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Human Rights Committee Adopts Report on Follow-Up to Concluding Observations on Mexico, Niger, Portugal and Senegal

24 July 2023

The Human Rights Committee this afternoon adopted a report on follow-up to concluding observations concerning Mexico, Niger, Portugal and Senegal.

Imeru Tamerat Yigezu, Committee Expert and Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, presented the assessment of the responses provided by Mexico, Niger, Portugal and Senegal. The overall recommended action for all of the four assessments was to send a letter to each of the States parties informing them of the discontinuation of the follow-up procedure and that further information requested by the Committee in this report should be addressed in their next periodic reports, which was due in 2026 for Mexico and Senegal; 2027 for Portugal and 2028 for Niger respectively.

Regarding Mexico, the Committee welcomed the introduction of a bill to regulate the temporary participation of the armed forces in public security tasks, requesting further information. The Committee also welcomed efforts taken to increase institutional investigatory capacity, including those institutions involved in the Ayotzinapa case. However, it was concerned at the reported systemic impunity for those responsible of violent crimes such as mass killings and arbitrary executions. It recommended that Mexico strengthen the mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, and ensure that all attacks were investigated independently and impartially, that the perpetrators were brought to justice, and that victims received comprehensive reparation.

Concerning Niger, the Committee welcomed steps taken to combat corruption under the framework of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. The Committee also welcomed the reported increase in referrals of alleged corruption cases to judicial authorities, including a major case implicating the Ministry of Defence. The Committee requested further information on the new prison policy, particularly concerning the increase in funding for food, bedding and medical expenses, as well as information on the separation of pretrial detainees from convicted prisoners. The Committee welcomed the State party’s adoption in July 2022 of a bill on the protection of human rights defenders, drafted in consultation with civil society. However, it was regretful that activities of the press and media continued to be restricted.

Turning to Portugal, the Committee recommended that cases of trafficking in persons were thoroughly investigated, that those responsible were prosecuted, and that victims were provided with full reparation and appropriate protection and assistance. Persons who had been trafficked should also have access to an asylum procedure in which their needs could be determined. The Committee welcomed the information on the measures in place to ensure unaccompanied minors were not detained, and the establishment of a single system for persons seeking international protection, to ensure secured protection for children. It was recommended that Portugal take further steps to ensure that pre-trial detention was used only as a measure of last resort. The State should also continue promoting non-custodial alternative measures and reduce the length of investigations and legal procedures.

Concerning Senegal, the State party should take urgent measures to ensure that all deaths in custody were thoroughly and impartially investigated, that victims’ received reparations and that those responsible were prosecuted and punished in a manner commensurate with the gravity of their acts. Senegal should review its legislation on refugees and asylum seekers, and bring it into line with the Covenant, increase the resources of the National Commission on Eligibility for Refugee Status, and pass a decree to make the law on the status of refugees effective. The Committee welcomed measures taken to enable reporting of child exploitation and noted measures taken to take children off the streets and remove images and videos of child abuse from the internet. The Committee requested additional information on measures taken to end child abuse and exploitation by Qur’anic masters. The Committee also recommended that the Children’s Code be passed into law.

The draft report was 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.

The Committee will next meet at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 July, to issue its concluding observations on the reports of Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Cyprus, Lesotho, State of Palestine and Uganda, which were considered during the one hundred and thirty-eighth session, before closing the session.


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