Promoting international cooperation in human rights

Close cooperation between the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Governments, the United Nations agencies and programmes, other international organizations, national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights and non-governmental organizations is an important instrument for strengthening national protection of human rights and building support for the UN human rights programme in general.
A key element in the High Commissioner's mandate as set out by the General Assembly is the responsibility of engaging in a dialogue with all governments with a view to securing respect for all human rights. In the framework of his missions, the High Commissioner has urged states to ratify the human rights treaties they have not so far ratified and discussed strengthening national implementation of human rights through the preparation of national plans of action, the establishment of national institutions such as human rights commissions or an ombudsman, and the promotion of human rights education. He has stressed the need to promote and protect cultural, economic and social rights, as well as the right to development, and to consider the impact of various policies on those rights, especially with regard to the most vulnerable groups in society. The High Commissioner has raised issues relating to the promotion of the rights of women; the status of minorities and the status of non-citizens; the legal status of refugees and asylum seekers; the protection of the rights of children; and the conformity of national legislation with international standards. He has also paid attention to the need for strengthening international cooperation on human rights, and for support for the UN human rights programme.

A permanent dialogue has been maintained with all the UN bodies dealing with human rights, including the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and the various working groups they have established, as well as the treaty monitoring bodies. Cooperation has been developed with intergovernmental and national development agencies, with a view to integrating a human rights dimension into their development programmes.

Strengthening cooperation with all regional organizations dealing with human rights is an important objective. The tripartite meeting of the Council of Europe, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and Geneva-based UN programmes, held on 1 September 1994 and attended by the High Commissioner, dealt [inter alia] with these issues. Working contacts on various issues have been developed.

The High Commissioner has also initiated a dialogue with states and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in order to develop or establish regional arrangements in the field of human rights. In the framework of the Third Asia-Pacific Workshop on Human Rights Issues (July 1994, Republic of Korea) he discussed questions related to setting up a regional or subregional human rights arrangement in Asia.

National institutions and non-governmental organizations are natural partners of the High Commissioner. Meetings and consultations with such institutions and organizations have become an important component of his country missions. The High Commissioner will continue determined action aimed at promoting the universal ratification of human rights instruments, guided by the call of the World Conference for the universal ratification of the [Convention on the Rights of the Child by the end of 1995], and of the [Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women by the year 2000]. In cooperation with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) resident coordinators, the Secretary-General's letter to governments encouraging ratification of international instruments will be followed up.

Communication Promotion
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies