Hostage-taking

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/62


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of person, freedom from torture or degrading treatment, freedom of movement and protection from arbitrary detention,

Taking into account the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/146 of 17 December 1979, which also recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and that the taking of hostages is an offence of grave concern to the international community,

Taking into consideration the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, which prohibit the taking of hostages in time of armed conflict,

Recalling the previous resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights on the subject, including the latest, resolution 1992/23 of 28 February 1992, in which it condemned the taking of any person as hostage,

Bearing in mind the pertinent Security Council resolutions condemning all cases of hostage-taking,

Deeply concerned that, despite the efforts of the international community, acts of hostage-taking, in different forms and manifestations, including, inter alia, those committed by terrorists and armed groups, have increased in many regions of the world,

Especially alarmed at the taking hostage of women and children, expressing its distress at the violence committed against innocent victims, and sharing the anxiety and suffering of the families concerned,

Expressing its outrage at the continuing manifestations of brutality and violence in connection with hostage-taking, including the killing of innocent people and their use as human shields,

Appealing for the humanitarian action of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its delegates to be respected and facilitated in all relevant circumstances,

Recognizing that hostage-taking calls for resolute, firm and concerted efforts on the part of the international community in order, in strict conformity with international human rights standards, to bring such abhorrent practices to an end,

1. Emphasizes that the taking of hostages, wherever and by whomever committed, constitutes a serious obstacle to the full enjoyment of all human rights and is, under any circumstances, unjustifiable;

2. Demands that all hostages be released immediately and without any preconditions;

3. Calls upon States to take all necessary measures, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law and international standards of human rights, to prevent, combat and punish acts of hostage-taking, including strengthening international cooperation in this field;

4. Invites relevant non-governmental organizations to bear in mind, where appropriate, the problem of hostage-taking in their deliberations;

5. Urges all thematic special rapporteurs and working groups to address, as appropriate, the consequences of hostage-taking in their forthcoming reports to the Commission;

6. Decides to consider this question at its fifty-fourth session under the same agenda item.

58th meeting 23 April 1996
[Adopted without a vote]


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