Question of the realization in all countries of theeconomic, social and
cultural rights contained inthe Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and in theInternational Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural
Rights, and study of special problems whichthe developing
countries face in their efforts toachieve these human rights

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/17


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling its resolution1996/11 of 11April1996 and reaffirming theVienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23), which stated the need for aconcerted effort to ensure recognition of economic, social and cultural rightsat the national, regional and international levels,

Taking note of the work carried out by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the open-ended working group on structural adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights, and other relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, in particular the structural adjustment participatory review initiative of the World Bank,

1. Welcomes:

(a) The adoption by the UnitedNations Conference on Human Settlements (HabitatII), held in Istanbul (Turkey) from 3 to 14June1996, of the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements and the Habitat Agenda (A/CONF.165/14), in particular the recognition of the right to adequate housing as an important component of the right to an adequate standard of living, the definition of the role of the private sector and civil society, and the reaffirmation of the commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing as provided for in international instruments;

(b) The adoption by the World Food Summit, held in Rome from 13to17November1996, of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and the World Food Summit Plan of Action (WFS96/REP), in particular the reaffirmation of the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger;

2. Notes with interest:

(a) The report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on a draft optional protocol for the consideration of communications concerning non-compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/CN.4/1997/105, annex);

(b) The proposals adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its fifteenth session to enhance the central role played by the Committee in the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights, namely the proposal for the adoption of a programme of action for the Committee that would increase its ability to examine States' reports and to assist interested Governments in their reporting duties, and the proposal recommending to the Commission the appointment of a special rapporteur on economic, social and cultural rights;

(c) The recommendations adopted by the open-ended working group on structural adjustment programmes and economic, social and cultural rights;

3. Reaffirms:

(a) The inextricable link between full respect for the rights contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the process of development, the central purpose of which is the realization of the potentialities of the human person with the effective participation of all members of society in relevant decision-making processes as agents and beneficiaries of development, as well as with a fair distribution of its benefits;

(b) That all persons in all countries are entitled to therealization of their economic, social and cultural rights, which are indispensable to their dignity and the free development of their personality;

(c) The universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelationship of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and that promoting and protecting one category of rights should therefore never exemptor excuse States from the promotion and protection of other rights;

(d) The importance of international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights;

4. Calls upon all States:

(a) To secure, through national development policies and international cooperation, full respect for economic, social and cultural rights, giving priority to the individuals, most often women, and communities living in extreme poverty and therefore most vulnerable and disadvantaged;

(b) To promote the effective and wide participation of representatives of civil society in the decision-making processes related to the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights;

(c) To consider the desirability of drawing up national action plans identifying steps to improve the situation of human rights in general with specific national benchmarks designed to give effect to minimum essential levels of enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights;

5. Calls upon States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

(a) To submit their reports to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in a regular and timely manner, as recommended in the Vienna Statement of the human rights treaty bodies adopted during the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/TBB/4 and Add.1);

(b) To promote the participation of representatives of civil society in the process of preparation of their periodic reports to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the implementation of the recommendations of the Committee;

6. Decides:

(a) To request the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the relevant human rights mechanisms and treaty bodies to give, within their mandates, greater attention to the protection of economic, social and cultural rights;

(b) To request the Secretary-General to submit reports to the GeneralAssembly at its fifty-second session and to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth session, under the relevant agenda items, on progress towards the realization of the rights set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, giving due reflection to:

(i) The views of all relevant national and international organizations, governmental or non-governmental, on the opportuneness and resource implications of appointing a special rapporteur to encourage the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights in general; and

(ii) Their reactions to the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on a draft optional protocol for the consideration of communications concerning non-compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

(c) To request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to give appropriate consideration to the proposed programme of action designed to enhance the ability of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to assist interested Governments in their reporting obligations and its capacity to process and follow up the examination of States' reports.

56th meeting
11 April 1997

[Adopted without a vote. See chap.V.]


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