General Assembly, 18th session, 3rd Committee : 1216th meeting
|UN Document Symbol||A/C.3/SR.1216|
|Convention||International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Racial Discrimination, Protection of Minorities, Equality|
EIGHTEENTH SESSION Official Records
THIRD COMMITTEE, 1216th
Tuesday, 1 October 2963, at 10.35 a.m.
Agenda item 43:
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (continued) 23
Chairman. Mr. Humberto DIAZ CASANUEVA (Chile).
AGENDA ITEM 43
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (A/5459, A/5503, chop. X, sect. II; E/3743, poras.89-145,A/C.3/L.J065-l086) (continued)
1. Mr. RAZGALLAH (Tunisia) said that he wished to explain to the Committee the reasons that had led his delegation to submit amendments relating respectively to article 1 (A/C.3/L.1080) and to article 8 (A/C.3/ L.1072) of the draft Declaration.
2. The proposed addition to article 1 was intended to draw attention to the explosive situation which racial discrimination might create in certain parts of the world. Reliable figures indicated that South Africa was steadily strengthening its armed forces, for that country's defence budget had risen from $60 million for the financial year 1960-1961 to $168 million in 1963. It could be concluded from those figures that the South African Government was on a war footing, -and, in view of the solidarity felt by all the African peoples vis-a-vis the population of South Africawhich thus found itself, as it were, on the defensiveit was clear that South Africa represented a potential hotbed of armed conflict.
3. With regard to article 8, Tunisia proposed that that article should contain a reference to the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples (General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV)), because that Declaration was one of the fundamental documents of the United Nations, and because there was unquestionably a connexion between racialism and colonialism.
4. Miss KAMAL (Iraq) said that the continued existence of racial discrimination seventeen years after the signature of the United Nations Charter was a deplorable but unfortunately undeniable fact. The very, membership of the United Nations illustrated the absurdity of the theory that one race was superior to another, it was therefore entirely appropriate that the General Assembly should express its concern about the present situation by adopting a declaration that would constitute a further instrument aimed at fostering respect for human dignity and freedom.
5. Racial discrimination could be eradicated through Government action and by the action of individuals and
groups in the fields of education and information. The declaration would encourage Governments to amend any remaining discriminatory legislation, and could also be distributed in all educational establishments, for the edification of both children and adults.
6. The constitution and legislation of her country were founded on the principle that all human beings are equal; that principle was also one of the precepts of the Moslem faith, which was the predominant religion in Iraq. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of all countries; the example of Nazi Germany was still fresh in men's minds, and colonialists were still subjecting indigenous populations to segregation or expelling them from their country. In South Africa, racial discrimination had been made an official policy under apartheid. In the Middle East, also, the Palestine Arabs were deprived of their rights and subjected to discriminatory treatment on religious grounds by the foreign invader.
7. Discrimination, therefore, was to be condemned and done away with wherever it existed throughout the world, and her delegation warmly endorsed the draft Declaration before the Committee (Economic and Social Council resolution 958 E (XXXVI), annex). It also supported the amendment submitted by Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru (A/C.3/L.1065) which strengthened the text of the draft, and that submitted by Australia (A/C.3/L.1066), which made it more specific, as well as the amendment of Algeria, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal (A/C.3/L.1068), which appropriately expressed the belief that colonialism should be immediately and totally eliminated. She would also support the first Tunisian amendment and the amendments of the seven Latin-American Powers, (A/C.3/L.1073) which, as the Mexican representative had pointed out (1215th meeting), made the text more readily comprehensible and would therefore strengthen its impact on public opinion.
8. She reserved the right to comment at a later stage on the amendments to the articles of the declaration themselves, as well as on any new or revised amendments.
9. Mr. TEMBOURY (Spain), speaking in exercise of his right of reply, said that he wished to refer to the statement made on 30 September (1215th meeting) by the USSR representative who had accused Spain of pursuing a racist policy. That charge was entirely gratuitousno State had ever made any such allegation with respect to Spainand could have been prompted only by bad faith or by ignorance of the facts. In the first hypothesis, it was not even worthy of refutation; in the second, i was surprising, for Spain's traditional policy was well known. Spain was a country which could be entered and departed from with ease and 'hat could perhaps not always be said of the Soviet Union. It could scarcely be claimed that racial discrimination was unknown in the Soviet Union; the very composition of that country's delegations to the sessions of the General
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Assembly, from which representatives of many of the large number of different nationalities comprised in the Union were excluded, already afforded sufficient evidence to the contrary. Moreover, the international Press had recently carried reports of the humiliations to which a group of African students had been exposed in the Soviet Union. and it was common knowledge that Jews were discriminated against in that country.
