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Drafting Committee on an International Bill of Human Rights, 1st session
9-25 June
Lake Success, New York

In February 1947, in accordance with the decision made at the first session of the Commission on Human Rights (E/259), and immediately following the close of the Commission’s session, a small drafting group consisting of the Chairman, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Vice-Chairman, P.C. Chang and the Rapporteur, Charles Malik, began working on a draft for the International Bill of Human Rights with the assistance of the UN Secretariat. The task of formulating a preliminary draft International Bill of Human Rights was given to John Humphrey, the Director of the Secretariat's Division for Human Rights.

Following a letter from the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights to the President of the Economic and Social Council, dated 27 March 1947, (E/383), this Drafting Committee was enlarged to include representatives of Australia, Chile, France, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, in addition to the representatives of China, France, Lebanon and the United States.

The preliminary draft, prepared by the Secretariat, was presented to the Committee as document E/CN.4/AC.1/3, Draft Outline of International Bill of Rights. This document contains forty-eight articles outlining individual human rights.

Other documents also submitted by the Secretariat for consideration of the Drafting Committee, were included in addenda to E/CN.4/AC.1/3.

E/CN.4/AC.1/3/Add.1, lists individual rights, followed by observations from members of the Commission of Human Rights. The paper draws relationships with drafts of other international declarations and proposals submitted to the Commission and outlines the relationship between the individual human rights and constitutions of Member States. It finally relates each human right to the proposals submitted from non-governmental organizations.

The second addendum, E/CN.4/AC.1/3/Add.2, is a listing of the forty-eight proposed articles divided into four chapters: Liberties, Social Rights, Equality and General Dispositions.

The United Kingdom proposed a draft International Bill of Human Rights in the form of a legal instrument, E/CN.4/AC.1/4. This proposal was also submitted to the Drafting Committee and the proposal was considered in their discussions.

At this session the Drafting Committee established a temporary working group consisting of the representatives of France (René Cassin), Lebanon (Charles Malik) and the United Kingdom (Geoffrey Wilson) and the Chairman, (Eleanor Roosevelt) (E/CN.4/AC.1/SR.6).

The temporary working group's task was to suggest a logical rearrangement of the articles of the Draft Outline supplied by the Secretariat; to suggest a re-draft of the various articles in the light of the discussions of the Drafting Committee; and to recommend to the Drafting Committee the division of the substance of the articles between a "Manifesto and a Convention". Within the temporary working group, the task of re-drafting a declaration based upon the draft outline of the Secretariat, was given to René Cassin (France) (E/CN.4/AC.1/SR.6).

The report of the Drafting Committee, submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/21), included drafts for an international declaration on Human Rights (Annex F) and draft articles to be considered for inclusion in a Convention (Annex G), as well as Memorandum on Implementation prepared by the Division of Human Rights at the request of the Drafting Committee (Annex H).

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