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July will seek transmittal of the Covenant to the General Assembly in accordance with the program agreed upon by the Human Rights Commission at its last session."
As extensive as the Covenants seem to be in recognizing fundamental human freedoms, they are actually less inclusive of the rights outlined in the original statement of the Univeral Declaration. Recognizing this, the American Delegation involved in drafting the two Covenants ultimately took the position that the final version of the Civil and Political Covenant was not broad enough. Patricia Harris, the United States Alternate Representative to the 3rd Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in 1954 expressed this concern:
"To summarize the position of my delegation, I would say simply that, in each instance where we question these instruments, our concern is that they do not go far enough in protecting the rights of all individuals. ***
“My delegation is convinced that we face a new day in which no government and no people can be free of a sense of obligation to meet the demands of the standards of human freedoms enumerated in these covenants. The United States has from its inception imposed the highest standards and we welcome the opportunity both to test and enhance that standard in the contract of the promulgation of the human rights covenants.” (Emphasis added)
President Kennedy, too, emphasized the responsibility that the United States bears:
"* * * the fact that our Constitution already assures us of these rights does not entitle us to stand aloof from documents which project our own heritage on an international scale. * * * The United States cannot afford to renounce responsibility for support of the very fundamentals which distinguish our concept of government from all forms of tyranny.”
President Carter took the highly significant forward step of signing these Covenants in 1977. In doing so, President Carter called for loyalty to our deepest traditions as a nation.
"It would be idle to pretend that these two Covenants themselves reflect the world as it is. But to those who believe that instruments that are of this kind are futile, I would suggest that there are powerful lessons to be learned in the history of my country.
“Our Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights expressed a lofty standard of liberty and equality. Some of these hopes were 200 years in being realized. But, ultimately because the basis was there and the documents signed at the origins of our country, peoples' discouragements and disappointments were overcome and ultimately these dreams have prevailed.”
As a leading champion of human rights, the United States has particular responsibility to other countries and to itself to demonstrate legal adherence internationally to the fundamental concepts which have motivated this nation since its birth and which have led it to play a pre-eminent role in the development of international promotion and protection of human rights. The United States was one of the earliest and strongest advocates of the codification of human rights principles. It is unfortunate that this interest and support temporarily waned and needed momentum behind these international conventions flagged. However, the Senate is now in a position to take action to renew this nation's longstanding commitment to fundamental human freedoms by ratification of these treaties.
Other witnesses have given compelling reasons for United States ratification of these international Conventions. I wish to re-emphasize one: international credibility for the United States role as a human rights advocate. Ratification would give a clear affirmation of United States renewed concern for human rights at home and abroad. Acceptance of the Covenants and other international treaties will enhance the ability of the United States to pursue a persuasive and constructive human rights policy. Our experience over the past several years has shown the practical desirability of international mechanisms for human rights. Multilateral appeals in this area have the potential for great effectiveness, which will serve to reinforce bilateral initiatives.
Expansion of United States international obligations in the area of human rights will surely serve to confirm the leadership role of this nation in human rights. It is a role, Mr. Chairman, which will reflect high credit on the United States among the peoples of the world.
It cannot be overlooked that the Covenants are as important to human rights in the United States as elsewhere. The United States should welcome the opportunity both to set an example and to undergo serious self-evaluation. To the extent the Covenants set goals for United States human rights progress, they should be welcome. To the extent they provide a fresh commitment to the ideals upon which this nation was founded, they should be embraced.
The International Human Rights Covenants represent an ideal that may never be realized in a world of imperfect states and imperfect human beings. Yet, they have encouraged and continue to encourage progress of human rights goals. Many nations tend to look to the community of nations for help in developing their own advances in human rights. In countries where a strong tradition of human rights is lacking, these international conventions provide meaningful standards and a target for future progress. The International Human Rights Covenants and their forerunner, the Universal Declaration, not only exert an influence on many national constitutions and on municipal legislation, but engender human rights initiatives both within and outside the United Nations. The pace is slow but every step forward is a victory for human dignity.
The United States holds human rights in the highest regard. But those who claim rights must also accept responsibilities. As Thomas Paine said long ago:
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
Senator ZORINSKY. Thank you, Mr. Shestack.