10. Mr. KULARATNE (Ceylon) said that the question under discussion was evidence of the unfortunate fact that the Members of the United Nations h?.d failed to fulfil the obligations towards all human beings, and above all towards their own citizens which were ear-ly imposed on them by the Charter of the United Nations. Those obligations had been further clarified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the numerous resolutions that had subsequently been adopted year after year in order to strengthen the Universal Declaration, particularly in the field of racial discrimination.
11. It was impossible to believe, therefore, that any Member which had hitherto failed to fulfil its obligations would persist in doing so, thus compelling the other States to call for the application to it of Articles 40 and 41 or even, perhaps of Articles 5 and 6 of the Charter. States which used Article 2, paragraph 7, of the Charter as a basis for refusal to implement resolutions of the General Assembly could not deny the fact that in signing the Charter they had agreed to limit their sovereignty to the extent necessary for the fulfillment of their obligations under the Charter. It would be pointless to go on adopting resolutions and declarations if they were to be disregarded by certain States and if all the Members of the United Nations did not co-operate whole-heartedly in implementing them.
12. In some countries, racial discrimination was recognized and encouraged by the State, while in others it existed in practice, although it had no formal sanction. In that connexion, his delegation wished to commend the firm action taken by Mr. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, to eradicate racial discrimination in his country, and hoped that he would offer his good offices in order to help to eliminate the various forms of racial and religious discrimination that were still being practised in other parts of the world, such as Viet-Nam, where his country wielded a considerable degree of influence.
13. The racial and religious discrimination from which the people of Ceylon had suffered for several centuries had been gradually reduced under British rule and had practically ceased to exist by the time Ceylon had become independent in 1948. Religious and racial discrimination were prohibited under Ceylon's present laws and, under the constitution, the Ceylonese courts could declare any legislation of a discriminatory nature null and void. Furthermore, no retaliatory measures had been taken after independence against citizens who had enjoyed rights and privileges they had usurped.
14. With regard to the draft Declaration, he had been in sympathy with the United Kingdom amendments to the first preambular paragraph (A/C.3/L.1064), but those amendments had been withdrawn. Nigeria, Paraguay a no Peru had also submitted an amendment to that paragraph and his own delegation was also proposing an amendment, 1/ the wording of which was
strictly in keeping with the Charter and fulfilled the purpose of both those amendments.
15. His delegation supported the Australian amendment and approved in principle the insertion of the new article proposed by the Soviet Union (A/C.3/L.1067). He would comment on the other amendments at a later stage, if necessary. However, while sympathizing with their sponsors' desire to strengthen the text of the draft Declaration, he felt that what was needed was not so much amendments to the draft Declaration, as a change in the outlook, customs and laws of those countries in which discrimination was rife.
16. Mr. JATIVA (Ecuador) said that the adoption of the declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination would fittingly mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by helping to promote the implementation of that Declaration's recommendations which, as noted by the General Assembly in resolution 1775 (XVII), remained unsatisfactory in many areas of the world.
17. Despite the presence of many racial groups in its territory, Ecuador had never known racial discrimination, and religious stripe had long vanished from the country. Representatives of many different opinions, faiths and ethnic groups had reached the highest positions in the magistrature, the judiciary, education and literature in Ecuador, and all had contributed to national progress. Furthermore, the gates of Ecuador had always been and were still open to refugees unjustly persecuted in other countries on account of their race. Ecuadorian legislation was based on the equality of all before the law, democratic convictions were deeply rooted in the national conscience and the great majority of the inhabitants professed the principles of the Christian religion, which taught that all men are equal. Ecuador therefore condemned discrimination in all its forms and unreservedly supported the adoption of a declaration to that effect.
