Regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Asian and Pacific region

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/64


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling that the General Assembly, in its resolutions 41/153 of 4 December 1986, 43/140 of 8 December 1988 and 45/168 of 18 December 1990, affirmed the value of regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Asian and Pacific region,

Recalling also its own resolutions 1988/73 of 10 March 1988, 1989/50 of 7 March 1989, 1990/71 of 7 March 1990, 1991/28 of 5 March 1991, 1992/40 of 28 February 1992, 1993/57 of 9 March 1993, 1994/48 of 4 March 1994 and 1995/48 of 3 March 1995,

Recalling further that the World Conference on Human Rights, in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23), emphasized that regional arrangements played a fundamental role in promoting and protecting human rights,

Recalling resolution 45/2 adopted by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on 5 April 1989,

Bearing in mind that intergovernmental arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights have been established in other regions,

Welcoming the holding of the Colloquium on Human Rights in Manila on 16 and 17 January 1994, the first in a series of workshops to be organized by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, intended, inter alia, to facilitate the process of developing a subregional human rights body for the protection and promotion of human rights in countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations, in fulfilment of the decision of the Association to consider the establishment of an appropriate mechanism on human rights,

Recognizing the valuable contribution that independent national institutions can make in the field of human rights to the concept of regional arrangements,

Recognizing also that non-governmental organizations involved in the field of human rights have an important role to play in this process,

Welcoming the contribution to the development of regional human rights arrangements made by the fourth workshop on regional human rights arrangements in the Asian and Pacific region held in Kathmandu from 26 to 28 February 1996, particularly the workshop's conclusions,

Reiterating that such workshops should be organized regularly, and if possible annually as proposed by the Government of the Republic of Korea and endorsed by the Commission in its resolution 1995/48,

Mindful that the agreements reached at the fourth workshop were built upon the accomplishments of previous workshops,

1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.4/1996/46/Add.1) and the progress achieved in the implementation of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/48 of 3 March 1995;

2. Welcomes also the regional workshops on various human rights issues which have been held in the Asian and Pacific region, including the workshop held in Manila from 7 to 11 May 1990, the workshop held in Jakarta from 26 to 28 January 1993, the workshop held in Seoul from 18 to 20 July 1994 and the workshop held in Kathmandu from 26 to 28 February 1996; 3. Reaffirms that all human rights are universal, indivisible and interrelated, that the international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis and that, while the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

4. Also reaffirms that regional arrangements play a fundamental role in promoting and protecting human rights and that they should reinforce universal human rights standards, as contained in international human rights instruments, and their protection;

5. Takes into account the Bangkok Declaration wherein it is recognized that while human rights are universal in nature, they must be considered in the context of a dynamic and evolving process of international norm-setting, bearing in mind the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds;

6. Takes note of the conclusions of the fourth workshop, which stated, inter alia, that while the experience of other regions would continue to be carefully examined, it was clear that any regional arrangements for the Asian and Pacific region would need to be based on the needs, priorities and conditions prevailing in the region;

7. Endorses the conclusions of the fourth workshop, including the recognition of the importance of a step-by-step process towards the establishment of a regional arrangement for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Asian and Pacific region;

8. Welcomes the participation for the first time of delegations from West Asia in the fourth workshop, and recognizes the need to ensure that the issues, concerns and priorities of West Asia be effectively addressed in future workshops;

9. Affirms that the establishment of national institutions constitutes one of the most important building-blocks necessary for the ongoing process of developing regional human rights arrangements in the Asian and Pacific region which includes the possible establishment of subregional human rights arrangements, cooperation on issues such as education and information-sharing, the development of national action plans on human rights and the ratification of human rights instruments;

10. Notes the contribution of representatives of non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions in these workshops;

11. Also notes that the Asian and Pacific countries have developed a number of models of national institutions in accordance with their own national conditions;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to facilitate the realization of that activity under the regular budget of the United Nations for the programme of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights;

13. Encourages all States in the Asian and Pacific region to consider further the establishment of regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights, taking into consideration the conclusions of the fourth workshop;

14. Appeals to all Governments in the Asian and Pacific region to consider making use of the facilities offered by the United Nations, under the programme of advisory services and technical assistance for the promotion and protection of human rights, to organize information and/or training courses at the national or regional level for appropriate government personnel on the application of international human rights standards and the experience of relevant national and international organs;

15. Requests the Secretary-General to give adequate attention to the countries in the Asian and Pacific region by allocating more resources from existing United Nations funds to enable the countries of the region to benefit from all the activities under the programme of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights;

16. Encourages all States members and associate members of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and other parties to make full use of the depositary centre of the Commission, and requests the Secretary-General to maintain a continuing flow of human rights material to its library;

17. Welcomes the establishment of national commissions for human rights by the Governments of India, Indonesia and the Islamic Republic of Iran;

18. Also welcomes the decisions concerning and the preparatory steps taken towards the establishment of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights by the Governments of Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Thailand;

19. Requests the Secretary-General, in accordance with the conclusions of the fourth workshop, to establish an open-ended team comprised of representatives of interested Governments of the region and the Centre for Human Rights, which could consult with non-governmental organizations and national institutions to ensure the effective preparation of the next workshop and to facilitate the development of regional arrangements;

20. Calls upon the Centre for Human Rights to provide specific information on programmes available under the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, to facilitate better access and fuller utilization of these programmes by all countries in the Asian and Pacific region;

21. Encourages States in the Asian and Pacific region to request assistance for such purposes as regional and subregional workshops, seminars and information exchanges designed to strengthen regional cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights to assist in the development of regional arrangements;

22. Also encourages all States in the Asian and Pacific region to consider ratifying and acceding to international human rights instruments adopted within the framework of the United Nations system, with the aim of universal acceptance;

23. Further encourages all States and regional and subregional organizations in the Asian and Pacific region to develop programmes for human rights education in that region;

24. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Commission at its fifty-third session a further report incorporating information on the progress achieved in the implementation of the present resolution;

25. Decides to continue its consideration of the question at its fifty-third session under the agenda item entitled "Further promotion and encouragement of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the question of the programme and methods of work of the Commission".

58th meeting 23 April 1996
[Adopted without a vote]


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