1995/23. Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination
of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination
Based on Religion or Belief

The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling that all States have pledged themselves to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,

Reaffirming that discrimination against human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling also General Assembly resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981, by which it proclaimed the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,

Taking note of General Assembly resolution 49/188 of 23 December 1994, in which it requested the Commission on Human Rights to continue its consideration of measures to implement the Declaration and requested the Special Rapporteur on the question of religious intolerance to submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session,

Reaffirming the call of the World Conference on Human Rights for all Governments to take all appropriate measures in compliance with their international obligations and with due regard to their respective legal systems to counter intolerance and related violence based on religion or belief, including practices of discrimination against women and the desecration of religious sites,

Recognizing that it is desirable to enhance the promotional and public information activities of the United Nations in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief and that both Governments and non-governmental organizations have an important role to play in this domain,

Emphasizing that non-governmental organizations and religious bodies and groups at every level have an important role to play in the promotion of tolerance and the protection of freedom of religion or belief,

Emphasizing also the importance of education in ensuring tolerance of religion and belief, and taking note with interest of the Special Rapporteur's questionnaire on religious education (E/CN.4/1995/91, annex) as a contribution to an increased understanding of this matter,

Considering that the inclusion of events relating to tolerance and religious diversity among the activities to be undertaken during the United Nations Year for Tolerance will contribute to greater tolerance and understanding in matters of religion and belief,

Alarmed that serious instances of intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, including acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by religious extremism, threaten the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in many parts of the world,

Deeply concerned that, as reported by the Special Rapporteur, the rights violated on religious grounds include the right to life, the right to physical integrity and to liberty and security of person, the right to freedom of expression, the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained,

1. Reaffirms that freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief is a human right derived from the inherent dignity of the human person and guaranteed to all without discrimination;

2. Expresses its thanks to the Special Rapporteur on the question of religious intolerance, and takes note of his report (E/CN.4/1995/91);

3. Notes with grave concern the continuing instances of hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, based upon intolerance in matters of religion and belief and upon religious extremism, as identified by the Special Rapporteur, which threaten all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

4. Condemns all such acts, including practices which discriminate against women, and all acts motivated by religious extremism in all its forms;

5. Urges States to ensure that their constitutional and legal systems provide adequate guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief to all without discrimination, including through the provision of effective remedies in cases where there is intolerance or discrimination based on religion or belief;

6. Also urges States to ensure in particular that no one within their jurisdiction is, on account of their religion or belief, deprived of the right to life or the right to liberty and security of person, or subjected to torture or arbitrary arrest or detention;

7. Further urges all States, therefore, in conformity with international standards of human rights, to take all necessary measures to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by religious extremism, and to encourage understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief;

8. Emphasizes that, as underlined by the Human Rights Committee, restrictions on the freedom to manifest religion or belief are permitted only if limitations are prescribed by law, are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, and are applied in a manner that does not vitiate the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

9. Urges States to ensure that, in the course of their official duties, members of law enforcement bodies, civil servants, educators and other public officials respect different religions and beliefs and do not discriminate against persons professing other religions or beliefs;

10. Calls upon all States to recognize, as provided in the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief and to establish and maintain places for these purposes;

11. Expresses its grave concern at attacks upon religious places, sites and shrines, and calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international human rights standards, to exert their utmost efforts to ensure that such places, sites and shrines are fully respected and protected;

12. Recognizes that the exercise of tolerance and non-discrimination by persons and groups is necessary for the full realization of the aims of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief;

13. Reiterates its invitation to the Secretary-General to continue to give high priority to the dissemination of the text of the Declaration in all the official languages of the United Nations and to take all appropriate measures to make the text available for use by United Nations information centres, as well as by other interested bodies;

14. Recommends that the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion be given appropriate priority in the work of the United Nations programme of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights;

15. Encourages Governments, when seeking the assistance of the United Nations programme of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights, to consider, where appropriate, including requests for assistance in the field of promotion and protection of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

16. Welcomes and encourages the efforts of non-governmental organizations to promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, and invites them to consider what further contribution they could make to its implementation and dissemination in all parts of the world;

17. Decides to extend for three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur appointed to examine incidents and governmental action in all parts of the world which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Declaration and to recommend remedial measures, as appropriate;

18. Invites the Special Rapporteur, in carrying out his mandate, to continue to bear in mind the need to be able to respond effectively to credible and reliable information that comes before him, to seek the views and comments of the Government concerned on any information which he intends to include in his report, and to continue to carry out his work with discretion and independence;

19. Calls upon Governments to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, inter alia by responding expeditiously to requests for such views and comments;

20. Welcomes the invitations extended by a number of Governments to the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries;

21. Encourages other Governments to give serious consideration to extending similar invitations to enable the Special Rapporteur to fulfil his mandate even more effectively;

22. Requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to the Special Rapporteur to enable him to carry out his mandate, to submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its fiftieth session and to report to the Commission at its fifty-second session;



23. Decides to continue its consideration of the question at its fifty-second session under the agenda item entitled "Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief".
42nd meeting
24 February 1995
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. XXII. E/CN.4/1995/176]


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