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other country say whatever the bilateral relations are, let's get this multilateral problem out of the way. This is something that affects
IRANIAN SITUATION AND THE HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES
Senator ZORINSKY. Regarding your reference to Iran, the Government of Iran signed and ratified the Civil and Political Rights Covenant, the Economic and Social Rights Covenant, and the Convention on Racial Discrimination. Is the Government of Iran flagrantly violating these treaties or do they rationalize the taking of hostages in some way to be consistent with these treaties?
Ambassador McHENRY. I do not want to address what their position is with regard to these particular treaties. I am not sure that the new government has stated any position on the treaties.
One thing is clear. They are in flagrant violation of a number of other treaties. I think the sooner they start observing those treaties, the sooner our hostages will be released, and the sooner we can get on to a discussion of whatever bilateral differences exist between the United States and Iran.
Senator ZORINSKY. Thank you.
Senator Javits. Mr. Chairman, I am delighted I was caught at the door when I was about to leave.
Mr. Ambassador, I had heard you were here and wanted to be here for your appearance.
CONNECTION OF GENOCIDE TREATY AND HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES
We were discussing the Genocide Treaty and its connection with these treaties. Would you give us your view on that, please?
Ambassador McHENRY. As you know, Senator, the Genocide Treaty has a special background and a peculiar importance. It is not only important in historical terms, but I think it is important in terms of the future.
For example, we have had a number of efforts to try and define whether genocide has taken place in a number of other situations in recent times. There has been some difficulty with doing so, in part because there has not been sufficient agreement with regard to a definition of genocide.
I think it is important for us to have a standard around which the international community can rally in circumstances where there is outrageous conduct, such as took place in World War II, such as took place in Uganda, and such as may be taking place right now in Kampuchea.
Senator JAVITS. Would you in any way link it with these treaties, or would you let it stand alone as it has been pending for so long?
Ambassador McHENRY. I think I would leave it alone, Senator. I think it would be useful if we got to ratifying that treaty, but I would not link it.
Senator JAVITS. You would leave it a freestanding treaty, as distinguished from these treaties?
Ambassador McHENRY. Yes.
Senator Javits. Gentlemen, would you all please forgive me, but I must leave now to attend another meeting which is also an important one.
COVENANT OPEN TO SIGNATURE BY ANY MEMBER OF UNITED NATIONS
Senator ZORINSKY. Mr. Ambassador, article 48 of the Civil and Political Covenant stipulates that this covenant is open for signature by any state that is a member of the United Nations or party to the International Court of Justice or which has been invited by the General Assembly of the United Nations to become a party to the present covenant. Does this mean that if the United Nations decided to invite a group, such as the Palestine Liberation Organization, it would be allowed to be a party to the covenant?
Ambassador McHENRY. Senator, I am not particularly familiar with that in detail to answer with any authority on it.
Senator ZORINSKY. Mr. Ambassador, then would you be able to submit an answer in writing to the committee upon further research and reflection?
Ambassador McHENRY. I would be glad to do so. [The information referred to follows:] COVENANT OPEN FOR SIGNATURE BY ANY MEMBER OF U.N. OR PARTY TO ICJ
[Supplied by Department of State) The answer to the question is determined by the fact that Article 48 specifically pertains to signature and ratification of the Covenant by any “State." As concerns an invitation by the General Assembly, Article 48 provides for signature by “any other State which has been invited by the General Assembly of the United
Nations to become a party to the present Covenant.” Since a group such as the Palestine Liberation Organization is not a State and has never been so recognized by the U.N. General Assembly, Article 48 would be inapplicable. For example, Resolution 3237 (XXIX) adopted in 1974, which provided for observer status for the Palestine Liberation Organization, has been applied to allow for participation by the PLO in the sessions and work of the General Assembly and other international conferences not as a non-member State of the United Nations but as a national liberation movement.
Senator ZORINSKY. As you obviously can attest, the United Nations and its subunits increasingly have become politicized, and this has precipitated threats of American withdrawal from various U.N. organizations.
Is it your feeling that these new enforcement institutions would not likewise become politicized?
Ambassador McHENRY. Senator, there is always the danger that any institution which we create can at one time or another have more or less political overtones to it. One thing is clear. The judgment as to whether it is politicized frequently depends on where one is sitting and what end one winds up with regarding a vote.
I think if we were to ask the Soviet Union, it would say that many of these organizations have been politicized long before now. It would say that simply because in many instances it felt that its view was not being adhered to.
We have increasingly felt that some of the organizations are more politicized than they should be, that they ought to stick with the technical aspects of the questions which they were designed to hear.
I think one runs the risk, candidly, of politicization. But I think it is a risk which is worth running. I think in the long run I would rather have the treaties than be concerned about the risk of too much politics involved in them.
Senator ZORINSKY. Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for taking the time from your busy schedule to appear here today. I know it is very hectic and these are trying times. You certainly have your work cut out for you.
I want to thank you for being here at these hearings.
Ambassador McHENRY. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and particularly I thank you for taking me at such short notice.
Senator ZORINSKY. You are quite welcome.
God be with you. It is going to take the wisdom of Solomon to resolve some of the issues confronting us today.
I wish to thank our witness panel for its indulgence. I will resume the panel's testimony by calling now upon Mr. Liskofsky for his presentation. STATEMENT OF SIDNEY LISKOFSKY, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS ADVISORY COUNCIL, NEW YORK, N.Y.
Mr. LISKOFSKY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am here on behalf of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council which comprises some 107 constituent local community relations councils and 11 national agencies. I would mention just some of these national agencies. They include the American Jewish Committee; the American Jewish Congress; the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League. I believe the director of the B'nai B'rith Washington office, Mr. Warren Eisenberg, is here in the audience. They include also the Hadassah; the Jewish Labor Committee; the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.; the National Council of Jewish Women; and several other organizations.
