SYNOPSIS: At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim has made an appeal for Human Rights Week, which starts on Sunday.
GV PAN EXT U.N. building
CU Waldheim speaks in French
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Background: SYNOPSIS: At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim has made an appeal for Human Rights Week, which starts on Sunday.
Mr. Waldheim said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was one of the great achievements of the United Nations. It was proclaimed on December the tenth, nineteen-forty-eight, but it was only a declaration, without the legal binding force of an international treaty. However, such treaties did exist.
These included the International Human Rights Covenants on Civil and Political affairs, and on Economic, Social and Cultural affairs. But only a few countries had so far ratified these covenants, and thus accented as binding the principles of the Declaration.
He said the basic fact was all too often overlooked. He received an endless stream of appeals for help from individuals and groups throughout the world. But there was little he could do himself.
He said the U.N. was an organisation of sovereign states and its charter did not give him power to enforce, human rights. Only the member states could do this, by adopting the appropriate laws and ratifying instruments proposed by the international community.