Human rights and unilateral coercive measures

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/9

The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the pertinent principles and provisions contained in the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States proclaimed by the General Assembly in its resolution 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974, in particular article 32 which declares that no State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights,

Recognizing the universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated character of all human rights and, in this regard, reaffirming the right to development as an integral part of all human rights,

Recalling that the World Conference on Human Rights called upon States to refrain from any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that creates obstacles to trade relations among States and impedes the full realization of all human rights,

Bearing in mind all the references to this question in the final documents adopted by the World Summit on Social Development, held in Copenhagen in 1995, and the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace, held in Beijing in 1995,

Reaffirming its previous resolutions on this question,

Deeply concerned that, despite the recommendations adopted on this issue by the General Assembly and recent major United Nations conferences and contrary to general international law and the Charter of the United Nations, unilateral coercive measures continue to be promulgated and implemented with all their negative implications including their extraterritorial effects, thereby creating additional obstacles to the full enjoyment of all human rights by peoples and individuals,

Taking note of the report submitted by the Secretary-General pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/45 (E/CN.4/1996/45 and Add.1),

1. Calls once again upon all States to refrain from adopting or implementing any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, in particular those of a coercive nature with extraterritorial effects, which create obstacles to trade relations among States, thus impeding the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development;

2. Rejects the application of such measures as tools for political or economic pressure against any country, particularly against developing countries, because of their negative effects on the realization of all the human rights of vast sectors of their populations, inter alia children, women and the elderly;

3. Reaffirms, in this context, the right of all peoples to self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development;

4. Also reaffirms that essential goods such as food and medicines should not be used as tools for political coercion, and that in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence;

5. Endorses the criteria of the Working Group on the Right to Development according to which unilateral coercive measures are one of the obstacles to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development;

6. Urges the working group on the implementation and promotion of the right to development to take into account the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures in its task concerning the implementation of the right to development;

7. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in discharging his functions relating to the promotion, realization and protection of the right to development, to pay due attention and give urgent consideration to the present resolution;

8. Decides to examine this question, on a priority basis, at its fifty-third session under the same agenda item.

34th meeting 11 April 1996
[Adopted by a roll-call vote of 32 votes to 14, with 7 abstentions]


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Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
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