The Laws of Armed Conflicts: A Collection of Conventions, Resolutions, and Other Documents

By Dietrich Schindler; Jiri Toman | Go to book overview

No. 95
DECLARATION OF MINIMUM HUMANITARIAN
STANDARDS

Adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights, Abo Akademi University, in Turku/Abo, Finland, on 30 November-2 December 1990

INTRODUCTORY NOTE: In situations of internal violence humanitarian principles and human rights are often violated. It is to be noted in this respect that conventions on humanitarian law do not apply in situations falling short of an armed conflict, and that provisions on human rights may be derogated from in time of public emergency unless derogation is expressly prohibited. It is therefore possible that neither humanitarian law nor human rights law is formally applicable. In order to reinforce the protection of persons in such situations, two experts drafted new texts. Theodor Meron proposed a draft declaration on internal strife (IRRC 1988, No. 262, pp. 66–76), Hans-Peter Gasser a code of conduct for internal disturbances and tensions (IRRC 1988, No. 262, pp. 38-58). Based on these drafts and other preparatory texts, an expert meeting, convened by the Abo Akademi University in Turku/Abo, Finland, adopted the Declaration reproduced below as a model to be taken into consideration by the United Nations and other international organizations. Its provisions are designed to be applied in all situations. The UN Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in 1994, decided to transmit the text of the Declaration to the Commission on Human Rights for further elaboration and eventual adoption. In 1995 and subsequent years, the Commission on Human Rights invited governments and interested organizations to provide comments on the Declaration, but no result has so far been achieved. In the United Nations, the topic has been given the title “Fundamental Standards of Humanity”.

AUTHENTIC TEXT: English. The text below is reproduced from the UN document E7CN.4/Sub. 2/ 199/ 55 of 12 August 1991.

TEXT PUBLISHED IN: IRRC, May-June 1991, No. 282, pp. 330–336 (Engl.); RICR, mai-juin 1991, No. 789, pp. 350–356 (French); RICR (Span.), mayojunio de 1991, No. 105, pp. 353–359 (Span.); UN Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1991/55 (Arabic, Chinese, Engl., Russ. Span.); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 1265–1269 (French).

Recalling the reaffirmation by the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of faith in the dignity and worth of the human person;

Considering that situations of internal violence, disturbances, tensions and public emergency continue to cause serious instability and great suffering in all parts of the world;

-1199-

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