19 October 2012
The Human Rights Committee this afternoon discussed its working methods in relation to the upcoming half day General Discussion on Article 9 concerning liberty and security of person, and its relation with national human rights institutions.
Committee Expert Gerald L. Neuman said that the half day General Discussion on Article 9 would be taking take place on the afternoon of 25 October and the Committee had received 20 written submissions on Article 9, together with 12 requests to speak on the subject. The Committee was appraised about the proposed organization and schedule for the public discussion.
Committee Expert Michael O’Flaherty said the draft paper on the relation of the Committee with national human rights institutions had its origins in the March 2012 session of the Committee in which it had decided to adopt a paper of that nature. The draft paper was constructed along the lines of the previous paper on the relationship of the Committee with non-governmental organizations. Most importantly, it collected the previous and ongoing practice of the Committee and did not intend to offer any change in that practice.
In the ensuing discussion on the draft paper, Committee Experts expressed general agreement with the thrust of the paper and suggested that the Rapporteur for the draft paper, Mr. O’Flaherty, collect editorial and other amendments to the text, and come up with a new text which would facilitate its adoption within the next few weeks. One Expert wondered about the current practice in relation of the Committee with national human rights institutions, which was somewhat chaotic, and whether the Committee needed to take some time to re-think the policy and draw best practice. Other Experts said that the document merited a very detailed examination and evaluation because it would become a Committee document and that the Committee must ensure it had an appropriate legal basis, which seemed to be lacking at the moment.
Zonke Zanele Majodina, Committee Chairperson, confirmed that Mr. O’Flaherty had been mandated by the Committee to draft this paper which would contribute to building a stronger relationship with national human rights institutions which was not the case at the moment. The draft paper was supposed to present the existing practice of the Committee.
Since Committee Experts indicated that the draft paper required a more in-depth discussion, it was decided that the Committee would defer taking a decision on it until 29 October.
The next public meeting of the Committee will be on Monday, 22 October at 10 a.m. when it will hear the presentation of a report by the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations and continue the discussion on its methods of work.
For use of the information media; not an official record