Human Rights Commission: Effects of Irregular Armed Forces, Drug Traffickers, Child Abuse, Protection of Minorities

Article excerpt

The Commission on Human Rights, at its forty-sixth session (29 january9 March, Geneva), covered a wide range of topics, including the consequences of actions by irregular armed forces and drug traffickers, child abuse, the rights of victims of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and the protection of rights of many minorities, including indigenous populations and migrant workers.

It also reviewed specific human rights situations in 14 countries and territories, including reports on initial missions to Iran and Romania by Special Representatives. UN Secretary-General javier Perez de Cuellar was asked to report in 1991 on the results of his ongoing contacts with Cuba regarding the human rights situation there. The 43member body also dealt with alleged human rights violations in southern Africa, the Middle East and other regions. No action was taken on proposed drafts related to China and Iraq. A report on the situation in Myamnar (formerly Burma) was received.

In adopting 96 texts-81 resolutions and 15 decisions the Commission continued

work towards the implementation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other important global instruments dealing with civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

It asked for the convening of a high level world conference on promotion and protection of human rights, and recommended proclamation of an International Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples, possibly in 1993.

Work proceeded on documents to protect the rights of persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities; and persons detained on grounds of mental ill-health. Also considered were texts concerning enforced or involuntary disappearances; unacknowledged detention of persons; the right to a fair trial; traditional practices affecting the health of women and children; the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors and the independence of lawyers.

New Commission Chairman Purificacion V. Quisumbing of the Philippines told its members they had a historic task of forging a 'mighty human rights ideology", as the courageous peoples of the world were doing, reasserting the primacy of their human rights over detractors and violators of those rights.

A confluence of events, she said, had provided a favourable environment for the Commission to engage in genuine and serious dialogue and negotiations to eradicate human rights violations, particularly the mass and flagrant violations of the rights to self determination and development.

The Commission reports its actions to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council. Some new concerns

After expressing deep concern at the adverse effects on the enjoyment of human rights of crimes and atrocities committed in many countries by irregular armed groups, regardless of their origin, and by drug traffickers, the body decided to consider the question of the consequences of acts of violence committed by irregular armed groups and drug traffickers on the enjoyment of human rights" as a matter of high priority in 1991.

All Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups were asked to pay particular attention to the activities of such groups and drug traffickers in their reports; the UN SecretaryGeneral was to collect relevant information and pass it on to the Rapporteurs and Working Groups for consideration.

The Commission decided to appoint for one year a Special Rapporteur to consider matters relating to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, including the problem of adoption of children for commercial purposes.

The Secretary-General was asked to assume an active role in the diffusion of information on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and in its promotion. The Convention was adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1989.

It endorsed the appointment of Luis Varela Quiros by its SubCommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to study problems and causes of discrimination against people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or people suffering from AIDS. …