COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Appoints Special Rapporteur on Right to Health; Establishes Working
(Reissued as received.)
GENEVA, 26 April (UN Information Service) -- The Commission on Human Rights concluded today its six-week session for 2002, having debated a wide series of human rights matters and having decided to appoint a new Special Rapporteur on the right to health and to establish two new Working Groups related to the outcome of the World Conference against Racism, held in September 2001 in Durban, South Africa. The first is an intergovernmental Working Group to make recommendations on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and the second, a Working Group of five independent experts to study problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the Diaspora following the slavery period.
Problems posed by racism figured prominently in the Commission's deliberations. The Commission decided to establish a voluntary fund to provide, among other things, additional resources for the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. And it requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit an analytical report at its next session on the extent of implementation of the Programme of Action of the Third Decade to Combat Racism.
Also extensively discussed during the Commission's fifty-eighth session were the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and the effects on human rights of efforts to combat international terrorism in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.
The Commission condemned the frightening increase in the loss of life during the invasion of Palestinian cities and villages by Israeli forces under way even as the Commission met, and following an afternoon's "special sitting" on the topic requested High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to head a mission to travel immediately to the area and return expeditiously to submit its findings and recommendations. When the High Commissioner later reported she was unable to carry out the mission, the Commission expressed deep dismay that the trip had not been possible due to the "absence of a positive response from the occupying power" and even though "the human rights situation in the Palestinian occupied territory had continued to deteriorate". A later resolution on the topic deplored again the refusal of Israel to allow the visit and endorsed a proposal by the High Commissioner for Human Rights for a comprehensive investigation into breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law during the Israeli military campaign in occupied Palestine.
In addition, resolutions were passed as in previous years reaffirming the right of Palestinians to self-determination; strongly condemning violations by Israeli occupation authorities of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; and expressing concern at continued Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine.
On the topic of anti-terrorism efforts, the Commission adopted a resolution on "combatting defamation of religions" which among other things expressed deep concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and with terrorism. And it requested the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief to examine the situation of Muslim and Arab peoples in various parts of the world with special reference to physical assaults and attacks against their places of worship, cultural centres, businesses and properties in the aftermath of September 11 and to submit a preliminary study on the matter to the fifty-ninth session of the Commission.
In presenting her annual report to the fifty-eighth session, High Commissioner Robinson said she was concerned that counter-terrorism strategies pursued after the Sept. 11 attacks had sometimes undermined international standards and had suppressed or restricted such individual rights as those to privacy, freedom of thought, presumption of innocence, a fair trial, and free expression and peaceful assembly.
And United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in an address to the Commission on 12 April, said security against terrorism could not be achieved by sacrificing human rights -- that "to try and do so would hand the terrorists a victory beyond their dreams".
The text of a draft optional protocol to the Convention against Torture, in negotiation for 10 years, was adopted by the Commission as submitted by the Chairperson of the Working Group on the subject. The Commission recommended that the text, following its adoption by the General Assembly, be opened as early as possible for signature, ratification and accession. The optional protocol would allow experts to visit places of detention in countries that ratified it.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights, in addition to presenting her annual report, introduced a report on the situation of human rights in Colombia, contending that the rule of law in the country was in grave jeopardy as a result of continuing armed conflict, escalation of violence, lack of proper administration of justice, and a burgeoning paramilitary threat.
In her closing remarks, she told the Commission among other things that all wished that the human rights idea would triumph nationally, regionally, and internationally, but how that could be achieved was a topic that excited great passions and gave rise to divisions as well as to agreement. She said she sensed there was agreement that every effort should be made to spread a universal culture of human rights and to act to protect victims of violations in any part of the world.
Krzysztof Jakubowski, Chairman of the Commission, said in closing remarks that although there seemed to be widespread agreement on the standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the principal international human rights conventions, nuances in the debate on human rights started to appear when the Commission came to issues such as the meaning of democracy, the impact of underdevelopment on prospects for human rights, and how international human rights norms related to cultures and traditions.
Numerous dignitaries and high Government officials, including the Prime Minister of Romania, delivered speeches over the course of the six weeks of meetings.
The Commission ended the mandates of its Special Representatives on the situations of human rights in Equatorial Guinea and Iran following roll-call votes.
It approved Chairman's statements on situations in East Timor, Haiti, and Colombia.
Under the Commission's agenda item on the question of the violation of human rights in any country, resolutions were adopted on states of affairs in Burundi, south-eastern Europe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Sudan, Cuba, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone, and on the matter of Lebanese detainees held in Israel.
Draft resolutions on situations in Zimbabwe, the Republic of Chechnya in the Russian Federation, and Iran were defeated on roll-call votes.
The Commission extended for a further year the mandates of Special Rapporteurs on situations in Burundi, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Myanmar, and the mandate of the Special Representative on the situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It requested the Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), along with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and a member of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances to carry out a joint mission to investigate all massacres carried out on the territory of the DRC (formerly Zaire), including those in the province of South Kivu and other atrocities referred to in various reports of the Special Rapporteur.
The Commission renewed the mandate of its Independent Expert on the question of a draft optional protocol to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights B and decided to establish, at its fifty-ninth session, an open-ended Working Group of the Commission to consider options regarding elaboration of a draft optional protocol. It extended the mandate of its Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty; and the mandates of its Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and expression, contemporary forms of racism, and the human rights of migrants.
Among action related to Commission Working Groups, the Commission decided to extend the mandate of the Working Group on the right to development for one year; requested the Economic and Social Council to authorize the Working Group on Structural Adjustment to meet for two weeks prior to the fifty-ninth session of the Commission; and recommended that the Working Group on a draft Declaration on the rights of indigenous people meet for ten working days prior to the fifty-ninth session.
Among the Commission's requests to the High Commissioner for Human Rights were that she convene a seminar on the issue of practical approaches and activities for strengthening good governance practices; that she study and clarify the principle of non-discrimination and its relation to the debate on globalization; that her Office develop a study covering possible means for strengthening human rights education; that she send a personal representative with a view to cooperation between her Office and the Government of Cuba in implementation of the Commission's resolution on the situation of human rights in Cuba; and that she invite the views of various organizations on their activities to promote and consolidate democracy.
Under its agenda item on advisory services in the field of human rights, the Commission adopted resolutions on human rights situations in Somalia and Cambodia. It extended the mandate of its Independent Expert on the situation in Somalia.
In closed meetings held under its "1503 procedure", the Commission decided to discontinue consideration of situations in Nigeria, Togo and Zambia.
