Original HRC document

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Document Type: Final Resolution

Date: 2018 Oct

Session: 39th Regular Session (2018 Sep)

Agenda Item: Item8: Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Topic: National Human Rights Institutions

GE.18-16544(E)



Human Rights Council Thirty-ninth session

10–28 September 2018

Agenda item 8

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 28 September 2018

39/17. National human rights institutions

The Human Rights Council,

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

recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and

Programme of Action, and other relevant instruments,

Reaffirming that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated,

interdependent and mutually reinforcing and that all human rights must be treated in a fair

and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis,

Recalling all relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council, the General

Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights on national institutions for the promotion

and protection of human rights, including most recently Council resolution 33/15 of 29

September 2016 and Assembly resolution 72/181 of 19 December 2017,

Recalling also General Assembly resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled

“Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in which the

Assembly adopted the outcome document of the United Nations summit for the adoption of

the post-2015 development agenda and pledged that no one would be left behind,

Recalling further General Assembly resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015 on the Addis

Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for

Development, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Recalling that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is guided by the

purposes and principles of the Charter, grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights, international human rights treaties, the United Nations Millennium Declaration and

the 2005 World Summit Outcome, and informed by other instruments, such as the

Declaration on the Right to Development, and recognizing, inter alia, the need to build

peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and are based on

respect for all human rights, effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and

transparent, effective and accountable institutions,

Welcoming the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme

of Action, and reaffirming its statement of the important and constructive role played by

national human rights institutions, in particular in their advisory capacity to the competent

authorities, and their role in preventing, remedying and assisting victims to find remedies to

United Nations A/HRC/RES/39/17

human rights violations and abuses, in the dissemination of human rights information, and

education in human rights,

Recalling the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the

promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles), and welcoming the twenty-

fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Principles and of the establishment of the

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions,

Reaffirming the importance of, and welcoming the rapidly growing interest

throughout the world in, establishing and strengthening independent, pluralistic national

human rights institutions in accordance with the Paris Principles,

Reaffirming also the important role that such national human rights institutions play,

and will continue to play, in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental

freedoms, strengthening participation, in particular of civil society organizations, promoting

the rule of law, developing and enhancing public awareness of those rights and fundamental

freedoms, and contributing to the prevention of human rights violations and abuses,

Encouraging greater efforts to investigate and respond to increasing reports of cases

of reprisal against national human rights institutions, their members and staff, and those

who cooperate or seek to cooperate with them,

Recognizing the role that national human rights institutions can play in preventing

and addressing cases of reprisal as part of supporting the cooperation between States and

the United Nations in the promotion of human rights, including by contributing to follow-

up actions, as appropriate, to recommendations made by international human rights

mechanisms,

Commending the important work of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights

Institutions, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and

regional networks of national human rights institutions, including the Network of African

National Human Rights Institutions, the Network of National Institutions for the Promotion

and Protection of Human Rights in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific Forum of National

Human Rights Institutions and the European Network of National Human Rights

Institutions, in support of the development and strengthening of independent and effective

national human rights institutions compliant with the Paris Principles,

Welcoming efforts to strengthen United Nations system-wide coordination in

support of national human rights institutions and their networks, including the

establishment of the tripartite partnership between the United Nations Development

Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner and the Global Alliance of National

Human Rights Institutions,1 and recognizing the potential for further cooperation in this

regard between United Nations mechanisms and processes and with national human rights

institutions,

Welcoming also the valuable participation and contribution of national human rights

institutions and their networks, including their contribution to national mechanisms for

reporting and follow-up, and with regard to follow-up to recommendations and relevant

United Nations mechanisms and processes, in accordance with their respective mandates,

including the Human Rights Council and its universal periodic review mechanism and the

special procedures, the treaty bodies, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous

Peoples, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Commission on

the Status of Women, the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of

Persons with Disabilities and the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, and their

continuing efforts in support of the 2030 Agenda, and encouraging further efforts in this

regard,

Reaffirming that, as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes,

eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, combating inequality within and among

countries, preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic

growth and fostering social inclusion are linked to each other and interdependent,

