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Human Rights Committee discuses follow up to concluding observations

Human Rights Committee 

22 October 2012

The Human Rights Committee this morning heard from Christine Chanet, Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Concluding Observations, who presented her report on the follow-up to concluding observations issued by the Committee to the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Poland, Uzbekistan, Slovakia, Mongolia and Kuwait.  The Committee also took up its methods of work in relation to the treaty body strengthening process.

In July 2006, the Committee issued its concluding recommendations to the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo, which concerned outstanding cases of disappearances and abductions and the access to information on the fate of victims for relatives as well as the sustainable return of displaced persons, particularly minorities.

The concluding observations to Azerbaijan of July 2009 concerned extradition, conduct of law enforcement officials, remedies to victims, legal reform and protection of media workers from threats and intimidation. 

For Poland, which was reviewed in October 2010, the key problems included domestic violence, abortion and the conditions, length of detention and deportation for foreigners in transit centres.

In its concluding observations to Uzbekistan from March 2010, the Committee recommended an independent investigation and the prosecution of those responsible for the killings of persons in the Andijon events; an independent investigation of alleged acts of torture and strengthening measures to put an end to torture; and to ensure that the legislation governing judicial control of detention (habeas corpus) was fully applied throughout the country.

In March 2011 the Committee encouraged Slovakia to adopt a law to provide a remedy to persons who alleged an infringement of their rights arising from the incompatibility of national laws with international treaties; step up efforts to combat racist acts; and put an end to the forced sterilization of Roma women. 

In March 2011, the Committee requested that Mongolia ensured independence and allocation of adequate resources to its national human rights institution; investigate all allegations of human rights violations committed during the state of emergency of July 2008; and reform the judiciary. 

In October 2011 the Committee recommended to Kuwait the abandoning of the sponsorship system for migrant domestic workers and enacting a framework to protect their rights; the adoption of legislation to ensure that anyone arrested or detained on criminal charges was brought before the judge within 48 hours; and the revision of laws to fully guarantee freedoms of expression and opinion.

The Committee also discussed its working methods in relation to the ongoing intergovernmental process with regard to the treaty body strengthening process and heard from Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Treaty Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said that the process was full of challenges and opportunities and that the calm in the process at the moment offered an opportunity to reflect and discuss.  The issues currently discussed included resources, the need for treaty bodies to do less, and the capacity of some States to deal with their reporting and other requirements arising from their human rights obligations.  There was space for greater involvement of treaty bodies, which could encourage the idea of the “implementation chart”. 

Mr. Salama also appraised the Committee on the cuts in extra-budgetary resources and the measures currently undertaken by the High Commissioner to fundraise and tap into new areas of funding.  The role of the Chairpersons meeting was fundamental as they had a spearhead role and should be empowered to lead the treaty bodies system; the new model for those meetings needed to be adopted to ensure that resources for them were available for the next two years.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts noted that there was no proof that there was indeed a decrease in funding for human rights over the past 30 years and this might be partly responsible for the problem of lack of resources felt today.  Experts asked about the letter by Russia and what were the points of concern therein; how the Committee could help in the harmonization process; and targets for fundraising set by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
 
The Committee will resume its work in public at 3 p.m. today to review the second periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CCPR/C/BIH/2).

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For use of the information media; not an official record