Integrating the human rights of women
throughout the United Nations system

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/51



The Commission on Human Rights,

Reaffirming that the equal rights of women and men are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights instruments,

Recalling its previous resolutions on the subject and agreed conclusions 1997/2 adopted by the Economic and Social Council on 18 July 1997 on mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system,

Recalling also that, in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23), the World Conference on Human Rights affirmed that the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights and called for action to integrate the equal status and human rights of women into the mainstream of United Nations system­wide activity,

Bearing in mind that the Fourth World Conference on Women, in the Beijing Platform for Action (A/CONF.177/20, chap. I), called upon all relevant organs, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system and all human rights bodies of the United Nations system, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to give full, equal and sustained attention to the human rights of women in the exercise of their respective mandates,

Emphasizing the major role of the Commission on the Status of Women in promoting equality between women and men and, in particular, welcoming its conclusions on human rights of women, violence against women, women and armed conflict, and the girl child, adopted at its forty­second session in March 1998,

Reaffirming the important role that women's groups and non­governmental organizations play in promoting and protecting the human rights of women,

1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary­General (E/CN.4/1998/49 and Add.1);

2. Also welcomes the commitment of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to integrating the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system;

3. Emphasizes that the goal of mainstreaming a gender perspective is to achieve gender equality and that this includes ensuring that all United Nations activities integrate the human rights of women, and to this end calls upon all relevant actors to implement agreed conclusions 1997/2 of the Economic and Social Council through such measures as the adoption of gender­mainstreaming policies, the improvement of tools for gender mainstreaming, the establishment of instruments and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation, and the creation of accountability mechanisms for gender mainstreaming;

4. Also emphasizes that the responsibility for mainstreaming starts at the highest levels and, therefore, encourages the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Division for the Advancement of Women, to elaborate a gender mission statement and strategies for effectively implementing the agreed conclusions;

5. Welcomes the cooperation and coordination between the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights aimed at mainstreaming women's human rights, such as the joint work plan (E/CN.6/1998/2/Add.1), and requests that this plan continue to reflect all aspects of work under way and identify where obstacles/impediments exist and areas for further collaboration, and that it be made available to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty­fifth session and to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty­third session;

6. Calls for further strengthening of cooperation and coordination between the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women and between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Division for the Advancement of Women in order to promote more effectively women's human rights through, inter alia:

(a) Collaborating in the writing of reports for the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights, building on the first initiative of this type (E/CN.4/1998/22­E/CN.6/1998/11), and making their reports available to each other;

(b) Sharing information systematically on the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in order to ensure that its concluding observations and general recommendations are better utilized in the work of the other treaty bodies and United Nations human rights activities;

(c) Capacity­building to implement the agreed conclusions of the Economic and Social Council on mainstreaming a gender perspective, in particular training and gender sensitization, especially for personnel involved in human rights field operations;

7. Requests all human rights treaty bodies, special procedures and other human rights mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub­Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities regularly and systematically to take a gender perspective into account in the implementation of their mandates, and to include in their reports information on and qualitative analysis of violations of human rights of women and girls, and encourages the strengthening of cooperation and coordination in this regard;

8. Welcomes again, in this regard, the paper prepared by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (E/CN.4/1997/131, annex) for the meeting of the special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and chairpersons of the working groups of the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights held from 28 to 30 May 1996 (see E/CN.4/1997/3) and the description therein that gender­specific reporting and analysis is an examination of the effects of gender on the form which a human rights violation takes, the circumstances in which a particular violation occurs, the consequences for the victim, and the availability and accessibility of remedies, and urges the implementation of the recommendations pertaining to working methods and reporting methodology, including sources of information and gender­specific analysis in conclusions and recommendations;

9. Draws attention to the need to develop practical strategies to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the expert group meeting on the development of guidelines for the integration of a gender perspective into human rights activities and programmes (E/CN.4/1996/105, annex) and, in this regard, recommends that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with other relevant United Nations agencies and secretariats, consider the organization of another such meeting to evaluate measures taken and any obstacles to implementation of these guidelines, including assessing possible new strategies to implement them;

10. Encourages the efforts of the treaty bodies to monitor more effectively the human rights of women in their activities, and reaffirms that it is the responsibility of all treaty bodies, in their work, to integrate a gender perspective, bearing in mind the need:

(a) To develop gender­sensitive guidelines to be used in the review of States parties' reports;

(b) To develop, as a matter of priority, a common strategy towards mainstreaming the human rights of women into their work, so that each body, within its mandate, monitors the human rights of women;

(c) To incorporate a gender analysis and regularly exchange information in the development of general comments and recommendations with a view to the preparation of general comments which reflect a gender perspective;

(d) To incorporate a gender perspective into concluding observations so that the concluding observations of each treaty body delineate the strengths and weaknesses of each State party insofar as enjoyment by women of the rights guaranteed by a particular treaty is concerned;

11. Urges States to limit the extent of any reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, formulate any such reservations as precisely and as narrowly as possible, ensure that no reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention or otherwise incompatible with international treaty law, and regularly review them with a view to withdrawing them, and to withdraw reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention or which are otherwise incompatible with international treaty law;

12. Urges the relevant organs, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system and all human rights bodies of the United Nations system, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to bear in mind, inter alia, the need for expertise in the human rights of women in the recruitment of staff;

13. Draws attention to the need to give due consideration to the human rights of women and the girl child in the five­year review of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, in this regard, welcomes the recommendations contained in resolution 42/5 adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty­second session and the issuing of the information kit “Women's Rights: The Responsibility of All” by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights;

14. Requests the Secretary­General to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty­fifth session;

15. Decides to continue its consideration of this question at its fifty­fifth session.

52nd meeting
17 April 1998

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


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