For five of its six weeks of meetings, the Commission struggled to complete its agenda in the face of a prohibition of evening and night sessions. Debate had to be curtailed on several agenda items, with the result that numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were unable to deliver statements although they had inscribed on the list of speakers. As an exceptional measure, the Commission decided to have the texts of those NGO statements issued in the languages in which they were written as documents of the fifty-eighth session. Special Rapporteurs, Representatives and Independent Experts of the Commission, as well as representatives of national human rights institutions, also criticized the curtailment of their speaking time and hoped that this would not set a precedent.
Dates for next year's session, the Commission's fifty-ninth, were set for 17 March to 25 April 2003.
Chairman's Statements on Country Situations
In a Chairman's Statement on the situation of human rights in East Timor, the Commission expressed its appreciation to the Secretary-General's Special Representative in East Timor and to UNTAET, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, for the work carried out in the transition to independence; welcomed that the new Constitution would give primacy to the protection of human rights and incorporate fundamental rights in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; urged the future Government of East Timor to ensure that all legislation adopted from the beginning of its mandate would be consistent with international human rights standards; welcomed the steps taken by the judicial system in East Timor concerning the indictment and judging of suspects accused of crimes against humanity and other serious crimes committed during the violence in 1999; and welcomed the establishment of a Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In a Chairperson's statement on the human rights situation in Colombia, the Commission called upon the Government of Colombia to implement the recommendations of all Special Rapporteurs and thematic working groups relating to Colombia; stressed that a negotiated political solution was necessary to end the conflict in the country; expressed its deep concern regarding the grave and persistent breaches of international humanitarian law committed by all the parties to the conflict, mainly by paramilitary and guerrilla groups; strongly condemned the persistence of impunity in Colombia; took note of improvements in the human rights performance of the Armed Forces but remained concerned at continued reports of human rights violations attributed to the Armed and Security Forces; firmly condemned the recruitment of a large number of children into paramilitary and guerrilla groups; and requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit to it at its next session a detailed report containing an analysis by her Office of the situation of human rights in Colombia.
In a Chairman's Statement on the situation of human rights in Haiti, the Commission welcomed the recent appointment of a new independent expert of the Commission for Haiti and encouraged the efforts of the Government of Haiti, the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Community and members of Haitian civil society to bring about dialogue and reconciliation among Haiti's political forces.
Country-by-Country Examinations of Situations of Human Rights
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- called in a resolution on the human rights situation of Lebanese detainees in Israel for the Government of Israel to refrain from holding the detained Lebanese citizens incarcerated in its prisons as hostages for bargaining purposes and to release them immediately; affirmed the obligation of Israel to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations to visit the detainees regularly; called upon the Government of Israel to submit to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon all maps of landmine fields laid throughout civilian villages, fields and farms; and requested the Secretary-General to bring this resolution to the attention of the Government of Israel and to call upon it to comply with its provisions.
-- in a resolution on assistance to Equatorial Guinea in the field of human rights, encouraged the Government of Equatorial Guinea to continue its efforts to adopt effective measures to protect and strengthen the human rights situation in the country; called upon United Nations bodies and agencies, donor countries, and any other international institutions present in the country to assist the Government of Equatorial Guinea in strengthening those national institutions that promoted and protected human rights; decided to end the mandate of the Special Representative on the situation of human rights in Equatorial Guinea; and decided to examine the question of technical assistance to Equatorial Guinea at its fifty-ninth session under the agenda item on "advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights".
-- supported the transitional institutions set up under the Arusha Agreement, namely the Transitional National Assembly, the Transitional Senate, and the Transitional Government in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Burundi; condemned the intensifying violence and urged all parties to the conflict to end the cycle of violence and killings; encouraged all parties to negotiate towards a cease-fire; expressed its concern at the situation of displaced persons, and recommended that the Transitional Government, United Nations specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations provide humanitarian assistance; urged all parties to the conflict to end the use of children as soldiers; encouraged the Organization of African Unity in its efforts to remain engaged in preventing any further deterioration of the situation; called upon the Transitional Government to take action to establish security sufficient to allow the work of aid organizations; and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burundi for one year.
-- stressed the need to protect, promote and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to consolidate effective, functioning democratic institutions in a resolution on the situation of human rights in parts of south-eastern Europe; stressed the need for further strengthening of cross-border efforts to foster the prompt and voluntary return of displaced persons and refugees; condemned ethnically motivated violence, intolerance and discrimination against returning refugees and displaced persons; urged the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to complete fully and urgently the implementation of the Agreement to secure equal treatment to all citizens regardless of their ethnic background, called upon the Yugoslav authorities to fulfil the conditions for membership in the Council of Europe; called upon Albanian political leaders from Kosovo and leaders of the Albanian community in southern Serbia publicly to support action against extremism and to use their influence to block support for extremists; and decided to extend for one year the mandate of the Special Representative on the situation of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
-- welcomed the statements by the President of the country that no more children would be recruited as soldiers in a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; expressed its concern at all massacres and atrocities committed; at occurrences of summary and arbitrary executions, disappearance, torture, beating, harassment and arrest; at the widespread use of sexual violence against women and children; at indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations in areas held by rebel and by foreign forces; at the reprisals against civilian populations in parts of the country controlled by the Congolese Rally for Democracy and Rwanda, on the one hand, and by breakaway groups of the Congolese Liberation Movement and Uganda, on the other; at the excess accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons; and at the illegal exploitation of the natural
resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and urged all parties to the conflict to facilitate the re-establishment without delay of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for another year.
-- noted with dismay in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Iraq that there had been no improvement in the situation of human rights in the country; strongly condemned the systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Government of Iraq; the suppression of the freedoms of thought, expression, information, association, assembly and movement; the repression faced by any kind of opposition; strongly condemned summary and arbitrary executions, the use of rape as a political tool, enforced or involuntary disappearances, routinely practised arbitrary arrests and detention, consistent failure to respect due process of law, and widespread, systematic torture; called upon the Government to establish the whereabouts and resolve the fates of the remaining several hundred missing persons, including prisoners of war, Kuwaiti nationals and third country nationals; to cooperate in identifying minefields existing throughout Iraq; and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iraq for a further year.
-- welcomed the declaration of a cease-fire agreement in January 2002 by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Nuba in a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Sudan; expressed its deep concern at the extension of the state of emergency in the country until the end of 2002; at the impact of the ongoing armed conflict on civilians, including, in southern Sudan, the use of children as soldiers and combatants; forced conscription, forced displacement, arbitrary detention, torture, and summary and arbitrary executions; the ongoing plight of internally displaced persons; urged all parties to the continuing conflict to respect and protect human rights; to implement the Khartoum agreement to protect civilians and civilian facilities; to grant unhindered access to all international agencies and humanitarian organizations; not to use or recruit children under the age of 18 as soldiers; called upon the international community to consider how to expand the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to include a monitoring role aimed at improving respect for human rights in the country; and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Sudan for a further year.
