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Text of 104 EX/Decision 3.3

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104 EX/3.3 - Study of the procedures which should be followed in the examination of cases and questions which might be submitted to UNESCO concerning the exercise of human rights in the spheres of its competence, in order to make its action more effective: Report of the Working Party of the Executive Board (104 EX/3)

The Executive Board,

1. Mindful that the competence and role of UNESCO in the field of human rights derive primarily from Article I.1 of the Constitution of UNESCO, which states: 'The purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations', and from the Charter of the United Nations,

2. Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international covenants on human rights and the various conventions and recommendations adopted by UNESCO,

3. Recalling 19 C/Resolution 6.113 concerning UNESCO's responsibilities in the field of human rights,

4. Recalling also 19 C/Resolution 12.1: 'UNESCO's contribution to peace and its tasks with respect to the promotion of human rights and the elimination of colonialism and racialism - long-term programme of measures whereby UNESCO can contribute to the strengthening of peace'; and in particular paragraph 10 of the resolution, which invites the Executive Board and the Director-General:

(a) to examine with particular attention the general situation with regard to respect for human rights throughout the world in UNESCO's fields of competence,

(b) to study the procedures which should be followed in the examination of cases and questions which might be submitted to UNESCO concerning the exercise of human rights in the spheres to which its competence extends, in order to make its action more effective,

(c) to continue to establish, with a view to the implementation of subparagraphs (a) and (b), close co-operation and co-ordination with the relevant United Nations organs so as to take advantage of their work and the lessons that can be learned from them in this field',

5. Having considered the report of a working group of the Board set up by virtue of 102 EX/Decision 5.6.2 to carry out an in-depth study of document 102 EX/19, the analytical summary of discussions that took place at the 102nd session of the Board, and additional written comments provided by members of the Board,

6. Mindful of Article I.3 of the Constitution of UNESCO, which states: 'With a view to preserving the independence, integrity and fruitful diversity of the cultures and educational systems of the States members of the Organization, the Organization is prohibited from intervening in matters which are essentially within their domestic jurisdiction',

7. Considering that, in matters concerning human rights within its fields of competence, UNESCO, basing its efforts on moral considerations and its specific competence, should act in a spirit of international co-operation, conciliation and mutual understanding, and recalling that UNESCO should not play the role of an international judicial body,

8. Recognizing the important role of the Director-General, in:

(a) seeking continually to strengthen the action of UNESCO in the promotion of human rights, both through the settlement of cases and the elimination of massive, systematic or flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and

(b) initiating consultations, in conditions of mutual respect, confidence and confidentiality, to help reach solutions to particular problems concerning human rights,

9. Invites the Director-General to pursue this role;

10. Considering that, in the exercise of its competence in the field of human rights, UNESCO is called upon to examine:

(a) cases concerning violations of human rights which are individual and specific,

(b) questions of massive, systematic or flagrant violations of human rights which result either from a policy contrary to human rights applied de jure or de facto by a State or from an accumulation of individual cases forming a consistent pattern,

11. Considering the terms of reference of the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations in Education,

12. Taking into account the tasks already entrusted to the Committee concerning human rights matters within the Organization's fields of competence,

13. Decides that the Committee will henceforth be designated 'the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations';

14. Decides that the Committee will continue to carry out its functions with respect to conventions and recommendations and will consider communications received by the Organization concerning cases and questions of violations of human rights within UNESCO's fields of competence in accordance with the following conditions and procedures:

Conditions:

(a) Communications shall be deemed admissible if they meet the following conditions:

(i) the communication must not be anonymous;

(ii) the communication must originate from a person or a group of persons who, it can be reasonably presumed, are victims of an alleged violation of any of the human rights referred to in paragraph (iii) below. It may also originate from any person, group of persons or organization having reliable knowledge of those violations;

(iii) the communication must concern violations of human rights falling within UNESCO's competence in the fields of education, science, culture and information and must not be motivated exclusively by other considerations;