Mr. Chairman, the Jewish communities of the world have been concerned with the field of international human rights for a long time. Their interest in developing international norms reaches back as far as the Congress of Vienna, when they tried to get provisions for safeguarding the rights of religious groups into the Treaty of Vienna.
American Jewish organizations were very active in seeking the minority rights treaties after First World War I and sought actively to obtain effective provisions for the promotion and protection of human rights in the United Nations Chapter.
Presently, they strongly support U.S. ratification of the treaties which are the subject of these hearings.
We believe that U.S. ratification of these four treaties would serve two broad purposes that are integral to our historic tradition in acting as a beacon for advancement of human rights.
First, ratification will enable our Government more effectively to protest serious human rights violations in other countries. Such protest would be especially appropriate with respect to those governments which have ratified the treaties but pay no heed to their provisions. Criticism or public denunciation of noncompliance and of flagrant violations inevitably lack credibility if the United States itself has failed to ratify these basic human rights treaties. It is an anachronism that they should be ratified in large numbers by governments which flout them while the United States stands aside.
Second, ratification will permit our country to participate in the implementing organs of the first two treaties, the Committee on Racial Discrimination under the Racial Convention and the Human Rights Committee under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
While these treaties have very limited compliance functions, they nevertheless, we believe, can serve useful purposes. They also constitute the embryo of more meaningful international human rights structures.
Active U.S. participation in them would enable us to participate at a still early stage in the evolving international jurisprudence of human rights.
We regret that in submitting these treaties to the Senate the President did not at the same time submit the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This Protocol enables individual victims of human rights violations, after exhausting all available domestic remedies, to appeal in their individual capacities to the Human Rights Committee established by article 28 of the covenant.
In view of the understandable reluctance of governments to complain against other governments lest they elicit
resentful, retaliatory complaints, the right of individual petition is generally accepted to be a more hopeful form of implementation than the right of state-tostate complaint. In building the right of individual petition into the body of the American Convention on Human Rights on a mandatory basis, while denoting as optional the right of state-to-state complaint, states parties to that convention have agreed to a more meaningful system of implementation than that provided in the other conventions.
We hope the Senate will approve the voluntary declaration envisaged in article 14 of the Convention on Racial Discrimination, recognizing the competence of its implementing committee to consider communications from individual petitioners.
Finally, we hope the Senate will seriously consider approving the voluntary declaration referred to in article 62 of the American Convention, by which it would accept the jurisdiction of the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights.
Mr. Chairman, in recommending ratification of these four important treaties, we are mindful of the Senate's experience with the earlier, and equally important, human rights treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
To recall the history of the Genocide Convention in the U.S. Senate is not encouraging, to understate that melancholy record. That convention, largely drafted and promoted at the United Nations by the American delegation, was first submitted to the Senate by President Truman 30 years ago.
After hearings in February 1950, a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended ratification, yet nothing happened. That treaty was shelved, together with every proposed human rights treaty, following an unfortunate pledge by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in April 1953 that the administration would in the future no longer support the use of the treaty method for promoting human rights.
It was not until 20 years later that this policy, as applied to the Genocide Convention, was formally reversed. In 1970, President Nixon again urged the Senate to provide consent to ratification of the Genocide Treaty. Once again, hearings were held in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with support coming from virtually every responsible civic organization.
The Foreign Relations Committee in May 1971, recommended ratification by an overwhelming vote. That was 8 years ago. Again, nothing happened.
This long and dismal record scarcely can evoke pride in our legislative institutions and in our commitment to human rights. The United States remains the only democratic state in the world that has failed to ratify the Genocide Convention. The failure, as has been pointed out, has acutely embarrassed our representatives at the United Nations and at other international fora. The failure profoundly challenges and undermines the image of the United States as a champion of human rights and the moral leader of the free world.
In consequence, while these hearings are centered on the four treaties, ratification being endorsed by us, we strongly urge this committee to give priority to prodding the Senate leadership and the Senate as a whole to move speedily toward early ratification of the Genocide Convention.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SIDNEY LISKOFSKY
On behalf of the 107 constituent community relations councils and eleven national agencies within the National Jewish Community
Relations Advisory Council. Human rights has been affirmed at the highest level of our Government as 'the soul of our foreign policy.” Essential to the promotion and protection of human rights is the vigorous support of international standards and international law which define and codify rights and freedoms.
The United States has appropriately championed the standards incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Helsinki Final Act. But it has been dilatory, far too dilatory, in undergirding these standards, whose force is principally moral and political, through ratification of legally-binding international instruments.
Four international instruments are the subject of these hearings and merit our special interest—the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights. All four of the conventions are in force, having received the required number of ratifications. If the U.S. Government has displayed its commitment to the purposes of these instruments by affixing its signature to them, it is time to transform that commitment into treaty obligations by ratification. We strongly recommend this course of action.
The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which the United States signed in January 1966, constitutes a comprehensive series of undertakings designed to remove discrimination on racial grounds in every area of public life.
The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights codifies principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights especially those which define what governments must not do to their people and what they must do to guarantee minimum standards of freedom. As pointed out in the State Departments Letter of Transmittal of December 17, 1977, “the rights guaranteed are those civil and political rights with which the United States and the western liberal democratic tradition have always been associated."
The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights basically codifies various goals toward which governments should and must strive, but which are to be achieved progressively rather than through immediate implementation. Both Covenants were signed by President Carter in October 1977 with the suggestion that they "created a momentum towards the realization of the hopes that they offered.”