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Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Chairman, I am particularly grateful for this opportunity to appear before the committee in support of the four multilateral treaties on human rights, which were transmitted by President Carter to the Senate last year.

If I might say a personal word to you, Mr. Chairman, I am particularly grateful for your leadership in holding these hearings. It seems to me that it is essential that the United States and the U.S. Senate proceed to a consideration of them. I think without your leadership and willingness to commit time at a very busy period, we would have had still further delays. So I want to express my personal gratitude to you, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. I appreciate those kind remarks. I think we all just want to do the best for our country, and that means getting along with these treaties.

Mr. CHRISTOPHER. That certainly is true.

I think I would be remiss if I did not call attention to the fifth human rights treaty, the Genocide Convention, which already has gone through this committee and, for that reason, is not before us today. However, it is a pervasive force that stands in the world, unratified by the United States. I want to emphasize that ratification remains one of the most important goals of this administration's human rights policy.

Senator PELL. I regret to say that it has not passed this committtee. In 1971 and 1976, we held hearings on it. I completely agree with you about its importance and regret, along with you, that, for domestic political reasons, we seem unable to move ahead with it. But I am glad you mentioned it at this time.

Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Chairman, would further action by this committee be necessary for it to be considered on the floor? I had understood not.

Senator PELL. I believe it would, but I would ask one of our parliamentarians on the staff.

[Pause.]

Senator PELL. I am told that I am correct. Unless it was taken from the desk—which would be extremely unlikely, and I don't think this ever has occurred with a treaty-it would have to come through the committee again.

Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Chairman, this is a matter I am glad to have clarified. I am hoping that before this Congress ends, there will be an opportunity to consider that treaty. I would like to be able to consider with you and the chairman of the committee whether some steps ought to be taken to insure that it is ready for consideration, if that window comes.

Senator PELL. I think we have a pretty full platter, but I completely share your hopes in that regard and will do my best to help.

Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Chairman, in addressing the United Nations about the treaties before you today, President Carter noted that "the basic thrust of human affairs points toward a more universal demand for fundamental human rights." These treaties which are before the committee today, all of which have been signed by a large number of countries and already have entered into force, are a reflection of that basic thrust of which President Carter spoke.

Our history and our vital national interests require that the United States be a full and active part of this thrust.

In my brief remarks this morning, I will concentrate on the compelling interests, both foreign and domestic, which call for U.S. adherence to these treaties.

On my right is Roberts Owen, the Legal Adviser of the State Department,

who, together with our colleagues from the Department of Justice, will discuss and detail the legal dimensions of the treaties, as well as the reservations which we have recommended.

Patt Derian, on my left, is the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. She will address, more fully than I, the relationship between the treaties and other aspects of our human rights policy.

The committee is so fully familiar with the treaties that I shall not. impose on your time and patience by reviewing their content or substance, but simply shall go to the reasons why the administration urges their approval.

We do so, Mr. Chairman, because in our view approval is so clearly in our national interest. Concern for human rights is one of the foundations of the greatness of our Nation. Our observance of human rights contributes profoundly to our leadership in the international community as a whole. To preserve and enhance that leadership role, we must demonstrate our willingness to make human rights a matter of international commitment and policy and not solely a matter of domestic law.

As President Carter noted in transmitting the treaties to the Senate, the United States is one of the few important nations in the world that has not yet become a party to these treaties. In the eyes of the world, our failure to do so reflects adversely on our own impressive accomplishments in the human rights field. Even more importantly, our nonadherence to the treaties prejudices our participation in the development of international law with respect to human rights. This not only is unfortunate, Mr. Chairman, it also is unnecessary.

In essence, the treaties create an international commitment to the same basic human rights that already are guaranteed to citizens of the United States by our own laws and Constitution.

U.S. ratification would not endanger any rights that we currently enjoy. On the contrary, ratification would encourage the extension of rights already enjoyed by our citizens to the citizens of other nations, and, very significantly, it would allow the United States to participate

The fundamental rights enjoyed in this country are a product not only of our Founding Fathers' magnificent drafting of the Constitution, but also of two centuries of practice and interpretation. Similarly, the rights enunciated in these treaties will be molded by the actions of the states which are party to them in future years. Unless the United States is a party to the treaties, we will be unable to contribute fully to this evolving international law of human rights.