(iv) the communication must be compatible with the principles of the Organization, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international covenants on human rights and other international instruments in the field of human rights;

(v) the communication must not be manifestly ill-founded and must appear to contain relevant evidence;

(vi) the communication must be neither offensive nor an abuse of the right to submit communications. However, such a communication may be considered if it meets all other criteria or admissibility, after the exclusion of the offensive or abusive parts;

(vii) the communication must not be based exclusively on information disseminated through the mass media;

(viii) the communication must be submitted within a reasonable time-limit following the facts which constitute its subject-matter or within a reasonable time-limit after the facts have become known;

(ix) the communication must indicate whether an attempt has been made to exhaust available domestic remedies with regard to the facts which constitute the subject-matter of the communication and the result of such an attempt, if any;

(x) communications relating to matters already settled by the States concerned in accordance with the human rights principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international covenants on human rights shall not be considered;

Procedures :

(b) The Director-General shall:

(i) acknowledge receipt of communications and inform the authors thereof of the above-mentioned conditions governing admissibility;

(ii) ascertain that the author of the communication has no objection to his communication, after having been communicated to the government concerned, being brought to the notice of the Committee and to his name being divulged;

(iii) upon receipt of an affirmative answer from the author of the communication, transmit the communication to the government concerned, informing it that the communication will be brought to the notice of the Committee, together with any reply the government may wish to make;

(iv) transmit the communication to the Committee, together with the reply, if any, of the government concerned and additional relevant information from the author, taking into account the need to proceed without undue delay;

(c) the Committee shall examine in private session the communications transmitted to it by the Director-General;

(d) the Committee shall decide on the admissibility of communications in accordance with the above-mentioned conditions;

(e) representatives of the governments concerned may attend meetings of the Committee in order to provide additional information or to answer questions from members of the Committee on either admissibility or the merits of the communication;

(f) the Committee may avail itself of the relevant information at the disposal of the Director-General;

(g) in consideration of a communication, the Committee may, in exceptional circumstances, request the Executive Board to authorize it under Rule 29* of the Rules of Procedure to take appropriate action;

(h) the Committee may keep a communication submitted to it on its agenda while seeking additional information it may consider necessary for the disposition of the matter;

(i) the Director-General shall notify the author of the communication and the government concerned of the Committee's decision on the admissibility of the communication;

(j) the Committee shall dismiss any communication which, having been found admissible, does not, upon examination of the merits, appear to warrant further action. The author of the communication and the government concerned shall be notified accordingly;

(k) communications which warrant further consideration shall be acted upon by the Committee with a view to helping to bring about a friendly solution designed to advance the promotion of the human rights falling within UNESCO's fields of competence;

15. Decides further that the Committee shall submit confidential reports to the Executive Board at each session on the carrying out of its mandate under the present decision. These reports shall contain appropriate information arising from its examination of the communications which the Committee considers it useful to bring to the notice of the Executive Board. The reports shall also contain recommendations which the Committee may wish to make either generally or regarding the disposition of a communication under consideration;

16. Decides to consider confidential reports of the Committee in private session and to take further action as necessary in accordance with Rule 28** of the Rules of Procedure;

17. Decides also that communications transmitted to it by the Committee which testify to the existence of a question shall be dealt with in accordance with paragraph 18 below;

18. Considers that questions of massive, systematic or flagrant violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms - including, for example, those perpetrated as a result of policies of aggression, interference in the internal affairs of States, occupation of foreign territory and implementation of a policy of colonialism, genocide, apartheid, racialism, or national and social oppression - falling within UNESCO's fields of competence should be considered by the Executive Board and the General Conference in public meetings;

19. Decides to consider at its 105th session the report to be made by the Executive Board and the Director-General to the General Conference, at its twentieth session, on the implementation of Part II of 19 C/Resolution 12.1.


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* Currently Article 30
** Currently Article 29

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