18. The draft submitted by the Commission on Human Rights was satisfactory as a whole, although some changes might be made in it, which, without altering its spirit and unity, would make the text more forceful and more explicit. The references in the first three preambular paragraphs to Article 1 of the Charter and to articles 1, 2, and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were well worded and set out. As far as the amendments were concerned, he supported the proposal by Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru to include in the first preambular paragraph a reference to dignity, a concept inherent in human nature and expressly mentioned in the Charter and in the Universal Declaration. He would also support the Australian amendment which made the text *** the second paragraph more specific, but he could not support the new article proposed by the Soviet Union, which he felt was inappropriate in a declaration setting forth general principles. He hoped that, by modifying very slightly the text of their amendment, the delegations of Algeria, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal would make it possible for him to support it. The Ecuadorian delegation preferred the original text of article 9 to that proposed by Czechoslovakia (A/C.3/L.1069). It would support the Tunisian amendment to the preamble, which broadened the scope of the text, but could not support the same delegation's amendments to article 8, which it felso be restrictive.
19. He reserved the right to comment later on the other amendments and on the articles of the draft Declaration.
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20. Mr. EBAK1SSE (Cameroon) said that world peace could not be ensured as long as human beings were subject to discrimination based on characteristics beyond their control, such as race and colour. It was intolerable that such retrograde practices, which constituted a most flagrant infringement of the rights and freedoms recognized by the Charter and the Universal Declaration, should still persist. Cameroon, whose constitution proclaimed the equality of all human beings, formally and unequivocally condemned those practices.
21. The draft Declaration before the Committee was the outcome of long and careful work, but the Cameroonian delegation did not regardit as sacrosanct and believed that the Third Committee could help further to improve it. It wished therefore to state its position with regard to some of the amendments which had been submitted, and would comment later on some others, which, in view of their complexity, deserved further study.
22. He supported the amendment of Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru to the first preambular paragraph, which strengthened the text; he also endorsed the Australian amendment. He welcomed the withdrawal of the United Kingdom amendments, which would have substituted a mere recognition of fact for a clear affirmation. The Cameroonian delegation supported the first Tunisian amendment calling for the elimination of racial discrimination throughout the world (A/C.3/L.1071), and the amendment of Algeria, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal which stressed the necessity of immediately finding a solution to the racial problem and the problem of decolonization. Finally, it also approved the amendments put forward by the seven Latin American Powers, which seemed to make the text more explicit.
23. Mr. ANZOLA (Colombia) agreed with the Mexican representative that it was essential to supplement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by drawing up other declarations such as those which were at present being considered by the Committee and by ensuring that they were given wide dissemination, for they would remain a dead letter if they were not known to the man in the street, who was the ultimate creator of public opinion and influenced the legislative action of Governments.
24. Colombia's position with regard to discrimination was perfectly clear, for the Colombian constitution prohibited discrimination in all its forms. Discrimination had in fact never been practised in his country, where representatives of all the ethnic groups forming the nation had, in the course of history, reached the highest State offices. For that reason the Colombian delegation supported the draft which had been submitted to the Committee, as well as certain of the proposed amendments which aimed to clarify and strengthen the text. It would support the amendment of Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru, the Australian amendment, and the Tunisian amendment which related to article 1. The new article proposed by the United States of America (A/C.3/L.1070) had some points in common with the amendment proposed by Chile, Nigeria, the Ukrainian SSR and Yugoslavia (A/C.3/L.1078), and he hoped that those delegations would be able to submit a joint text.
25. With regard to the various amendments proposed by the seven Latin American delegations, he approved
the replacement, in the seventh paragraph, of the word "Disturbed" which was general!)' used in such cases, by the stronger word "Alarmed". In the ninth preambular paragraph the word "harms" did not seem to him more appropriate than the expression "is injurious" for conveying the concept intended, and his delegation had decided to submit another amendment.2/
26. Finally, his delegation had listened with great interest to the statement by the representative of the Soviet Union and would study carefully the new article the latter had proposed in order to decide whether it could give it its support.
27. Mr. TODOROV (Bulgaria) noted with satisfaction that the Committee had begun its work by examining the draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and had thus stressed the importance of the question and the need for the United Nations to contribute to the implementation of the principle of non-discrimination. It was important that the draft under discussion should not be merely a series of solemn statements, but should define the measures which States should take to guarantee the equality of individuals and respect for human dignity.
