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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 Inter-sessional Workshop on National Plans of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 5-7 July 1999:

Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which recommended to States to consider the desirability of drawing up a national action plan identifying steps whereby States would improve the promotion and protection of human rights,

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

Recalling that the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 agreed that the international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis, and that while the significance of the national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic, and cultural systems to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Reaffirming that, in keeping with the Commission on Human Rights resolution 99/69, 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 in the Asian and Pacific region.

Recognizing also 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 Asian and Pacific region by consensus,

Reaffirming the importance of all previous workshops' conclusions, in particular those of Tehran and New Delhi, and guided by step-by-step, building blocks approach and renewing its commitment to the promotion and protection of all human rights, including the right to development, in Asian and Pacific region,

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

hereby;

Commit to developing and strengthening national capacities, in accordance with national conditions, for the promotion and protection of human rights plans of action,

Express appreciation to the Government of Thailand for hosting this workshop on the development of national plans of action for the promotion and protection of human rights and for the statements made by H.E. M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand as well as the Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Justice P.N. Bhagwati,

Commend the discussions held during the Workshop concerning both the substantive and procedural aspects of developing national human right plans of actions and the contributions made to that and by the resource persons,

Acknowledge that while there are commonalities in the goals and objectives of the national plans of actions for the promotion and protection of human rights, ne-vertheless principles and methodologies as well as approaches adopted may, in light of national priorities and circumstances, vary from one country to another,

Affirm that inter-sessional workshops, which enable an exchange of information and experiences, are valuable in enhancing regional cooperation and strengthening national capacities in the field of human rights,

Recognise that the development and implementation of national human rights plans of actions, may significantly advance the promotion and protection of human rights,

Affirm that broad national participation has key role in the development, implementation and evaluation of national human rights plan of action,

Encourage all Governments which have not already done so to consider initiating action to develop a national human rights plan of action, in accordance with their national priorities,

Recognize that the plans of action in specific areas contribute towards the development of a national plan of action for the promotion and protection of human rights,

Take note with appreciation of those countries that are already implementing a national human rights plan of action as well as of those that have undertaken similar initiatives,

Express appreciation for the efforts of those countries that are in the process of developing a national human rights plan of action,

Call upon the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to make available, in a timely manner, technical assistance and advisory services upon request for the purposes of facilitating the elaboration and the implementation of national human rights plans of action,

Formulate strategies and identify key components and priorities for comprehensive national plans of action in the form of a list of possible elements for step-by-step development of national plans of action for the promotion and protection of human rights as attached herewith to be used for reference purposes by those countries that intend to develop such plans,

Take note of the intention of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to develop a handbook in connection with developing, implementing and evaluating national human rights plans of action, taking into account a list of possible elements as contained in the Annex and the discussions during the Bangkok Workshop.


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