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Initial Human Rights Efforts Should Be Limited--Chafee


The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was correct in omitting economic and social guarantees from its proposed Covenant of Human Rights, Zechariah Chafee, Laugdell Professor of Law, said Saturday.

Speaking with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt on a Lowell Insitute-WEEI forum, Chafee declared that initial international efforts at establishing human rights should start with "the kind of rights which a court can enforce.

"A court can enforce a fair trial, it can enforce freedom from arbitrary arrest, and it can protect freedom of speech, but a court can't enforce the right to work or the right to medical care."

Chafee continued, "You mustn't try too much at once. If you can just preserve the minimal things which make a decent society, if you have a democratle process you're going to take care of work and medical care and education as reflection of the opinion of the electorate.

"So it doesn't seem to me that you need to have an international pressure authorized to bring about work and education and medical care, but our experience the last few years has shown us that you do need international pressure to prevent people from being arrested in the middle of the night on no charges whatever."

Mrs. Roosevelt, speaking on the same program, attacked United States unwillingness to ratify the proposed Convention on Genocide. "We can't possibly want to be classed as a nation that believes in mass murder, in the right of people to exterminate other people," she said.

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