28. Discrimination took many forms, from the most subtle to the most brutal, and in that respect, the text before the Committee had certain gaps. In particular, it would be advisable to mention, in the preamble, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (General Assembly resolution 260 (III), annex) and. as the USSR proposed in amendment A/C.3/L.1067, to condemn racist and neo-fascist organizations. Article 9 was. not sufficiently precise and the text proposed by Czechoslovakia (A/C.3/L.1069) was far better. Moreover, in view of the fac. that articles 3 and 7 were the only ones not drawn up in imperative form, it would perhaps be better, to secure uniformity and strengthen the Declaration, to insert at the beginning of those two articles the following formula: "States should take all measures to guarantee that..."
29. The Bulgarian delegation was in favour of the adoption of a new article under the terms of which Member States would solemnly declare that they would conform to the principles set forth in the draft Declaration, in the Charter of the United Nations, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV). It would also vote for the amendments contained in documents A/C.3/L.1065, A C.3/L.1066. A/C.3/L.1068, A/C.3/L.1071 and A/C.3/L.1073.
30. Mrs. DIALLO (Mali) was pleased that the Commit tee had given priority to the draft Declaration, thereby showing that it was greatly concerned about racial discrimination, which was not only an attack on human rights but also a threat to international peace and security and against which enlightened men were lighting with all their strength. Despite the readiness of many States to do everything to eliminate that shameful phenomenon, which was a source of hatred and mis trust, despite the many resolutions adopted by the United Nations and by other international organizations, racial discrimination persisted, particularly in South Africa, where it assumed atrocious and inhuman forms. The Third Committee must continue its efforts and remember that the Summit Conference of Independent African States, held in Addis Ababa in May 1963, had placed legitimate hopes in the United Nations to
effect the cessation of the inhuman policy of the South African Government. The Government of Mali, con-
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vinced of the importance of the problem of discrimination, and especially of apartheid, congratulated the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on having coped with the difficult task of preparing the draft.
31. The text before the Committee was on the whole satisfactory; her delegation was, however, ready to vote for the amendment of Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru, which strengthened the first preambular paragraph, since dignity was one of the essential qualities of the human person. It would also support the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1068, which would express in a convincing manner the determination of the Assembly to fight colonialism energetically, the first Tunisian amendment, which would give a truly universal character to the declaration, and amendments A/C.3/L.1066 and A/C.3/L.1080. It would also be prepared to vote for the amendment of the seven Latin-American Powers. The USSR amendment, in its view, would strengthen and complete article 9.
32. Mr. REDONDO (Costa Rica) said that racial discrimination and its manifestations were unknown in his country where, thanks to traditional respect for the highest human values, all inequality had been eliminated. Situated between two oceans, Costa Rica had welcomed different racial groups which had always lived in harmony and which had become integrated with the rest of the population. More than 150 years of independence had assured the triumph of the principle of equal rights for all and, in conformity with the truth that a civilized society could not refuse the enjoyment of fundamental rights to human beings because of the colour of their skin, at the present time there was not a trace of discrimination in the laws or in practice. Costa Rica, where some of the highest posts were occupied by Negroesalthough the Negro community represented only two per cent of the total population-regretted profoundly that the efforts of the United Nations had not succeeded in abolishing the degrading discriminatory practices of which non-whites were victims, particularly in Africa, and that even today bombs were exploding in churches and killing Negro children. Hence he warmly congratulated those who were working energetically to obtain for all the enjoyment of the fundamental rights.
33. The Costa Rican delegation, which had been privileged to participate in the work of the Special Committee on the Policies of apartheid of the Government of the Republic of South Africa, noted with satisfaction that the Third Committee had before it an important text which should contribute to the elimination of racial discrimination and for which the Commission on Human Rights deserved praise. Although, in its present form, the draft was well conceived, the wording was not always perfectly clear; it was in fact the result of a compromise between different points of view and the style of certain articles, in particular of article 4, had suffered as a result. His delegation had considered proposing the setting up of a working group to improve the drafting, but, in view of the urgent need to adopt the Declaration and since the present text clearly expressed the determination of the United Nations to pur. an end to discrimination and enumerated all the measures to be taken, it would be better to adopt it as it stood, without making too many formal amendments.
