United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

6 March 1996


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 112 (b)


            [on the report of the Third Committee (A/50/635/Add.2)]

            50/187.     Strengthening of the Office of the
                        United Nations High Commissioner for
                        Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights

      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolutions 44/135 of 15 December 1989, 45/180 of
21 December 1990, 46/111 and 46/118 of 17 December 1991, 47/127 of
18 December 1992, 48/129 and 48/141 of 20 December 1993 and 49/195 of
23 December 1994, and bearing in mind all relevant resolutions of the
Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human Rights,

      Considering that the promotion of universal respect for and
observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms is one of the
basic purposes of the United Nations enshrined in the Charter of the
United Nations and a priority activity of the Organization,

      Taking into account the fact that in the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action, the World Conference on Human Rights, held at
Vienna from 14 to 25 June 1993, concerned by the growing disparity
between the activities of the Centre for Human Rights of the
Secretariat and the human, financial and other resources available to
carry them out, and bearing in mind the resources needed for other
important United Nations programmes, requested the Secretary-General
and the General Assembly to take immediate steps to increase
substantially the resources for the human rights programme, from
within the existing and future regular budgets of the United Nations,
and to take urgent steps to seek increased extrabudgetary
resources,  1/

      Noting that in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,
the World Conference on Human Rights stressed the importance of
strengthening the Centre,  2/

      Taking into account the establishment of the post of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the mandate for
the post, including its coordinating role and its overall supervision
of the Centre, as well as the request by the General Assembly in
resolution 48/141 for appropriate staff and resources to enable the
High Commissioner to fulfil his mandate, 

      Noting with concern that the response to these requests has not
been commensurate with the needs, resulting in a serious imbalance
between the mandates assigned to the High Commissioner and the Centre
by the competent bodies of the United Nations system in the field of
human rights and the resources available to fulfil all of these

      Taking into account the fact that, in the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action, the World Conference on Human Rights urged all
United Nations organs, bodies and the specialized agencies whose
activities deal with human rights to cooperate in order to strengthen,
rationalize and streamline their activities, taking into account the
need to avoid unnecessary duplication,  3/

      Noting that the High Commissioner and the Centre are a unity
whereby the High Commissioner, in accordance with resolution 48/141,
sets the policy directions and the priority of action and the Centre
implements those policies under the direction of the head of the
Centre, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights,

      Taking into account the fact that the responsibilities of the
High Commissioner include, inter alia, engaging in a dialogue with all
Governments in the implementation of his mandate with a view to the
promotion and protection of all human rights, and rationalizing,
adapting, strengthening and streamlining the United Nations machinery
in the field of human rights with a view to improving its efficiency
and effectiveness,

      Acknowledging that, while further improvement in the functioning
and efficiency of the Centre, together with a strong emphasis on good
management practices, is needed in order to enable the Centre to cope
with its constantly increasing workload, good management practices
need to be complemented by additional resources commensurate with
additional mandates,

      Taking note of the information provided by the High Commissioner
with regard to the ongoing process aimed at increasing the efficiency
and effectiveness of the Centre, and bearing in mind, in this context,
the request of the Commission on Human Rights in its resolution
1995/93 of 10 March 1995  4/ to the Secretary-General to convene,
at least twice a year at Geneva, meetings with all interested States
to provide information on the activities conducted by the Centre and
its process of restructuring,

      Recognizing that this process should contribute to the
strengthening of the functional framework for integrated and
consolidated activities of the Secretariat in the field of human

      Recalling that in its report to the Special Commission of the
Economic and Social Council,  5/ the Commission on Human Rights
reaffirmed that the paramount consideration in the employment of staff
at every level was the need for the highest standards of efficiency,
competence and integrity, and that it was convinced that that was
compatible with the principle of equitable geographical distribution,
and bearing in mind Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the
United Nations,

      Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the
strengthening of the Centre for Human Rights of the Secretariat 
6/ and the note by the Secretary-General on the geographical
composition and functions of the staff of the Centre,  7/ as well
as the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights,  8/

      1.    Supports and encourages the efforts of the Secretary-General
to enhance the role and further improve the functioning of the Centre
for Human Rights of the Secretariat, under the overall supervision of
the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

      2.    Reiterates the need to ensure that all the necessary human,
financial, material and personnel resources are provided without delay
to the High Commissioner and the Centre to enable them to carry out
efficiently, effectively and expeditiously the mandates assigned to

      3.    Requests the Secretary-General to make available additional
human and financial resources, within the overall regular budget of
the United Nations, to enhance the capability of the High Commissioner
and of the Centre to fulfil effectively their respective mandates and
their ability to carry out mandated operational activities and to
coordinate efficiently with other relevant departments of the
Secretariat, as well as other organs, bodies and specialized agencies
of the United Nations system, including on logistical and
administrative questions, having due regard to the need to finance and
implement activities of the United Nations related to development; 

      4.    Supports fully the High Commissioner in his efforts to
strengthen the human rights activities of the United Nations, inter
alia, through measures aimed at restructuring the Centre to improve
its efficiency and effectiveness;

      5.    Requests the Secretary-General to submit an interim report
to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-second session and a
final report to the General Assembly at its fifty-first session on the
strengthening of the human rights programme and on the measures taken
to implement the present resolution.

                                                          99th plenary meeting
                                                              22 December 1995


1/          See A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), chap. III, sect. II, para. 9.

2/          Ibid., para. 13.

3/          Ibid., para. 1.

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

5/          E/CN.4/1988/85 and Corr.1.

6/          A/50/678.

7/          A/50/682.

8/          A/50/36.

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