Promotion of the right to democracy.

The Commission on Human Rights,

Bearing in mind the indissoluble links between the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the foundation of any democratic society,

Recalling that all peoples have the right of self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,

Recognizing that democracy, development and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives,

Recognizing also the rich and diverse nature of the community of the world's democracies,

Recalling the large body of international law and instruments, including its resolutions and those of the General Assembly, which confirm the right to full participation and the other fundamental democratic rights and freedoms inherent in any democratic society,

Resolved, on the eve of a new century and millennium, to take all measures within its power to secure for all people the fundamental democratic rights and freedoms to which they are entitled,

1. Affirms that democracy fosters the full realization of all human rights, and vice versa;

2. Also affirms that the rights of democratic governance include, inter alia, the following:

(a) The rights to freedom of opinion and expression, of thought, conscience and religion, and of peaceful association and assembly;

(b) The right to freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media;

(c) The rule of law, including legal protection of citizens' rights, interests and personal security, and fairness in the administration of justice and independence of the judiciary;

(d) The right of universal and equal suffrage, as well as free voting procedures and periodic and free elections;

(e) The right of political participation, including equal opportunity for all citizens to become candidates;

(f) Transparent and accountable government institutions;

(g) The right of citizens to choose their governmental system through constitutional or other democratic means;

(h) The right to equal access to public service in one's own country;

3. Notes that the realization of all human rights - civil, cultural, economic, political and social, including the right to development - are indispensable to human dignity and the full development of human potential and are also integral to democratic society;

4. Urges the continuation and expansion of activities carried out by the United Nations system, other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and Member States to promote and consolidate democracy within the framework of international cooperation and to build a democratic political culture through the observance of human rights, mobilization of civil society and other appropriate measures in support of democratic governance;

5. Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in continuing and expanding its programmes and projects of technical cooperation to promote democracy and the rule of law, and in the context of the High Commissioner's activities in the promotion of human rights, to give priority assistance to such programmes and to promote democracy-related activities throughout the United Nations system;

6. Requests human rights treaty bodies, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and human rights mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to pay due attention, within their mandates, to those elements of democratic governance outlined in paragraph 2 of the present resolution;

7. Requests the High Commissioner, in her report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-sixth session, to reflect progress on the implementation of the present resolution;

8. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of Member States, the competent United Nations organs and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and to disseminate it on the widest possible basis;

9. Decides to continue consideration of the matter at its fifty-sixth session under the same agenda item.

57th meeting
27 April 1999

[Adopted by a roll-call vote of 51 votes to none, with 2 abstentions. See. chap. XI.]


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