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Human Rights Committee Adopts Reports on Follow-Up to Concluding Observations Concerning Belarus, Estonia, the Netherlands and Tajikistan, and on Follow-Up to Views Concerning Angola, Czechia, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, Spain, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan
23 March 2023
The Human Rights Committee this morning adopted reports on follow-up to concluding observations concerning Belarus, Estonia, the Netherlands and Tajikistan as well as a report on follow-up to Views concerning Angola, Czechia, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, Spain, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
First, the Committee adopted reports by the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations concerning Belarus, Estonia, the Netherlands and Tajikistan.
Imeru Tamerat Yigezu, Committee Expert and the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, presented the assessment of the responses provided by Belarus, Estonia, the Netherlands and Tajikistan.
Regarding Belarus, recommendations concerned Views under the First Optional Protocol on provisional protection measures; the death penalty; and freedom of assembly. The Committee regretted the State party’s withdrawal from the First Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and encouraged it to reconsider.
Concerning Estonia, recommendations concerned hate speech and hate crime; non-consensual psychiatric treatment; and refugees and asylum seekers.
Turning to the Netherlands, recommendations concerned racial discrimination, hate speech and hate crime; refugees and asylum seekers; and the gas extraction operation in Groningen.
Concerning Tajikistan, recommendations concerned surveillance and interception of private communications; freedom of expression; and participation in public affairs.
Mr. Yigezu said that the information requested should be addressed in the States parties’ next periodic reports.
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.
Next, the Committee heard follow-up to Views concerning Angola, Czechia, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, Spain, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
José Manuel Santos Pais, Committee Co-Rapporteur on follow-up to Views, said the communication regarding Angola concerned deportations to Türkiye. The Committee’s Views had called on the State party to review the authors’ cases, refrain from expelling the authors and their families until their requests for asylum were properly considered, and to take steps to avoid such violations in the future. Following the authors’ appeal, the State party had decided not to deport the authors and a national structure for refugees was established in 2018 by presidential decree. The Committee found that the State party had respected the principle of non-refoulement and non-repetition. The Committee decided to continue follow-up dialogue with the State party regarding the authors, who continued to reside in Angola and were waiting for a decision on their asylum applications.
The communication regarding Czechia concerned discrimination based on citizenship with respect to restitution of property. The author of the case had not received word on compensation, though the Committee had advised the State party that she had a right to it. The Committee denounced the State party’s inaction on the issue and invited it to take action to provide compensation. The Committee decided to continue follow-up dialogue with the State party on the issue, including in the framework of the State party’s periodic reporting.
The communication regarding Kyrgyz Republic concerned a trial in absentia. The Committee Views had called on the State to provide effective remedy through adequate compensation and take measures to prevent similar violations in the future. The Committee noted the State Party’s efforts to determine appropriate compensation through court proceedings, though the author reported that the State party refused to fulfil its obligations under the Committee’s previous Views. The Committee decided to follow up on the dialogue and request a meeting with a representative of the State party during a future session.
The communication regarding Lithuania concerned an arbitrary dismissal of a civil servant. The Committee’s Views had called on the State party to provide effective remedy, including full compensation, and to take steps to not repeat violations in the future. The State party had been unwilling to consider the Views of the Committee as binding. The Committee decided to continue follow-up dialogue with the State party on the issue.
The communication regarding Spain concerned prosecution of a judge for prevarication. The Committee’s Views had called on the State party to provide effective remedy, expunge the author’s criminal record, provide him with adequate compensation and prevent recurrence. The State party communicated that the author had not requested to expunge his criminal record and that the State party did not need to take action on non-repetition. The Committee decided to continue the follow-up dialogue with the State party in the framework of the State party’s periodic reporting to the Committee on the measures adopted to give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant.
The communication regarding Turkmenistan concerned conscientious objection to compulsory military service, inhuman and degrading treatment, and conditions of detention. The Committee Views had called on the State party to investigate the author’s claim impartially, prosecute any persons responsible, expunge the author’s criminal record, prevent recurrence, and revise legislation in accordance with Covenant. The State Party denied that prison conditions were poor. The author claimed that Jehovah’s witnesses were often imprisoned under conscientious religious exemption to military service. A presidential decree had granted amnesty to 16 conscientious objectors, but the author was not one of the 16. The Committee decided to continue follow-up dialogue with the State party on the issue.
The communication regarding Ukraine concerned unlawful detention, torture and mistreatment. The Committee Views had called on the State party to quash the author’s conviction and if necessary, conduct a new trial; conduct a prompt and impartial investigations into his allegations of torture; provide the author with adequate compensation; and prevent recurrence. An appeal was underway for the author’s case and the judiciary was searching for the militia members responsible for allegations of torture. The State party had said compensation was not necessary as the author had not been acquitted. The State party noted actions taken to prevent recurrence, such as investigations into the police’s excessive use of force and trainings on combatting torture. The author, who was currently serving his sentence in prison, had volunteered to participate in the defence of Ukraine in the ongoing conflict with the Russian Federation. The Committee decided to continue follow-up dialogue with the State party on the issue.
The communication regarding Uzbekistan concerned arbitrary detention, torture, and an unfair trial of a human rights activist. The Committee’s Views called on the State party to immediately conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of torture and prosecute those responsible; quash the trial verdicts; compensate the author; and prevent recurrence. The State Party maintained that the author’s trial was legitimate, despite reports of removal of the defendant’s lawyer at the beginning of the trial as well as a forged confession. Communications from the State party and the author regarding the trial and imprisonment continued to conflict. Though the author was released from prison in 2017, the Committee’s Views had not been implemented. The Committee decided to continue follow-up dialogue with the State party on the issue.
In concluding remarks, Mr. Santos-Pais noted that the session was an opportunity to revisit the Committee’s Views and to think about how to address denials of them.
The draft report was adopted by the Committee as amended during the discussion. The final report will be released on the Committee’s website .
The Human Rights Committee’s one hundred and thirty-seventh session is being held from 27 February to 24 March. All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage . Meeting summary releases can be found here . The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed via the UN Web TV webpage .
The Committee will next meet at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, 24 March to deliver its annual report and close its one hundred and thirty-seventh session.