The Charter and Basic Human Freedoms

Religious world trends considered.

By CARLYLE B. HAYNES, General Secretary, War Service Commission

There is much to commend in the United Na­tions Charter, now awaiting ratification. It will become effective when twenty-eight of the signatory nations ratify it, including the Big Five.

Futile as we know every effort of humanity will be to provide lasting peace, nevertheless, we must sympathize with the aspirations of men to bring it about. Nor should we withhold our commenda­tion for the sincere and patient endeavors of statesmen to create a structure for this purpose.

Then, too, we should not overlook the fact that in the structure thus proposed, gratifying pro­vision is made for the recognition and extension of the principles of liberty which are dear to our hearts. These remain as yet in the realm of the­ory, but the charter is the better for their endorse­ment and recognition. It is really a significant thing that fifty nations, including Russia, should become signatory to a document containing the provisions it does.

Beginning with a declaration that "the peoples of the United Nations," "determined to save suc­ceeding generations from the scourge of war" and moved "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small . . . to promote . . . to better standards of life in larger freedom, . . . to practice tolerance and live together in peace, . . . have resolved to combine our efforts to ac­complish these aims," and accordingly "do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations."

Among the purposes set forth is this one : "To achieve international co-operation . . . in promot­ing and encouraging respect for human rights and for the fundamental freedoms for all without dis­tinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."

The principal organs established to achieve these aims are "a General Assembly, a Security Coun­cil, and Economic and Social Council, a Trustee­ship Council, an International Court of Justice, and a Secretariat."

Among the activities of the General Assembly, which is to be made up of "not more than five rep­resentatives" from each signatory nation, is the promotion of "co-operation in the economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields, and assist­ing in the realization of human rights and funda­mental freedoms for all without distinction. as to race, sex, language, or religion."

Chapter Nine, dealing with "International Eco­nomic and Social Co-operation," is of ,special in­terest to supporters of civil and religious-liberty. Article 55 of the charter, Section "C," provides that the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, in addition to other important ob­jectives in the economic, social, cultural, educa­tional, and health fields, shall also promote "uni­versal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinc­tion as to race, sex, language, or religion."

Article 56 makes plain that "all members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co­operation with the organization for the achieve­ment of the purposes set forth in Article 55."

In order that basic human rights and funda­mental freedoms shall be recognized and granted in all signatory territories, Article 59 provides that "the organization shall, where appropriate, initiate negotiations among the states concerned for the creation of any new specialized agencies re­quired for the accomplishment of the purposes set forth in Article 55."

This important Economic and Social Council is to be composed of "eighteen members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly." Article 62 provides that this council "may make recommendations for the pur­pose of promoting respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all."

It is a matter of no small importance that there is to be set up a council with world-wide authority and influence to safeguard and promote and watch over "fundamental freedoms" in all the world and for all people. The Economic and Social Coun­cil, under Article 68, is authorized to set up a com­mission for the promotion of human rights.

Under Article 104 it is provided that "the or­ganization shall enjoy in the territory of each of its members such legal capacity as may be neces­sary for the exercise of its functions and the ful­fillment of its purposes." More than this, Article 505 provides that "the organization shall enjoy in the territory of each of its members such privi­leges and immunities as are necessary for the fulfillment of its purposes."

It is not without significance that these guaran­tees of fundamental freedoms go beyond the popu­lations of the signatory nations and extend into colonial possessions and mandated territories, to subject peoples and backward tribes. An interna­tional trusteeship system is eStablished "for the administration and supervision of such territories as may be plaCed thereunder by subsequent individual agreements." This trusteeship system, Article 77 provides, shall "apply to such territories in the fol­lowing categories as may be placed thereunder by means of trusteeship agreements":

"(a)    Territories now held under mandate;

"(b)    Territories which may be detached from enemy states as a result of the second world war; and

"(c)    Territories voluntarily placed under the system by states responsible for their administration."

The basic objectives of the trusteeship system are to project to all these colonial and mandated areas and peoples the same rights, liberties, and privileges which are set forth as the purposes of the United Nations for their own peoples, and specifically (Article 76, Section "C") "to encour­age respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."

It seems a miracle that fifty nations have brought themselves to sign a charter which makes provision for and guarantees rights and privileges such as these. We recognize that there are those who scoff at these noble words and declare they never will be carried out. We could tiPish they were wrong. At any rate, we do not propose to join them, but will wait and see. There is much in this important charter to make lovers of liberty rejoice. In any case it is surely preferable for the nations to endeavor to find ways to maintain peace, than to wage war.

We sympathize with the statesmen at San Fran­cisco who labored sincerely in the interests of a peaceful world. We join them in their earnest longings for stability and quietness in the earth. Would that their efforts might result in complete cessation of war-provoking strife, during which the work of God among men might be carried for­ward to its conclusion. Would that the charter might bring about some lull in the storm of con­flicting interests and ambitions, that there might come a little time of real peace, affording God's church opportunity to finish His work.

Consequently we pray that God will use the ef­forts toward a united nations organization to re­strain the wrath of men until His work shall be accomplished, and men's yearnings for peace shall be realized.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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By CARLYLE B. HAYNES, General Secretary, War Service Commission

September 1945

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