1995/27. Contemporary forms of slavery

The Commission on Human Rights,

Gravely concerned at modern manifestations of slavery, the slave trade and slavery-like practices,

Recalling the provisions of the Slavery Convention of 1926, the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956 and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 1949, as well as article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 8 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude,

Recalling its resolution 1982/20 of 10 March 1982 on the question of slavery and the slave trade in all their practices and manifestations and its resolutions on the reports of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, including the most recent, resolution 1994/25 of 4 March 1994,

Taking note of the report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on its nineteenth session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/33 and Corr.1), submitted to the Subcommission at its forty-sixth session,

Recalling its encouragement of the Subcommission, including its Working Group, to continue to elaborate recommendations on the ways and means of establishing an effective mechanism for the implementation of the conventions on slavery on the basis of the study prepared by the Secretary-General on this issue (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1989/37),

Having considered Subcommission resolution 1994/7 of 19 August 1994 containing recommendations on establishing such a mechanism,

Considering the recommendation of the Subcommission to appoint Ms. H.E. Warzazi Special Rapporteur on the exploitation of child labour and debt bondage,

Recalling Guideline 2 of the Guidelines adopted by the Subcommission at its forty-fourth session, (Subcommission resolution 1992/8, annex) concerning its methods of work, which provides that no new study may be undertaken unless a preparatory document has been submitted,

Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the status of implementation of the Programme of Action on the Elimination of the Exploitation of Child Labour and Debt Bondage (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/34),

Taking note also of the recommendation of the Subcommission that the Commission take into consideration at its present session and eventually adopt the draft programme of action for the prevention of traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others,

Considering that thus far 12 Governments and a few United Nations bodies and specialized and related agencies, other intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations have submitted comments on the draft programme of action and that some of the comments received purport to amend or add to the text of the draft programme of action,

Convinced that the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, which was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 46/122 of 17 December 1991, will play an important role in the protection of the human rights of victims of contemporary forms of slavery,

Doubting the sufficiency of the recommendation of the Subcommission, aimed at making the Fund more effective, to reprioritize the potential beneficiaries of the Fund by reversing the order of subparagraphs 1 (e) (i) and 1 (e) (ii) of General Assembly resolution 46/122 of 17 December 1991,

1. Expresses its appreciation to the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities for its valuable work, in particular the progress made at its nineteenth session in implementing its programme of work, and for its flexible methods of work;

2. Expresses its grave concern at manifestations of contemporary forms of slavery as reported to the Working Group;

3. Endorses the Subcommission's recommendations regarding the review of the implementation of the conventions on slavery with the proviso that the proposed three-year term of office of the members of the Working Group should not extend beyond their four-year term of membership of the Subcommission;

4. Requests the Subcommission to give further consideration to its proposed appointment of Ms. H.E. Warzazi as Special Rapporteur on the exploitation of child labour and debt bondage and to make the appointment subject to the submission of a preparatory document, and also requests the Subcommission, when it assesses the document, to determine the need for a Special Rapporteur and, if it considers the appointment of a Special Rapporteur is called for, to identify a specific set of activities, which should take account of the need to avoid duplication with other activities within the United Nations system, including activities of the International Labour Organisation and of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children;

5. Invites the Subcommission to continue considering the strengthening of its involvement in the activities of the Working Group;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to invite those eligible States that have not ratified or acceded to the conventions on slavery to consider doing so as soon as possible or to explain in writing, if they so wish, why they feel unable to do so, and to consider providing information regarding their national legislation and practices in this field;

7. Invites intergovernmental organizations, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization and non-governmental organizations concerned, to supply relevant information to the Working Group;

8. Appeals to Governments and relevant non-governmental organizations to send representatives to the sessions of the Working Group;

9. Recommends that the supervisory bodies of the International Labour Organisation give particular attention in their work to the implementation of provisions and standards designed to ensure the protection of children and other persons exposed to contemporary forms of slavery;

10. Invites all Member States to consider the possibility of taking appropriate action for the protection of particularly vulnerable groups, such as children and migrant women, against exploitation by prostitution and other slavery-like practices, including the possibility of establishing national bodies to achieve this objective;

11. Encourages Governments to consider, in the context of the Programme of Action on the Elimination of the Exploitation of Child Labour and Debt Bondage, the adoption of measures and regulations to protect child labourers and to ensure that their labour is not exploited;

12. Invites the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the sale of children to examine ways and means of cooperating with the Working Group;

13. Requests the Subcommission at its forty-seventh session to review the draft programme of action for the prevention of traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of others in the light of the comments already received or that will be received and to submit to the Commission at its fifty-second session a final draft for approval;

14. Requests Governments to pursue a policy of information, prevention and rehabilitation of children and women victims of the exploitation of prostitution and to take the appropriate economic and social measures deemed necessary to that effect;

15. Recalls once again its request to the Secretary-General to designate the Centre for Human Rights as the focal point for the coordination of activities in the United Nations system for the suppression of contemporary forms of slavery;

16. Requests the Secretary-General to give effect to his decision to reassign to the Working Group a Professional staff member of the Centre for Human Rights, as was the case in the past, to work on a permanent basis to ensure continuity and close coordination within and outside the Centre on issues relating to contemporary forms of slavery;

17. Expresses its regret that as a result of the present financial situation of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, owing to a lack of contributions, the Board of Trustees of the Fund has only been able to meet once since it was appointed by the Secretary-General in 1993;

18. Appeals again to all Governments, organizations and individuals in a position to do so to respond favourably to requests for contributions to the Fund, if possible on a regular basis;

19. Commends the Board of Trustees on its concern about the limited assets of the Fund, demonstrated by its judicious measures to minimize administrative expenses;

20. Encourages the Subcommission to continue considering the development of systematic fund-raising methods and to recommend a set of measures, including that already proposed, to promote increased contributions to the Fund;

21. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit once again to all Governments the appeal of the Commission on Human Rights for contributions to the Fund.
52nd meeting
3 March 1995
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. XIX.E/CN.4/1995/176]


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