34. Mr. MINKOV1CH (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) expressed satisfaction that the Committee ha J placed the question of the elimination of discrimination at the head of its agenda. Only with the combined efforts of all peoples could universal equality be achieved, and the Declaration would be a useful contribution to that end. His delegation, too, approved of the substance of the draft under discussion; nevertheless, although the text had already absorbed much time and energy, no opportunity of improving it should be neglected. Indeed, all too many international instruments had been deliberately stripped of all force and real value by being drafted in too general terms. The Committee should take care not to repeat that error in the present case, and should forestall any attempt to misinterpret the clauses it would adopt.
35. In the circumstances, his delegation was in favour of the amendments which would strengthen and clarify the text, particularly the amendments of Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru and of Algeria, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal. It also supported the USSR amendment, which should be acceptable to all States sincerely wishing to eliminate racism; it was indeed important to prohibit expressly in the draft racist and neo-fascist organizations, which might otherwise claim that the provisions of the Declaration did not apply to them.
36. In the Byelorussian SSR no one was subjected to discrimination because of the colour of his skin. On the very morrow of the revolution, legislation prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race, national origin or religious beliefs had been enacted. Under article 98 of the constitution, any direct or indirect attack on the rights of citizens for reasons of race or national origin was punishable by law, and the criminal code laid down severe penalties for anyone who propagated racial or national hatred. The efforts of the fascists to make their racist theories prevail had inflicted immense suffering on the Byelorussian people, for a million and a half Byelorussians had lost their lives during the Second World War. He would therefore vote for the Czechoslovak amendment, which strengthened the text of article 9 and was the logical corollary of article 7: since article 7 accorded everyone an effective remedy against discrimination, the authorities must be given the possibility of instituting proceedings against any persons propagating racist ideas. His delegation was also prepared to endorse the amendments contained in document A/C.3/L.1068. On the other hand, it had reservations concerning the amendments of the seven Latin-American Powers; in particular, it considered that the amendment to the paragraph following the ninth preambular paragraph weakened the original text and gave undue prominence to teaching and education, especially since articles 4, 7 and 10 listed other measures intended to eliminate discrimination. The Austrian amendment (A/C.3/L.1077) appeared to be superfluous; on the other hand, amendment A/C.3/ L.1078 was useful and necessary. The United States amendment to article 2 (A/C.3/L.1079) was acceptable in principle, subject to the addition after the word "State" of the words "institution, group of individuals or individual".
37. He wished, in conclusion, to voice his delegation's indignation at the slanderous accusations made against the USSR by the representative of Spain. Those allegations were completely unfounded, and it was common knowledge that the Spanish delegation wished in this wry to divert world opinion from the regrettable and well-known events taking place in Spain. A representative who had taken the trouble to consult, for example, the list of members of the USSR delegation, would have seen, among others, the name of Mr. Azimov, who was
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an Uzbek, and perceived clearly that the nationalities comprising the Soviet Union were properly represented on the delegation. The representative of Spain would have been better advised if he had spoken of the events which were taking place in Spain and which were clearly contrary to law and thus resolutely condemned by the Byelorussian people.
38. Mr. GILCHRIST (Australia) was strongly in favour of the draft Declaration, on which the Commission on Human Rights should be congratulated. He approved of the amendment of Nigeria, Paraguay and Peru and noted with satisfaction the generally favourable reception which had been given the Australian amendment to the second preambular paragraph.
39. The draft Declaration was such an important document that it should be amended only if strictly necessary. The Committee was drafting a declaration and not a convention, and should therefore lay down general principles in a clear, straightforward and formal language which would leave no doubt regarding the intention of the United Nations. His delegation considered racial intolerance to be a dangerous sickness of the human personality. and it hoped that the Third Committee would draft a historic document of lasting value. with reference not to the errors of the past but to the requirements of the future.
40. He wished also to pay a tribute to the wisdom of the Commission on Human Rights, which had borne in mind the need to take special temporary measures for the benefit of certain groups. In many countries of Africa, Asia. America and Australasia there were in fact minorities which, for historical or other reasons. had not progressed at the same pace as the rest of the population and whose way of life, particularly fat the case of nomads did not correspond with the requirements of a modern and technically advanced society. In conclusion. he stressed that the declaration must be drafted in universal terms in order to give It permanence and the widest possible moral authority.
