Samarkand Declaration



Samarkand Declaration

of the Asian Forum on Human Rights

"Outcomes of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Challenges and Reality"


Samarkand, 22-23 November 2018


We, participants of the Asian Forum for Human Rights,


Noting that, 2018 is the year of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the 25thanniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Action Program on Human Rights, and that all human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated,

Affirming our obligations to promote universal respect, observance and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all under the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments,

Reaffirming that States have the primary responsibility for the respect, promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons and the obligation to follow them,

Recalling that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development based on international human rights standards seeks not to leave anyone behind and aims at ensuring equality and non-discrimination, putting people at the center of the development process, thus seeks to realize human rights of all.

Considering that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are complex and indivisible, ensure the balance of all three - economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development and aimed at realizing the human rights of all people, achieving gender equality

Having considered that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on governments, parliaments and other interested parties to draft and adopt laws and programs that meet human needs, set aside isolationist strategies, protect human rights and leave no one behind,

Welcoming the efforts of the Governments of the Asian region to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and national SDGs,

Recognizing the important role of the countries of the Asian region in ensuring peace, stability and sustainable development in the region, as well as in promoting regional and international cooperation,

Taking into account the unique cultural and civilizational potential of the Asian region, which had a decisive influence on the development of many countries and entire regions,

Considering current challenges and threats the countries of the Asian region have been being faced, and the fact that, unlike other regions, there is no regional system for the protection of human rights in Asia,

Taking into account, that NMRFs (national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up) and NHRIs (national human rights institutions) are two constituent elements of the national human rights protection system, that complement each other,


Following the discussions, hereby agreed on the following proposals and statements:


