Communications and Petitions Now in the Secretariat of the United Nation

6 August 1953

The 12th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 4-8 August, 1953 in Paris, France:

The XII International Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom meeting in Paris, August 4-8th, 1953,

Is shocked to earn that there are in the files of the Secretariat of the United Nations thousands of Communications and Petitions which, due to lack of instructions from the competent organs of the United Nations, cannot be adequately handled;

Notes Articles 62 par. 2 of the United Nations Charter which authorizes the Economic and Social Council “to make recommendations for the purpose of promoting respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all”, thus providing the legal basis for action on the part of the Economic and Social Council;

Supports the proposal made to the Commission on Human Rights that a series of categories be set up to deal with the substance of the Communications and the underlying problems and principles revealed. 

This Congress suggests:

That the organ of the United Nations entrusted with handling Communications should classify them according to the underlying problems and principles involved and thereby minimize and discourage the odium of insult, accusation and attack in order to eliminate the widespread fear of mutual recrimination and scornful abuse;

That the concern of those in charge of processing Communications, rather than focusing attention on the charges of violations, should be to give a stronger sense of security to the victims of any violations; develop a greater realization of the significance of individual Human rights and stress the importance of the obligations assumed by those who signed the United Nations Charter.

This Congress shares the distress of the persecuted and oppressed who have looked to the United Nations for redress of their grievances and, realizing that it may take years to ratify the Covenants on Human Rights,

Urgently appeals to the Member States of the United Nations to exercise their good will and imagination and give to the UN Secretariat prompt instructions for action on the Communications now in the hands of the Secretary General.