United Nations

A/51/480


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

11 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/480
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (b)


               HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS,
                INCLUDING ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING  
                  THE EFFECTIVE ENJOYMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND     
                             FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

   Regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   In its resolution 49/189 of 23 December 1994, the General Assembly
welcomed the continuing cooperation and assistance of the Centre for
Human Rights in the further strengthening of the existing regional
arrangements and regional machinery for the promotion and protection
of human rights, with a view to exchanging any information and
experience in the field of human rights.

2.   In the same resolution, the General Assembly stressed the
importance of the programme of advisory services in the field of human
rights, and renewed its appeal to all Governments to consider making
use of the possibilities offered by the United Nations under this
programme.  The General Assembly requested the Commission on Human
Rights to continue to pay special attention to the most appropriate
ways of assisting countries of the different regions under the
programme of advisory services.

3.   The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has
emphasized that the regional intergovernmental organizations are
important and close partners of the United Nations human rights
programme.  Cooperation with these organizations is crucial in the
planning and implementation of the United Nations human rights
activities in various regions.

4.   The General Assembly invited States in areas where regional
arrangements in the field of human rights do not yet exist to consider
concluding agreements with a view to the establishment within their
respective regions of suitable regional machinery for the promotion
and protection of human rights.

5.   The Secretary-General was requested, as foreseen in the
medium-term plan for the period 1992-1997, to continue to strengthen
exchanges between the United Nations and regional intergovernmental
organizations dealing with human rights and to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-first session a report on the state of regional
arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights and to
include therein the results of action taken in pursuance of resolution
49/189.  The present report has been prepared in response to that
request.


II.  COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED NATIONS AND REGIONAL
     INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS                    

                  A.  Cooperation with the Council of Europe

6.   The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for
Human Rights participated in an expert seminar on human rights and the
police, sponsored by the Council of Europe, which was held at the
Palais de l'Europe, in Strasbourg, France from 6 to 8 December 1995.

7.   Human rights awareness and education programmes, which have been
developed and implemented by the Council of Europe, constitute an
important contribution to the United Nations Decade for Human Rights
Education.

8.   The Council of Europe and the United Nations programme of
technical cooperation in the field of human rights continue to
exchange on a regular basis, information on programmes and activities
in Central and Eastern Europe.

9.   The United Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights and
the Council of Europe, in accordance with recommendations of the
United Nations human rights treaty bodies, agreed that the
jurisprudence of the Council would be regularly made available to the
Centre.  The Council also expressed its intention to make its
jurisprudence available on the Internet and on CD-ROM. With respect to
the Centre, it is envisioned that the full-text database developed for
the treaty-monitoring bodies will be made accessible to the public in
the context of the Centre's efforts to develop an Internet web site.

10.  The United Nations human rights treaty bodies also engage in
cooperation with regional institutions in the discharge of their
functions to monitor the implementation of the respective instruments
by States parties.  Additionally, the Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights continues to receive information from the Council
of Europe, which is taken into consideration in the analyses of the
human rights situations in States parties whose reports are due to be
considered.  The Committee on Torture regularly receives reports from
the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of
Europe on visits to States parties to the European Convention for the
Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment.

B.  Cooperation with the Organization for Security
    and Cooperation in Europe                     

11.  From 1 to 4 July 1996, the United Nations High Commissioner/Centre
for Human Rights, in cooperation with the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, conducted
a workshop on human rights monitoring for monitors of the OSCE mission
to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The workshop, which was held in Neum,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, was attended by some 32 participants, and was
facilitated by 12 resource persons.

12.  The event was organized following agreement between the High
Commissioner and OSCE, whereby the High Commissioner was to provide
training to OSCE monitors in both the substance and the methodology of
monitoring human rights in the mission area.  It was the second
element of a two-part programme, the first having been pre-deployment
induction briefings provided by the High Commissioner's team at Vienna
from 13 to 15 February 1996.

13.  The High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights has carried out
regular consultations with OSCE with regard to the exchange of
information and the development and implementation of technical
cooperation projects in the field of human rights, involving countries
in Central and Eastern Europe.


                 C.  Cooperation with the European Commission

14.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights cooperates
with the European Commission in the context of programmes for Rwanda,
Burundi and Colombia.  The European Commission has provided 31 highly
qualified and fully equipped personnel, who are working as an integral
part of the United Nations Human Rights Field Operation in Rwanda. 
The European Commission has also agreed to provide financial support
to the High Commissioner for his preventive human rights initiatives
in Burundi.  In this framework, five human rights officers have been
deployed to the mission in Burundi.  A further deployment of up to 35
human rights officers is being considered.  The European Commission
declared its willingness to provide financial support for the five
staff members of the permanent office to be established in Colombia by
the High Commissioner in accordance with the statement of
23 April 1996 of the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights on the
situation of human rights in Colombia.