-- urged Governments to refrain from all acts of intimidation or reprisal against those who sought to cooperate or had cooperated with representatives of United Nations human rights bodies in a resolution on cooperation with representatives of United Nations human rights bodies.
-- invited the Government of Cuba in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Cuba, whose efforts to give effect to the social rights of the population despite an adverse international environment were to be recognized, to make efforts to achieve similar progress in respect of human, civil and political rights, in accordance with the provision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles and standards of the rule of law; encouraged the Government to accede to the International Covenants on Civil and Political and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a personal representative with a view to cooperation between her Office and the Government of Cuba in implementation of the present resolution; and urged the Government to take all necessary measures so that such a visit could take place as soon as possible.
-- decided, on the question of human rights in Cyprus, to retain on its agenda sub-item (a), entitled "Question of the violation of human rights in Cyprus", it being understood that action required by previous resolutions of the Commission on the subject would continue to remain operative.
-- strongly encouraged the early establishment of the independent human rights commission foreseen in the Bonn Agreement in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan; commended steps already taken by the Interim Authority to promote and protect human rights; noted with deep concern recent cases of arbitrary arrest and detention and of summary trials in some areas of the country; recent abuses and violations of the human rights of women and girls, including rape and other forms of sexual violence; called upon the Interim Authority to take all necessary measures for the demobilization and social reintegration of war-affected children; to facilitate the voluntary and orderly return and reintegration of Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons; to ensure respect for the equal rights of women to work, education, physical security, and movement; expressed concern at the still-large number of internally displaced persons in Afghanistan and their situation; and requested the Secretary-General to ensure a human rights capacity in the context of United Nations activities in Afghanistan; and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan for one year.
-- welcomed, in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, steps taken by the Government to allow some political functions to be resumed by the opposition; urged the Government to free all remaining political prisoners; took note of the slow pace of the process of national reconciliation and democratization and urged greater momentum; expressed grave concern at the persistence of a Government policy based on repression of all political activities of the opposition and on the abuse of the legal system; strongly urged the Government to implement fully the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur; to end practices of torture, abuse of women, forced labour, forced relocations and summary executions; to restore the independence of the judiciary; to respect the rights of women and children; to release immediately and unconditionally all those imprisoned for political reasons; to improve conditions of detention; to cease laying landmines; to eradicate forced labour and sanction those responsible; to implement fully the recommendations of the ILO; to enable the building of a pluralist civil society; and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar for a further year.
-- and welcomed, in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Sierra Leone, the steps taken by the Government to extend its authority throughout the country, but noted that it continued to face serious resource constraints in restoring civil administration and public services; welcomed the completion of the disarmament and demobilization process and the lifting of the national state of emergency; noted with grave concern recent revelations and evidence of serious breaches of humanitarian law committed in certain areas of Sierra Leone until recently occupied by rebel forces, in particular atrocities against civilians, including women and children; at the targeting and abuse of women and girls that had been committed in Sierra Leone; at reports of abducted children working in the diamond mines: and called upon parties that had been involved in the conflict to respect human rights and to cooperate with the Special Court and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, once established.
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- urged the Working Group on indigenous populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to continue its comprehensive review of developments and of the diverse situations and aspirations of the world's indigenous people; recommended that the Economic and Social Council authorize the Working Group to meet for five working days prior to the fifty-fourth session of the Subcommission; and invited the Working Group to continue its consideration of ways in which the expertise of indigenous people could contribute to the work of the Working Group.
-- recommended that the Working Group to elaborate a draft declaration in accordance with paragraph 5 of General Assembly resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994 meet for ten working days prior to the fifty-ninth session of the Commission; and invited the Chairperson/Rapporteur of the Working Group and all interested parties to conduct broad informal inter-sessional consultations to facilitate progress in drafting a declaration on the rights of indigenous people at the next session of the Working Group.
-- invited the Special Rapporteur on human rights and indigenous issues to take into account all the recommendations of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations relevant to his mandate; requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to facilitate the attendance of the Special Rapporteur at the first annual session of the Permanent Forum; and reiterated the invitation to the Special Rapporteur to pay special attention to violations of the rights and freedoms of indigenous children and women.
-- and decided to recommend that the Economic and Social Council invite Erica-Irene A. Daes, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the nineteenth session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, to attend, address and contribute to the first session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2002.
Report of High Commissioner for Human Rights
Under this agenda item the Commission:
-- emphasized that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was a common office for all and should reflect a diversity of backgrounds in a resolution on strengthening of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; encouraged the Office to ensure transparency in its activities and operations; reiterated the need to ensure that all necessary resources were provided to the Office from the regular budget of the United Nations; recommended more resources for Special Rapporteurs; and emphasized the need for an increase in the allocation of resources from within the United Nations regular budget for advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights.
-- condemned, in a resolution on the situation in occupied Palestine, the frightening increase in the loss of life in occupied Palestine; the invasion of Palestinian cities and villages, the arrest and detention of Palestinians, the restrictions on the movement of residents, as well as personnel of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, medical personnel, human rights defenders and journalists, the refusal of humanitarian access to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the systematic destruction of homes, installations and infrastructure in the territory as reported by the High Commissioner for Human Rights; and requested the High Commissioner to head a visiting mission that would travel immediately to the area and return expeditiously to submit its findings and recommendations to the current session of the Commission.
-- expressed its deep dismay, in a decision on the situation in occupied Palestine, that its resolution 2002/1 of 5 April 2002 had not been implemented due to the absence of a positive response from the occupying power even though the human rights situation in the Palestinian occupied territories had continued to deteriorate; called for the immediate implementation of the resolution; and urged the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently report to the Commission on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories on the basis of reports from all concerned organizations present in the occupied territories.
-- in a second resolution on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, deplored the denial by Israel of the proposed visit of the team headed by High Commissioner for Human Rights; took note of the report submitted by the High Commissioner providing details of reports of the gross widespread and flagrant violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people and the utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the Israeli forces in their operations in the occupied Palestinian territory; expressed deep concern at the grave humanitarian situation of the Palestinian civilian population; condemned the continuing gross, widespread and flagrant violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel; endorsed the proposal by the High Commissioner for Human Rights for a comprehensive investigation into the breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law; and called upon Israel to ensure full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
Civil and Political Rights
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- in resolutions on combatting torture and other cruel treatment, adopted the text of the optional protocol to the Convention against Torture submitted by the Chairperson of the Working Group on the subject; recommended that the text, following its adoption by the General Assembly, be opened as early as possible for signature, ratification and accession; recommended in a draft resolution to the Economic and Social Council that the Council adopt the optional protocol and recommend it to the General Assembly for adoption and opening for signature and ratification; condemned torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which could never be justified; and any action or attempt by States or public officials to legalize or authorize torture under any circumstances.
-- reaffirmed, in a resolution on further measures to promote and consolidate democracy, that democracy was based on the freely expressed will of the people; that while all democracies shared common features, there was no one universal model; affirmed that consolidation of democracy required the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone; stressed that consolidation of democracy required sustained economic growth and sustainable development; declared that popular participation was only feasible if societies had democratic political and electoral systems that operated without discrimination of any kind; and requested all States and the international community further to endeavour to promote effective measures to eradicate poverty and promote just, equitable and inclusive societies.
-- unequivocally condemned of all acts, methods and practices of terrorism, regardless of their motivation, wherever and by whomever committed; urged States to prevent, combat and eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; called upon States to take appropriate measures, before granting refugee status, to ensure that the asylum-seeker had not planned, facilitated or participated in the commission of terrorist acts and to ensure, in conformity with international law, that refugee status was not abused by the perpetrators, organizers or facilitator of terrorist acts; that claims of political motivation were not recognized as grounds for refusing requests for the extradition of alleged terrorists; called upon States to strengthen, where appropriate, their legislation to combat terrorism; and called upon States to enhance cooperation with a view to bringing terrorists to justice.
-- strongly condemned extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that continued to take place throughout the world; demanded that all Governments ensure that the practice of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions was brought to an end; reiterated the obligation of all Governments to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of such executions; called upon Governments concerned to investigate promptly and thoroughly cases of killings committed in the name of passion or honour; and stressed the importance of States taking effective measures to end impunity with regard to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
-- in a resolution on integrity of the judicial system, reiterated that every person was entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal; that everyone had the right to be tried by ordinary courts or tribunals; stressed the importance of everyone's right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty; reaffirmed that every convicted person should have the right to have his/her conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law; and called on States that had military courts for trying criminal offenders to ensure that such courts were an integral part of the general judicial system and used duly established legal proceedings.
-- in a resolution on the incompatibility between democracy and racism, condemned legislation and practices based on racism and related intolerance; reaffirmed that such offenses condoned by governmental policies could endanger friendly relations among peoples, cooperation among nations, and international peace and security; that any form of impunity for crimes of such a nature weakened the rule of law and democracy and tended to encourage the recurrence of such acts; condemned the persistence and resurgence of neo-Nazism, neo-fascism and violent nationalist ideologies based on racial or national prejudice; urged States to reinforce their commitment to promote tolerance and human rights; and underlined the key role that political leaders and political parties could and ought to play in strengthening democracy by combatting racism and related intolerance.
-- condemned all forms of religious intolerance; urged States to provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief to all without distinction; to ensure that no one was deprived of the right to life or the right to liberty and security of person because of religion or belief, or was subjected to torture or arbitrary arrest and detention on that account; to recognize the rights of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion and to establish and maintain places for these purposes; and emphasized that restrictions on the freedom to manifest religion or belief were permitted only if prescribed by law, were necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, and were applied in a manner that did not vitiate the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
-- encouraged the Working Group on the question of enforced or involuntary disappearances to continue to promote communication between families of disappeared persons and the Governments concerned; to continue to consider the question of impunity; to continue to pay particular attention to cases involving children; to pay particular attention to cases of disappearance of persons working for the promotion and protection of human rights; deplored the fact that some Governments had never provided substantive replies concerning cases in their countries or acted on the recommendations concerning them made in the reports of the Working Group; and urged Governments to make provisions in their legal systems for machinery for victims of disappearances to seek fair and adequate reparations.
-- requested Governments to take appropriate steps to remedy situations of arbitrary detention and to inform the relevant Working Group of the steps they had taken; not to extend states of emergency beyond what was strictly required by the situation; encouraged all Governments to invite the Working Group to visit; requested Governments concerned to give the necessary attention to "urgent appeals" addressed to them by the Working Group; took note with satisfaction that the Working Group had been informed of the release of some of the individuals whose situations had been brought to its attention, while deploring the many cases which had not yet been resolved.
-- invited the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide technical assistance to train judges and lawyers and to associate with the Special Rapporteur in the elaboration of a manual on the training of judges and lawyers in the field of human rights; and encouraged Governments that faced difficulties in guaranteeing the independence of judges and lawyers or that were determined to take measures to implement these principles further to consult and to consider the services of the Special Rapporteur, for instance by inviting him to visit.
-- called upon the international community to give due attention to the right to restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for victims of grave violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms; requested the Secretary-General to circulate the text of the "Basic principles and guidelines on the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law" annexed to the report of the Independent Expert on the subject; and requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to hold a consultative meeting for all interested Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with a view to finalizing the "Basic principles and guidelines".
-- called upon States to review their current laws and practices in relation to conscientious objection to military service in the light of Commission resolution 1998/77 and to consider the information contained in the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the topic; and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to continue the preparation of its compilation and analysis of best practices in relation to conscientious objection.
-- declared that the essential foundations of democracy included respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, freedom of association, freedom of expression and opinion, access to power and its exercise in accordance with the rule of law, the holding of periodic free and fair elections by universal suffrage and by secret ballot as the expression of the will of the people, a pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, transparency and accountability in public administration, and a free, independent and pluralistic media; and reaffirmed that free and fair elections were an essential feature of democracy and must be part of a broader process that strengthened democratic principles; encouraged States to promote the contribution of organizations of civil society to the promotion of good governance.
-- appealed to Governments to include in their national development plans the administration of justice as an integral part of the development process and to allocate adequate resources; invited Governments to provide training in human rights in the administration of justice, in particular juvenile justice; urged States to ensure that under their legislation and practice neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release could be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age; and requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on practical measures for the implementation of international standards in the field of human rights in the administration of justice, in particular regarding rebuilding and strengthening structures and capacities in post-conflict situations, and in juvenile justice.
-- expressed its continuing concern at the extensive occurrence of detention, long-term detention and extra-judicial killing, torture, intimidation, persecution and harassment directed at persons exercising the rights to freedom of opinion and expression; called for further progress towards the release of persons detained for exercising these rights and freedoms; expressed its concern at the number of cases in which violations were facilitated and aggravated by the abuse of states of emergency, exercise of powers specific to states of emergency without formal declaration, and too vague a definition of offences against State security; encouraged States to ensure that any limitations on the right to freedom of expression were only such as provided by law and were necessary for the respect of the rights and reputations of others, or for the protection of national security or of public order or of public health or morals; expressed its concern at high rates of illiteracy.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- encouraged the relevant Special Rapporteur in a resolution on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living to strengthen the integration of the rights relevant to his mandate into the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure launched by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme and into other operation activities of the United Nations system, and to develop a dialogue with Governments; requested him to give particular emphasis to practical solutions to achieving housing rights; to facilitate the provision of technical assistance to Governments; called upon all States to give full effect to housing rights, with particular attention to women, children, and communities living in extreme poverty; and called on States to promote participation in decision-making processes related to adequate standards of living and housing.
-- urged, in a resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures, all States to refrain from adopting or implementing coercive measures; called upon all Member States neither to recognize such measures nor apply them, and to consider adopting measures to counteract the extraterritorial application or effects of such measures; rejected the application of such measures against any country; reaffirmed the right of all peoples to self-determination; recalled that no State could use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind; and requested the Working Group on the right to development to give due consideration to the impact of unilateral coercive measures.
-- decided to approve the proposal of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to appoint El-Hadji Guisse Special Rapporteur to conduct a detailed study on the subject of the promotion of the realization of the right to drinking water and sanitation.
-- decided to approve, in the context of a Social Forum, the proposal of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to hold a two-day pre-sessional Social Forum on economic, social and cultural rights prior to the Subcommission's fifty-fourth session, with the participation of 10 members of the Subcommission.
-- urged all States to give effect to the right to education and to guarantee that it was exercised without discrimination of any kind; to take all appropriate measures to eliminate obstacles limiting effective access to education, notably by girls, including pregnant girls, children living in rural areas, children belonging to minority groups, indigenous children, migrant children, refugee children, internally displaced children, children affected by armed conflict, children with disabilities, children with HIV/AIDS, and children deprived of their liberty; to ensure that primary education was compulsory, accessible, and available free to all; to eliminate corporal punishment in schools; and to submit information on best practices to the Special Rapporteur on the right to education.
-- in a resolution on the question of the realization in all countries of the economic, social and cultural rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, called upon all States to give full effect to economic, social and cultural rights; to give particular attention to the individuals, most often women and children, especially girls, and communities living in extreme poverty; to help alleviate the unsustainable debt burden of countries that met the criteria of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative; decided to renew, for a period of one year, the mandate of the Independent Expert on the question of a draft optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and decided to establish, at its fifty-ninth session, an open-ended Working Group of the Commission to consider options regarding elaboration of a draft optional protocol.
-- reaffirmed that hunger constituted an outrage and a violation of human dignity; reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food; considered it intolerable that every year 36 million died, directly or indirectly, as a result of hunger and nutritional deficiencies, particularly in developing countries, in a world that already produced enough food to feed the global population; stressed the need to mobilize and optimize the allocation and use of resources from all sources, including external debt relief for developing countries, to reinforce national actions to implement sustainable food security policies; invited all relevant institutions to give priority to and provide necessary funding to realize the aim to half by the year 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger; and encouraged all States to take steps to achieve progressively the full realization of the right to food.
-- in a resolution on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for different cultural identities, reaffirmed that cultural rights were an integral part of human rights; recognized that States had primary responsibility for promoting and protecting cultural rights; stressed that in the face of current imbalances in flows and exchanges of cultural goods and services at the global level, it was necessary to reinforce international cooperation and solidarity aimed at enabling all countries, especially developing countries and countries in transition, to establish cultural industries that were viable and competitive at national and international levels; and underlined that market forces alone could not guarantee the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity.
-- categorically condemned the illicit movement and dumping of toxic products and wastes; urged all Governments to take measures to prevent such trafficking; requested the Governments of developed countries to provide financial assistance to African countries for implementation of the programme of action adopted at the First Continental Congress for Africa on the Environmentally Sound Management of Unwanted Stocks of Hazardous Wastes and their Prevention; urged the international community and relevant United Nations bodies to continue to give appropriate support to developing countries to control such trafficking and dumping; and urged all Governments to ban the export of toxic and dangerous products that were banned or severely restricted in their own countries.
-- reaffirmed, in a resolution on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of human rights, that States had a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality, and equity at the global level; reaffirmed the commitment to create an environment at the national and international levels that was conducive to development and to the elimination of poverty; underlined that in the absence of a framework based on the fundamental principles which underpinned human rights, globalization would continue on its inherently asymmetrical course; requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to study and clarify the principle of non-discrimination and its application at the global level; and requested the Special Rapporteurs of the Subcommission on the Promotion and the Protection of Human Rights to take into account the present resolution in finalizing their study on globalization.
-- stressed that structural adjustment polices and foreign debt had serious implications for the ability of developing countries to abide by the Declaration on the Right to Development; expressed concern at the external debt overhang that affected most least-developed countries; affirmed that the basic rights of the people of debtor countries to food, housing, clothing, employment, education, health services and a healthy environment could not be subordinated to structural adjustment policies and economic reforms arising from debt; called upon Governments, international financial institutions and the private sector to consider the possibility of cancelling or reducing significantly the debt of the heavily indebted poor countries; and requested the Economic and Social Council to authorize the Working Group on Structural Adjustment to meet for two weeks prior to the fifty-ninth session of the Commission.
-- reaffirmed that extreme poverty and exclusion from society constituted a violation of human dignity and that urgent national and international action was therefore required; acknowledged the efforts made by developing countries, in particular the commitment and determination of Africa's leaders to tackle seriously the problems of poverty, underdevelopment, social exclusion, economic disparities, instability and insecurity by means of initiatives; called upon the General Assembly, specialized agencies, United Nations bodies and intergovernmental organizations to take into account the contradiction between the existence of situations of extreme poverty and exclusion from society and the duty to guarantee full enjoyment of human rights; and decided to ask the Economic and Social Council to endorse the Commission's decision to renew for two years the mandate of the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty.
-- urged States to take steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation, to the maximum of available resources to ensure the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; called upon the international community to assist the developing countries to this end; called upon States to guarantee the right to health without discrimination; and decided to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the right to health.