1 General Assembly resolution 70/163, para. 19.

Stressing that the effective participation of all individuals in national, political,

cultural, religious, economic and social processes in their societies is crucial to their full

and equal enjoyment of all human rights,

Bearing in mind that the promotion and upholding of tolerance, respect, pluralism

and diversity are essential for the promotion and protection of human rights in multicultural

contexts and, in particular, for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and

related intolerance,

Acknowledging that the promotion and protection of human rights and the

implementation of the 2030 Agenda are interrelated and mutually reinforcing, and

recognizing that the 2030 Agenda pledges to leave no one behind and envisages a world of

universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and

non-discrimination,

Recognizing the importance of the independent voice of national human rights

institutions in promoting and protecting all human rights, including, in accordance with

their mandates, economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, particularly in the

context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which seeks to realize the human rights

of all,

Welcoming the Mérida Declaration on the Role of National Human Rights

Institutions in Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noting that the

implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a priority under the current Strategic Plan of the

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, and acknowledging the efforts

national human rights institutions are making to connect their work, in accordance with

their respective mandates, to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda,

1. Welcomes the most recent reports of the Secretary-General submitted to the

Human Rights Council on national human rights institutions2 and on the activities of the

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in accrediting national human rights

institutions in compliance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions

for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles);3

2. Encourages Member States to establish effective, independent and pluralistic

national human rights institutions or, where they already exist, to strengthen them to enable

the effective fulfilment of their mandate to promote and protect human rights and

fundamental freedoms for all, as outlined in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of

Action, and to do so in accordance with the Paris Principles;

3. Stresses the importance of the financial and administrative independence and

the stability of national human rights institutions for the promotion and protection of human

rights, notes with satisfaction the efforts of those Member States that have provided their

national human rights institutions with more autonomy and independence, including by

giving them an investigative role or enhancing such a role, and encourages other

Governments to consider taking similar steps;

4. Also stresses that national human rights institutions and their respective

members and staff should not face any form of reprisal or intimidation, including political

pressure, physical intimidation, harassment or unjustifiable budgetary limitations, as a

result of activities undertaken in accordance with their respective mandates, including when

taking up individual cases or when reporting on serious or systematic violations, and calls

upon States to promptly and thoroughly investigate cases of alleged reprisal or intimidation

against members or staff of national human rights institutions or against individuals who

cooperate or seek to cooperate with them and to bring perpetrators to justice;

5. Encourages national human rights institutions that are compliant with the

Paris Principles to continue to participate in and contribute to, including where relevant by

providing parallel reports and other information, the work of the Human Rights Council

and its universal periodic review mechanism, the special procedures and the treaty bodies

2 A/HRC/39/20.

3 A/HRC/39/21.

and all other relevant United Nations forums, and also encourages all relevant United

Nations mechanisms and processes, including in the discussions on the implementation of

the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its high-level political forum, to

strengthen the independent participation of national human rights institutions compliant

with the Paris Principles, in accordance with their respective mandates;

6. Welcomes the important role of the Global Alliance of National Human

Rights Institutions, in close cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High

Commissioner for Human Rights, in assessing conformity with the Paris Principles and in

assisting States and national institutions, when requested, to strengthen national human

rights institutions in accordance with such principles, also welcomes the continuing number

of national institutions seeking accreditation status through the Global Alliance, and

encourages relevant national institutions, including ombudsman institutions, to seek

accreditation status;

7. Encourages the Secretary-General and all United Nations human rights

mechanisms and relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, working within

their respective mandates, to continue to give high priority to requests from Member States

for assistance in the establishment and strengthening of national human rights institutions,

to work with Member States and national human rights institutions in the protection and

promotion of human rights, and to strengthen United Nations system-wide coordination in

support of national human rights institutions;

8. Recognizes the contribution that national human rights institutions have made

to the promotion and protection, and prevention of violations, of human rights by exercising

their mandates and functions consistent with the Paris Principles, and encourages them to

continue to do so, including by:

(a) Independently assisting, advising and engaging with the State, and other

stakeholders, in the prevention of violations and abuses of human rights;

(b) Encouraging the ratification, and ensuring the implementation, of

international human rights treaties;

