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as torture, and neglecting "social" rights, like the rights to medical care, to education, and to a job. Without denying the importance of ~social" rights, ~ consider the criticism unjustified. A demand that a government stop torturing political prisoners can be fulfilled relatively simply. A demand that a government provide a job to every citizen is meaningless without a reasonable plan of how such a goal can be accomplished. The human rights movement cannot be expected to develop such a plan or to unite on one. Also, historical experience shows that a government that justifies its curtailment of political rights by its overwhelming concern for social rights usually ends up by denying all rights. Finally, ~ consider the idea that people of the Third World are somehow less appalled by torture or by government-sponsored murder than citizens of developed nations to be rank racism. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Gilbert White We have heard a simple, eloquent portrayal of the life of a scientist and his family and we have had a challenge of an extension of our work in the broad reaLrn of human rights. Now, would any of you care to comment on what has been said by way of analysis or prescription? I`iprn~n Bers ~ know it is late and ~ agree with most of the things which were said today. ~ would like to make one observation concerning the question raised by Bob Kates about two different kinds of human . rights, which ~ could call negative and positive rights. The right to food, to a job, to medical care, and to education are positive rights. The right not to be arbitrarily arrested, not to be tortured, not to be exiled, not to be killed for one's opinions are negative rights. The discussion about the positive and negative rights and their relative importance occupied pages and pages in the socialist literature of the nineteenth century. As an old social democrat ~ would say an old Marxist, if the word would not have been vulgarized-~ certainly recognize the im- portance of positive rights. Yet ~ think there is a good reason why the international human rights movement, of which our committee is
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an a small part, concentrated on negative rights. It makes sense to tell a government, "Stop torturing people." An order by the prime minister or the president or whoever is in charge could make it happen. It makes sense to tell a foreign ambassador that, "The American scientific community is outraged that you keep Dr. X in jail. Let him out and let him do his work." It requires no planning, no political philosophy, and it can unite people with very different opinions. It is quite a different matter to tell a foreign government, say to a government of a developing country, "You really should give this or that positive right to your people." If we make such a demand in good faith, it must be accompanied by some plan for implementing this right and by some indication of the cost and of who will pay it and how it will be paicI. These are important questions that have to be discussed, but ~ think it is rather unlikely that the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences (or even Amnesty International) will solve social problems that have bothered humanity and political thinkers for centuries, and that the human rights movement will unite on a proposed solution. Therefore, ~ think that the basic emphasis on negative rights by the international human rights movement is a reasonable thing. If we want to do things beyond this and participate in organizing a social democratic party in America, ~ will gladly discuss this later. (Laughter) Gilbert White ~ am not giving the pane] a chance to respond to that appeal just yet. (Laughter) Preston Cloud, University of California, Santa Barbara ~ would not presume to add to the words of wisdom that have already been spoken, but ~ have some questions that ~ would like to address to Dr. Mohamed and Dr. Kates. ~ think it must be saying something that Dr. Mohamed is a member of the faculty of the University of Witwatersrand. Gilbert White At least he was when he left.
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a 1 Preston Cloud Is there anyone in your capacity, for instance, at an Afrikaans university? What ~ am getting at Is whether you would care to enlighten us a little on the differences between the two white groups in South Africa and what they stand for. Then, Dr. Kates, ~ would ask, must we stand still for a doubling of population? Curia;] Mohamed ~ can answer very briefly that there ~ a major difference between universities like Witwatersrand and Cape Town, on the one hand, and universities like Stellenbosch and Rand Afrikaans, on the other hand. At these latter universities, which are basically Afrikaner institutions, they did not admit black students or black staff. Black students are now accepted at postgraduate levels. But this does not mean to say that universities like the University of Witwatersrand are therefore totally enlightened. ~ am going to use what the minister of education said when a law was introduced that the universities will not significantly deviate from their present student numbers which came about when they could not force the university to operate a quota system: "We will not enforce the quota system, because these universities have undertaken not to deviate significantly from the existing student numbers." This means in which blacks will not exceed 10 percent of the student body, when they do exceed 80 percent of the population. Gilbert White Do you have a quick response to his second question? Robert hates Yes. One way to prevent doubling of population is to stand still. (Laughter) Elizabeth Russell, Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine ~ would like to inquire of Dr. Mohamed whether it is still true, as stated in our program, that you are speaking within the limits of South African government restrictions?
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Ismai! Mohamed ~ wait try to answer very quickly. At the tune when ~ came here, or before ~ came here, the restriction was placed on me not to participate in various kinds of activities. ~ entertained every idea to get back home, knowing, in fact, that there is a penalty of 10 years' imprisonment if ~ should call upon you to act in any kind of way against apartheid. For example, ~ may not urge you to adopt sanctions. But ~ think the situation has moved to such an extent in South Africa where those people very clearly want me to say we applaud you for the sanctions that you implemented and we urge you to clo even more. So, it is very clear that ~ have deviated from that initial statement that ~ will not go beyond the restrictions imposed on me by the South African government. More and more people are defying those restrictions. Gilbert White But ~ think ~ may be privileged to add, Professor Mohamed, that you say this without knowing where you will be next. Yes? IsmaB Mohamed I do not think it would be wise on my part, really, to speculate on the consequences and where ~ would be next at this time. Time will tell. Edward Anders, University of Chicago Your institution, the University of Witwatersrand, has a very strong and impressive statement on its letterhead saying that it does not discriminate on the grounds of race. In the light of your reply to Preston Cloud, it seems that perhaps this statement should not be taken at face value. What would your advice be to those of us who occasionally get invitations from the University of Witwatersrand? Should we accept or reject them? Ismai] Mohamed ~ think ~ have said to you that the statement ~ have quoted- that ~ could not be appointed to a position of authority over white
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students and junior white lecturers-comes from the vice-chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand. The statement that ~ could not be appointed to teach certain courses, or ~ could only be appointed to teach certain courses if the head of the department could determine that nobody else with simular expertise was available also comes from the head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand. It is true that the university has moved a long way from the stance it had taken in the 1960~. But ~ think it has not moved in step with the changes that blacks fee! need to take place. ~ am therefore urging people to bring pressure to bear on those institutions for affirmative action programs. My answer is very clear, you see. Unless the universities will admit blacks into their governing bodies or be more positive about admitting them as students and staff, ~ would urge people not to go to such institutions. Gilbert White Friends, I think we could pursue this much further and I am sorry to be obliged to close oh the discussion here. Please join me in thanking Professor Mohamed and the panel.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: