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Human Rights Committee closes one hundred and fifteenth session

ROUNDUP

6 November 2015

Issues Concluding Observations on Reports of Greece, San Marino, Austria, Suriname, Republic Of Korea, Iraq and Benin

The United Nations Human Rights Committee this afternoon concluded its one hundred and fifteenth session after issuing its concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Greece, San Marino, Austria, Suriname, the Republic of Korea, Iraq and Benin.

The concluding observations and recommendations can be found here:
http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=948&Lang=en

Fabiàn Omar Salvioli, Committee Chairperson, in his closing remarks, presented a report on his address to the General Assembly in October, in which he raised 10 issues, including violations of human rights, torture and discrimination, security and terrorist laws, and the migration drama and the challenges it posed for human rights. He had spoken about how the Committee could help States deal with these issues and others, and also highlighted the technical assistance presented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in this regard. He had spoken about how the Committee placed a great deal of emphasis for States to comply with the provisions of the Covenant in good faith, regretted the lack of resources provided to the Committee, and called on the General Assembly to give human rights the proper place they deserved. He had also called on States to use the simplified reporting procedure, which had given good results, and had talked about the problem of reprisals and the new draft General Comment on the right to life. Mr. Salvioli summarized some of the issues raised by States. The Committee adopted his report.

Mr. Salvioli said that they had had a very comprehensive session, exhaustive in terms of hard work, but also very productive. They had reviewed reports of seven States, including two States which were reviewed under the dual chamber system. They had adopted a number of individual communications, but had not been able to deal with all the communications that had been prepared for them. The Committee had adopted lists of issues for a number of countries, and had discussed its first experience with dual chambers under its methods of work. This discussion would be ongoing. They had also started their consideration of the draft General Comment on the right to life. The meeting with the High Commissioner was perhaps the most striking thing that had happened during the session; he was a mirror for the Committee and they should aspire to follow the fantastic example that he gave.

Committee Expert Yuval Shany said he had raised the issue of repetitive communications in March and most Experts had been favourable, giving broad support for this proposal. He also pointed out that this was a very low risk proposal as every Committee member had a veto and could request that a communication being dealt with as a repetitive communication could instead be dealt with individually. The main benefit would be saving floor time and also providing consistency in how cases were dealt with. For example, during this session, probably 20 per cent of the communications could have been dealt with as repetitive communications.

One Expert said he approved of this proposal, especially as it would save the Committee time. Another Expert said that this would be a change in the rules of procedure, and the proposal had to be considered very carefully. A third Expert said the issue was ripe for adoption. One Expert said it could be adopted on an experimental basis. It showed that the Committee was trying to make its work more efficient. An Expert said he wanted to reflect further on this proposal, especially since all communications had special nuances and they were not all repetitive. The Expert also requested a translation of the document. Another Expert said that the Committee would need to identify how the cases that would be considered under this process were chosen, but this could be decided as they started to implement the procedure, so she strongly supported its adoption.

Mr. Shany said that he would circulate informal translations of paragraphs one to seven of the proposal and then the Committee could further discuss it at the next session.

The Human Rights Committee is composed of 18 international independent experts and monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by States that have ratified the Covenant.

Members met the respective government delegations during the session, which began on 19 October, and also heard from non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions. They discussed a draft General Comment on the right to life and also heard progress reports by the Special Rapporteurs on follow-up to concluding observations and on follow-up to views.

The Committee’s one hundred and sixteenth session will be held from 7 to 31 March 2016, during which it will consider the reports of Costa Rica, Namibia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden. Those reports and related documentation can be found on the Committee’s webpage for the session.

For more information and media requests, please contact: Liz Throssell ethrossell@ohchr.org / 41 22 917 9466 / 41 79 752 0488

More information on the Human Rights Committee:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CCPR/Pages/CCPRIndex.aspx

Text of the ICCPR: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx
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