STRENGTHENING ENFORCEMENT MECHANISMS
Professor Lillich, what steps would you encourage after ratification of the covenants to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms and institutions set up by these treaties, or do you believe that they are sufficiently strong as presently written?
Mr. LILLICH. No, I do not.
As I indicated in my opening remarks, I think they ar3 relatively weak. At the end of the road, whether you are talking about reporting procedure or about state-to-state complaints or individual petitions, you have problems of enforcement, problems that need an American input, as Judge Buergenthal mentioned as well.
I think, as Mr. Hargrove pointed out, however, that one could not get either the procedure or the substance of these conventions rewritten at this particular stage of the game. I doubt very much if we would be able to get a supplementary protocol, particularly in light of the fact that the President has not even asked the Senate to give its advice and consent to the optional protocol.
I would suggest, first of all, that we get aboard with the optional protocol. I made that point in my opening remarks. Second, we are in the enviable position, in the context
of the American Commission, to have a member-Professor Farer. The American Commission is so arranged that a state not a party to the convention may have a member. We do have a member that is very capable, very well informed, and very effective, if I may say so.
Unfortunately, we do not have a member on the Human Rights Committee under the Civil and Political Covenant, nor are we allowed to have a member on the Racial Discrimination Committee under the Racial Discrimination Convention. This is not unusual. It is rare to have what we have in the American context, namely participation in an international body by a person from a state that has not even submitted itself to the jurisdiction of that body via the treaty-making route.
I suppose, then, that my principal recommendation would be, as I suggested'in my opening remarks, to get aboard with respect to all of these four treaties, to get a member of the Human Rights Committee and the Racial Discrimination Committee, and to ratify the optional protocol to the Civil and Political Covenant to make it more effective. Then we will see how these conventions emerge, how the substantive standards are clarified in the future years, and
how the procedural devices work out in action. Some of them, of course, only have been in operation for 1 or 3 years, depending upon whether we are talking about the American Convention or the Civil and Political Covenant.
Perhaps later we can make additional suggestions, but I think we now would be ill-advised as well as in a poor position to suggest new practical steps for enforcing these treaties, as we are not aboard right at this particular stage of the game.
Senator ZORINSKY. Thank you.
Mr. Lillich, I have one question to ask you, but I would like to make a brief statement first.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask unanimous consent that I may introduce a man whom I consider to be one of our most distinguished Americans. Similarly, I would make the same request with another witness.
I consider these hearings extremely important and am very grateful to the witnesses who are giving us their expert views.
These covenants are of the same genre, really, and run parallel to the concerns regarding human rights expressed in the Genocide Convention which, for so many years and for the last few years with absolutely no reason, has remained pending on the Senate calendar only because we cannot produce in writing a two-thirds vote of the Senate to assure the leadership that it will be ratified. I think we are completely ready to ratify the Genocide Convention now.
I would like to express my full agreement with the many witnesses who have said that it clearly is shameful that we, who have tried to do so much for human rights in our laws, hesitate, like some great jumper at the barrier and refuse to make the jump. I hope very much that the body of testimony on these four treaties may get us over that hurdle and put the United States out in the forefront where its enormous moral power, as well as economic and political power, may be used in the interest of what should be universal human rights.
Again, I express my gratitude to the distinguished men and women who have testified and who are testifying today. I promise them that there are members of the Senate who will fight very hard to realize these assurances for the individual, whoever he may be, and wherever he may be, including individuals in Communist countries who are institutionally denied these rights, so that they may be truly universal. We may not live to see it, but I know our work will continue and will be successful.
Now, Mr. Chairman, as to the individuals at today's hearing. Roger Baldwin, listed on our agenda as founder and first executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, is now in his 96th year. In our city he is considered one of the most exciting personalities of our time.
Mr. Chairman, I know his testimony will be most valuable and enlightening to the committee. He himself is literally a statue of human rights, representing values much like the Statue of Liberty. He represents the complete history of the struggle in our time in this particular field.
Another witness I would like to introduce to the committee is Sidney Liskofsky, of the American Jewish Committee and the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, because of the work he has done and because of the expertise of the organizations he represents which have made enviable advances in the field.
