Contemporary forms of slavery.

The Commission on Human Rights,

Gravely concerned at modern manifestations of slavery, the slave trade and slavery-like practices,

Recalling its previous resolutions on the subject, especially resolution 1997/20 of 11 April 1997, and taking note of relevant resolutions of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on the subject, including 1997/22 of 27 August 1997 and 1998/19 of 21 August 1998,

Bearing in mind that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude, as provided in the Slavery Convention of 1926, the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956 and the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 1949, as well as other provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights prohibiting slavery or servitude,

Acknowledging that the Internet can be a valuable medium of communication but noting the necessity of paying particular attention to the use of the Internet to promote sexual exploitation and trafficking,

Reaffirming the necessity of examining the problem of allegations regarding the removal of organs and tissues of children and adults for commercial purposes, taking special account of information from the specialized agencies, in particular the Task Force on Organ Transplantation of the Advisory Committee on Health Research of the World Health Organization,

1. Welcomes the work of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and takes note of its recommendations made at its 1997 and 1998 sessions;

2. Expresses its grave concern at manifestations of contemporary forms of slavery, inter alia, those reported to and by the Working Group;

3. Notes that the Secretary-General has not yet received any information about the reliability of allegations regarding the removal of organs and tissues of children and adults and, in order to enable the Commission to examine this question, again requests the Secretary-General to seek information among relevant specialized agencies, working closely in particular with the Advisory Committee on Health Research of the World Health Organization and the International Criminal Police Organization, and to include an analysis of the information received in an updated report to be submitted to the Commission at its fifty-sixth session;

4. Calls upon States:

(a) To consider, in accordance with relevant provisions of international human rights instruments, as a matter of priority, reviewing, amending and enforcing existing laws or enacting new laws, with a view to preventing the use of, inter alia, the Internet for trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children, as well as new levels of cooperation among Governments in this regard;

(b) To take appropriate action for the protection of particularly vulnerable groups, such as children and migrant women, against exploitation of the prostitution of others and other slavery-like practices, including the possible establishment of national bodies to achieve this objective;

(c) To consider developing national plans of action taking account, inter alia, of the Programme of Action for the Prevention of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/28/Add.1);adopted by the Commission in its resolution 1996/61;

(d) To consider ratifying, if they have not yet done so, the pertinent international instruments relating to slavery, the slave trade and slavery-like practices;

4. Once again requests the Secretary-General:

(a) To designate the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as the focal point for the coordination of activities and dissemination of information in the United Nations system on the suppression of contemporary forms of slavery;

(b) To give effect to his decision to reassign to the Working Group a Professional staff member of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as was the case in the past, to work on a permanent basis to ensure continuity of the implementation of the resolutions of the Sub-Commission and the Commission and close coordination within and outside the Office on issues relating to contemporary forms of slavery;

(c) To transmit to Governments an appeal for contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery;

5. Decides to consider this question at its fifty-sixth session.

56th meeting
27 April 1999

[Adopted by a roll-call vote of 36 votes to none, with 17 abstentions. See chap. XIV.]


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