative's amendment to the United States text, on which the words "adequate housing" would be replaced by the words "living accommodation worthy of a*** introduced an element of obscurity. Housing worthy of man in one country might not be so in another. E/CN.4/SR.222 She would give her vote on the understanding that if it were decided to insert in the draft Covenant a provision on the standard of Irving, the Commission would not be bound by the decision to make a separate provision on housing, The CHAIRMAN observed that the possible fusion of the provisions at present under discussion was a subject which would have to be dealt with, at a later stage. The United States representative's proviso was therefore perfectly justified. He then put to the vote the Egyptian amendment to the. United States proposal. The amendment was rejected by votes to 3 with 9 abstentions. Mr. YU (China) said that he had voted against the Egyptian amendment because he felt that it was too vague. He would vote in favour of the United States text on the same understanding as that mentioned by the United States representative. Mr. CASSIN (France) said that, while he intended to vote for the United States proposal, he must observe that the question of the standard of living would have to be re-examined when the Commission came to discuss the question of a general undertaking. The CHAIRMAN put to the vote the United States Proposal, readings "Each State Party to this Covenant recognizes the right of everyone to adequate housing". 9 The United States proposal was adopted by 12 votes to none with 6 abstentions.. The meeting rose at 1.20 p.m.