Mr. Chairman, I would want to stress that ratification of these treaties would remove a troubling complication from our diplomacy. Governments with which we raise human rights concerns, if the treaties are ratified, no longer will be able to blunt the force of our approaches or question our seriousness by pointing out our failure to ratify.

in this process.

I personally have observed in the time I have been in Government that quiet, person-to-person diplomacy provides the primary, and in many instances the best, means to obtain improvements in human rights. But I also have observed, somewhat to my embarrassment, Mr. Chairman, that our effectiveness can be compromised in that important private diplomacy by the failure of the United States yet to ratify these treaties.

Ratification also would give the United States an additi al international forum in which to pursue the advancement of human rights. It would enable us to challenge other nations to meet the high standards set by the United States. We should not deny ourselves this opportunity to help shape the developing international standards for human rights and to encourage the extension to others of the rights we long have enjoyed.

While the treaties are not subject to legally binding sanctions, they certainly do increase the political costs attached to violations of human rights. The committees established to review compliance with the treaties would provide a mechanism through which human rights practices throughout the world would be evaluated, compared, and publicized. These committees will develop a sort of human rights case law, a body of precedent that can give shape and substance to the basic standards enunciated in the treaties.

It is toward this goal, Mr. Chairman, the operation of the rule of law in the international human rights field, that we should strive. Ratification of these four treaties would be an important step to that end. For that reason, Mr. Chairman, I respectfully urge that advice and consent be given to the ratification of these human rights treaties.

That completes my statement, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Christopher follows:]

PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. WARREN CHRISTOPHER

Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for this opportunity to appear before the Committee in support of the four multilateral treaties on human rights transmitted to the Senate by President Carter in 1978: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the American Convention on Human Rights.

A fifth human rights treaty, the Genocide Convention, has already undergone extensive hearings before this Committee and is therefore not before you today. I want to emphasize, however, that ratification of that Convention remains one of the most important goals of this Administration's human rights policy. As President Carter said in a message to the Senate, the Genocide Convention "protects the most fundamental of all human rights--the right to live.” And as this Committee well knows, its ratification is very long overdue.

In addressing the United Nations about the treaties before you today, President Carter noted that “the basic thrust of human affairs points toward a more universal demand for fundamental human rights." The treaties—all of which have been signed by large numbers of countries and have already entered into force_are a reflection of that "basic thrust.” Our history, and our vital national interests, require that we be a full and active part of it.

In my remarks this morning, I will concentrate on the compelling interestsboth foreign and domestic—that call for U.S. adherence to the treaties. Later today Bob Owen, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, and our colleagues from the Department of Justice will discuss in detail the legal dimensions of the treaties, as well as the reservations to them that we recommend. Patt Derian, the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, will address the relationship between the treaties and other aspects of our human rights policy.

At the outset, however, I would like to describe very briefly the contents of the four treaties.

The Racial Discrimination Convention was signed by the United States in 1966. Its purpose is to define racial discrimination, to condemn and prohibit the practice of racial discrimination by governments, and to encourage the removal of institutional obstacles to the ending of racial discrimination.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, signed by the United States in 1977, is a more comprehensive document. It commits participating States to respect many of the rights enshrined in our own Constitution: freedom of speech, religion, association, and movement; the right to vote in secret elections; the right to stand equal before the law; the right to self-determination and to non-discrimination; the presumption of innocence for those accused of a crime; the right against self-incrimination; and the protections of due process of law.

Unlike the other UN treaties, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which was signed by the U.S. in 1977, looks to the future. It commits States to take steps toward the future realization of certain economic, social and cultural goals for the individual. These goals are ones to which the United States has long been committed, including the right to work, to social security, to physical and mental health, to education and to freedom from hunger.

The one non-UN treaty being considered here—the American Convention on Human Rights—was adopted by the Organization of American States in 1969 and signed by the United States in 1977. It seeks to guarantee for the peoples of this hemisphere rights similar to those guaranteed by the Civil and Political Covenant.

All four of the treaties before you today also contain reporting procedures and provide for review by independent experts of progress in achieving the treaties' goals.

As I suggested earlier, Mr. Chairman, the Administration urges Senate approval of these treaties because adherence to them is so clearly in our national interest. Concern for human rights is one of the foundations of our greatness as a nation. Our observance of human rights contributes profoundly to our leadership in the international community. But to preserve and enhance that leadership role, we must demonstrate our willingness to make human rights a matter of international commitment and policy, and not solely a matter of domestic law.