We have very complete representation from the Council of Churches, the U.S. Catholic Conference, and the Lutheran Council, and I would like to congratulate all of these clergymen for testifying. The only reason I mention the Jewish organizations is because I am Jewish and am intimately familiar with the detailed, steady and effective work, of their particular efforts. I am also, of course, very well acquainted with the work of the other groups represented here today. We owe a great debt to the churches which represent, of course, the great preponderance of the population of our country and of the world, for enlisting themselves, as they have, so effectively and with such tremendous influence in this struggle.
I thank the Chair.
SELF-EXECUTING NATURE OF THE TREATY
Professor Lillich, I have one question to ask you.
We are going to great lengths in these matters to include reservations in these treaties, and there are two that interest me greatly. One is the reservation which makes it clear that these treaties are not self-executing.
My question is this. As an authority-and I hope other witnesses who are authorities in the matter will give us their considered judg. ment on this, including the other witnesses who are yet to testify-if the President in sending us the treaty stipulates as a reservation that the treaty is non-self-executing, in international law, does that or does it not make the treaty non-self-executing so that it could not be properly argued that, notwithstanding the President's request for a reservation, it is, nonetheless, self-executing?
Mr. L:LLICH. Senator, may I exercise my professorial role here and make some preliminary remarks before I answer your question as
Senator Javits. Certainly.
Mr. LILLICH. First of all, if I may, without undue flattery and as a former constituent, I would like to compliment you on your participation particularly in the hearings on the Genocide Convention. Two years ago, the last time the committee reported out that convention, with the same four understandings which have been on deck since 1971, you made a most eloquent statement in which you said that it made your blood run cold to see the Senate dilly and dally. We have seen very recently, and are seeing right now, acts of massive genocide. I, too, think it is a national disgrace. It makes my blood run cold that the Senate has not taken action on this particular treaty.
As a citizen, I must say that one feels very distressed, extremely distressed, to see, as we sit here today, the lack of concern demonstrated by other Senators with respect to these hearings.
Any suggestions you can make to us, either as individuals or as representatives of universities and groups, as to how we can raise the level of domestic concern about these treaties which, after all, are part of the civil rights package with which we have been concerned in this country for 25 years, I for one, certainly would appreciate.
Senator Javits. First, may I thank you very much for your personal remarks. But I think you are being a little unfair to my colleagues.
Mr. Lillich. I knew you would say that.
I will be leaving this hearing almost immediately to attend a hearing of a once-in-a-lifetime proposition. It is the White House Conference on Libraries. The hearing will take place at a hotel in town because there are so many delegates who will be attending. There are two committees which are going to that hearing.
Senator Zorinsky was very gracious to relieve Senator Pell, who would have presided at this hearing except he is going directly to that White House Conference. I just started a bit earlier, that is all.
There are other Senators with other responsibilities, including & candidacy for President, which is a great American tradition, and which demands that the Senator be away for that purpose. He is entitled to be away for that purpose.
So, I think one must be selective.
Second, and perhaps more to the point, as to your concern about these treaties, I think the situations in Cambodia and Iran-in Tehran, where our hostages are being held, and in Cambodia, where genocide of the Khmer people is right now in progress--are so shocking to the American intelligence that if you, as experts, could connect in an eloquent way those events with these treaties, demonstrate that connection to our people, and demonstrate how the world's attitude might be different, at least the record would be different, so that a standard would be erected to which many nations can be called and some would respond.
I think this is a very crucial time. I can tell you now that if my colleagues will work and cooperate, I will do my utmost, if, as, and when we report out any of these treaties, to try again to report out the Genocide Convention. Perhaps this time we will be successful.
I have been in the Senate alone for 23 years, and I know of no more propitious time to try. So, with humility, because I have been beaten over the head on this matter, and with a special tribute to my hero in this matter, Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin, who every day calls to the Senate's attention our dereliction to Americans and to the human race in not ratifying the Genocide Convention, I think we have reason for some hope.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LILLICH. Certainly.I would just like first to take up another point briefly, realizing that I cannot press the professorial prerogative which I have, much further.
Mr. Baldwin's presence today indicates to me very graphically the linkage of civil rights and international human rights which often is not adequately perceived. Really, what we are talking about when we talk about the ratification of these treaties is working for civil rights on an international basis. It is just that. There is a linkage that has not been perceived. There is no doubt also that in certain quarters there is opposition to these conventions. It is not just because they are international, but because what they would be doing, particularly if they have domestic impact, in effect would be to write civil rights legislation or at least put the potential of civil rights legislation into the U.S. statute books.