[PDHRE logo] People's Decade of Human Rights Education
PDHRE Home
 
 
Hot Topics
Human Rights and Gloabalization

Sign on! Declaration of Human Rights from a gender perspective

Women's Passport to Dignity - a call to participate!

About PDHRE

Current Projects

Sharing Methodology & Learning Materials

Dialogue & Discourse

Get Involved!


Center for Human Rights Education-USA

Related Links


Resolutions of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
 
1998 UCHR Resolution | 1999 UCHR Resolution 

Resolution of 4 September 1998, UN Commission on Human Rights, Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities: The Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; The International Economic Order and the Promotion of Human Rights.

Human rights as the primary objective of trade, investment and financial policy

The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,

Recalling that, as declared in Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone is entitled to a social and economic order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration can be fully realized, and that Article 25(1) enshrines the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights,

Stressing the need to work towards the realization for all people and communities of the rights, including food, housing, work, health and education, enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23) which confirmed that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the first responsibility of Governments, and that the human person is the central subject of development, and the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.166/9) and its recommendation to States of the need to intervene in markets to prevent or counteract market failure, promote stability and long-term investment, ensure fair competition and ethical conduct, and harmonize economic and social development,

Noting with concern the conclusions of the Trade and Development Report1997 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development that since the early 1980s the world economy has been characterized by rising inequality, both between and within countries; that income gaps between North and South have continued to widen; and that the income share of the richest 20% has risen almost everywhere whilst the income shares of both the poorest 20% and the middle class have fallen.

Noting Also the conclusions of the Human Development Report 1997 published by the United Nations Development Programme that although poverty has been dramatically reduced in many parts of the world, a quarter of the world's people remain in severe poverty; that human poverty constitutes a denial of human rights; that unguided globalization had helped to reduce poverty in some of the largest and strongest developing economies but had also produced "a widening gap between winners and losers" among and within countries; and that to create opportunities and not to close them requires better management of globalization, nationally and internationally.

Recalling the analysis of the effects of globalization contained in both the Special Rapporteur's report on the relationship between the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights and income distribution (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/8), and the Special Rapporteur's report on impunity of perpetrators of violations of human rights (economic, social and cultural rights) (E/CN4/Sub.2/1997/8).

Aware of the continuing negotiations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on a Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and of the widespread civil society protests against the MAI based on concerns about its adverse effects on human rights, the environment and sustainable development.

Concerned about the possible human rights implications of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and particularly about the extent to which the Agreement might limit the capacity of States to take proactive steps to ensure the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by all people, and in the process creating benefits for a small privileged minority at the expense of an increasingly disenfranchised majority.

Noting the statement on globalization and its impact on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, made by the Committee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 18th session in May, 1998, in which the Committee declared that the realms of trade, finance and investment are in no way exempt from human rights obligations and principles, and that the international organizations with specific responsibilities in these areas should play a positive and constructive role in relation to human rights, and called in particular for a careful study of the potential impact of the draft Multilateral Agreement on Investment upon enjoyment for economic, social and cultural rights, Convinced of the need to re-emphasize the centrality and primacy of human rights obligations in all areas of development and governance, including international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices.

Convinced of the need to re-emphasize the centrality and primacy of human rights obligations in all areas of development and governance, including international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices,

1. Emphasizes that the realization of the human rights and fundamental freedoms described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international and regional human rights instruments is the first and most fundamental responsibility and objective of States in all areas of development and governance;

2. Urges United Nations agencies, including the IMF and the World Bank, to at all times be conscious of and respect the human rights obligations of the countries with which they work;

3. Urges member States of the OECD to review the draft text of the MAI to ensure that all its provisions are fully consistent with their human rights obligations, and to keep these obligations in mind during any future negotiations on the MAI;

4. Decides to entrust … with the task of preparing, without financial implications, a working paper on ways and means by which the primacy of human rights norms and standards could be better reflected in, and could better inform, international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices, and how the UN human rights bodies and mechanisms could play a central role in this regard;

5. Requests ... to include in this paper an analysis of the text of the MAI, from a human rights perspective, and to consider ways to ensure that future negotiations on the MAI or analogous agreements or measures take place within a human rights framework;

6. Calls for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently develop appropriate expertise to address the human rights implications of international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices;

7. Encourages international, national and local human rights NGOs to develop awareness of international trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices, and capacity to effectively analyze and monitor the human rights impacts of such policies, agreements and practices;

8. Asks the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other treaty bodies as appropriate, to include consideration of the human rights impacts of international and regional trade, investment and financial measures in their State reporting procedures.

Resolution 1999/30, UN Commission on Human Rights, Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities: Trade Liberalisation and Its Impact on Human Rights 

The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,

Reaffirming that, as declared in article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone is entitled to a social and economic order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration can be fully realized,

Stressing that the progressive realization of the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a binding obligation upon States Parties,

Recalling the Declaration on the Right to Development, which recognizes that States have the primary responsibility for the creation of national and international conditions favourable to the realization of the right to development, and a duty to o-operate with each other in ensuring development and eliminating obstacles to development,

Considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other major human rights instruments contain obligations and goals which are fundamental to the development process and to economic policy,

Recalling that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action confirmed that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the first responsibility of Governments and that the human person is the central subject of development, and that the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action confirmed that social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Recalling also its resolutions 1998/18 and 1998/12, and noting Commission on Human Rights resolution 1999/59,

Noting that the negotiations on the draft Multilateral Agreement on Investment have ceased at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development but aware of proposals for provisions similar to those of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment to be incorporated in future agreements of the World Trade Organization and in the review of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund,

Convinced of the necessity of fully integrating human rights principles in the processes of economic policy formulation,

Conscious of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference scheduled to take place in Seattle, United States of America, in November/December 1999,

1. Requests all Governments and economic policy forums to take international human rights obligations and principles fully into account in international  economic policy formulation;

2. Declares that sanctions and negative conditionalities which directly or indirectly affect trade are not appropriate ways of promoting the integration of human rights in international economic policy and practice;

3. Calls upon Governments and international economic policy forums (including the World Trade Organization) to undertake comprehensive and systematic studies, in consultation with United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms and relevant civil society organizations, of the human rights and social impacts of economic liberalization programmes, policies
and laws;

4. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to intensify efforts at dialogue with the World Trade Organization and its member States on the human rights dimensions of trade and investment liberalization, and to take steps to ensure that human rights principles and obligations are fully integrated in future negotiations in the World Trade Organization;

5. Requests the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to include in its programme of work, especially in the preparation for the Tenth Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on “Development strategies in an increasingly interdependent world: applying the lessons of the past to make globalization an effective instrument for the development of all countries and all people”, a specific focus on ways and means to incorporate human rights principles in the process of international trade policy formulation;

6. Encourages the concerned civil society organizations to promote with their respective Governments the need for  economic policy processes to fully incorporate and respect existing human rights obligations, and to continue to monitor and publicize the effects of economic policy that fail to take such obligations into account.


For more information, please contact:
The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE)
526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025 
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325; e-mail: pdhre@igc.org