As President Carter noted in his letter to the Senate transmitting the treaties, the United States is one of the few important nations in the world that has not yet become a party to the UN treaties. In the eyes of the world, our failure to do so reflects adversely upon our own impressive accomplishments in the human rights field. Even more importantly, our non-adherence to the treaties prejudices United States participation in the development of the international law of human rights.

This is not only unfortunate--it is also unnecessary. In essence, the treaties create an international commitment to the same basic human rights that are already guaranteed to citizens of the United States by our own laws and Constitution. U.S. ratification would not endanger any rights that we currently enjoy. On the contrary, ratification would encourage the extension of rights already enjoyed by our citizens to the citizens of other nations-and it would allow the United States to participate in this process.

The fundamental rights enjoyed in this country are a product not only of our Founding Fathers' drafting but also of two centuries of practice and interpretation. Similarly, the rights enunciated in these treaties will be molded by the actions of the States party to them in future years. Unless the United States is a party to the treaties, we will be unable to contribute fully to this evolving international law of human rights.

Moreover, ratification of the treaties will remove a troubling complication from our diplomacy. Governments with whom we raise human rights concerns will no longer be able to blunt the force of our approaches or question the seriousness of our commitment by pointing to our failure to ratify. I have personally observed that quiet person-to-person diplomacy provides the primary, and in many instances, the best means to obtain improvements in human rights. But I have also observed personally that our effectiveness can be compromised by our own failure to ratify these treaties.

Ratification also gives the United States an additional international forum in which to pursue the advancement of human rights, and to challenge other states to meet the high standards set by this nation. We should not deny ourselves this opportunity to help shape the developing international standards for human rights, and to encourage the extension to others of the rights we have long enjoyed. While the treaties are not subject to legally binding sanctions, they do increase the political costs attached to violations of human rights. The committees established to review compliance with the treaties provide a mechanism through which human rights practices throughout the world can be evaluated, compared and publicized. These committees will develop a sort of human rights caselawma body of precedent that can give shape and substance to the basic standards enunciated in the treaties.

It is towards this goal—the operation of the rule of law in the international human rights field--that we should strive. Ratification of these four treaties would be an important step to that end.

Mr. Chairman, United States adherence to these treaties would unquestionably promote the international recognition of fundamental human rights. But it would also unquestionably advance the national interests of the United States. As President Carter suggested on the 13th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the two are inextricably linked. As he said on that occasion:

"(H)uman rights are not peripheral to the foreign policy of the United States ***. Our pursuit of human rights is part of a broad effort to use our great power an our tremendous influence in the service of creating a better world-a world in which human beings can live in peace, in freedom, and with their basic needs adequately met.”

For these reasons, Mr. Chairman, I respectfully urge that advice and consent given to the ratification of these human rights treaties.

Mr. CHRISTOPHER. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vance has gone to New York this morning on short notice. Although I normally would like to stay for the presentations of my colleagues, I think with the current situation as it is in Iran, I ought to get back to the Department.

I would ask you if you might address any questions you have for me at this time, before hearing from my colleagues, so that I could return. I hope that would not be inconvenient for the committee.

Senator PELL. Certainly. I understand.

VIOLATION OF TREATIES BY IRAN

Speaking of Iran makes me wonder. Iran signed and ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

As we see its actions in the last few weeks, particularly the last few days vis-a-vis our own diplomatic people who are there, do you believe there is a violation of these treaties on their part? If so, are there any sanctions in these treaties?

Mr. CHRISTOPHER. I do not believe there are sanctions within the treaties. But naturally, in preparing to come here today, I reflected on the events in Iran as they relate to the treaties. I think we must recognize that even universally respected international legal principles sometimes can be violated. But the extraordinarily broad international support which we have received for our demand that the hostages be released, demonstrates again the power of these important principles. I think it also shows the rarity of violations of international law.

It is our hope that these treaties and the rights they protect will enjoy the same sort of international respect that the sanctity of diplomats has all over the world. The international outpouring of support for the United States position in Iran I think is one of the reassuring aspects of this episode. The entire world is standing with us in the demand that the hostages be released.

So, rather than seeing these events as demonstrating the futility of treaties of this sort, I see these events as underscoring and confirming the importance of our establishing international norms so that

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