Rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic,
religious and linguistic minorities

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/16


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992, as well as subsequent resolutions of the Assembly on the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,

Considering that the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities contribute to political and social stability and peace and enrich the cultural heritage of society as a whole,

Concerned by the growing frequency and severity of disputes and conflicts concerning minorities in many countries, and their often tragic consequences, and that persons belonging to minorities are particularly vulnerable to displacement through, interalia, population transfers, refugee flows and forced relocation,

Acknowledging that the UnitedNations has an increasingly important role to play regarding the protection of minorities by, interalia, taking due account of and giving effect to the Declaration,

Recalling its resolution 1995/24 of 3 March 1995, in which the Commission, interalia, decided to authorize the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to establish, initially for a three-year period, an inter-sessional working group consisting of five of its members, to meet each year for five working days in order to promote the rights of persons belonging to minorities,

Taking note of resolution 1996/17 of 29 August 1996 of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, requesting, interalia, the Working Group to continue to hold one session annually,

Taking note also of the invitation by the Sub-Commission to the Working Group to increase its cooperation with the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Human Rights,

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (E/CN.4/1997/82), as well as of the reports of the Working Group on Minorities on its first and second sessions (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/2 and E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/28);

2. Reaffirms the obligation of States to ensure that persons belonging to minorities may exercise fully and effectively all human rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination and in full equality before the law in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities;

3. Urges States and the international community to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as set out in the Declaration, including through the facilitation of their participation in all aspects of the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of society and in the economic progress and development of the country;

4. Also urges States to take, as appropriate, all the necessary constitutional, legislative, administrative and other measures to promote and give effect to the Declaration;

5. Recognizes that respect for human rights and the promotion of understanding and tolerance by Governments, as well as between and among minorities, including through programmes of human rights education and public information, are central to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

6. Calls upon the Secretary-General to make available, at the request of Governments concerned, qualified expertise on minority issues, including the prevention and resolution of disputes, to assist in existing or potential situations involving minorities;

7. Requests the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue his efforts to improve the coordination and cooperation of UnitedNations programmes and agencies which deal with minority issues in activities related to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

8. Calls upon the High Commissioner to promote, within his mandate, the implementation of the Declaration and to continue to engage in a dialogue with Governments concerned for that purpose;

9. Calls upon States to continue to include in their reports to human rights treaty bodies, in accordance with the relevant conventions, information on measures taken for the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and to consider ways to facilitate contributions from national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in the preparation of national reports;

10. Calls upon all special representatives, special rapporteurs and working groups of the Commission to continue to give attention, within their respective mandates, to situations involving minorities;

11. Commends the role of the Working Group on Minorities of the Sub-Commission as an important forum for the promotion of the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

12. Expresses its expectation that the Working Group will further implement its mandate as set out in Commission resolution 1995/24 of 3March1995, with the involvement of a wide range of participants, and that it will also take note of the Commission's deliberations on this item;

13. Calls upon States, intergovernmental organizations, UnitedNations bodies, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to participate actively in the work of the Working Group, including through written contributions;

14. Invites the Working Group to submit, through the Sub-Commission, a comprehensive report on its work to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session for the consideration of, interalia, the extension of its mandate;

15. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution;

16. Decides to continue consideration of this issue at its fifty-fourth session under the same agenda item.

37th meeting
3 April 1997

[Adopted without a vote. See chap. XVII.]


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