Human Rights Council Fortieth session

25 February–22 March 2019 Agenda item 3

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 21 March 2019

40/9. 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 that, by adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Member States have pledged to leave no one behind in the implementation of the

Sustainable Development Goals, including, 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,

Acknowledging also that human rights, democracy and the rule of law create an

environment in which countries can promote development, protect individuals from

discrimination and ensure equal access to justice for all by involving Governments,

parliaments, the United Nations system and other international organizations, local

authorities, national human rights institutions, indigenous peoples, persons belonging to

minorities, human rights defenders, civil society, business and the private sector, the

scientific and academic communities, as well as all other interested stakeholders,

Recalling 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, 28/14 of 26 March 2015 and 34/41

of 24 March 2017, in which the Council established the Forum on Human Rights,

Democracy and the Rule of Law and decided on the themes of its first two sessions,

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,

Convinced that the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, the integrity of

the judicial system and an independent legal profession are essential prerequisites for the

protection of human rights, the rule of law, good governance and democracy and for

United Nations A/HRC/RES/40/9

ensuring that there is no discrimination in the administration of justice, and should therefore

be respected in all circumstances,

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, including

human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, to the promotion of human rights,

democracy and the rule of law, and to ensure a safe and enabling environment for their

work, both online and offline,

Recognizing the value of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of

Law 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, 1 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,

1. Notes the completion, in November 2018, of the second session of the Forum

on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, and commends the engaged

participation of stakeholders, including representatives of Parliaments, who emphasized the

role of Parliaments as key actors in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule

of law;

2. Takes note of the report of the Chairperson on the work of the second session

of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law,2 and invites States and

other stakeholders to consider and implement the relevant recommendations contained


3. Decides that the theme of the third session of the Forum, to be held in 2020,

will be “Equal access to justice for all: a necessary element of democracy, rule of law and

human rights protection”;

4. Also decides that participation in the third session of the Forum will be in

accordance with the modalities set out by the Human Rights Council in its resolutions

28/14 and 34/41;

1 A/72/268.

2 A/HRC/40/65.

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

the broadest possible and most equitable participation in the Forum, 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 continue to provide the Forum, at its third session, with all the

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

United Nations.

52nd meeting

21 March 2019

[Adopted without a vote.]