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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2625

Senator HANNAN - Is the Attorney-General aware that savage racist persecution of Russia's Jewish minority is still taking place? Is he aware that the most recent significant victims are Mr Valery Panov and his wife who have been dismissed from the Kirov Ballet and suffered other persecution because they applied to migrate from Russia to Israel? I ask the Minister, as an international advocate who has appeared successfully at The Hague: Is it not a fact that the Soviet Constitution provides that every citizen shall be free to leave the Soviet? Is not a similar resolution embodied in the International Covenant on Human Rights? Can the Minister explain the different attitudes of this Government to racism in Russia and racism in South Africa?

Senator MURPHY - It is true that the International Covenant on Human Rights provides for the freedom of persons to leave a country and to return to it. It is true that this is embodied in many other statements of human rights. I accept what the honourable senator said about the Constitution of the Soviet Union. As to any international enforcement of the various rights which are stated in the International Covenant, except, I think, under the provisions of the judicial tribunal which has been set up to deal with human rights in Europe there is very little provision for enforcement of such rights. I am not aware of the particular circumstances to which the honourable senator referred. I doubt that they are susceptible to any kind of judicial inquiry at the international level. As for this Government's attitudes on racism in South Africa, they are well known and in accordance with the strong statements which have been made repeatedly in the United Nations.

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