Effects of structural adjustment policies on the full enjoyment of human rights

Commission on Human Rights decision 1997/103


At its 36th meeting, on 3 April 1997, the Commission on Human Rights, taking note of the report of the open-ended working group on structural adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights (E/CN.4/1997/20), decided, by 36 votes to 13, with 3 abstentions, to authorize the open-ended working group to meet for one week, at least four weeks before the fifty-fourth session of the Commission, with a mandate: (a) to gather and analyse information on the effects of structural adjustment programmes on economic, social and cultural rights; and (b) to elaborate basic policy guidelines on structural adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights which could serve as a basis for a continued dialogue between human rights bodies and the international financial institutions, and to report to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session.

In order that the working group might carry out its mandate, the Commission also decided:

(a) To request the Chairman of the Commission, in consultation with the regional groups, to appoint an independent expert, preferably an economist specialized in the area of structural adjustment programmes, to study the effects of structural adjustment policies on economic, social and cultural rights in cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights. The expert should update previous work done on this subject within as well as outside the UnitedNations and submit a consolidated study, including a draft set of guidelines, to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session;

(b) To request the Secretary-General to circulate the study to Governments, UnitedNations bodies, in particular the regional commissions, the specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, particularly those involved in development, and academic institutions and organizations representing disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and to invite them to submit their comments thereon to the working group at its next session;

(c) To request the Secretary-General specially to invite and encourage non-governmental organizations involved in development and working in the field to participate actively in the sessions of the working group;

(d) To request the Secretary-General to provide all the necessary assistance and resources to enable the working group to complete its work, and to provide the independent expert with all the necessary assistance and resources to carry out his/her mandate.

The Commission recommended the following draft decision to the Economic and Social Council for adoption:


"The Economic and Social Council, taking note of Commission on Human Rights decision 1997/103 of 3 April 1997, endorses the Commission's decision to authorize the open-ended working group on structural adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights to meet for one week, at least four weeks before the fifty fourth session of the Commission, with a mandatee: (a) to gather and analyse information on the efforts of structural adjustment programmes on economic, social and cultural rights; and (b) to elaborate basic policy guidelines on structural adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights
(a) to gather and analyse information on the efforts of structural adjustment programmes on
economic, social and cultural rights; and (b) to elaborate basic policy guidelines on structural
adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights which could serve as a basis for a
continued dialogue between human rights bodies and the international financial institutions, and to
report to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session.

In order that the working group may carry out its mandate, the Council decides:

(a) To request the Chairman of the Commission, in consultation with the regional groups, to appoint
an independent expert, preferably an economist specialized in the area of structural adjustment
programmes, to study the effects of structural adjustment policies on economic, social and cultural
rights in cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights. The expert should update previous work
done on this subject within as well as outside the United Nations and submit a consolidated study,
including a draft set of guidelines, to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session;

(b) To request the Secretary-General to circulate the study to Governments, United Nations bodies,
in particular the regional commissions, the specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations,
non-governmental organizations, particularly those involved in development, and academic
institutions and organizations representing disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and to invite them
to submit their comments thereon to the working group at its next session;

(c) To request the Secretary-General specially to invite and encourage non-governmental
organizations involved in development and working in the field to participate actively in the sessions
of the working group;

(d) To request the Secretary-General to provide all the necessary assistance and resources to
enable the working group to complete its work and to provide the independent expert with all the
necessary assistance and resources to carry out his/her mandate."


[See chap. V.]


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