D.  Cooperation with the African Commission on Human
    and People's Rights                             

15.  During the period covered by the present report, the United
Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights continued to provide
financial support to the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights under the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field
of Human Rights.  Part of the funds were used in support of the
regional seminar on women's rights and the African Charter on Human
and People's Rights, held in Togo in March 1995.

16.  In cooperation with the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and
the Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations High
Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights organized a meeting of high-level
government experts in the African region at Addis Ababa from 14 to
17 May 1996 on the international human rights treaty regime.  The
meeting assembled high-level government experts from States that had
not submitted instruments of ratification, accession or succession to
a number of the principal international human rights instruments. 
Participants were invited to discuss and reflect on all aspects of the
international human rights treaty regime, including reporting
obligations of States parties and implementation of those instruments,
the use of reservations, the identification of obstacles to
ratification and the development of strategies to overcome them.

17.  The technical cooperation project in the field of human rights
that the United Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights
developed with the Government of Burundi has been implemented in
cooperation with the observer mission of OAU in Burundi.  The United
Nations Centre for Human Rights has also cooperated with OAU in the
development and implementation of a training programme on human
rights, democracy and the rule of law for heads of military academies
in Africa.

18.  The High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights supported the First
Regional Conference of African National Human Rights Institutions,
organized by the National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms of
Cameroon at Yaounde' from 5 to 7 February 1996.  This conference was
the first regional initiative in the area of national institutions and
was attended by representatives of 12 national institutions of the
region and by several observers.  A Coordinating Committee of African
National Institutions was created as an outcome of the meeting.


III.  ESTABLISHMENT OF REGIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE
      PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS      

19.  As requested by the General Assembly as well as by the Commission
on Human Rights in their numerous resolutions, in particular
Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/48 of 3 March 1995 on
regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights
in the Asian and Pacific region, the Secretary-General, during the
period covered by the present report, continued to pay special
attention to the countries in the Asian and Pacific region.

20.  In this connection, the United Nations High Commissioner/Centre
for Human Rights, upon requests from Governments in the Asian and
Pacific region, has continued his efforts to enable countries in the
region to benefit from all the activities under the programme of
advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human
rights.  Technical cooperation projects in the field of human rights
have been or are being developed with 12 Governments in the region. 
In addition, a regional workshop, the fourth one in the series,
specifically on the subject of regional arrangements for the promotion
and protection of human rights in the Asian and Pacific region, was
organized by the High Commissioner/ Centre for Human Rights, in
cooperation with the Government of Nepal, at Kathmandu from 26 to
28 February 1996.  The meeting was addressed by the High Commissioner
for Human Rights and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal.  It is
important to note that, for the first time, the Governments of the
region that attended the workshop concluded the meeting by drawing up
workshop conclusions, in which specific steps were identified as
building-blocks towards the establishment of regional human rights
machinery.  The report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.4/1996/46 and
Add.1), submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 of Commission on
Human Rights resolution 1995/48, provides detailed information in this
regard.

21.  The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and
the Human Rights Commission of New Zealand, in cooperation with the
United Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights, organized
the First Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop of National Human Rights
Institutions at Darwin, Australia from 8 to 10 July 1996.  The
workshop brought together senior representatives of four national
institutions of the region, as well as representatives of countries
that were interested in or in the process of establishing national
human rights institutions.  The meeting decided to establish an
Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions.


IV.  PROGRAMME OF ADVISORY SERVICES AND TECHNICAL
      ASSISTANCE IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN RIGHTS     

22.  The programme continued to grow during 1995.  More than 200
activities were carried out by the United Nations High
Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights in providing support to States. 
The attention of the General Assembly is drawn to the report of the
Secretary-General on the programme (E/CN.4/1996/90).


                                V.  CONCLUSION

23.  The cooperation of the United Nations human rights programme with
regional intergovernmental organizations has proved to be substantial
and supportive.  However, the potential of this cooperation with
regard to human, organizational and financial resources is far from
being exhausted.  Good examples of cooperation, mutual assistance and
the most efficient use of limited resources should guide us in the
future.  Within the framework of the medium-term plan for the period
1992-1997, the United Nations will continue to strengthen exchanges
with regional organizations with a view to better promoting human
rights.  Special attention will be paid to the Asian and Pacific
region, where no regional arrangements for the promotion and
protection of human rights exist as yet.  In this regard, the United
Nations High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights will continue to
facilitate the step-by-step process of establishing regional human
rights machinery through, inter alia, the organization of the annual
regional workshop and by according priority to the needs of the
countries in this region.


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