The right to development

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/15


The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 50/184 of 22 December 1995 and 50/214 of 23 December 1995, as well as its own resolution 1995/17 of 24 February 1995,

Reaffirming the Declaration on the Right to Development, proclaimed at the forty-first session of the General Assembly, and underlining its multidimensional, integrating and dynamic character which favours a partnership for development and constitutes a relevant framework for international cooperation and national action aiming at the universal and effective respect of all human rights in their universality, indivisibility and interdependence,

Welcoming the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23), in which the World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of all fundamental human rights and reaffirmed that the human person is the central subject of development,

Considering that the declarations and programmes of action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights and at other recent United Nations conferences reaffirmed the universality, interdependence and interrelated character of all human rights, thus contributing to the effective realization of the right to development,

Recalling the need for coordination and cooperation throughout the United Nations system for a more effective promotion and realization of the right to development,

Noting that lasting progress towards the implementation of the right to development requires effective development policies at the national level, as well as equitable economic relations and a favourable economic environment at the international level,

Noting also that the reinforcement of a comprehensive concept of development consistent with each country's conditions and needs, together with adequate domestic economic and social policies and the promotion of the elimination of inequality and increased participation of the people in decision-making at all levels, including in the formulation and implementation of development programmes, would favour development at the national level,

Reaffirming the importance of the right to development for every human person and all peoples in all countries, in particular the developing countries, as an integral part of their fundamental human rights,

Having considered all the reports of the Working Group on the Right to Development,

Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.4/1996/25),

1. Welcomes the efforts deployed by the Working Group on the Right to Development during its mandate and its contribution to the effective implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development, and expresses its appreciation to the Chairman-Rapporteur and to the members of the Working Group for the proposals and recommendations they have elaborated;

2. Urges States to pursue the promotion and protection of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights and the implementation of comprehensive development programmes, integrating these rights into development activities;

3. Invites States further to strengthen cooperation for the implementation of the right to development by submitting to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights voluntary reports on progress and steps taken for its realization, as well as on obstacles encountered in that respect;

4. Encourages States to assign existing or new administrative units to serve as focal points for collecting and disseminating useful information required for further implementation of the right to development;

5. Recalls that the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General, taking into account the proposals of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights made in the context of the ongoing process of restructuring the Centre for Human Rights, to establish in the 1996-1997 biennium a new branch whose primary responsibilities would include the promotion and protection of the right to development;

6. Also recalls that the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to formulate appropriate programmatic follow-up to the activities to be carried out by that branch, in particular follow-up to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development in accordance with paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 50/184, for inclusion in the next medium-term plan;

7. Invites the regional commissions to consider how they might contribute, within their respective mandates, to the implementation of the right to development and to include this aspect of their activities in the reports which they submit to the Economic and Social Council;

8. Invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure widespread dissemination and promotion of the Declaration, in close cooperation with States and intergovernmental organizations, as well as institutes of human rights, academia and interested non-governmental organizations all over the world, so that the Declaration is better known to those in charge of its implementation;

9. Invites the relevant treaty bodies to consider examining, within the scope of their mandate, the proper means for their contribution to the implementation of the right to development;

10. Invites the appropriate specialized agencies of the United Nations system to contribute, in accordance with their mandates, to the realization of the right to development through dissemination of information and coordination with other institutions and the Centre for Human Rights on the subject;

11. Recommends that the Economic and Social Council, in the ongoing discussions on its reform, consider how best to promote system-wide action to promote and protect the right to development, for example including it for its consideration and conveying its conclusions to relevant international bodies, including the Bretton Woods institutions;

12. Also recommends that the Economic and Social Council deepen the review of all issues relevant to the implementation of the right to development, including the promotion of a favourable international and national economic environment;

13. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in his capacity as overall coordinator of United Nations human rights activities, to continue his dialogue with appropriate specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations system with regard to the impact of their programmes and activities on the implementation of the right to development;

14. Reaffirms that the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development requires perseverance and concrete efforts and that this dynamic process should be pursued at all appropriate levels, including through the elaboration of international and national strategies, which requires the effective contribution of States, organs and organizations of the United Nations system and of non-governmental organizations active in this field;

15. Decides, to this end, to establish an intergovernmental working group of experts with a mandate to elaborate a strategy for the implementation and promotion of the right to development, as set forth in the Declaration on the Right to Development, in its integrated and multidimensional aspects, bearing in mind the conclusions of the Working Group on the Right to Development, established by the Commission on Human Rights in resolution 1993/22, and the conclusions of the World Conference on Human Rights and of the four World Conferences (the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the International Conference on Population and Development, the World Summit for Social Development and the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace), and that:

(a) Such working group be established for a two-year period;

(b) The working group elaborate concrete and practical measures for the implementation and promotion of the right to development and submit a progress report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-third session; the working group shall focus on the development of such a strategy, which should include recommendations for further practical measures for implementation and promotion, and report to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session;

(c) The members of the working group will be appointed on the basis of equitable geographical representation, in consultation with the regional groups, and of their competence and acquired experience in this field; and urges that they accomplish their mandate;

(d) The working group shall be composed of 10 experts, nominated by Governments, to be appointed by the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights;

(e) The working group experts will be in consultation with the treaty bodies and with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on all issues relevant to the implementation of the right to development;

16. Calls upon the Secretary-General to ensure that the working group receives all necessary assistance, within overall existing resources, in particular the staff and resources required to fulfil its mandate;

17. Calls upon Governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to envisage making voluntary additional contributions in order to strengthen support and execution of the activities linked to the implementation of the right to development;

18. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Commission at its fifty-third session;

19. Decides to consider the question of the right to development at its fifty-third session under the agenda item entitled "Question of the realization of the right to development".

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


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