Human Rights Council

Thirty-fourth session

27 February–24 March 2017

Agenda item 3

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 24 March 2017

34/41. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration

and Programme of Action,

Reaffirming also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other relevant

international human rights instruments,

Acknowledging the adoption by the General Assembly of its resolution 70/1 entitled

“Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” on 25 September

2015, including its goals and targets, inter alia, Goal 16, on promoting peaceful and

inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and

building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels,

Recalling that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development involves Governments

and Parliaments, the United Nations system and other international institutions, in particular

the Inter-Parliamentary Union, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business

and the private sector, and the scientific and academic community, who have embarked on

the road to 2030,

Recalling also all previous resolutions on democracy and the rule of law adopted by

the General Assembly, the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council,

in particular Council resolutions 19/36 of 23 March 2012 and 28/14 of 26 March 2015, in

which the Council established the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of


Recalling further General Assembly resolution 70/298 of 25 July 2016 on

interaction between the United Nations, national parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary

Union, and Human Rights Council resolution 30/14 of 1 October 2015 on the contribution

of parliaments to the work of the Human Rights Council and its universal periodic review,

Taking note of the study of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human

Rights of 20121 and the outcome of the panel discussion,2 held on 11 June 2013 during the

twenty-third session of the Human Rights Council, both on the theme of common

challenges facing States in their efforts to secure democracy and the rule of law from a

human rights perspective,

Recognizing the link between human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good

governance, and recalling the Human Rights Council resolutions and all other resolutions

relevant to the role of good governance in the promotion of human rights,

Reaffirming that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of people to

determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full

participation in all aspects of their lives,

Reaffirming also that, while democracies share common features, there is no single

model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region, and

reaffirming further the necessity of due respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the

right to self-determination,

Bearing in mind that challenges to democracy arise in all democratic societies,

Acknowledging the fundamental importance of education and training for human

rights in consolidating democracy and contributing to the promotion, protection and

effective realization of all human rights,

Underlining that, while States have the primary responsibility for safeguarding and

strengthening democracy and the rule of law, the United Nations has a critical role in

providing assistance and coordinating international efforts to support States, on their

request, in their democratization processes,

Urging States to acknowledge the important contribution of civil society and human

rights defenders to the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and to

ensure a safe and enabling environment for their work,

Recognizing the value of a Human Rights Council forum for exchange, dialogue,

mutual understanding and cooperation on the interrelationship between human rights,

democracy and the rule of law, in accordance with the principles and purposes of the

Charter, and acknowledging the importance of existing regional formats in the field of

human rights,

Stressing that human rights, democracy and the rule of law are interdependent and

mutually reinforcing, and in this regard recalling the report of the Secretary-General on

strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities,3 in which the

Secretary-General addressed the ways and means of developing further the linkages

between the rule of law and the three main pillars of the United Nations, namely, peace and

security, human rights, and development,

Emphasizing the importance of effective, transparent and accountable legislative

bodies, and their fundamental role in the promotion and protection of human rights,

democracy and the rule of law,

1. Welcomes the organization, in November 2016, of the first session of the

Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the theme of which was

1 A/HRC/22/29.

2 See A/HRC/24/54.

3 A/68/213/Add.1.

“Widening the democratic space: the role of youth in public decision-making”, and notes

the engaged participation of stakeholders, including youth, who emphasized the promotion

of dialogue and cooperation;

2. Takes note of the report of the two Chairs on the work of the first session of

the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law,4 and encourages States and

other stakeholders to take into consideration the relevant recommendations of the Forum;

3. Decides that the theme of the second session of the Forum, to be held in

2018, will be “Parliaments as promoters of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”;

4. Also decides that the second session of the Forum shall be open to the

participation of States, United Nations mechanisms, bodies and specialized agencies, funds

and programmes, intergovernmental organizations, regional organizations and mechanisms

in the field of human rights, national human rights institutions and other relevant national

bodies, academics and experts, and non-governmental organizations in consultative status

with the Economic and Social Council; the session shall also be open to other non-

governmental organizations whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit,

purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, based on arrangements,

including Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996, and practices

observed by the Human Rights Council, through an open and transparent accreditation

procedure in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Council, which will provide for

timely information on the participation of and consultations with the States concerned;

5. Encourages States and all stakeholders to pay particular attention to ensuring

the broadest possible and most equitable participation, with due regard to geographical and

gender balance, and considering the participation of youth;

6. Requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner

for Human Rights to provide the Forum, at its second session, with all the necessary

services and facilities, including interpretation in all official languages of the United


59th meeting

24 March 2017

[Adopted without a vote.]

4 A/HRC/34/46.