  1. Within the framework of national programs aimed at the achievement of the 17 SDGs states shall seek to ensure the full compliance with all their international obligations on human rights, focusing on the principles of equality and non-discrimination based on gender, race, religious, cultural, ethnic origin, migration status or on any other ground. It is of paramount importance to take into account the gender aspects in achievement of SDGs and fulfillment of human rights.
  2. States shall establish effective national mechanisms for monitoring and tracking progress on the implementation of the SDGs, as they establish similar processes to follow up on the recommendations of human rights mechanisms and ensure the implementation of quantitative and qualitative indicators on human rights in collecting, analyzing information and drafting reports on the implementation of the SDGs. States commit to building partnerships to share good practice and enhance national and regional capacities to collect, track and report on SDG implementation and human rights using quality data and statistics.
  3. States shall involve all stakeholders in the design and monitoring process with the aim of ensuring a transparent, inclusive and accountable national process for the implementation of the SDGs and other related commitments, including all three branches of the government - legislative, judicial and executive, also statistical authorities, as well as NMRFs, NHRIs and civil society.
  4. It is encouraged to ensure closer cooperation with the parliaments at the national level and inter-parliamentary organisations in order to increase the capacity of parliaments, in particular with regard to allocating budget funds for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and strengthening the rule of law and promoting the  harmonization of national legislation with international human rights obligations.
  5. National parliaments have important functions to promote development processes, implement national plans and strategies, and ensure greater transparency and accountability at both national and global levels, also through the participation of parliamentarians in the high-level political forum on sustainable development, capacity building and holding regular parliamentary events dedicated to the work of parliaments in the institutionalization of sustainable development goals, including the participation of civil society institutions.
  6. It is recommended for states to establish partnerships and ensure cooperation between government bodies, courts, national human rights institutions, civil society and other stakeholders in the promotion, protection and realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including through advisory bodies, coordinators in bodies governance and national human rights reporting and follow-up mechanisms, or through measures aimed at ensuring observance and protection of human rights and freedoms.
  7. States shall strengthen the role of NHRIs established and functioning in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles), including the development of inter-agency cooperation in the protection of human rights and freedoms on the basis of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit.
  8. States shall organize effective consultations with local right-holders while collecting information on the process of implementing the SDGs, with the participation of the representatives of civil society, including the youth, NMRFs, NHRIs, and the academia.
  9. States shall involve NMRFs, NHRIs and independent experts from civil society in inter - agency coordination mechanisms responsible for developing national development strategies and monitoring the implementation of the SDGs. NHRIs can facilitate access to remedies.
  10. States shall strive to ensure respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status and in line with the SDGs.
  11. The executive power plays a key role in adopting and implementing SDGs by defining national priorities, assessing the adequate resources to achieve the SDGs, proposing the budget, ensuring data collection to track progress in implementation and ensuring compliance with other national development strategies. National mechanisms for monitoring and tracking progress on SDGs should aim at improving data collection, including statistical and gender-disaggregated data, that will be used for monitoring progress in SDGs implementation as well as implementation of recommendations of the UN human rights mechanisms. States shall encourage creation of partnerships on qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis in order to enhance monitoring and reporting on SDGs.
  12. The administration of justice system, including law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and especially independent judiciary and legal profession (Bar), is essential for the full and non-discriminatory realization of human rights and is an integral element of the processes of democracy and sustainable development in the framework of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this regard, States should pay close attention to improving the accessibility, quality and transparency of the administration of justice, as well as the related legislation in order to bring it into full compliance with international standards on human rights.
  13. NHRIs play a key role in the implementation of the SDGs in strict compliance with human rights standards, by fulfilling the authority assigned to them through international standards, in particular the Paris Principles, the Belgrade Principles and Merida Declaration, including powers to monitor and to draft reports on the overall human rights situation in countries, the consideration of complaints, and the promotion of human rights education and enlightenment through the establishment of cooperation and mutual capacity building and exchange of experience. States should remember that NHRIs functioning in accordance with the Paris Principles are global indicators of achieving SDG 16.
  14. States shall take decisive steps to bring the legislation on NHRIs in compliance with international standards. To get this purpose, states should ensure the establishment of an NHRI according to the constitution or a statutory law, empower the NHRI with functional independence from the executive branch, provide with a broad mandate to promote and protect human rights and equip them with adequate human and financial resources.
  15. NHRIs, being a key element of the national human rights protection system, are called upon to play the role of an important “bridge” in society - linking the parliament, government, various other government agencies, academic and research centers, civil society, international, regional and national systems for the protection of human rights.
  16. NHRIs, within their mandates, should continue their role in upholding and strengthening the rule of law, good governance and the effective administration of justice; fighting discrimination and promoting the protection of minorities and vulnerable groups; facilitating legal and institutional reforms and improving security institutions, such as the police and prison administration, and monitoring places of detention or imprisonment.NHRIs should protect the rights of human rights defenders in line with UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
  17. States shall involve civil society inall decision-making processes, especially when such decisions affect the respect, protection and promotion of human rights, including their systematic participation in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies, plans and programs related to the implementation of the SDGs.
  18. States shall create a favorable environment for the freefunctioning of civil society organizations and independent mass media for an objective and impartial coverage of processes on human rights-based implementation of the SDGs.To this end, states shall align its national laws pertaining to the freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and associations in line with international standards. Civil society institutions are called upon to establish regional and sub-regional platforms, including with focus on concrete categories of human rights.
  19. For education, training and public awareness on human rights and the SDGs, States shall strive to eradicate illiteracy, direct training to the full development of human personality and to the strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. States shall seek to enhance mutual understanding, tolerance and peace within countries and internationally. In this regard, states should include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy, development and social justice in the curricula of all educational institutions of formal and informal education.States shall enhance human rights education covering all strata of the population, including all categories of civil servants, judicial, law enforcement, local self-government officials and civil society representatives.
    States shall include human rights education, including on women’s rights, SDGs and electoral rights, into formal and informal educational programmes.
  20. Considering that the youth is identified as the target group for the fourth stage of the UN World Programme for Human Rights Education, to cooperate with educational institutions, civil society institutions, youth organizations in the field of educationand training on equality, human rights and non-discrimination, and to participate in the development and implementation of national plans of action for human rights education and training.
  21. To determine the ways for establishment of the possible regional mechanisms on human rights protection in Asia, it is recommended to conduct regular consultations and forums with wide participation of all concerned parties, including NMRFs, NHRIs, academia and civil society institutions.

We, the participants of the Asian Forum on Human Rights, emphasize the important role of regional and international intergovernmental organizations, as well as donor states in promoting the implementation of the SDGs at national levels in accordance with international human rights standards. In this regard, we urge international partners to encourage cooperation and the exchange of the best practices among states in the elaboration of national development policies, programs and projects.