United Nations

A/RES/51/87


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

7 February 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (a)


                  RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

            [on the report of the Third Committee (A/51/619/Add.1)]


            51/87.      Effective implementation of
                        international instruments on human
                        rights, including reporting
                        obligations under international
                        instruments on human rights


      The General Assembly,

      Recalling its resolution 50/170 of 22 December 1995, as well as
other relevant resolutions,

      Recalling also the relevant paragraphs of the Vienna Declaration
and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human
Rights on 25 June 1993, 1/

      Reaffirming that the full and effective implementation of United
Nations human rights instruments is of major importance to the efforts
of the Organization, pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations and
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 2/ to promote universal
respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

      Considering that the effective functioning of the treaty bodies 
established pursuant to United Nations human rights instruments is
indispensable for the full and effective implementation of such
instruments,

      Conscious of the importance of the coordination of the human
rights promotion and protection activities of the United Nations
bodies active in the field of human rights,

      Noting with appreciation the initiatives taken by a number of
treaty bodies to elaborate early-warning measures and urgent
procedures, within their mandates, with a view to preventing the
occurrence, or reoccurrence, of serious human rights violations,

      Expressing concern that the underresourcing of the Centre for
Human Rights of the Secretariat is one impediment to the treaty bodies
in their ability to carry out their mandates effectively,

      Reaffirming its responsibility to ensure the effective
functioning of treaty bodies, and reaffirming also the importance of:

      (a)   Ensuring the effective functioning of the periodic reporting
by States parties to these instruments;

      (b)   Securing sufficient financial, human and information
resources to overcome existing difficulties with their effective
functioning;

      (c)   Promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness through
better coordination of the activities of the United Nations bodies
active in the field of human rights, taking into account the need to
avoid unnecessary duplication and overlapping of their mandates and
tasks;

      (d)   Addressing questions of both reporting obligations and
financial implications whenever elaborating any further instruments on
human rights,

      Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General, 3/

      1.    Welcomes the report of the persons chairing the human rights
treaty bodies on their seventh meeting, held at Geneva from 16 to
20 September 1996, 4/ and takes note of their conclusions and
recommendations;

      2.    Encourages greater efforts to identify measures for more
effective implementation of the United Nations human rights
instruments;

      3.    Emphasizes the need to ensure financing and adequate staff
and information resources for the operations of the treaty bodies, and
with this in mind:

      (a)   Reiterates its request that the Secretary-General provide
adequate resources in respect of each treaty body;

      (b)   Calls upon the Secretary-General to make the most efficient
use of existing resources and to seek the resources necessary to give
the treaty bodies adequate administrative support, access to technical
expertise and access to appropriate databases and on-line information
services;

      (c)   Requests that the Secretary-General report on this question
to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-third session and to
the General Assembly at its fifty-second session;

      4.    Welcomes the continuing efforts by the treaty bodies and the
Secretary-General aimed at streamlining, rationalizing, rendering more
transparent and otherwise improving reporting procedures, and urges
the treaty bodies and the meetings of persons chairing the treaty
bodies to continue to examine ways of reducing the duplication of
reporting required under the different instruments, without impairing
the quality of reporting, and of generally reducing the reporting
burden on Member States;

      5.    Requests the Secretary-General to prepare a detailed
analytical study comparing the provisions of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 5/ the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 5/ the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, 6/ the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women, 7/ the Convention on the Rights of
the Child 8/ and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 9/ with a view to
identifying duplication of reporting required under these instruments;

      6.    Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, in accordance with his mandate, to encourage the independent
expert to finalize his interim report on possible long-term approaches
to enhancing the effective operation of the human rights treaty
system 10/ in time for the final report to be considered by the
Commission on Human Rights, as requested by the General Assembly in
its resolution 48/120 of 20 December 1993, at its fifty-third session;

      7.    Urges States parties to contribute, individually and through
meetings of States parties, to identifying and implementing ways of
further streamlining, rationalizing, avoiding duplication in and
otherwise improving reporting procedures;

      8.    Expresses concern about the increasing backlog of reports on
the implementation by States parties of United Nations instruments on
human rights and about delays in consideration of reports by the
treaty bodies;

      9.    Also expresses concern about the large number of overdue
reports under the United Nations instruments on human rights, and
again urges States parties to make every effort to meet their
reporting obligations;

      10.   Invites States parties that have been unable to comply with
the requirements to submit their initial report to avail themselves of
technical assistance;

      11.   Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights to ensure that the revised Manual on Human Rights Reporting is
available in all official languages at the earliest opportunity;

      12.   Encourages the efforts of the treaty bodies to examine the
progress made in achieving the fulfilment of human rights treaty
undertakings by all States parties, without exception;

      13.   Urges States parties to address, as a matter of priority, at
their next scheduled meetings, the issue of States parties
consistently not complying with their reporting obligations;

      14.   Urges all States parties whose reports have been examined by
treaty bodies to provide adequate follow-up to the observations and
final comments of the treaty bodies on their reports;

      15.   Encourages the treaty bodies to continue to identify
specific possibilities for technical assistance, to be provided at the
request of the State concerned, in the regular course of their work of
reviewing the periodic reports of States parties;

      16.   Welcomes the recommendation by the meeting of persons
chairing the treaty bodies that treaty bodies urge each State party to
translate, publish and make widely available in its territory the full
text of the concluding observations on its reports to the treaty
bodies, and requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights to make every effort to ensure that recent reports and the
summary records of committee discussions pertaining to them, as well
as concluding observations and final comments of the treaty bodies,
are made available in the United Nations information centres in the
countries submitting those reports;

      17.   Also welcomes the contribution to the work of the treaty
bodies made by the specialized agencies and other United Nations
bodies, and invites the specialized agencies, other United Nations
bodies and the treaty bodies to continue to pursue further cooperation
between them;

      18.   Further welcomes the recommendation of the persons chairing
the treaty bodies that efforts continue to be made to enhance
coordination and cooperation between the treaty bodies and the special
rapporteurs, representatives, experts and working groups of the
Commission on Human Rights and the Subcommission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; 11/

      19.   Recognizes the important role played by non-governmental
organizations in the effective implementation of all human rights
instruments, and encourages the exchange of information between the
treaty bodies and such organizations;

      20.   Recalls, with regard to the election of the members of the
treaty bodies, the importance of giving consideration to equitable
geographic distribution of membership and to the representation of the
principal legal systems, and of bearing in mind that the members shall
be elected and shall serve in their personal capacity and be of high
moral character and recognized competence in the field of human
rights;

      21.   Encourages the Economic and Social Council, as well as its
functional commissions and their subsidiary bodies, and other United
Nations bodies and the specialized agencies to consider the
feasibility of participation by representatives of the treaty bodies
in their meetings;

      22.   Welcomes the continuing emphasis by the persons chairing the
treaty bodies that the enjoyment of the human rights of women should
be monitored closely by each treaty body within the purview of its
mandate, and in this regard endorses the recommendation by the meeting
of the persons chairing the treaty bodies that each treaty body should
continue to consider how it might most effectively incorporate gender
perspectives in its work practices; 12/

      23.   Also welcomes all appropriate measures the treaty bodies may
take, within their mandates, in response to situations of massive
human rights violations, including bringing those violations to the
attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
the Secretary-General and the competent bodies of the United Nations
in the field of human rights, and requests the High Commissioner,
acting within his mandate, to coordinate and consult throughout the
United Nations system in this regard;

      24.   Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session on measures taken to implement
the present resolution and on obstacles to its implementation;

      25.   Decides to continue giving priority consideration, at its
fifty-second session, to the conclusions and recommendations of the
meetings of persons chairing treaty bodies, in the light of the
deliberations of the Commission on Human Rights, under the item
entitled "Human rights questions".

                                                          82nd plenary meeting
                                                              12 December 1996


                                     Notes

1/    A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), chap. III.

2/    Resolution 217 A (III).

3/    A/51/425.

4/    A/51/482, annex.

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

6/    Resolution 2106 A (XX), annex.

7/    Resolution 34/180, annex.

8/    Resolution 44/25, annex.

9/    Resolution 39/46, annex.

10/   A/CONF.157/PC/62/Add.11/Rev.1.

11/   A/51/482, annex, para. 53.

12/   Ibid., para. 60.

 

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