GENEVA (11 November 2021) — The UN Human Rights Committee today issued its findings on Germany, Ukraine, Armenia and Botswana, the States parties that it reviewed during its latest session.
The findings contain positive aspects of each country's implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Committee's main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:
The Committee was concerned at the authorities’ extensive surveillance powers, including online surveillance, and the hacking of encrypted communications data during criminal investigations. It recommended that the State party ensure all types of surveillance activities are in full compliance with the Covenant; and that surveillance is subject to effective and independent oversight mechanisms.
While recognising Germany’s adoption of the Climate Change Law in 2019 and the Climate Action Plan 2050, the Committee, however, discussed the lack of specific information on preventive measures taken to avoid negative impacts of climate change, such as the severe floods earlier this year. It recommended that the State party intensify its efforts to strengthen the legal framework on climate change. It also called on Germany to develop mechanisms to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources and to adopt a precautionary approach to prevent climate-related disasters.
The Human Rights Committee expressed concern about reports of intimidation, persecution and attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, as well as anti-corruption, LGBTI and gender activists by various actors, including extreme right-wing groups. It urged Ukraine to ensure that Government officials do not impede the right to freedom of expression of human rights defenders and journalists; and to effectively protect them from threats, pressure, intimidation or attack.
The Committee called on Ukraine to accelerate its efforts to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the killings and other human rights violations that took place during the Maidan and Odessa protests in early 2014, noting the slow progress in investigations and corresponding trials. It also urged the State party to identify, prosecute, and punish all perpetrators with penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.
The Committee’s experts expressed concern about undue legal restrictions on the freedom of peaceful assembly, unjustifiable police interference in peaceful demonstrations as well as arbitrary and prolonged detention of demonstrators. They recommended that Armenia reduce police presence at demonstrations and investigate all allegations of excessive use of force and arbitrary arrest and detention by State agents during protests. It also called on Armenia to ensure that domestic laws on the use of force are in full compliance with the UN Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the Guidance on the Use of Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement.
On the independence of the judiciary, the Committee was concerned about the influence exerted by the executive and legislative branches and the current procedures for the selection, appointment and suspension of judges and prosecutors. It recommended the State party ensure that judges and prosecutors are protected from any form of undue pressure and interference, and guarantee the security of tenure of judges and prosecutors.
The Committee was particularly concerned about the lack of anti-discrimination laws in the country. It called on Botswana to adopt comprehensive legislation to prohibit any form of discrimination including sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, HIV/AIDS status, ethnic and political affiliation.
The Committee recommended that Botswana intensify its efforts to combat trafficking in persons, notably of women and children, for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. It also requested that Botswana ensure all cases of trafficking are thoroughly investigated, perpetrators are prosecuted, and that victims are provided with full reparation.
The above Concluding Observations of the Committee are now available online on the session webpage.
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The Human Rights Committee monitors States parties’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which as of to date has been ratified by 173 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.
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