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Human Rights Committee Adopts Reports on Follow-up to its Concluding Observations

16 July 2021

The Human Rights Committee today adopted reports by the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations concerning Bangladesh, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

According to the Committee’s procedure , the Committee selects a minimum of two and maximum of four recommendations, termed the follow-up recommendations, to be included in the follow-up procedure; these recommendations are indicated in the Committee’s concluding observations issued to a State party following their review by the Committee.  When reviewing follow-up reports, the Committee assesses the replies using the scale from A for largely satisfactory replies to E for replies that indicate that the measures taken go against the Committee’s recommendations.

Vasilka Sancin, Committee Expert and the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, presented the assessment of the responses provided by Bangladesh, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, and Switzerland. 

Starting with Bangladesh, Ms. Sancin said the Committee regretted that the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 2017 included an exception that allowed for the marriage of girls under 18 years, and it reiterated its recommendations.  On extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance, the Committee took note of the information regarding the protection of the right to life provided under existing legal framework, including the recently enacted sector-specific laws, but regretted that the State party had not provided any information on measures taken during the reporting period to protect the right to life of all persons in the context of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, and reiterated its recommendation.

Regarding Liechtenstein, the Committee regretted that the State party had not taken specific measures to ensure that its legal framework comprehensively prohibited all discrimination, including multiple discrimination, and provided for effective remedies in cases of violation, and reiterated its recommendations.  Regarding the prohibition of torture, the Committee welcomed the State party’s public consultation on the revision of the Criminal Code and plans to propose legislation based on the consultation.  The Committee requested updated information on that process.

Turning to New Zealand, Ms. Sancin said the Committee welcomed the establishment in 2017 of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children and requested further information on the new operating model, including measures in place to ensure early detection of child abuse and the appropriate investigations, prosecution and convictions.  The Committee regretted that the State party had no plans to review and revise the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.  It took note of the explanation provided and requested further information on how the Act ensured respect not only of the interests, but also of the customary rights of Maori on their land and resources, and their cultural development.  The Committee reiterated its recommendation. 

As regards Switzerland, the Committee welcomed the steps taken by the State party to assess the compatibility of citizens’ initiatives with international law and its efforts to recommend the rejection of the proposed “Swiss law instead of foreign judges” initiative.  Nevertheless, the Committee was concerned about the lack of information on measures taken within the reporting period to strengthen the checks implemented before citizens’ initiatives were put to the vote, which had been recommended as a matter of priority.  The Committee, while taking note of the information provided by the State party on steps taken to establish a national human rights institution, was concerned that the State party continued to lack a national human rights institution that was in full conformity with the Paris Principles.  The State party had not addressed the absence of an explicit human rights protection mandate and the plan for the institution to be university-based, which were issues of concern for the Committed.

The draft reports were adopted by the Committee as amended during the discussion and will be available on the web page dedicated to the follow-up procedure for concluding observations. 

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage .  The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available at UN Web TV .

The Committee will next meet in public at 5 p.m. on Friday, 23 July, to announce bureau decisions and close its one hundred and thirty-second session.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/07/le-comite-des-droits-de-lhomme-se-penche-sur-le-suivi-de-ses