Human rights and thematic procedures

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/74


The Commission on Human Rights,

Considering that thematic procedures established by the Commission with regard to the consideration of questions related to the promotion and protection of all human rights have an important role among its human rights monitoring mechanisms,

Emphasizing the importance of the impartiality, objectivity and independence of the thematic procedures, as well as the need for due attention to be paid to violations of human rights wherever they may occur,

Noting with satisfaction that an increasing number of Governments have developed a working relationship with the thematic procedures, in particular in the form of invitations to visit, responses to requests for information and implementation of recommendations, and that numerous non­governmental organizations have also developed a working relationship with the thematic procedures,

Welcoming the draft declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, as contained in the annex to its resolution 1998/7 of 3 April 1998,

Emphasizing the obligation of Governments not to subject individuals, organizations or groups of persons who have provided information to the special procedures to adverse treatment as a result of such action,

Recalling the applicability of the provisions of the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations to the work of the experts of the special procedures system in the exercise of their functions,

Recalling also all its resolutions on human rights and thematic procedures,

Recalling further:

(a) The recommendations concerning thematic procedures contained in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23), which called for the strengthening of special procedures;

(b) The Secretary­General's programme for United Nations reform (A/51/950 and Add.1­7), which calls for mainstreaming human rights in United Nations activities,

Mindful of the request by the Secretary­General to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to review the human rights machinery and develop recommendations on possible ways to streamline and rationalize it, with a view to strengthening, inter alia, the special procedures,

Welcoming the organization by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of annual meetings of the holders of mandates, as recommended by the World Conference on Human Rights, and the efforts to coordinate activities among various mandates in the areas of urgent actions, missions to the field and relevant meetings and consultations, so as to enhance effectiveness, taking into account the need to avoid unnecessary duplication and overlapping,

Noting that some human rights violations are specific to or primarily directed against women, and that the identification and reporting of these violations demand specific awareness and sensitivity,

1. Commends those Governments that have invited the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts or working groups to visit their countries and developed other forms of intensive cooperation with the thematic procedures;

2. Encourages all Governments to cooperate with the Commission through the pertinent thematic procedures by:

(a) Responding without undue delay to requests for information made to them through the thematic procedures, so that the procedures may carry out their mandates effectively;

(b) Considering inviting thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups to visit their countries, upon request;

(c) Considering follow­up visits with a view to the effective implementation of recommendations by the thematic procedures concerned;

3. Invites the Governments concerned to study carefully the recommendations addressed to them under thematic procedures and to keep the relevant mechanisms informed without undue delay on the progress made towards their implementation;

4. Invites non­governmental organizations to continue their cooperation with thematic procedures and to ascertain that the material provided is as detailed as possible and falls under the mandate of the procedures;

5. Requests the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups:

(a) To make recommendations for the prevention of human rights violations;

(b) To follow closely and reflect in their reports progress made by Governments in the investigations carried out within their respective mandates;

(c) To continue close cooperation with relevant treaty bodies and country rapporteurs;

(d) To include in their reports information provided by Governments on follow­up action, as well as their own observations thereon, including in regard to both problems and improvements, as appropriate;

(e) To include regularly in their reports gender­disaggregated data and to address the characteristics and practice of human rights violations under their mandates that are specifically or primarily directed against women, or to which women are particularly vulnerable, in order to ensure the effective protection of the human rights of women;

6. Also requests the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups to include in their reports comments on problems of responsiveness and the result of analyses, as appropriate, in order to carry out their mandates even more effectively, and to include also in their reports suggestions as to areas where Governments might request relevant assistance through the programme of advisory services administered by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

7. Requests the Secretary­General, taking note of the recommendations of the meetings of the special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and chairpersons of working groups, to convene further periodic meetings of all the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and chairpersons of working groups of the Commission on Human Rights in order to enable them to continue to exchange views, cooperate and coordinate more closely and make recommendations;

8. Encourages the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including in the context of the five­year review of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, to strengthen further cooperation among the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts, and members and chairpersons of working groups of the Commission and other relevant United Nations bodies, including the human rights treaty bodies, with a view to promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness through better coordination of the various bodies, mechanisms and procedures, taking into account the need to avoid unnecessary duplication and overlapping of their mandates and tasks;

9. Suggests that the special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups of the special procedures of the Commission, acting within their mandates, consider how they can also promote public awareness about human rights and about the particular situation of individuals, groups and organs of society that promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms;

10. Requests the Secretary­General:

(a) To issue annually and sufficiently early, in close collaboration with the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups, their conclusions and recommendations, so as to enable further discussion of their implementation at subsequent sessions of the Commission;

(b) To present annually a list of all persons currently mandated to carry out the thematic and country procedures, including their country of origin, in an annex to the annotations to the provisional agenda of each session of the Commission;

11. Also requests the Secretary­General, in implementing the United Nations budget for the current biennium, to ensure the availability of such resources as are necessary for the effective implementation of all thematic mandates, including any additional tasks entrusted to the thematic special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups by the appropriate United Nations organs.

58th meeting
22 April 1998

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


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