41. Mrs. GROZA (Romania) said that her delegation was greatly concerned with the adoption of measures to ensure complete observance of the human rights enunciated in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. and consequently to bring about the final abolition of racial discrimination.
42. The fact that racial discrimination was still widespread and that, in certain countries, racism was even sanctioned by law, had prompted the United Nations to take steps to end that inhuman practice. The Organization had adopted many resolutions on the problem, and it was to be hoped that in the near future it would adopt international instruments which would eradicate forever the vestiges of colonial slavery, which were incompatible with human dignity. The aims of the Charterthe establishment of friendly relations among nations. the development of collaboration between States and social advancementcould be achieved only if effective respect for the rights of all men was assured. It was for that reason that the Assembly. at its seventeenth session. had decided to invite the Commission on Human Rights to prepare a draft Declaration and a draft Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. She hoped that the draft Convention would be prepared as soon as possible. Admittedly. the conclusion of international conventions promoting co-ordinated action against discrimination was no easy task. but the discussions which the Third Committee had so far held gave reason to believe that mere existed on the part of States a real desire for an international convention on the question.
43. Her delegation was firmly opposed to all forms of racial discrimination. Its position reflected that of its country, whose constitution and legislation proclaimed the principle of the equality of all citizens in all spheres. As an example, she cited article 81 of the constitution and article 327 bis of the criminal code of the Romanian People's Republic, which prescribed penalties for any individual who applied or contributed to the application of differential treatment for reasons of race, language, religion or nationality in the matter of appointment to any public or private office or during the exercise of such functions, and in all other circumstances. Furthermore, her Government. convinced that chauvinism and racism were not innate feelings, was striving to inculcate, in children and adults alike, ideas of peace. equality and friendship among all races and all nationalities.
44. For the reasons she had given, the Romanian delegation accepted the principles underlying the draft Declaration now before the Committee. It was grateful to those who, in other bodies, had succeeded in reconciling the different proposals submitted to them. The draft Declaration under consideration had the merit of condemning all forms of racial discrimination: she expressed the hope that it would draw the attention of all Governments to the economic and social roots of that evil. In addition. she welcomed the fact that the draft prohibited the dissemination of racist theories which aimed at Justifying the domination of one people by another.
45. Turning to the amendments. she said that her delegation endorsed the ideas expressed in amendments A/C.3/L.1078. A/C.3/L.1070 and A/C.3/ L.1072. It was essential to assign its due place to the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, for colonialism was one of the sources of racial discrimination. The text submitted by Chile. Nigeria, Ukrainian SSR and Yugoslavia was more complete than the others, and her delegation therefore preferred it. In the same spirit, it supported the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1068. It also supported amendments A/C.3/L.1C67 and A/C.3/ L.1069, as well as the amendment submitted by Chad to article 8 (A/C.3/L.1081): the last of those three. in particular, fully reflected Romania's views on the importance of teaching. Lastly, the Romanian delegation was in favour of the Byelorussian amendment.
46. She reserved the right to speak again on other amendments; she would support any amendment that would strengthen the draft Declaration's wording.
47. Mr. REFSLUND THOMSEN (Denmark) noted that the United Nations was generally acknowledged as a pioneer in defining and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the draft Covenants on Human Rights and the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly had all helped to present that picture of the Organization and. it was to be hoped, to shake certain attitudes and prejudices. The task must not be abandoned now.
48. Any discrimination was an offence to human dignity and to the integrity of the individual. and no one form of discrimination could be considered less
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serious than any other. Yet in recent years racial injustice had been the predominant issue in the field of human rights and had had the greatest impact on public opinion. That was due to historical changes: the struggle of the African States for independence had unleashed a fight against injustice and particularly against government policies aimed at racial oppression. It was a good omen that that fight had been immensely popular and that the youth of all countries, in particular, had realized that the African States, in ffgting for equality and justice for themselves, were at the same time advancing human rights for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
49. Studies carried out, inter alia. by UNESCO and by prominent scientists had shown that there was no such thing as racial superiority. Professor Toynbee. for instance, had stated that racial conflict was completely irrational, for it was the spiritual and not the physical side of human nature which distinguished mankind from the rest of the animal kingdom.
