Adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumpingof toxic and
dangerous products and wastes on theenjoyment of human rights

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/9


The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, particularly on the question of the human rights to life and to good health,

Recalling its resolutions 1989/42 of 6 March 1989, 1990/43 of 6March1990, 1991/47 of 5 March 1991, 1993/90 of 10 March 1993, 1995/81 of 8March 1995 and 1996/14 of 11 April 1996,

Recalling also General Assembly resolutions 42/183 of 11 December1987, 43/212 of 20 December 1988, 44/226 of 22 December 1989, 45/13 of 7November1990 and 46/126 of 17 December 1991 and Economic and Social Council decision 1995/288 of 25 July 1995,

Recalling further resolution 1153 (XLVIII) of 25 May 1988 of the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity declaring that the dumping of toxic wastes in the continent was a crime against Africa and the African people,

Affirming that the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous substances and wastes constitute a serious threat to the human rights to life and health of individuals, particularly in developing countries that do not have the technologies to process them,

Reaffirming that the international community must treat all human rights in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis,

Reaffirming also General Assembly resolution 50/174 of 22 December 1995 on strengthening of United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity,

Mindful of the call by the World Conference on Human Rights, held at Vienna from 14 to 25 June 1993, on all States to adopt and vigorously implement existing conventions relating to the dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes and to cooperate in the prevention of illicit dumping,

Aware of the increasing rate of dumping in African and other developing countries by transnational corporations and other enterprises from industrialized countries of hazardous and other wastes that constitute a serious threat to the human rights to life and health of everyone, and which they cannot dispose of within their territories of operation,

Aware also that many developing countries do not have the national capacities and technologies to process such wastes in order to eradicate or diminish their adverse effects on the human rights to life and health,

Having examined the progress report submitted by the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/1997/19),

1. Takes note of the progress report of the Special Rapporteur and, in particular, her conclusions and recommendations, and regrets that she encountered serious obstacles in the discharge of her mandate, in particular the lack of adequate human and financial resources;

2. Notes with grave concern that adequate staff and financial resources were not made available to the Special Rapporteur to enable her to discharge her mandate effectively, including undertaking in situ missions;

3. Categorically condemns the increasing rate of dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes in developing countries, which adversely affects the human rights to life and health of individuals in those countries;

4. Reaffirms that illicit traffic and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes constitute a serious threat to the human rights to life and health of every individual;

5. Urges all Governments to take legislative and other appropriate measures with a view to preventing illegal international trafficking in toxic and hazardous products and wastes;

6. Invites the United Nations Environment Programme, the secretariat for the Basel Convention, the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization of African Unity and other regional organizations to intensify their cooperation and assistance on environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes, including the question of their transboundary movement;

7. Expresses its appreciation to the relevant United Nations agencies, in particular the United Nations Environment Programme and the secretariat for the Basel Convention for the support extended to the Special Rapporteur and urges them and the international community to continue to give her the necessary support to enable her to discharge her mandate;

8. Urges the international community and the relevant United Nations bodies, in particular the United Nations Environment Programme and the secretariat for the Basel Convention, to give appropriate support to the developing countries, upon their request, in their efforts to implement the provisions of existing international and regional instruments controlling the transboundary movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes in order to protect and promote the human rights to life and good health of all;

9. Requests the Special Rapporteur, in preparing her next report, to continue to consult all relevant bodies, in particular the secretariat for the Basel Convention, and urges all Governments, United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, the United Nations Environment Programme, the secretariat for the Basel Convention and non-governmental organizations to continue to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur by providing information on the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes;

10. Also requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to undertake, within her mandate, a global, multidisciplinary and comprehensive study of existing problems of and solutions to illicit traffic in, transfer and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes in African and other developing countries, with a view to making recommendations and proposals, in her next report, on adequate measures to control, reduce and eradicate these phenomena;

11. Reiterates its request to the Special Rapporteur, in accordance with her mandate, to include in her next report to the Commission information on countries and enterprises, including transnational corporations, engaged in the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes in African and other developing countries,

12. Requests the Special Rapporteur, in accordance with her mandate, to include in her next report to the Commission comprehensive information on persons killed, maimed or otherwise injured in the developing countries through this heinous act;

13. Encourages the Special Rapporteur, with adequate support and assistance from the Centre for Human Rights, to provide Governments with an appropriate opportunity to respond to allegations transmitted to her and reflected in her report;

14. Reaffirms its request to the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Special Rapporteur with all necessary financial and human resources, including administrative support in the Centre for Human Rights, for the fulfilment of her mandate;

15. Decides to continue consideration of the question of the adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights at its fifty-fourth session under the agenda item entitled: "Question of the realization in all countries of the economic, social and cultural rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and study of special problems which the developing countries face in their efforts to achieve these human rights".

36th meeting
3 April 1997

[Adopted by a roll-call vote of 32 votes to 12, with 8 abstentions. See chap. V.]


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