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(OHCHR) Human Rights Committee adopts Its annual report and closes Its one-hundred and twenty-fifth session

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Saturday, 30 March 2019

Human Rights Committee adopts Its annual report and closes Its one-hundred and twenty-fifth session

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Adopts Concluding Observations and Recommendations on Angola, Eritrea, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Viet Nam

GENEVA (29 March 2019) - The Human Rights Committee this morning closed its one hundred and twenty-fifth session after adopting concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Angola, Estonia, Niger and Viet Nam, and on Eritrea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the absence of reports.  The Committee also adopted its annual report. 

Ahmed Amin Fathalla, Committee Chairperson, reminded that during the session the Committee had reviewed the situation in six States parties and had adopted concluding observations on them, namely on Angola, Eritrea, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Viet Nam.  It was noteworthy that Eritrea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had engaged with the Committee after several years.  The advance unedited copies of the concluding observations were available on the session’s webpage.  The Committee had also adopted six lists of issues on Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Dominica, Lesotho, Senegal and the United States.  In addition, the Committee had adopted a follow-up report on concluding observations, which had highlighted important progress made in five countries. 

During the session, the Committee had considered 43 draft decisions, six of which had been considered in dual chambers.  The Committee had decided to postpone the consideration of one draft to its one hundred and twenty-seventh session in October 2019, pending additional information from the parties.  Out of the 42 decisions adopted, 25 had been decided on merits.  Eight cases had been declared inadmissible, and nine had been discontinued.  Regarding the cases decided on merits, the Committee had found violations in 18 of them, and non-violation in seven. 

Following the adoption of the General Comment No. 36 on article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the right to life, the Committee had decided to embark on a new General Comment on article 21 on the right to freedom of assembly.  The Committee had designated Christof Heyns as the rapporteur for drafting the General Comment, and it had received more than 40 written submissions from a variety of stakeholders during its half-day general discussion in preparation for the General Comment, which had been held on 20 March 2019. 

The Committee had appointed Yuval Shany and Mr. Heyns as special rapporteurs on new communications and interim measures, Marcia Kran as the special rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, Andreas Zimmermann as the special rapporteur on follow-up to views, and José Manuel Santos Pais as the rapporteur on repetitive communications.  The Committee had also appointed Bamariam Koita as the rapporteur for reprisals, and Mr. Shany as the focal point for the 2020 review of the human rights bodies.  Furthermore, in an effort to strengthen the relationship with other regional human rights mechanisms, the Committee had appointed Hélène Tigroudja as the focal point for the European Court of Human Rights. 

The Chairperson informed that the Committee had met with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and they had further discussed a possible joint substantive statement on article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The two Committees had also continued to enhance their close coordination and reviewing of States parties’ reports, including the back-to-back reviews, as well as the adoption of lists of issues prior to reporting. 

With respect to methods of work, the Committee had considered individual communications in dual chambers.  It had discussed the format and timeline of the chambers, the identification of cases and the writing of individual opinions.  On the 2020 review, Mr. Fathalla reminded that the Committee had endorsed the recommendations outlined in its position paper, namely moving to a predictable review cycle from 2020 onwards based on the simplified reporting procedure as the default procedure, requesting the secretariat to take suitable staffing and funding for the Committee’s transition to the predictable cycle, seeking support from other treaty bodies, in particular from the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and expressing support for ideas developed by other treaty bodies and stakeholders.       

Ilze Brands Kehris, Committee Rapporteur, presented the draft annual report and explained the proposed changes.  The Committee then proceeded with the adoption of the parts of the report relating to jurisdiction and activities of the Committee, methods of work, budgetary resources, outreach on the work of the Committee, cooperation with other United Nations bodies, and submission of reports by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant.  More concretely, the Committee decided to adopt the simplified reporting procedure as the default procedure, to have more predictable review cycles, to have a pilot project during the one hundred and twenty-sixth session on coordinated adoption of the lists of issues prior to reporting with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and to explore issuing a joint substantive statement with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The Committee then adopted the annual report as a whole.  
  
All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage, while concluding observations and recommendations issued to Angola, Eritrea, Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Viet Nam are available here

The one hundred and twenty-sixth session of the Human Rights Committee will take place from 1 to 26 July 2019, when it is scheduled to consider the reports of Mauritania, Netherlands, Paraguay and Tajikistan, as well as Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria in the absence of reports.

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For use of the information media; not an official record


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