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Human Rights Committee holds its one hundred and nineteenth session in Geneva from 6 to 29 March 2017

BACKGROUND RELEASE

Committee to Consider Situation in Bangladesh, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Italy, Thailand and Bosnia and Herzegovina

GENEVA (2 March 2017) - The Human Rights Committee will hold its one hundred and nineteenth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 6 to 29 March 2017, during which it will review the reports of Bangladesh, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Italy, Thailand and Bosnia and Herzegovina on their implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

At its opening meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday, 6 March, the Committee will hear its new members make a solemn declaration to carry out their duties impartially and conscientiously, and will then elect a Chairperson and Bureau. It will also adopt its agenda and programme of work.

From 11 a.m. to noon on Monday, the Committee will hold a public tribute to Sir Nigel Rodley, who was a Committee Expert until the end of 2016 and who died recently.

During the session, the Committee will hear, in closed meetings, from United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations on the situation in the countries that it will review. Also in closed meetings, it will consider a number of individual communications. In its public meetings, the Committee will continue discussing a draft General Comment on Article 6 on the right to life, consider the progress report of the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, and hold a discussion on follow-up to views. Further, it will adopt its annual report and discuss methods of work.

Bangladesh is presenting its initial report (CCPR/C/BGD/1).

Serbia is presenting its third periodic report (CCPR/C/SRB/3). The Committee’s concluding observations on its second periodic report, considered in March 2011, can be found in CCPR/C/SRB/CO/2.

Turkmenistan is presenting its second periodic report (CCPR/C/TKM/2). The Committee’s concluding observations on its initial report, considered in March 2012, can be found in CCPR/C/TKM/CO/1.

Italy is presenting its sixth periodic report (CCPR/C/ITA/6). The Committee’s concluding observations on its fifth periodic report, considered in October 2005, can be found in CCPR/C/ITA/CO/5.

Thailand is presenting its second periodic report (CCPR/C/THA/2). The Committee’s concluding observations on its initial report, considered in July 2005, can be found in CCPR/CO/84/THA.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is presenting its third periodic report (CCPR/C/BIH/3). The Committee’s concluding observations on its second periodic report, considered in October 2012, can be found in CCPR/C/BIH/CO/2.

Detailed meeting coverage can be found in English and French on the United Nations Information Service’s webpage and further information, including copies of the States parties’ reports, all related documentation and the programme of work, are available on the session webpage.

The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings will be available via the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/.

Background on the Covenant

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly and opened for signature in 1966 and entered into force in 1976. The Covenant begins by stating that all peoples have the right of self-determination. It recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. It prohibits torture, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment, and the arbitrary deprivation of life. Anyone arrested is to be informed of the reasons for the arrest, and anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge is to be brought promptly before a judge or another legally authorized person.

The Covenant also provides, among other rights, for freedom of movement, and places limitations upon the expulsion of aliens present lawfully in the territory of a State party. In addition, the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and to freedom of expression are recognized by the Covenant, which also prohibits any propaganda for war or any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred.

States Parties to Covenant


The following 169 States have ratified or acceded to the Covenant: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, State of Palestine, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Optional Protocols to the Covenant


The Optional Protocol to the Covenant provides for the confidential consideration of communications from individuals who claim to be victims of a violation of any rights recognized in the Covenant. The Committee can receive no communications if it concerns a State party to the Covenant that is not also a party to the Optional Protocol.

The following 115 States are parties to the Optional Protocol: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zambia.

The Human Rights Committee is also mandated, under article 41 of the Covenant, to consider communications from a State party alleging violations of the Covenants provisions by another State party. This procedure can be applied when both States recognize this competence of the Committee by a relevant declaration.

The Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty, was adopted by the General Assembly on 15 December 1989 and entered into force on 11 July 1991.

The following 84 States have ratified or acceded to the Second Optional Protocol: Albania, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

Membership of the Committee


The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts who are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights. Members are elected for a term of four years by States parties. They serve in their personal capacity and may be re-elected if nominated. The membership of the Committee is as follows:

Mr. Yadh Ben Achour (Tunisia); Ms. Tania María Abdo Rocholl (Paraguay); Mr. Koita Bamariam (Mauritania); Ms. Sarah Cleveland (United States of America); Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France); Mr. Ahmad Amin Fathalla (Egypt); Mr. Christof Heyns (South Africa); Mr. Yuji Iwasawa (Japan); Ms. Ivana Jelić (Montenegro); Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris (Latvia); Marcia Kran (Canada); Mr. Duncan Laki Muhumuza (Uganda); Ms. Photini Pazartis (Greece); Mr. Mauro Politi (Italy); Mr. José Manuel Santos Pais (Portugal); Ms. Anja Seibert-Fohr (Germany); Mr. Yuval Shany (Israel); and Ms. Margo Waterval (Suriname).

During the meeting of States parties to the Covenant in June 2016, six experts were elected to join the Committee on 1 January 2017: Ms. Tania María Abdo Rocholl (Paraguay), Mr. Koita Bamariam (Mauritania), Mr. Christof Heyns (South Africa), Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris (Latvia), Marcia Kran (Canada) and Mr. José Manuel Santos Pais (Portugal). They replaced Members whose term expired on 31 December 2016: Mr. Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria), Mr. Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom), Mr. Victor Manuel Rodríguez Rescia (Costa Rica), Mr. Fabian Omar Salvioli (Argentina), Mr. Dheerujlall B. Seetulsingh (Mauritius) and Mr. Konstantine Vardzelashvili (Georgia).

At its opening meeting on Monday, 6 March, the Committee will hear the solemn declaration by the new members and elect its officers.

Programme of Work

Monday, 6 March
10 a.m. Opening of the session, adoption of the agenda, solemn declaration by new members, election of officers
10.30 a.m. Closed meeting
3. p.m. Initial report of Bangladesh (CCPR/C/BGD/1)

Tuesday, 7 March
10 a.m. Bangladesh (continued)
3 p.m. Third periodic report of Serbia (CCPR/C/SRB/3)

Wednesday, 8 March
10 a.m. Serbia (continued)
3 p.m. Second periodic report of Turkmenistan (CCPR/C/TKM/2)

Thursday, 9 March
10 a.m. Turkmenistan (continued)
3 p.m. Sixth periodic report of Italy (CCPR/C/ITA/6)

Friday, 10 March
10 a.m. Italy (continued)
3 p.m. Closed meeting

Monday, 13 March
10 a.m. Methods of Work
12.30 Closed meeting
3 p.m. Second periodic report of Thailand (CCPR/C/THA/2)

Tuesday, 14 March
10 a.m. Thailand (continued)
3 p.m. Third periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CCPR/C/BIH/3)

Wednesday, 15 March
10 a.m. Bosnia and Herzegovina (continued)
3 p.m. General Comment on Article 6

Thursday, 16 March
10 a.m. Closed meeting
3 p.m. General Comment on Article 6

Friday, 17 March
Closed meetings

Monday, 20 March
10 a.m. Progress report of Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Concluding
Observations
Progress report of Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Views
3 p.m. Closed meeting

Tuesday, 21 March
10 a.m. Adoption of annual report; methods of work
3 p.m. Closed Meeting

Wednesday, 22 March
10 a.m. General Comment on Article 6
3 p.m. Closed meeting

Thursday, 23 March
Closed meetings

Friday, 24 March
Closed meetings

Monday, 27 March
Closed meetings

Tuesday, 28 March
Closed meetings

Wednesday, 29 March
10 a.m. Methods of Work and announcement of bureau decisions, session closing

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For use of the information media; not an official record