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October 06, 1989 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-06

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Cassin was one of the
founders of the United Na-
tions Educational Scientific
and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) in 1944. A French
representative to the United
Nations from 1946 to 1968, he
was president of the U.N.
Commission on the Rights of
Man and helped draft the
Universal Declaration of the
Rights of Man in 1948.
Complementing the Decla-
ration of 1789, the U.N.
declaration incorporated such
new items as the right to
work, as well as economic,
social and cultural rights.
When the declaration was be-
ing drafted it was Cassin who
saw to it that the term
"universal" was made an in-
tegral part of this document.
This was a crucial matter at
the time as the declaration
was initiated by the vic-
torious Allied powers, after
the war, and reflected their
values. Without the term
universal it would have been
in danger of relating only to
the signatory nations.
Cassin's major role in draf-
ting the declaration resulted
in his being named president
of the European Court of
Human Rights. He served in
that position until 1968.
A staunch supporter of
Israel, Cassin did not let his
loyalty to France, to de
Gaulle, or to the United Na-
tions stand in the way when
the new state was subjected to
unfair treatment.
After the Six-Day War, he
published an article in Le
Monde, disapproving of de
Gaulle _ 's politics in the Middle
East. In 1969, when France
proclaimed an embargo of
arms shipments to Israel,
Cassin stated in an interview
that "France is identifying
with injustice." Whenever the
U.N. or UNESCO unjustly
criticized Israel, he let his
protests be heard, expressing
his great faith in that coun-
try's future.
Cassin was awarded
honorary doctorates by
Hebrew University in
Jerusalem, by Brandeis and
Oxford universities. He was
also made honorary president
of the World Sephardi Federa-
tion. In 1974, he inaugurated
the Lycee Rene Cassin in
As France's celebrations
continue this year, the life
and work of Rene Samuel
Cassin serve as the finest
tribute to the ideals which
the Revolution sought to ad-
vance, and which we, in every
generation, h _ ave to win
anew. ❑


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