Abram, Morris B.
January 1969
Foreign Affairs;Jan1969, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p363
This article recounts the record of the United Nations in promoting human rights. The human rights organs of the U.N. have been great on production but poor in distribution. Since the adoption of the Charter in 1945, making the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms a purpose of the organization, the members have produced a cornucopia of papers proclaiming principles and goals. Twenty years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains a declaration universally praised but seldom taken by nations as an across-the-board program for domestic practice. Paper agreements notwithstanding, the U.N. members are obviously still a long way from real agreement on common standards of human rights. Their commitments to the concept of international concern for human rights, whether in terms of a concern for conditions in other lands or of willingness to accept scrutiny by others of conditions within their own countries, are also limited and conflicting. For the future goals of the U.N., some nations, the Soviet Union among them, insist that responsibility for implementation must be left with the separate states, but most agree that some form of international implementation is needed, and a few go so far as to call for the establishment of judicial procedures toward this end.


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