United Nations

A/RES/50/171


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

26 February 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 112 (a)


           RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

     [on the report of the Third Committee (A/50/635/Add.1)]

          50/171.   International Covenants on Human Rights


     The General Assembly,

     Recalling its resolution 48/119 of 20 December 1993, and taking
note of Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/22 of
24 February 1995,  1/

     Mindful that the International Covenants on Human Rights  2/
constitute the first all-embracing and legally binding international
treaties in the field of human rights and, together with the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights,  3/ form the core of the International
Bill of Human Rights,

     Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General  4/ on the
status of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, 2/ the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 2/
and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights,  5/

     Noting that many States Members of the United Nations have yet to
become parties to the International Covenants on Human Rights,

     Recalling the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, and reaffirming that all human rights and fundamental freedoms
are indivisible and interrelated and that the promotion and protection
of one category of rights should never exempt or excuse States from
the promotion and protection of the other rights,

     Recognizing the important role of the Human Rights Committee and
the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the
implementation of the International Covenants on Human Rights and the
Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights,

     Welcoming the submission to the General Assembly of the annual
report of the Human Rights Committee  6/ and the report of the
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,  7/

     Considering that the effective functioning of treaty bodies
established in accordance with the relevant provisions of
international instruments on human rights plays a fundamental role and
hence represents an important continuing concern of the United
Nations,

     Noting with concern the critical situation with regard to overdue
reports from States parties to the International Covenants on Human
Rights,

     1.   Reaffirms the importance of the International Covenants on
Human Rights as major parts of international efforts to promote
universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental
freedoms;

     2.   Appeals strongly to all States that have not yet done so to
become parties to the International Covenants on Human Rights as well
as to accede to the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and to make the declaration provided for
in article 41 of the Covenant; 

     3.   Invites the Secretary-General to intensify systematic
efforts to encourage States to become parties to the International
Covenants on Human Rights and, through the programme of advisory
services in the field of human rights, to assist such States, at their
request, in ratifying or acceding to the Covenants and to the Optional
Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

     4.   Emphasizes the importance of the strictest compliance by
States parties with their obligations under the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and, where applicable, the Optional
Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

     5.   Stresses the importance of avoiding the erosion of human
rights by derogation, and underlines the necessity of strict
observance of the agreed conditions and procedures for derogation
under article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, bearing in mind the need for States parties to provide the
fullest possible information during states of emergency so that the
justification for the appropriateness of measures taken in these
circumstances can be assessed;

     6.   Stresses the importance of fully taking into account the
gender perspective in the implementation of the International
Covenants on Human Rights at the national level, including the
national reports, and in the work of the Human Rights Committee and
the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

     7.   Encourages the States parties to consider limiting the
extent of any reservations they lodge to the International Covenants
on Human Rights, to formulate any reservations as precisely and
narrowly as possible and to ensure that no reservation is incompatible
with the object and purpose of the relevant treaty or otherwise
contrary to international law;

     8.   Also encourages the States parties to review regularly any
reservations made in respect of the provisions of the International
Covenants on Human Rights with a view to withdrawing them;

     9.   Takes note with appreciation of the annual reports of the
Human Rights Committee submitted to the General Assembly at its forty-
ninth  8/ and fiftieth  6/ sessions;

     10.  Also takes note with appreciation of the report of the
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on its tenth and
eleventh sessions; 7/

     11.  Expresses its satisfaction with the serious and constructive
manner in which both Committees are carrying out their functions;

     12.  Invites the Committees to identify specific needs of States
parties that might be addressed through the advisory services and
technical assistance programme of the Centre for Human Rights of the
Secretariat, with the possible participation of members of the
Committees where appropriate;

     13.  Welcomes the continuing efforts of the Human Rights
Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to
strive for uniform standards in the implementation of the provisions
of the International Covenants on Human Rights, and appeals to other
bodies dealing with similar human rights questions to respect these
uniform standards, as expressed in the general comments of the Human
Rights Committee;

     14.  Urges States parties to fulfil in good time such reporting
obligations under the International Covenants on Human Rights as may
be requested and to make use of gender-disaggregated data in their
reports;

     15.  Also urges States parties to take duly into account, in
implementing the provisions of the International Covenants on Human
Rights, the observations made at the conclusion of the consideration
of their reports by the Human Rights Committee and by the Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

     16.  Invites States parties to give particular attention to the
dissemination at the national level of the reports they have submitted
to the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, the summary records relating to the examination
of those reports by the Committees and the observations made by the
Committees at the conclusion of the consideration of the reports;

     17.  Encourages once again all Governments to publish the texts
of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights in as many local languages as possible and to
distribute them and make them known as widely as possible in their
territories;

     18.  Requests the Secretary-General to consider ways and means of
assisting States parties to the International Covenants on Human
Rights in the preparation of their reports, including seminars or
workshops at the national level for the purpose of training government
officials engaged in the preparation of such reports, and the
exploration of other possibilities available under the regular
programme of advisory services in the field of human rights;


     19.  Also requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the
Centre for Human Rights effectively assists the Human Rights Committee
and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the
implementation of their respective mandates;

     20.  Once again urges the Secretary-General, taking into account
the suggestions of the Human Rights Committee, to take determined
steps to give more publicity to the work of that Committee and,
similarly, to the work of the Committee on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights;

     21.  Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session, under the item entitled "Human
rights questions", a report on the status of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocols to
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including
all reservations and declarations.


                                             99th plenary meeting
                                                 22 December 1995


                              Notes

1/        See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council,
1995, Supplement No. 3 and corrigenda (E/1995/23 and Corr. 1 and 2).

2/        Resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

3/        Resolution 217 A (III).

4/        A/50/472.

5/        See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex, and resolution 44/128,
annex.

6/        A/50/40.

7/        Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995,
Supplement No. 2  and corrigendum (E/1995/22 and Corr.1).  

8/        Official Records of the General Assembly, Forty-ninth
Session, Supplement No. 40 (A/49/40).

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org