50. The persistence of racial prejudice. and the examples of persecution of racial minorities afforded by history, constituted sufficient justication for preparing a draft Declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination; such an instrument could not but advance the cause of human rights.
51. The draft before the Third Committee was fully acceptable to the Danish delegation but might be Improved, for instance, by the adoption of amendments A/C.3/L.1065, A/C.3/L.1066 and A/C.3/L.10T1. Her
delegation could not support the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1068, because it was not a correct quotation of the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples. Non could the Danish delegation support the Torsion amendment to article 1. for it was the prerogative of the Security Council to determine what was a threat to international peace and security.
52. Furthermore, the Danish delegation could not support the USSR amendment, despite its well-known opposition to racial and neo-fascist organizations. Such organizations were already condemned in article 9 of the draft; if the draft went any further. there might be some interference with the principle of freedom of association. The Czechoslovak amendment conflicted somewhat with the principle of freedom of expression; the Danish delegation was. therefore, unable to support it. Lastly, she could not support the text proposed in document A/C.3/L.1078. because it tended to change the whole character of the draft: a better place for such a provision would be in a convention.
53. Lastly, she said that her delegation had not yet had time to study the other amendments to the draft Declaration.
54. Mr. KISUKURUME (Burundi) felt that racial discrimination was one of the worst scourges afflicting humanity. Countries which. like Burundi, had been oppressed by colonialism were convinced that racial discrimination would not be eliminated until the United Nations had succeeded in completely eradicating colonial regimes.
55. His delegation supported the draft Declaration as a whole but trusted that it would contain more than a statement of principles as a that practical measures would be taken. Because it wished to see the wording of the draft Declaration strengthened, his delegation supported the amendments circulated in documents A/C.3/L.1065. A/C.3/L.1066. A/C.3/L.1068, A/C.3/ L.1071 and A/C.3/L.1073 as well as the amendment of Guinea, Lebanon and Tunisia (A/C.3/L.1084).
56. He reserved the right to speak again in the course of the debate.
57. Mr. DOE (Liberia) said that the present generation and, in particular, the Third Committee would be failing in their duty to mankind if they remained in Afferent to racial discrimination, which was one of the gravest social perils the world had ever known, especially in the form of apartheid. Every day. States which were striving to promote respect for equality and human dignity found their efforts defeated by the appalling attitude of other Governments or of individuals. The failure which such States had so far met with proved the seriousness of the obstacles to be surmounted. If the United Nations was to succeed where others had failed, racial prejudices which had their roots in barbarism must first be eliminated. But it would be an illusion to think that the march of history would automatically bring about respect for human rights. That result could be achieved only after a long strugglein which future generations would likewise have their part to playand only when men's hearts had been cleansed of prejudice and greed.
58. For that reason. he wished to make an appeal to the representatives who were not entirely satisfied with the draft Declaration. The latter was not intended to be perfect or infallible: but at least it had the merit of being clear and of being based on valid principles. Condemning was of no use: what was needed was to build. In addition, those who were critical of the draft should remember that it was a declaration and not a convention.
59. Regarding the amendments before the Committee, the Liberian delegation supported the texts in documents A/C.3/L.1065. A/C.3/L.1066. A/C.3/L.1071 and A/C.3/L.1072. as well as the amendments of Austria and Nigeria to article 2 (A/C.3/L.1074), the Austrian amendments to article 6 (A/C.3/L.1075) and article 9 (A/C.3/L.1076). and the amendment in document A/C.3/L. 1080. He felt that the sponsors of amendments A/C.3/L.1067 and A/C.3/L.1069 should agree on a joint text. The sponsors of the amendments in documents A/C.3/L.1070 and A/C.3/L.1078 might do likewise: they should also indicate whether their text was intended to be a second paragraph of article 10 or a new article.
60. The Liberian delegation welcomed the fact that the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1064 had been withdrawn. It could not support the texts in documents A/C.3/L.1064. A/C.3/L.1068. A/C.3/L.1073. A/C.3/ L.I077 and A/C.3/L.1079.
61. Mr. Antonio BELAUNDE (Peru) suggested that, when the list of speakers was exhausted, the Committee should vote on the preamble to the draft Declaration before discussing the articles. Such a procedure would simplify the debate. which might be complicated owing to the large number of amendments submitted.
It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 1.5 p.m.