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Human Rights Committee concludes its one hundredth and ninth session

Human Rights Committee
 ROUNDUP

1 November 2013

Adopts Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Reports of Bolivia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Mozambique and Uruguay
 
The Human Rights Committee this afternoon concluded its one hundredth and ninth session after adopting its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Bolivia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Mozambique and Uruguay on how they are implementing the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on the five reports are available on its website.
 
During the session, the Committee heard, in closed meetings, from United Nations organizations, specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions on the situation in the countries that it will review.  It also discussed its methods of work and heard progress reports from its Rapporteurs on follow-up to views and on follow-up to concluding observations.  The Committee considered a number of individual communications in closed meetings and continued its discussion on a draft General Comment on Article 9 on the right of everyone to liberty and security of person.
         
                At its closing meeting, the Committee held a discussion on methods of work.
 
AHMAD AMIN FATHALLA, Committee Expert and Rapporteur of a report on the role of the Conference of States parties, said the aim of his paper was to compare the role of the Conference of the States parties in the work of the Committee, and in another convention.  He had chosen the Basel Convention, dealing with the environment.  He had made a comparison and would give one example.  In the case of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the States parties’ role was to vote for the Committee experts, who were then totally independent and impartial in their work, keeping their independence and not having political involvement.  In the Basel Convention, it was the Conference of States parties that took all the decisions; everything went through the States parties who took all the decisions.  That was the main difference. 
 
What was wrong with the Committee’s system was that their reports and requests went directly to the General Assembly, which included States which were not party to the Covenant.  It was the General Assembly which dealt with the Committee’s financial budget, and States not parties to the Covenant had a say in the budget and might not be willing to give the Committee all the funds it requested.  The role of the General Assembly was not completely positive, most of the time it did not give the Committee the money it needed.  In the system of the Basel Convention, the States parties could create a special fund to deal with the work load in addition to the regular budget.
 
Mr. Fathalla said that his idea was that the Conference of States parties could further play a positive role, but it should emanate from the recommendations of the Committee, and the States parties should not get involved in the specifics of the work of the Committee.  The Committee could ask States parties to create a voluntary fund to deal with the back log of reports, for example.  He wanted to stress that if they wanted to give a role to States parties, it should be very limited, and should be based on the Committee’s recommendations and needs. 
 
NIGEL RODLEY, Chair of the Committee, in closing the session, said that this had been a particularly busy session, especially for the Committee members as he had been absent for a number of days to present the Committee’s report to the General Assembly.  He hoped that his visit had contributed to the Committee’s request eliciting additional resources for its backlog of work.  The Committee had adopted five concluding observations on the reports of Bolivia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Mozambique and Uruguay and they had been made public yesterday.  The report of the United States, which had been scheduled to be considered at this session, would take place at the next session.  On communications, 22 communications had been taken up, including five that were found to be inadmissible, 13 decisions on merits, and four cases were discontinued.  Lists of issues had been adopted for six States parties.  The Committee had continued its first reading of the draft General Comment on article 9 of the Convention on the right of everyone to liberty and security of person, and would continue the first reading at the next session.  On methods of work, the Committee had discussed the possibility of working in dual chambers to reduce the backlog, and they had discussed the role of the Conference of States parties.  The Committee had had an interesting exchange with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on the issue of reproductive health, and with the Committee against Torture on a joint draft General Comment. 

The Committee’s one hundredth and tenth session will be held from 10 to 28 March 2014, during which it will consider the reports of Chad, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Nepal, Sierra Leone and the United States.  More information on the next session can be found here.

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For use of the information media; not an official record