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Statements Commission on Human Rights

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16 April 1999

Statement by the Chairperson on behalf of the
Commission on Human Rights (55th session)
Geneva, 22 March - 30 April 1999
Agenda item 3
Human rights in Central America in the context of reconstruction
and rehabilitation after Hurricane Mitch

“The Commission on Human Rights acknowledges the significant progress achieved in the promotion and protection of human rights by the Central American region countries during the present decade, transforming it into a region of peace and democracy through dialogue, cooperation and political will.
“The Commission deeply regrets the loss of human lives as well as the loss of harvests, homes and basic infrastructure caused by Hurricane Mitch at the end of 1998. The hurricane is considered by the United Nations to be the worst natural disaster in the Americas in the whole of the twentieth century. In light of the magnitude of this catastrophe, the Commission expresses its solidarity with the entire Central American region, in particular Honduras and Nicaragua, which were the most affected countries, and El Salvador and Guatemala, which suffered significant damage. In the subregional context, it is important to note the serious losses suffered by the Dominican Republic as a result of Hurrican Georges in September of 1998.
“The Commission recognizes and commends the immediate and sustained response from Governments, non-governmental organizations and private voluntary organizations in providing relief during the emergency phase, as well as continued assistance provided up until now in the difficult task of reconstruction.
“Taking into account the close relationship between human rights and sustainable development, the Commission notes the impact of Hurricane Mitch on the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights.
“The Commission recognizes that the impact of Hurricane Mitch negatively affects the development of the Central American region in all its forms, and it calls for a continuing joint and extraordinary effort by the countries of the region to preserve the progress achieved thus far and to accelerate their social and economic development.
“The Commission also recognizes that during the reconstruction and transformation phase, the countries of the region have a unique opportunity to strengthen the promotion and protection of all human rights, especially by providing improved social services, constructing better basic infrastructure, fortifying their democratic and judicial institutions, among others.
“The Commission is confident that the Central American democracies will be able to overcome the challenges posed by the effects of Hurricane Mitch and encourages the continued support of the international community in the reconstruction and transformation efforts, and expresses once again its solidarity with the countries and peoples of Central America.”
16 April 1999