Conclusions and Recomendations for the 53rd Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights

March 10-April 18, 1997 Palais de nations, Geneva

IV. Conclusions and recommendations

Since the presence and the action of Franciscans International and the Dominicans at the Commission is a new experience and is in its developmental phase, it is important to draw conclusions and recommendations from the exercise. Dominicans and Franciscans International intervened on  countries and issues which were selected on the basis of the involvement of Brothers and Sisters in the countries or issues. At this juncture it is not possible to bring forward all the human rights issues in which our Brothers and Sisters are involved around the world. We need to establish our credibility and gain the trust of others at the Commission. Our interventions need to be grounded in the work which is done in the field and our information has to be accurate and our recommendations consistent with international human rights standards.

The collaboration between Franciscans International and the Dominicans proved the importance and the benefits of continuing to work together at the Commission. This will continue with the sharing of a small secretariat for our ongoing work in Geneva. We need also to develop closer links with the office of Franciscans International in New York which is involved at the UN in that city.

One of the major components of our work at the Commission is the follow-up to our interventions and action at the Commission. There is a need to follow the issues as they progress through the UN system in New York with Franciscans International. We also need to develop mechanisms for communicating with Dominicans who are involved in human rights issues and to consider inviting individuals to participate in Commission meetings especially when their country situations are being discussed.

As part of the follow-up to our action at the Commission, the Dominican Representative will attend the Session of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities which meets in Geneva during the month of August. This will enable him to raise issues again, to follow their progress and to provide additional reports on various situations. In the same vein, after the 53rd Session, the Dominican Representative spoke to members of the NGO community at the UN Church Centre in New York City to brief them on the Commission and to establish contacts to support our work at the UN in New York. The New York conference was organized jointly by the International Catholic Organizations Information Centre and Franciscans International.

Franciscans International and Dominicans decided to establish a small secretariat in Geneva to ensure follow-up and an ongoing presence assisted by Alessandra Aula who serves as executive secretary. The purpose of the Geneva office is to coordinate the activities of Franciscans International and the Dominicans at the UN in Geneva focusing on the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The major tasks of the executive secretary would be in the areas of maintaining communications with groups and individuals as determined by us, to draft some reports and provide ongoing information; to make presentations on our behalf at committees meetings or other key events in Geneva during the year;  to train and do orientation for friars and others who will be present at the Commission or at other human rights meetings in Geneva.

Oral, Written or Summary: 
Meeting Year: 


The 53rd session of the UN Commission on Human Rights
Meeting Name: 
The 53rd session of the UN Commission on Human Rights