1211 GENEVA 19


Resolution adopted without a vote by the 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Beijing, 20 September 1996)

The 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Emphasizing the responsibility of all nations, in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, to promote and encourage respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religious belief or social position,

Bearing in mind the aim of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international human rights instruments, namely to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms - civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,

Noting with satisfaction that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action reiterate that the right to development is a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of human rights,

Reaffirming that efforts to promote and protect human rights should be consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and international law,

Underlining that the current world economic order is still unjust, and therefore hinders the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and adversely affects women and children in particular,

Expressing deep concern about the deterioration of living conditions in developing countries which deprives their inhabitants of full enjoyment of their human rights and, in particular, about the harmful effects of economic hardship and a heavy foreign debt burden on the developing countries,

Recalling that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action emphasize that the human rights of women and children are an indispensable and inalienable part of universal human rights,


  • The Declaration and Plan of Action on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children adopted at the World Summit for Children which stress special protection for children,
  • The commitments, especially concerning full respect for all human rights, fundamental freedoms and non-discrimination, set out in the Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen in March 1995,

Recalling further the successful work of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing from 4 to 15 September 1995, as well as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Conference,

Convinced that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will contribute to eliminating discrimination against women and raising the social status of women in the world, and considering that all governments, UN bodies, parliaments of all nations, non-governmental organizations, public and private organizations should give effect to them,

Recognizing that the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are important international human rights instruments for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children,

Conscious that while some countries have made tangible efforts to attain equality between men and women and achieved noticeable results, others have failed to make adequate efforts, with the result that inequality between men and women is still common and much remains to be done,

Deeply concerned at the many forms of discrimination and violence against women and children resulting from poor social and economic conditions, natural disasters, armed conflict, economic and sexual exploitation, terrorism and drug trafficking, illiteracy, hunger, intolerance and disability in many parts of the world, requiring nations and the international community to take immediate and effective remedial measures consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,

Aware that the number of economically exploited children has increased substantially over the last five years and that their working conditions have seriously deteriorated, resulting in greater physical, emotional and mental suffering,

Conscious that the causes of child labour are primarily rooted in poverty created by social and economic inequality as well as in insufficient educational facilities,

Recognizing that people with disabilities, in particular children, face additional barriers to the equal enjoyment of human rights,

Reaffirming the principle set out in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action that efforts to solve the problems concerning children, in particular the girl child, should give priority to non-discrimination and the best interests of children, and take account of the opinions of children,

Welcoming the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women which emphasizes that violence against women constitutes infringement upon, hindrance to and denial of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women,

Noting with concern that there are many political prisoners and displaced persons as a result of terrorism and armed conflict in the world and that they include women and children,

Recalling the resolution on sexual violence against women adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights on 21 August 1996 in Geneva,

Drawing attention in particular to the following texts adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Conferences:

  • Resolution on the protection of the rights of children (Budapest, March 1989);
  • Resolution on policies to put an end to violence against children and women (Pyongyang, May 1991);
  • Plan of Action to correct present imbalances in the participation of men and women in political life (Paris, March 1994);
  • Resolution on parliamentary action for women's access to and participation in decision-making structures aimed at achieving true equality for women (Madrid, April 1995);
  • Resolution on strategies for effective implementation of national and international commitments adopted at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen (Bucharest, October 1995),

1. Calls on all governments to intensify their efforts to remove obstacles to the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, to strengthen international co-operation, to promote mutual understanding through dialogue and to promote and protect human rights on the basis of equality and mutual respect;

2. Also calls on all States to establish or, where they already exist, to strengthen national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights and to ensure that these institutions are independent of government, have a reliable source of financing, are pluralistic and represent those in society involved in the promotion and protection of human rights, are empowered to comment on the human rights performance of the government and are active in human rights education;

3. Further calls on all governments and UN bodies to strengthen their co-operation, consider the best ways and means of implementing the Declaration on the Right to Development, foster progress in the attainment of this right and pay special attention to the condition of women and children;

4. Urges the governments of the industrialized countries to end cuts in official development assistance and instead to aim at the target set by the United Nations (from 0.7 percent to 1 percent of GNP), in view of the fact that poverty is often the cause of the difficult human rights situation of women and children;

5. Calls on all countries, UN bodies, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to take appropriate action to reevaluate their policies, readjust the current international economic order and establish fair and just relations between all countries of the world;

6. Emphasizes the need for creditor countries to take effective measures to cancel or reduce the debt burden of developing countries and eventually solve their debt problems;

7. Urges all governments to promote the protection of the human rights of women and girls by taking effective measures to implement fully the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (September 1995), and all parliaments to follow up on the commitment they undertook in the Beijing Parliamentary Declaration to implement the recommendations of the Beijing Conference;

8. Appeals to countries which have not yet done so to accede to or ratify as soon as possible the UN Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and urges the States parties to these instruments to take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to implement the above Conventions effectively;

9. Urges all countries to formulate and implement their plans of action according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Declaration and Plan of Action on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children so as to protect and promote the rights of the child by strengthening international co-operation, giving priority, inter alia, to reducing infant mortality, child malnutrition and the rate of illiteracy, providing children with safe and clean drinking water, health care and sanitation, and basic education, and solving the problems of children who live in absolute poverty;

