Adverse effects of the illicit movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/14

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 (A/CONF.157/23), 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 6 March 1990, 1991/47 of 5 March 1991, 1993/90 of 10 March 1993 and 1995/81 of 8 March 1995,

Recalling also General Assembly resolutions 42/183 of 11 December 1987, 43/212 of 20 December 1988, 44/226 of 22 December 1989, 45/13 of 7 November 1990 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 products 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,

Recalling resolutions GC(XXXIII)/RES/509 on the dumping of nuclear wastes and resolution GC(XXXIV)/RES/530 Establishing a Code of Practice on International Transboundary Movement of Radioactive Waste, adopted on 29 September 1989 and 21 September 1990 respectively by the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the decision of the General Conference to keep the question of the international transboundary movements of radioactive waste under active review, including the desirability of concluding a legally binding instrument under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in view of their adverse effects on the human rights to life and health of every human person,

Mindful of the call by the World Conference on Human Rights 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 considered the preliminary report of the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/1996/17),

1. Takes note of the preliminary report of the Special Rapporteur and in particular her preliminary conclusions and recommendations;

2. Notes with grave concern that the increasing rate of illicit dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes in developing countries continues adversely to affect the human rights to life and health of individuals in those countries;

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

4. Welcomes the decision by the States parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal at their third meeting in 1995 to introduce an amendment to the Convention banning the export of hazardous wastes, including those for recycling, from the countries listed in annex VII to the Convention to those countries not listed therein, and urges all States parties to the Basel Convention to ratify the amendment to facilitate its early entry into force;

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 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. 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 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;

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

9. Also requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to undertake, within her mandate, a global, multidisciplinary and comprehensive study of existing problems and solutions to illicit traffic in, transfer to 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;

10. Further requests 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;

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

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

13. 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-third 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".

35th meeting, 11 April 1996

[Adopted by a roll-call vote of 32 votes to 16, with 3 abstentions]


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