(c) Promoting legal, policy and procedural reforms, including to promote and

ensure the harmonization of national laws and practices with the international human rights

instruments to which a State is a party, and their effective implementation;

(d) Cooperating with the United Nations system, including by contributing, as

appropriate, to follow-up actions to the recommendations made by international human

rights mechanisms;

(e) Conducting and promoting practical and relevant human rights training and

education, and raising public awareness and advocacy about the promotion and protection

of human rights and efforts to combat all forms of discrimination;

(f) Working with non-governmental organizations devoted to promoting and

protecting human rights and economic and social development, combating racism and

protecting groups subject to particular vulnerabilities, marginalization or intersecting forms

of discrimination, or specialized areas;

(g) Preparing and publicizing reports on the national situation with regard to

human rights, drawing the attention of the Government to situations in any part of the

country in which human rights are violated, making proposals to put an end to such

situations and, where necessary, expressing an opinion on the positions and reactions of the

Government;

(h) Supporting transparent and meaningful engagement by States in regional and

international human rights forums by making contributions, in accordance with their

independent mandates, to the reports that States are required to submit to United Nations

bodies and committees and to regional institutions pursuant to their treaty obligations;

9. Acknowledges that, in the performance of their key functions, in accordance

with their mandates and with the Paris Principles, national human rights institutions are

supporting the establishment and maintenance of inclusive societies, and in doing so can

contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including by:

(a) Assisting States to adopt effective frameworks to promote and protect human

rights, which are applied equally to protect the rights of all individuals, without

discrimination on any grounds, including race, colour, gender, age, disability, language,

religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status;

(b) Contributing to building the capacity of States to prevent and reduce

discrimination and violence through effective national-level legislation, regulation, policies

and programmes, including those that guarantee equal access, rights and opportunities for

all, including equal access to justice and participatory decision-making;

(c) Contributing to the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural

rights for all;

(d) Contributing to the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women

and gender-based violence;

(e) Contributing to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia

and other related intolerance, all forms of hate speech, and religious intolerance and its

manifestations, including hate crimes and incitement to hatred, and fostering cohesive

societies that respect and celebrate diversity and multiculturalism;

(f) Contributing to addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination

that can increase the vulnerability to violence and discrimination of persons with

disabilities, indigenous peoples, refugees and migrants, persons who are socioeconomically

disadvantaged, persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities,

and other individuals in vulnerable situations or belonging to marginalized groups;

(g) Working with businesses to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights

in accordance with human rights law, and to support initiatives aimed at protecting victims

of human rights abuses, including through the dissemination and implementation of the

Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights;

10. Encourages all States and national human rights institutions to continue to

take appropriate steps to maintain a legislative or policy framework compliant with the

Paris Principles, and to promote cooperation, the exchange of information, the sharing of

experience and the dissemination of best practices concerning the establishment and

effective operation of national human rights institutions, including their contribution to the

establishment and maintenance of inclusive societies and the implementation of the 2030

Agenda;

11. Invites national human rights institutions to include in their cooperation the

exchange of best practices on strengthening their liaison role between civil society and their

Governments;

12. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue and to strengthen

its work with national human rights institutions, including through technical cooperation,

capacity-building activities and advice, urges the High Commissioner to ensure that

appropriate arrangements are made and budgetary resources are provided to continue and

further extend activities in support of national human rights institutions, including through

increased support for the work of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights

Institutions and its regional networks, and invites Governments to contribute additional

voluntary funds to that end;

13. Also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to convene, in close

coordination with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, on the

margins of the 2019 annual meeting of the Global Alliance, an intersessional, half-day

consultation, open to all States, national human rights institutions, civil society

organizations and other relevant stakeholders, with the objective of exchanging the

experiences and practices of national human rights institutions in working to support the

establishment and maintenance of inclusive societies and the implementation of the 2030

Agenda, and further requests the Office of the High Commissioner to submit to the Human

Rights Council, at its forty-first session, a summary report on the consultation;

14. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Human Rights Council, at its

forty-fifth session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution that includes

examples of best practices among national human rights institutions, and a report on the

activities of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in accrediting

national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles.

41st meeting

28 September 2018

[Adopted without a vote.]