Contemporary forms of slavery

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/61


The Commission on Human Rights,

Gravely concerned at modern manifestations of slavery, the slave trade and slavery-like practices,

Recalling the provisions of the Slavery Convention of 1926, the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956 and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 1949, as well as article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 8 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provide that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude,

Recalling its resolutions on the reports of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, including the most recent, resolution 1995/27 of 3 March 1995,

Taking note of the report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on its twentieth session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28 and Add.1), submitted to the Sub-Commission at its forty-seventh session,

Recalling its resolution 1992/36 of 28 February 1992, in which the Commission endorsed the views expressed by the Sub-Commission in its resolution 1991/37 of 29 August 1991 on it being desirable to launch a concerted programme of action for the prevention of the traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others,

Taking into consideration the recommendation of the Sub-Commission that the Commission adopt the draft programme of action for the prevention of the traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1),

Taking note of the invitation of the Sub-Commission to the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography to participate in the twenty-first session of the Working Group, Taking note also of the recommendation of the Sub-Commission that the Commission designate an expert to investigate and prepare a study on allegations regarding the removal of organs and tissues of children and adults for commercial purposes,

Noting with concern that, since its establishment by the General Assembly in its resolution 46/122 of 17 December 1991, the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, as a result of its continuing difficult financial situation owing to a lack of contributions, could not be used for the purposes for which it was established,

Taking note of the grave concern expressed by the Board of Trustees of the Fund at the financial situation of the Fund,

1. Expresses its appreciation to the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities for its valuable work, in particular the progress made at its twentieth session in implementing its programme of work, and for its flexible methods of work;

2. Expresses its grave concern at manifestations of contemporary forms of slavery as reported to the Working Group;

3. Invites the Sub-Commission to continue considering the strengthening of its involvement in the activities of the Working Group;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to invite those eligible States that have not ratified or acceded to the conventions on slavery to consider doing so as soon as possible;

5. Invites intergovernmental organizations, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization and non-governmental organizations concerned, to supply relevant information to the Working Group;

6. Appeals to Governments and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to send representatives to the sessions of the Working Group;

7. Recommends that the supervisory bodies of the International Labour Organization give particular attention in their work to the implementation of provisions and standards designed to ensure the protection of children and other persons exposed to contemporary forms of slavery;

8. Encourages Governments to consider, in the context of the Programme of Action on the Elimination of the Exploitation of Child Labour and Debt Bondage, the adoption of measures and regulations to protect child labourers and to ensure that their labour is not exploited;

9. Invites the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children to examine ways and means of cooperating with the Working Group and, in particular, to consider accepting the invitation of the Sub-Commission to participate in the twenty-first session of the Working Group; 10. Invites all Member States to consider the possibility of taking appropriate action for the protection of particularly vulnerable groups, such as children and migrant women, against exploitation by prostitution and other slavery-like practices, including the possibility of establishing national bodies to achieve this objective;

11. Requests Governments to pursue a policy of information, prevention and rehabilitation of children and women victims of the exploitation of prostitution and to take the appropriate economic and social measures deemed necessary to that effect;

12. Approves the draft programme of action for the prevention of the traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1) while taking note of differences between States in the scope of applicability of their criminal legislation with regard to, inter alia, prostitution and the production, distribution and possession of pornographic material;

13. Requests the Secretary-General to examine, in cooperation with relevant United Nations agencies, in particular the World Health Organization, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization and all relevant non-governmental organizations, the reliability of allegations regarding the removal of organs and tissues of children and adults for commercial purposes in order to enable the Commission at its fifty-third session to decide upon possible follow-up in this matter, taking into account the recommendation of the Sub-Commission in this regard;

14. Again requests the Secretary-General to designate the Centre for Human Rights as the focal point for the coordination of activities in the United Nations system for the suppression of contemporary forms of slavery and to give effect to his decision to reassign to the Working Group a Professional staff member of the Centre for Human Rights to work on a permanent basis to ensure continuity and close coordination within and outside the Centre on issues relating to contemporary forms of slavery;

15. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit once again to all Governments the appeal of the Commission on Human Rights for contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery;

16. Commends the Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund for its efforts to remedy the continuing difficult financial situation of the Fund, which is due to a lack of contributions;

17. Invites the Secretary-General to examine the feasibility of alignment and harmonization of the procedures and support mechanisms of the Trust Fund with other existing procedures and mechanisms and to report on this matter to the Commission at its fifty-third session.

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


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