It was past midnight December 10, 1948, in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, in the Palais de Chaillot, place du Trocadero in Paris. The President ‘s tired voice pattered in the microphone: “52 in favor, none against, 8 abstentions. Adopted “(the U.N. had only 60 members then). The rasping of his gavel was covered by a burst of applause, mainly in the public and press areas. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) had just been approved.
Except for the United States and a few other Western countries, junior diplomats occupied the seats assigned to their countries. Indeed, due to the late hour and the starting week-end, top delegates had already left the city. Actually, many among them considered the Declaration as a mere idealistic fancy destined to rejoin numerous other United Nations’ resolutions on the shelves of impractical figments of idealistic imaginations.
As a consequence, I, a mere “secretary” on the official list of delegates, cast the affirmative vote for Iran. I dutifully remained in my seat, listening to a spate of congratulatory speeches and a few explanations of vote by the “abstaining” representatives of Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the Soviet Bloc.
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