25 March 2013
The Human Rights Committee today discussed progress reports by the Special Rapporteurs on follow-up to concluding observations and follow-up to views as well as its annual report.
The follow-up to concluding observations procedure consists of identifying a limited number of recommendations from the concluding observations, which require additional information from a State party, within one year from the consideration of the State party’s report to the Committee. At each session of the Committee, the Follow-up Rapporteur presents an updated follow-up progress report with new information and progress made since the previous session of the Committee.
Christine Chanet, Committee Member and Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, spoke about follow-up with Tanzania, Colombia, Mexico, Belgium, Hungary, Serbia, Togo, Kazakhstan, Norway and Jamaica.
A member of the secretariat said that the Committee wanted to introduce more transparency and clarity in terms of the follow-up and also in order to give the Committee clear statistics on the level of implementation of the recommendations by the States parties; they had therefore introduced five criteria of evaluation. The criteria related to collaboration, whether the States parties responded and whether they responded on time; and also substantive criteria to assess the implementation by the States parties of the recommendations.
Mme. Chanet, concerning the Committee’s 2009 concluding observations on Tanzania, said follow-up was discussed vis-a-vis the Committee’s recommendations on female genital mutilation, corporal punishment in the justice system, in schools and in the home, and imprisonment for debt.
With regard to the Committee’s 2010 concluding observations on Colombia, the situation was complicated because the State and non-governmental organizations had sent back completely conflicting information on investigating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws. Although the State repeated that it covered reparations for victims, this depended on whether there were sufficient resources available. Also, the shortage of lawyers prevented victims from having access to justice, and although there was a truth mechanism, the results were rather meager. The issue of the presumption of competence by military courts was also raised.
As for the Committee’s concluding observations from 2010 on Mexico, Ms. Chanet said issues raised included arbitrary detention and araigo detention, and decriminalization of defamation.
On the Committee’s 2010 concluding observations on Belgium, Ms. Chanet said issues related to use of excessive force by police, and the presence of lawyers for defendants starting the first hours of police custody.
Concerning the 2010 concluding observations on Hungary, Ms. Chanet said follow-up related to recommendations on racism, which was a very serious problem in Hungary, particularly relating to data collection, Roma, asylum seekers and hate crime.
With regard to the situation in Serbia, there were urgent measures needed for very serious issues including mass graves, independence of the judiciary and the situation of Roma.
Ms. Chanet said on the Committee’s concluding observations on Togo, issues related to investigations by the truth and justice mechanism, especially the 2005 violations of human rights, and the issue of torture and ill-treatment in Togo, including deaths in detention.
Concerning the Committee’s concluding observations on Kazakhstan, Ms. Chanet said issues raised included the justice system, and freedom of the press and journalists, and prosecution of journalists.
With regard to Norway, Ms. Chanet said issues related to the recommendation that the Human Rights Institute should be in line with the Paris Principles, and justified the use of force and restraint in mental hospitals.
As for Jamaica, Ms. Chanet said issues related to discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and decriminalization of consensual sex between same sex adults, summary killings and prison overcrowding.
Ms. Chanet said most of the responses by States parties varied between partially satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Concerning the progress report of the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to views, a member of the secretariat said the report dealt with 76 communications dealing with follow-up in the past year from the following 32 States parties: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Mauritius, Nepal, Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Zambia.
The two follow-up reports will be incorporated into the annual report, which was also discussed. The annual report will be adopted at the end of the session, which concludes on 28 March, and will be presented to the General Assembly.
The next public meeting of the Committee will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 26 March to discuss a draft general comment on Article 9 of the Covenant on the right of everyone to liberty and security of person.
For use of the information media; not an official record