Preparations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/35


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling that the GeneralAssembly, in adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948, recognized the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Considering that the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration provides an opportunity for the UnitedNations and Member States to redouble their efforts to promote awareness and strengthened observance of the rights set out in the Declaration,

Recognizing the Declaration as the source of inspiration and the basis of the subsequent progress in the field of human rights, and taking note of the improvements in the field of human rights during the past five decades owing to national and international solidarity and efforts,

Concerned that the international human rights standards are not fully and universally respected and that human rights continue to be violated in all parts of the world, and that people still suffer misery and are deprived of the full enjoyment of their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights,

Convinced of the necessity of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and determined that new steps should be taken, nationally and with the increased cooperation and solidarity of the international community, with a view to achieving substantial progress in human rights,

Recalling the significance and the message of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23), which emphasizes that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and that democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing,

Stressing the importance of ensuring the full integration of the human rights of women into all preparations for and celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recognizing the fundamental importance of tolerance as an essential element in promoting a culture conducive to the acceptance of diversity and pluralism, and thereby to the fuller enjoyment of human rights,

Mindful that everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be fully realized,

Convinced that, in the light of the existing level of standard-setting in the field of human rights, the primordial task of the UnitedNations at present is to promote universal accession to the existing international instruments and better implementation of them by all the States parties,

Welcoming the international and national initiatives already undertaken in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and commending the efforts of individuals in all regions of the world to promote the Universal Declaration,

1. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to coordinate within the UnitedNations system the preparations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, bearing in mind the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action for evaluation and follow-up;

2. Invites Governments to review and assess progress made in the field of human rights since the adoption of the Universal Declaration, to identify obstacles to progress in this area and ways in which they can be overcome, and to undertake additional efforts to develop programmes of education and information, with a view to disseminating the text and arriving at a better understanding of the universal message of the Declaration;

3. Also invites Governments to undertake, in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, national programmes for its celebration and to ensure wide participation, including by the public administration, national institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic circles and all elements of civil society;

4. Welcomes the proposal by the Government of Angola to host in 1998 the Organization of African Unity Member States Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Africa, in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, pursuant to resolution1673 (LXIV) adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity at its sixty-fourth ordinary session, and requests the Secretary-General of the UnitedNations to consider favourably requests from the General Secretariat of the Organization of African Unity or the host country relating to the organization of the Conference.

5. Emphasizes in this regard the primary importance of grass-roots initiatives in promoting, through education and the media, a human rights culture, and encourages all actors to pursue further activities, including the exchange of experiences on the promotion of human rights;

6. Urges those Governments that have not yet ratified the main human rights instruments that are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to consider doing so, and calls upon all Governments to implement fully their international obligations in the field of human rights;

7. Invites the human rights treaty bodies to give appropriate attention, within their mandates and methods of work, to the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to reflect on how they might contribute to the preparations;

8. Urges the High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights and the Department of Public Information to cooperate closely in the implementation of information activities leading up to and during the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

9. Calls upon relevant UnitedNations organs and agencies, in the light of the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to make, within their respective mandates and fields of action, an assessment of, and to put forward pertinent conclusions on, the state of implementation and the impact of existing international human rights instruments;

10. Invites relevant UnitedNations organs and agencies, in coordination with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to mark the anniversary by intensifying their own contributions to UnitedNations system-wide efforts to promote and protect human rights;

11. Encourages national institutions, such as human rights commissions, ombudsmen and others, to play a prominent role in the activities marking the fiftieth anniversary, and to give due regard to this issue at the next international workshop of national institutions;

12. Invites non-governmental organizations to participate fully in the preparations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to intensify their campaign for greater understanding and

better use of the Declaration, and to communicate their observations and recommendations to Governments, national institutions, regional organizations and the High Commissioner for Human Rights;

13. Decides to review at its fifty-fourth session the state of the preparations for the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to give the matter attention commensurate with its historical significance.

57th meeting
11 April 1997

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



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