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FOCUS September 1999 Volume 17

1999 UN Workshop on Human Rights in Asia-Pacific

Conclusions of the Seventh Workshop on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Asian and Pacific Region

Representatives of Governments of the Asian and Pacific region attending the New Delhi workshop held from 16-18 February 1999,

Recalling the important contributions made by previous workshops and in particular the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation agreed to at the Tehran workshop, held from 28 February to 2 March 1998,

Reaffirming the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights - civil, cultural, economic, political, social - and the right to development,

Recognizing that democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing,

Committed to enhancing regional cooperation to promote universal respect for, and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Mindful of the vastness of and diversities within the Asian and Pacific region,

Welcoming the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the New Delhi workshop,

Expressing appreciation for the inspiring addresses of H.E. Mr. Jaswant Singh, Minister of External Affairs, and Ms. Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the opening session of the workshop,

Having reviewed the progress achieved in implementing the regional technical cooperation programme agreed upon in Tehran,

Welcoming the in-depth discussions held during the workshop on the effective realization of the right to development and economic, social and cultural rights and expressing appreciation for the paper presented by Mr. A. Sengupta, the independent expert on the right to development of the Commission on Human Rights,

Reiterate the importance of an inclusive, step-by-step, practical and "building-blocks" approach towards enhancing regional cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with the pace and priorities to be set by the Governments of the region by consensus;

Reaffirm that developing and strengthening national capacities for the promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with national conditions provides the strongest foundation for effective and enduring regional cooperation in the field of human rights;

Call for the mainstreaming and effective coordination of technical cooperation activities in all areas of human rights as an essential element of promotional approaches that build capacity and ensure effective solutions;

Affirm that the primary goal of the process under way is the development of regional cooperation through the building of national capacities and an exchange of experiences within the region, particularly on the basis of the regional technical cooperation programme developed and implemented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the support of the international community through the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights;

Reaffirm that the central decision-making role in determining the content of the regional technical cooperation programme, evaluating the progress achieved and determining actions to be taken under the programme in the future will continue to be played by the annual intergovernmental workshop with the assistance of the open-ended team in Geneva comprising Geneva-based representatives of the Governments of the Asian-Pacific region;

Recognize that the continuing process of regional cooperation and its practical results are essential to discussions on possible regional arrangements;

Welcome the decision of the High Commissioner to allocate US$ 730,000 for the implementation of the regional projects foreseen under the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation for the Asian and Pacific Region adopted in Tehran;

Take note of the decision made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to make available, at the request of Member States, the services of a regional human rights adviser as a regional project officer in connection with the implementation of technical cooperation in the Asian-Pacific region in accordance with the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation;

Welcome the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the activities carried out since Tehran in the four areas of the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation;

Welcome the indication provided by the Governments of Thailand and Japan that they would host a regional inter-sessional workshop each in one of the four areas;

Call upon the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a Bulletin Board on the regional technical cooperation activities under the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation;

Decide that the annual regional workshop should take up for in-depth discussion a specific theme, pertaining to one of the four areas identified under the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation, to be agreed upon by the open-ended team in Geneva;

Call upon the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to develop and implement the proposals made in New Delhi in the four areas in the Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation and to report periodically to the open-ended team in Geneva as well as to the next workshop on the progress achieved.


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