Human rights and mass exoduses

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/75

The Commission on Human Rights,

Deeply disturbed by the scale and magnitude of exoduses and displacements of population in many regions of the world and by the extensive human suffering of refugees and displaced persons,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, in particular resolution1996/51 of 19April1996, as well as those of the GeneralAssembly, and the conclusions of the World Conference on Human Rights, which recognized that gross violations of human rights, including in armed conflicts, are among the multiple and complex factors leading to displacement of people,

Noting with satisfaction the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the framework for coordination activities and projects organized by the United Nations system aimed at evolving a comprehensive approach to address root causes and effects of movements of refugees and other displaced persons and the strengthening of emergency preparedness and responsible mechanisms,

Conscious of the fact that mass exoduses of populations are caused by multiple and complex factors, which may include human rights violations, political, ethnic and economic conflicts, famine, insecurity, violence, poverty and environmental degradation, which indicate that comprehensive approaches, particularly early warning, require an intersectoral and multidisciplinary approach to enable a coherent response, particularly at the international and regional levels,

Noting that the Secretary-General, in his report entitled "An Agenda for Peace" (A/47/277-S/24111), identifies the protection of human rights and the promotion of economic well-being as important elements of peace, security and development,

Recognizing the complementarity between the system for the protection of human rights and humanitarian action, and that the work of humanitarian agencies makes an important contribution to the achievement of human rights,

Welcoming the continuation of inter-agency consultations on early warning of mass flows of refugees, pursuant to the decision of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, with the purpose of serving both prevention of andpreparedness for humanitarian emergencies,

Welcoming also the participation of the High Commissioner for HumanRights and the representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons in the deliberations of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee established by the GeneralAssembly in resolution46/182 of 19December1991,

Welcoming further the cooperation between the United Nations HighCommissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the UnitedNations HighCommissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Programme and other relevant UnitedNations entities, with a view to ensuring coordination of activities within their mandates and expertise in the areas of returnee monitoring and promotion, technical advice, institution-building and rehabilitation activities,

Recognizing that the human rights machinery of the UnitedNations, including the mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights and the human rights treaty bodies, has important capabilities to address human rights violations which cause movements of refugees and displaced persons or prevent durable solutions to their plight,

Convinced that the activities of these mechanisms, with a view, interalia, to preventing mass exoduses and to strengthening emergency preparedness and response mechanisms of the United Nations system as a whole, should be encouraged and further developed and coordinated at both the international and regional levels, with priority given to the systematization of the early-warning information collection,

Recognizing that women and children constitute the majority of most refugee populations and that, in addition to the problems they share in commonwith all refugees, women and girls in such circumstances are vulnerableto gender-based discrimination and gender-specific violations of human rights,

Recalling that States parties to the 1951Convention relating to the Status of Refugees undertake, under article35, to provide information to theOffice of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees on the implementation of the Convention, as was recalled in the General Conclusions on international protection adopted by the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1995 (No.77(XLVI))and 1996 (No.79 (XLVII)),

Distressed at the widespread violation of the principle of non-refoulement and of the rights of refugees, in some cases resulting in loss of refugee lives, and at reports indicating that large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers have been refouled and expelled in highly dangerous situations, and recalling that the principle of non-refoulement is not subject to derogation,

Recalling all relevant human rights standards, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principles of international protection for refugees and the General Conclusions of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the High Commissioner for Refugees on international protection, and that asylum applicants should have access to fair and expeditious status- determination procedures,

Welcoming the continuing efforts of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees in meeting the protection and assistance needs of refugees worldwide and in working to make it possible for refugees to exercise their fundamental right to return to and to stay in their own countries in safety and dignity,

1. Takes note with interest of the report of the Secretary-General onhuman rights and mass exoduses (E/CN.4/1996/42) and the update to this report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (E/CN.4/1997/42), which are important contributions to efforts to develop a comprehensive approach to the question of human rights and mass exoduses;

2. Welcomes the endorsement by the GeneralAssembly, in its resolution41/70 of 3December1986, of the call upon all States to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms and to refrain from denying them to individuals in their population because of nationality, ethnicity, race, religion or language, and urges States to refrain from denying them because of gender;

3. Strongly deplores ethnic and other forms of intolerance as one of the major causes of forced migratory movements, and urges States to take all necessary steps to ensure respect for human rights, especially the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

4. Takes note of resolution 1996/9 of 23 August 1996 of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, entitled "The right to freedom of movement";

5. Invites again all Governments and regional, intergovernmental and humanitarian organizations concerned to intensify their cooperation and assistance in worldwide efforts to address the serious problems resulting from mass exoduses of refugees and displaced persons, and the causes of such exoduses;

6. Emphasizes the responsibility of all States and international organizations to cooperate with those countries affected by mass exoduses of refugees and displaced persons;

7. Urges all bodies involved in inter-agency consultations on early warning to cooperate fully in and to increase the necessary commitment and resources to the successful operation of the consultations;

8. Invites the special rapporteurs, special representatives and working groups of the Commission and the UnitedNations human rights treaty bodies, acting within their mandates, to seek information, where appropriate, on problems resulting in mass exoduses of populations or impeding their voluntary return home and, where appropriate, to include such information, together with recommendations thereon, in their reports, and to bring such information to the attention of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for appropriate action in fulfilment of his mandate, in consultation with the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees;

9. Requests all UnitedNations bodies, including the UnitedNations human rights treaty bodies, acting within their mandates, the specialized agencies, and governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, to cooperate fully with all mechanisms of the Commission and, in particular, to provide them with all relevant information in their possession on the human rights situations creating or affecting refugees and displaced persons;

10. Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the exercise of his mandate, as set out in GeneralAssembly resolution48/141 of 20December1993, for preventing the continuation of human rights violations throughout the world and for coordinating human rights activities throughout the UnitedNations system, and in cooperation with the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees, to pay particular attention tosituations which cause or threaten to cause mass exoduses and to contribute to efforts to address such situations effectively through protection measures, as well as emergency preparedness and response mechanisms, including information sharing and the provision of technical advice, expertise and cooperation in countries of origin as well as host countries;

11. Welcomes the efforts of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to contribute to the creation of an environment viable for return in post-conflict societies through initiatives such as the rehabilitation of the justice system, the creation of national institutions capable of defending human rights, and broad-based programmes of human rights education, as well as strengthening of local non-governmental organizations through programmes of advisory services and technical cooperation;

12. Welcomes the establishment by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the Humanitarian Early Warning System, and calls upon the HighCommissioner for Human Rights to continue his cooperation with the Department in this regard;

13. Urges the Secretary-General to give high priority and to allocate the necessary resources to the consolidation and strengthening of the system for undertaking early-warning activities for the purpose of ensuring, interalia, that effective action is taken to identify all human rights abuses which contribute to mass outflows of persons, and to invite comments on this issue;

14. Welcomes with appreciation the contributions of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees to the deliberations at the fifty-third session of the Commission on Human Rights and to other international human rights bodies and mechanisms, and invites her to address the Commission at its fifty-fourth session;

15. Encourages States that have not already done so to consider accession to the 1951Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967, the 1954Convention relating to the Status of StatelessPersons, the 1961Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, relevant regional refugee instruments and other relevant international human rights instruments;

16. Encourages States parties to the 1951Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to provide information to the Office of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees, in accordance with article35 of the Convention;

17. Calls upon States to ensure effective protection of refugees through, interalia, respecting the principle of non-refoulement;

18. Requests the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Human Rights to invite Governments, intergovernmental organizations, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to provide information and to prepare, within existing resources, and submit to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session an update of his report, including information on and recommendations and conclusions emerging from the action taken pursuant to the present resolution, with particular attention to defining appropriate early-warning capacities and ensuing implementation procedures and activities necessary to respond promptly and effectively;

19. Decides to continue its consideration of the question at its fifty-fourth session under the agenda item entitled "Further promotion and encouragement of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the question of the programme and methods of work of the Commission", under the sub-item entitled "Human rights, mass exoduses and displaced persons".

69th meeting
18 April 1997

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


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