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The source of the support for this dam-breaking resolution is apparent from the language of the reference to what they really wanted to study. The basis of this decision, Resolution 1235, lay in the session of the Subcommission in January of 1966.
In the bland words of the official report of that session, the
"At the 475th meeting on January 25, 1966, the Secretary
"During the second part of the 475th meeting, which was
The record stops at the point of saying that the "Subcommission took note of the communications and decided to summarize the debate in its report."
The session was considerably more stormy than is reflected by these words. The two members who were taking high dungeon
at the whole matter were myself and Mr. Peter Calvocoressi of the United Kingdom.
Buried in these words is the first part of three-part strategy designed to turn the Subcommission into an action body rather than merely the study body it had become in the era of the Cold War. The first part of the design was to break up the fraudulent procedure adopted to handle communications. second part was to mobilize the Africans to support a procedure, which in their interest, would eventually lead to action regarding South Africa.
After raising the flag on the Communications item in 1966, we then introduced a resolution in January, 1967, whose purpose was to link the "Violations" item to the "Communications" item which had been the area in which no action was being taken. The linkage was designed to politically respond to concerns of enough members of the Subcommission to be able to come up a new procedure for handling both communications and violations of The vehicle was a
fundamental human rights and freedoms.
resolution introduced on "Violations."
In the words of the
"Mr. Ferguson, introducing his draft resolution on question of violations said that the critical question facing the Subcommission was what methods and resources were available in the U.N. to stamp out violations of human rights wherever they occurred. In his view, resolution 2 (XXII) of the Commission on Human Rights, resolution 1164 (XLI) of the Economic and Social Council, and General Assembly resolution 2144 (XXI) left no room for doubt regarding the Subcommission's mandate. It had been asked to submit to the Commission on Human Rights recommendations and comments as to the means by which the Commission might be more fully informed of violations of human rights, wherever they occurred, with a view to devising recommendations and measures to halt them. The essential purpose of his draft resolution (para. 2) was to ensure that the Commission and the Subcommission be informed of violations of human rights through the process of gathering, collating and evaluating information for varying sources, enumerated in paragraph 4. The effectiveness of measures to halt violations would depend to a large extent on the value of the information collected. He felt that, because of its wide experience, the Subcommission would be in a good position, as least initially, to collect and evaluate information on violations. It would have every opportunity to modify its procedure as it went along, in the light or the results obtained.
"When preparing his draft resolution, he had drawn on the work and conclusions of several eminent members of the Subcommission, both past and present. For example, in 1965, Mr. Krishnaswami had spoken of the urgent need for an international body which would be able to investigate and to assess allegations of genocide, and to take the steps to halt at its outset the deliberate destruction of a group. In 1966, Mr. Juvigny had expressed the opinion that the Subcommission could perform a function similar to that of the ILO Committee of Experts by evaluating the progress made in implementing the human rights proclaimed in the U.N. declarations and conventions. He had concentrated most of his attention, however, on the work done by Mr. Awad as Special Rapporteur on slavery. Mr. Awad had recommended the establishment of a committee of experts which would examine all information on the institutions and practices of
slavery available to the U.N. and prepare recommendations for further action by the U.N. to eradicate them.
"It was in the same spirit that he (Mr. Ferguson)
It is in this context that I introduced in the Subcommission
a draft resolution (E/CN. 4/Sub. 2/L. 456/ Cov. 1) that inter
Invites the Sub-Commission to utilize information in the lists of communications prepared for the Commission and Sub-Commission by the Secretary General under Economic and Social Council resolution 728 (XXVIII) in the preparation of its annual report where it has reasonable cause to believe that such information, in conjunction with other material, reveals any consistent pattern of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including policies of racial discrimination, segregation and apartheid, in any country, with particular reference to colonial and other dependent territories, such lists to be airmailed to the members of the SubCommission one month before the start of each SubCommission session.
It is this formulation which was adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. in its resolution setting up the United Nations procedures for handling complaints (communications) alleging violations of human rights. The particular formulation was designed to achieve two objectives. First, to mobilize diplomatic support for a new U.N. procedure to effectively redress human rights violations, and, Second, to focus on those instances where human rights violations represented governmental policy. I have made available to the staff of this Committee a memoire recounting the diplomatic origins of this formula. I should be pleased to respond in my testimony to any questions in this regard.