-- recognized that access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS was a fundamental element for achieving the right to health; called upon States to promote availability in sufficient quantities of medications and treatments; called upon States to refrain from measures that would deny or limit equal access to such treatments and medications; to address factors affecting the provision of such treatments or medications and to develop strategies to strengthen health care systems; to facilitate access in other countries to such treatments and medications wherever possible, especially in times of emergency; stressed the need for the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to be part of the wider national and international action to address these problems; and agreed that the TRIPS agreement did not and should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health and to promote access to medicines for all.
-- and urged States to design and revise laws to ensure women's equal ownership, access to and control over land and equal rights to own property and to adequate housing, and to undertake measures to give women the same rights as men to credit, capital, appropriate technologies, access to markets and information; and encouraged Governments to support the transformation of customs and traditions that discriminated against women in these areas.
Right to Development
The Commission adopted a resolution on the right to development in which it urged developed countries to make concrete efforts towards meeting the targets of 0.7 per cent of their gross national products for official development assistance to developing countries; recognized the need to address market access for developing countries, including in agriculture, services and non-agricultural; recognized that historical injustices had undeniably contributed to the poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization and other negative factors that affected many people in different parts of the world, in particular in developing countries; considered that a desirable pace of meaningful trade liberalization was important for making progress towards implementation of the right to development; affirmed that while globalization offered both opportunities and challenges, the process remained deficient in achieving the objectives of integrating all countries in a globalized world; recognized that good governance and the rule of law assisted with development.
Human Rights in Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- in a resolution on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, called upon Israel, the occupying power, to comply with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, in particular the Council resolution deciding that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void; determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel that purported to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan were null and void and constituted a flagrant violation of international law and the Geneva Convention and had no legal effect; and called upon member States not to recognize any such measures and requested the Secretary-General to report to the Commission on the subject at its fifty-ninth session.
-- affirmed, in a resolution on the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation; strongly condemned the practice of "liquidation" or extra-judicial executions carried out by the Israeli army against Palestinians; the establishment of Israeli settlements and other activities, such as the construction of new settlements and expansion of existing ones, the expropriation of lands, the biased administration of water resources, and the construction of bypass roads; the use of torture against Palestinians during interrogation; expressed grave concern at the restriction of movement imposed on President Yasser Arafat; called upon Israel to desist from all forms of violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory; and called upon it to implement the recommendations in the reports of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.
-- and in a resolution on Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories, expressed grave concern at the dramatic escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which had led to a spiral of hatred; expressed concern at continuing Israeli settlement activities; strongly condemned all acts of violence, in particular indiscriminate terrorist attacks over the past weeks, killing and injuring civilians; urged the Government of Israel to comply fully with previous Commission resolutions on the subject and to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories.
Right of Peoples to Self-Determination
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- reaffirmed, in a resolution on the situation in occupied Palestine, the unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to establish their sovereign and independent Palestinian State; and looked forward to the early implementation of that right.
-- recalled, in a resolution on the question of Western Sahara, the agreements reached between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Popular par la Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y Rio de Oro for the implementation of the settlement plan during talks under the auspices of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General; called upon the two parties to cooperate fully in implementing the various phases of the settlement plan; urged them to implement faithfully and loyally the Secretary-General's package of measures relating to the identification of voters and the appeals process; and reaffirmed its support for further efforts to carry out a referendum for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara that was impartial and free of all constraints in conformity with Security Council resolutions.
-- and urged all States to ensure that their territories, and territories under their control, as well as their nationals, were not used for the recruitment, assembly, financing, training and transit of mercenaries for the planning of activities designed to impede the right to self-determination, to overthrow the Government of any State, or dismember or impair the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the right to self-determination of peoples; welcomed the entry into force of the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries and called upon States to ratify the Convention; and requested the relevant Special Rapporteur to take into account that mercenary activities were continuing to occur in many parts of the world and taking on new forms.
Rights of the Child
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- in a resolution on the rights of the child, the Commission urged the States that had not yet done so to sign and ratify or to accede to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a matter of priority; called upon all States to put an end to impunity, where applicable, for all crimes where children were victims; called upon all States to intensify efforts to ensure the registration of all children, immediately after birth; called upon all States and the international community to cooperate in global efforts for poverty eradication to aid the situation of children; and called upon States to take all appropriate measures to develop sustainable health systems and social services and to ensure access to such systems and services by children without discrimination.
-- and condemned in the strongest terms the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) for the continued abduction of children from northern Uganda, and the torture, killing, rape, enslavement and forcible recruitment of children from northern Uganda; demanded an immediate cessation of all such activities; called for the immediate and unconditional release and safe return of all abducted children currently held by the LRA; welcomed the return of some of the abducted children; and noted the recent efforts exerted by the Governments of the Sudan and Uganda which had resulted in the identification and reunification of more of such children with their Families.
Specific Groups and Individuals
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- expressed its deep concern at growing manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination and inhuman and degrading treatment directed against migrant workers in different parts of the world, and urged States to sign, ratify or accede to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
-- underlined that tolerance and pluralism were indivisible elements in the promotion and protection of human rights; and affirmed that the rights of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious minorities must be protected and that persons belonging to such minorities should be treated equally and without discrimination of any kind.
-- welcomed the dissemination, promotion and application of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the fact that the Representative of the Secretary-General on the subject had made use of the Guiding Principles in his dialogue with Governments and various organizations; and expressed its appreciation to Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations which had provided assistance and protection to internally displaced persons.
-- reaffirmed the obligation of States to ensure the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities without discrimination and in full equality before the law; urged States to take all necessary measures to promote and give effect to the relevant Declaration on the rights of minorities; and urged them and the international community to promote and protect the rights of minorities as set out in the Declaration.
-- called upon concerned Governments, particularly those of origin and destination, to put in place penal sanctions to punish perpetrators of violence against women migrant workers and to provide the victims with the full range of immediate assistance that would allow them to be present during the judicial process, to safeguard their dignified return to their countries of origin and to establish reintegration and rehabilitation schemes for returning women migrant workers.
-- called upon States to facilitate family reunification in an expeditious and effective manner and take other steps to ensure protection of migrants and their families; encouraged States of origin to promote and protect the human rights of those families of migrant workers which remained in countries of origin, paying particular attention to children and adolescents whose parents had emigrated; and encouraged all Governments to remove unlawful obstacles that could prevent the safe, unrestricted and expeditious transfer of earnings, assets and pensions of migrants to their countries of origin or to any other country.
-- urged States strictly to observe and respect and ensure respect for the rules of international law, as set out in the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols thereto with regard to missing persons; reaffirmed the right of families to know the fate of their relatives reported missing in connection with armed conflicts; and reaffirmed that each party to an armed conflict, as soon as circumstances permitted, should search for persons reported missing by an adverse party.
-- recognized that any violation of the fundamental principle of equality or any discrimination or other negative differential treatment of persons with disabilities inconsistent with the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities was an infringement of human rights; called upon the Secretary-General to maintain the integrity of programmes within the United Nations system relating to persons with disabilities; expressed grave concern that situations of armed conflict had especially devastating consequences for persons with disabilities; and called upon all States and relevant United Nations bodies to contribute on an ongoing basis to international mine-clearance efforts.
-- strongly condemned the manifestations and acts of racism and related intolerance against migrants and the stereotypes often applied to them; all forms of racial discrimination and xenophobia related to access to employment, vocational training, housing, schooling, health services and social services; requested States effectively to promote and protect the human rights of migrants, especially those of women and children, regardless of their migratory condition; reaffirmed the duty of States parties to ensure full respect for and observance of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; and urged all States to put an end to arbitrary arrest and detention of migrants, including by individuals and groups.
-- and decided to approve the request of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights that the Secretary-General transmit a questionnaire of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of non-citizens to Governments and relevant organizations.
Racism and Other Forms of Intolerance
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- expressed deep concern at negative stereotyping of religions in a resolution on combatting defamation of religions; expressed deep concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and with terrorism; noted with concern the intensification of the campaign to defame Islam, its tenets and values and Muslim people, and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11; urged all States to combat hatred, discrimination, and violence motivated by religious intolerance; and requested the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief to examine the situation of Muslim peoples in various parts of the world with special reference to physical assaults and attacks against their places of worship, cultural centres, businesses and properties in the aftermath of September 11 and to submit a preliminary study on his findings to the fifty-ninth session of the Commission.
-- and called upon all States to formulate and implement plans of action to combat racism and related intolerance; invited them to give widespread publicity to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; emphasized that remembering the crimes and wrongs of the past, wherever and whenever they occurred, unequivocally condemning its racist tragedies and telling the truth about history were essential elements for international reconciliation and the creation of societies based on justice, equality and solidarity; decided to establish an intergovernmental Working Group to make recommendations on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and to prepare complementary international standards to strengthen and update international instruments against racism; decided to establish a Working Group of five independent experts of people of African descent, to meet for two sessions of five working days each prior to the fifty-ninth session of the Commission to study the problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the Diaspora; decided to establish a voluntary fund to provide, among other things, additional resources for the effective implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action; strongly appealed to all Governments and relevant organizations and individuals in a position to do so to contribute generously to the Trust Fund for the Programme of Action for the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination; requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit an analytical report to the Commission at its next session on the extent of the implementation of the Programme of Action prior to its ending in 2003; and decided to renew fore three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- condemned all human rights violations committed against human rights defenders around the world; called upon all States to ensure the protection of human rights defenders; urged States to address the question of impunity for threats, attacks and acts of intimidation against human rights defenders; and urged all Governments to cooperate with the Special Representative on the topic.
-- reaffirmed that the peoples of the planet had a sacred right to the promotion of peace; declared that preservation of that right constituted a fundamental obligation of each State; emphasized that States should direct policies towards elimination of the threat of war, particularly nuclear war and the renunciation of the use or threat of use of force in international relations; called upon all States to contribute to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and the prevention of an arms race in outer space; and urged all States to refrain from taking measures to encourage a new arms race.
-- called upon Member States, for the purpose of promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, to fulfil their commitment expressed during the World Conference against Racism to maximize the benefits of globalization through, among other things, strengthening and enhancement of international cooperation to increase equality of opportunities for trade, economic growth and sustainable development, global communications through the use of new technologies, and increase inter-cultural exchange through the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity, and reiterated that only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future could globalization be made fully inclusive and equitable.
-- reaffirmed the relationship between human rights and international solidarity, and the interdependence between the concepts of democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and welcomed the declaration adopted at the Millennium Summit citing the fundamental value of solidarity for international relations and stating that global challenges should be managed in a way that distributed costs and burdens fairly, in accordance with the basic principles of equality and social justice, and that those who suffered, or who benefited least, deserved help from those who benefited most.
-- decided to recommend a draft decision to the Economic and Social Council that would request the Special Rapporteur on human rights and human responsibilities of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to submit to the Commission his final report at the Commission's fifty-ninth session.
-- urged all Governments to contribute further to the implementation of the Plan of Action for United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, in particular by encouraging the establishment of national committees for human rights education and initiating and developing cultural and educational programmes aimed at countering racism and related intolerance.
-- recognized the interdependence of human rights, the environment and sustainable development; reaffirmed that no persons promoting the protection of the environment should be penalized, persecuted or harassed for their activities; expressed the need for environmental justice to combat all forms of environmental discrimination, as reflected in the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action; and invited all concerned international institutions and agencies to exchange information and share expertise on environmental matters, poverty eradication and capacity-building.
-- decided to consider the question of fundamental standards of humanity at its sixtieth session and to request the Secretary-General, in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, to submit to that an analytical report which would consolidate and update previous reports and studies and cover relevant developments on the matter.
-- recognized the role of good governance in the promotion of human rights and said that transparent, responsible, accountable and participatory governance, responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people, was a sine qua non for the promotion of human rights, including the right to development.
-- called upon States parties to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights to consider acceding to or ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, aimed at abolition of the death penalty; and urged all States that still maintained the penalty to comply fully with their obligations under the Covenant and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, notably not to impose the death penalty for any but the most serious crimes and only pursuant to a final judgement rendered by an independent and impartial competent court, not to impose it for crimes committed by persons below 18 years of age, to exclude pregnant women from capital punishment and to ensure the right to a fair trial and the right to seek pardon or commutation of sentence.
-- appealed strongly to all States to become parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; emphasized the importance of the strictest compliance by States parties with the obligations under the Covenants; and stressed the importance of avoiding the erosion of human rights by derogation.
-- and emphasized the importance of combatting impunity for human rights violations; the importance of taking all necessary steps to hold accountable perpetrators and their accomplices, and recognized that amnesties should not be granted to those who committed violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Report of Subcommission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- reaffirmed that the work of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights could best assist the Commission by providing it with independent expert studies; recommendations based on these studies; and studies, research and expert advice at the request of the Commission.
-- decided to invite the Subcommission to give careful consideration to the outcome of the World Conference against Racism, the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action, and to play a complementary role in the realization of the objectives of the World Conference.
