Tolerance and pluralism as indivisible elements in the promotion and protection of human rights

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/19


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 48/126 of 20 December 1993 in which the Assembly proclaimed the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations as the United Nations Year for Tolerance,

Recalling also the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations, which calls for the practice of tolerance, peace and good neighbourliness to be pursued, inter alia, to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Recalling further the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23), in which it is affirmed that it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,

Aware that on the eve of the twenty-first century, the world is witness to historical and far-reaching transformations in the course of which forces of aggressive nationalism and religious and ethnic extremism continue to produce fresh challenges,

Aware also that all forms of discrimination, including on ethnic grounds, are factors that promote intolerance and infringe upon human rights and fundamental freedoms, which in turn may threaten democratic pluralism and endanger harmony, peace and stability both within States and internationally,

Mindful that religious intolerance may constitute a threat to the exercise of the right to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance,

Drawing attention to General Assembly resolution 50/183 of 22 December 1995 on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance,

Taking note of the reports of the relevant mechanisms of the Commission submitted at its fifty-second session,

Convinced that the guiding principles of democratic society, such as equality, the rule of law, accountability of government, the observance of human rights, respect for pluralism and the practice of tolerance, need to be actively promoted by the international community,

1. Reaffirms the obligation of all States to promote universal respect for, and observance of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

2. Also reaffirms the obligation of all States and the international community effectively to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities without any discrimination and in full equality before the law, bearing in mind the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities;

3. Calls upon States to promote and enhance tolerance, coexistence and harmonious relations between ethnic, religious, linguistic and other groups and to ensure that the values of pluralism, respect for diversity and non-discrimination are promoted effectively;

4. Condemns unequivocally all violent acts and activities that infringe upon human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, tolerance and pluralism;

5. Urges all States to take steps to counter all manifestations of hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by religious extremism and intolerance of religion or belief;

6. Calls upon States to promote a culture conducive to promoting and protecting human rights, fundamental freedoms and tolerance, inter alia, through education leading to genuine pluralism, a positive acceptance of diversity of opinion and belief and respect for the dignity of the human person;

7. Calls upon the relevant mechanisms of the Commission to attach the highest priority to the effective promotion of the values of democracy, pluralism and tolerance;

8. Emphasizes the need for mechanisms of the Commission to continue efforts aimed at identifying commonly accepted principles to curb intolerance and further study situations and conditions that promote intolerance;

9. Invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights through its programme of advisory services and technical cooperation to advise or assist countries, upon request, to put in place effective safeguards, including appropriate legislation, to guarantee the full enjoyment of all human rights by all segments of their population, without discrimination of any kind;

10. Invites the Centre for Human Rights to include, in its work programmes, within overall existing resources, the promotion of tolerance, where appropriate through workshops and seminars, using mass media and non-governmental organizations and through its programme of advisory services and technical cooperation to assist countries in their national programmes;

11. Decides to consider this question at its fifty-third session under the relevant agenda item.

35th meeting 11 April 1996
[Adopted without a vote]


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