10. Calls on the parliaments and governments of the countries concerned and the international community to take emergency measures to protect the rights of the child and particularly those of girls, abandoned children, street children, children who are victims of economic and sexual exploitation, including child pornography, child prostitution or trafficking in human organs, trafficking in children for purposes of adoption, children suffering from diseases including AIDS, refugee and displaced children, detained children, children suffering owing to armed conflict, famine, drought or harm caused by other emergency situations;

11. Strongly condemns the conscription and recruitment of children in armed forces or armed groups (especially when these are forced), as a violation of fundamental human rights requiring the punishment of those responsible for such heinous acts;

12. Recommends that parliaments and governments adopt and implement a programme setting out standards for the protection of women and children living in zones of national or international conflicts, of which they are the main victims, as has been proven on many occasions;

13. Appeals to all governments to use more effective measures, such as targeted education programmes and the provisions of criminal law, as well as police co-operation and co-operation with the media, tour operating companies and Internet and other network operators etc., to ensure that child prostitution and child pornography are consistently condemned and eliminated by society on a global scale;

14. Commends the holding of the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Stockholm, 27-31 August 1996), and calls on parliaments and governments to take action to support the Declaration and Agenda for Action by enacting legislation to implement their recommendations;

15. Calls on national parliaments, governments and the international community to initiate an open in-depth debate with a view to the adoption of measures that will tackle the root causes of child labour, inter alia by means of specific strategies and long-term programmes designed to address all causal factors of this complex issue;

16. Urges national parliaments and governments to ensure the provision of compulsory primary education and health care which are accessible to all and relevant to the individual child, paying particular attention to the inclusion of girls and children from marginalized groups;

17. Calls on States to recognize the important and constructive role that non-governmental organizations can play and to support their efforts aimed at enhancing promotion and respect of human rights;

18. Also calls on States where appropriate to provide advisory and technical services, to send on-site missions of experts to States that request them as well as to assist States to find ways and means to implement the rights set out in international legal instruments;

19. Requests the United Nations to consider the implications of trade-related sanctions with a view to addressing their negative impact on women and children;

20. Rejects any coercive or unilateral measures, whether political or legal, applied by one country against another, since such measures ultimately penalize men, women and children who are alien to political controversies and interests and should therefore be regarded as an infringement of human rights;

21. Calls on parliaments and governments worldwide to strongly condemn and combat drug production and trafficking and terrorism, as their destructive action begins with children and through them, affects society as a whole;

22. Also calls on parliaments and governments to introduce programmes of positive action and education to ensure non-discrimination and equal enjoyment of human rights in accordance with standard rules on the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities, in particular women and children;

23. Appeals to all countries to settle disputes and differences peacefully through negotiations, to make concerted efforts to promote economic and social development and to create an environment conducive to the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly by women and children;

24. Strongly condemns sexual violence including in armed conflicts, particularly the use of rape as an instrument of terror, forced prostitution and all other forms of sexual aggression, recommends that all parliaments and governments take emergency action to confront and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls; and recommends that the United Nations further extend the powers of the international tribunals to ensure that States and individuals are held accountable for such crimes;

25. Calls on States to exercise diligence to make sure that violence is not occurring in the home and schools and to stop invoking customs, traditions or religion to avoid their obligation to eliminate violence against women and children;

26. Recommends that all parliaments and governments provide constitutional guarantees, promulgate and implement proper laws to prohibit sexual discrimination against all women and girls of all ages, including at the workplace and in school programmes and textbooks, and ensure that women enjoy rights equal to those of men and fully exercise these rights;

27. Urges governments to end forced sterilization of women and forced abortion, which in all cases constitute a grave violation of the woman's personal integrity and in some cases are also used for suppressing peoples and minorities;

28. Requests all countries to reflect the principle of equality between men and women in their legislation and take effective measures to guarantee the implementation of this principle;

29. Also requests the parliaments of all countries to:

  • Examine their national legislation, including customary law and legal practice regarding, inter alia, the family, civil matters, crime, labour and commercial activities, to ensure that the principles governing international human rights instruments are implemented through national legislation, abolish any existing laws based on sexual discrimination and eliminate sexual discrimination in all areas of society;
  • - Pursue efforts towards the establishment of family-friendly societies in order to promote the rights of members of the family, especially the rights of women and girl children in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 50/142: Follow-up to the International Year of the Family;

30. Urges parliaments and governments to devise comprehensive human rights education programmes, enlisting the assistance of political circles (governments, national and local politicians, administrations) as well as all the players in civil society (families, teachers, students, media, associations), and to ensure that such programmes are implemented as part of the education system and relayed to all areas of social life;

31. Requests all countries to implement education curricula which include programmes for eliminating ignorance of the law and to make use of the media, in order to help women to understand their rights and exercise them through the legal system;

32. Appeals to parliaments and governments to condemn, and to take all possible action to ban, prostitution and pornography and to enact legislation prohibiting their dissemination through the media;

33. Calls on parliaments and governments to develop co-operation and the exchange of experience between women representatives from international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations operating in different fields, in order to promote the rights of women in the family and society;

34. Requests all parliaments and governments to have translated into the native languages of their countries international legislation and other material concerning human rights and especially the equality of the status and human rights of women, and to ensure the most extensive dissemination of this material in order to heighten women's awareness of their rights.

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