Human Rights of Women
Under this agenda item the Commission:
-- emphasized that the goal of mainstreaming a gender perspective was to achieve gender equality and that this included ensuring that all United Nations activities integrated the human rights of women; recognized the importance of examining the intersection of multiple forms of discrimination, including their root causes, from a gender perspective; and recognized the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution.
-- urged Governments to take appropriate measures to address the root factors, including external factors, that encouraged trafficking in women and children, in particular girls, for prostitution and other forms of commercialized sex, forced marriages and forced labour; urged Governments to consider signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the protocols supplementing the Convention; and encouraged Governments, in cooperation with intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, to undertake information campaigns targeted at women and girls and aimed at clarifying opportunities, limitations and rights in the event of migration so as to enable women to make informed decisions and to prevent them from becoming victims of trafficking.
-- strongly condemned all acts of violence against women and girls; called for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence in the family, within the general community and where perpetrated or condoned by the State; stressed that States had an affirmative duty to promote and protect the human rights of women and had to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish acts of all forms of violence against women; and strongly condemned violence against women committed in situations of armed conflict and called for effective responses to these violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
Effective Functioning of Human Rights Mechanisms
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- expressed its concern that no progress had been achieved in the implementation of resolutions on the composition of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and that one region accounted for more than half of the posts of the Office and more posts than the four remaining regional groups combined; requested the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure that particular attention was paid to recruiting personnel from developing countries, in particular from unrepresented member States, for the existing vacancies and for additional posts in the Office; and requested the High Commissioner to use the policy of new recruitments to correct the current imbalance in the composition of the staff of her Office and to submit a comprehensive report on the matter to the Commission at its fifty-ninth session.
-- called upon all States to ensure the safety of United Nations and associated personnel and other personnel carrying out activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations organization on their territory; to ensure that any threat or act of violence committed against such personnel was fully investigated and to take all appropriate measures to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of such acts; to provide adequate and prompt information concerning the arrest or detention of such personnel; to ensure the prompt release of such personnel who had been arrested or detained in violation of their immunity; and to promote a climate of respect for the security of such personnel.
-- stressed that developing and strengthening national capacities in human rights in accordance with national conditions provided the strongest foundation for effective and enduring regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific in matters of human rights; took note of the decision of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to appoint regional representatives of her Office for the Asian and Pacific region; reaffirmed the desirability of developing national human rights plans of action for the region through a process which ensured wide participation; took note of the establishment of independent national institutions in countries of the region; and recognized the importance of good governance to ensure that all human rights were protected in the region and that development resources were properly and effectively used.
-- reaffirmed the importance of the development of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights in conformity with the Principles annexed to General Assembly resolution 48/134; encouraged States to establish or strengthen such institutions; took note with satisfaction of the efforts of those States that had provided their institutions with more autonomy and independence; and expressed appreciation to those Governments that had contributed additional resources for the purpose of establishing and strengthening such institutions.
-- commended those Governments that had invited special rapporteurs, representatives, experts or working groups to visit their countries and had developed other forms of intensive cooperation with the Commission's thematic procedures; encouraged all Governments to cooperate with such procedures by responding without undue delay to requests for information and by considering inviting personnel of thematic procedures to visit their countries; and called upon the Governments concerned to study carefully recommendations issued by thematic procedures.
-- and emphasized the need to ensure financing and adequate staff and information resources for the operations of the human rights treaty bodies; and encouraged all key stakeholders to continue to examine ways of improving the treaty body system, including by reducing the duplication of State reporting required under the different instruments and by generally reducing the reporting burden on States.
Advisory Services and Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights
Under this agenda item, the Commission:
-- declared that advisory services and technical cooperation in the field of human rights were one of the most efficient and effective means for promoting and protecting human rights; welcomed the increasing number of requests for such activities and services; called for a substantial increase in available financial resources for such activities, which should be managed in a more efficient and coordinated way; and invited all Governments considering voluntary contributions to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to consider providing unearmarked contributions to the extent possible.
-- welcomed progress made and assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights; expressed deep concern at reported cases of rape, arbitrary and summary executions, torture, violence, in particular against women and children, and at the absence of an effective judicial system in the country, and took note of the need for appropriate investigation throughout Somalia in order to bring perpetrators to justice; and condemned ongoing widespread violations of human rights, in particular against minorities, women and children, including the practice of female genital mutilation and forced displacement of civilians.
-- cited some improvements in the situation of human rights in Cambodia; deplored prison conditions in the country; expressed grave concern about continued violations of human rights, including torture, excessive pre-trial detention, violation of labour rights and forced evictions, as well as political violence, police involvement in violence and the apparent lack of protection from mob killings; noted that some progress had been made by the Government in addressing these problems; and urged the Government to combat discrimination against ethnic minorities.
Organization of Work of Session
Under this agenda item, the Commission adopted resolutions and decisions on the dates of the 2003 session of the Commission on Human Rights; the expiration of office-holder's terms of appointment under special procedures; enhancement of the effectiveness of the working methods of the Commission; the inter-sessional activities of the Bureau; additional meetings for the fifty-ninth session of the Commission; statements by non-governmental organizations; and the electronic voting system.
The Chairman of the Commission was Krzysztof Jakubowski of Poland. Vice-Chairpersons were Walter Lewalter of Germany; Sipho George Nene of South Africa; and Toufik Salloum of the Syrian Arab Republic. The Rapporteur was Frederico Duque Estrada Meyer of Brazil.
Composition of Commission
The composition of the Commission for 2002 is the following. The term of membership of each State expires on 31 December of the year indicated in brackets.
Algeria (2003), Argentina (2002), Armenia (2004), Austria (2004), Bahrain (2004), Belgium (2003), Brazil (2002), Burundi (2002), Cameroon (2003), Canada (2003), Chile (2004), China (2002), Costa Rica (2003), Croatia (2004), Cuba (2003), Czech Republic (2002), Democratic Republic of the Congo (2003), Ecuador (2002), France (2004), Germany (2002), Guatemala (2003), India (2003), Indonesia (2002), Italy (2002), Japan (2002), Kenya (2003), Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (2003), Malaysia (2003), Mexico (2004), Nigeria (2002), Pakistan (2004), Peru (2003), Poland (2003), Portugal (2002), Republic of Korea (2004), Russian Federation (2003), Saudi Arabia (2003), Senegal (2003), Sierra Leone (2004), South Africa (2003), Spain (2002), Sudan (2004), Swaziland (2002), Sweden (2004), Syrian Arab Republic (2003), Thailand (2003), Togo (2004), Uganda (2004), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2003), Uruguay (2003), Venezuela (2003), Viet Nam (2003), Zambia (2002).
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