World Conference on Human Rights : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly

  • Author: UN General Assembly (45th sess. : 1990-1991)
  • Document source:
  • Date:
    18 December 1990

The General Assembly,

Mindful of the goal of the United Nations to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recognizing that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are indivisible and interrelated and that the promotion and protection of one category of rights should never exempt or excuse States from the promotion and protection of another,

Bearing in mind that all Member States have pledged themselves to achieve the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in conformity with relevant articles of the Charter,

Noting the progress made by the United Nations towards this goal and the fact that there are areas in which further progress should be made,

Noting also that violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms continue to occur,

Considering that, in view of the progress made, the problems that remain and the new challenges that lie ahead, it would be appropriate to conduct a review of what has been accomplished through the human rights programme and what remains to be done,

Recalling its resolution 44/156 of 15 December 1989, in which it requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Governments, specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and United Nations bodies concerned with human rights on the desirability of convening a world conference on human rights for the purpose of dealing at the highest level with the crucial questions facing the United Nations in connection with the promotion and protection of human rights,

Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General containing those views,

Noting the expressions of support for the convening of a world conference on human rights from many Governments, specialized agencies and United Nations bodies concerned with human rights and from non-governmental organizations,

Noting also the many views concerning the importance of thorough advance preparation for the success of the conference,

Convinced that the holding of a world conference on human rights could make a significant contribution to the effectiveness of the actions of the United Nations and its Member States in the promotion and protection of human rights,

1.         Decides to convene at a high level a World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 with the following objectives:

(a)        To review and assess the progress that has been made in the field of human rights since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to identify obstacles to further progress in this area, and ways in which they can be overcome;

(b)        To examine the relation between development and the enjoyment by everyone of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights, recognizing the importance of creating the conditions whereby everyone may enjoy these rights as set out in the International Covenants on Human Rights;

(c)        To examine ways and means to improve the implementation of existing human rights standards and instruments;

(d)        To evaluate the effectiveness of the methods and mechanisms used by the United Nations in the field of human rights;

(e)        To formulate concrete recommendations for improving the effectiveness of United Nations activities and mechanisms in the field of human rights through programmes aimed at promoting, encouraging and monitoring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;

(f)         To make recommendations for ensuring the necessary financial and other resources for United Nations activities in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

2.         Decides to establish a Preparatory Committee for the World Conference on Human Rights, which shall be open to all States Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies, with the participation of observers, in accordance with the established practice of the General Assembly;

3.         Also decides that the Preparatory Committee should have the mandate to make proposals for the consideration of the General Assembly regarding the agenda, date, duration, venue of and participation in the Conference, preparatory meetings and activities at the international, regional and national levels, which should take place in 1992, and on desirable studies and other documentation;

4.         Further decides that the Preparatory Committee, at its first session, shall elect a five-member bureau composed of a chairman, three vice-chairmen and a rapporteur, with due regard to equitable geographic representation;

5.         Instructs the Preparatory Committee to deal with the substantive preparations for the Conference in accordance with the goals and objectives set out in paragraph 1 above and bearing in mind the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights at its forty-seventh session;

6.         Decides that the Preparatory Committee shall hold a five-day session at Geneva in September 1991;

7.         Also decides, in accordance with its resolution 42/211 of 21 December 1987 and without prejudice to the overall level of resources adopted by the General Assembly for the biennium 1990-1991 and the proposed programme budget outline for the biennium 1992-1993, that the preparatory process and the Conference itself should be funded through the regular budget of the United Nations, without any implications for the programmes provided for under section 23 of the programme budget, and invites contributions of extrabudgetary resources to meet, inter alia, the cost of participation of representatives of least developed countries in the preparatory meetings and the Conference itself;

8.         Requests the Commission on Human Rights to make recommendations to the Preparatory Committee on the above issues during those sessions that will take place prior to the Conference;

9.         Encourages the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, the chairmen or other designated members of human rights expert bodies as well as special rapporteurs and chairmen or designated members of working groups to take part in the work of the Preparatory Committee;

10.       Requests Governments, the specialized agencies, other international organizations, concerned United Nations bodies, regional organizations and non-governmental organizations concerned with human rights to assist the Preparatory Committee and to undertake reviews and submit recommendations concerning the Conference and the preparations therefor to the Preparatory Committee through the Secretary-General and to participate actively in the Conference;

11.       Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Preparatory Committee a report on the contributions made pursuant to paragraphs 9 and 10 above;

12.       Also requests the Secretary-General to appoint a Secretary-General for the Conference from within the Secretariat and to provide the Preparatory Committee with all necessary assistance;

13.       Requests the Preparatory Committee to report to the General Assembly at its forty-sixth and forty-seventh sessions on the progress of its work.


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