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HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE HOLDS ITS ONE-HUNDREDTH AND FIFTH SESSION IN GENEVA FROM 9 TO 27 JULY
Experts Will Review Reports of Iceland, Lithuania, Maldives, Armenia and Kenya
5 July 2012

Reports submitted by the Governments of Iceland, Lithuania, Maldives, Armenia and Kenya on measures taken to implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in those countries will be reviewed by the Human Rights Committee at its one-hundredth and fifth session, which will be held in Geneva at the Palais Wilson from 9 to 27 July 2012.   

On the first day of the session, the Committee will hear an address by Mona Rishmawi, Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch in the Research and Right to Development Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and adopt its agenda and programme of work.  It will then hold a tribute to former Committee Member Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, of Mauritius, who sadly passed away on 3 June 2012. 

In addition to reviewing the report of five States parties during its session, the Committee will also hear, in closed meetings, from United Nations organizations, specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions on the situation in the countries that it will review.  On Monday 16 July, it will hold a public meeting with Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and on Tuesday 24 July it will present, in a public meeting, Progress Reports of the Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Concluding Observations and to Views.  The Committee will also hold three public meetings on its methods of work.  A press conference has been scheduled for Thursday 26 July.  The Committee will also consider a number of individual communications in closed meetings during the session.
 
The Committee is scheduled to examine the fifth periodic report of Iceland on 9 July in the afternoon and 10 July in the morning; the third periodic report of Lithuania on 10 July in the afternoon and 11 July in the morning; the initial report of Maldives on 12 July in the afternoon and on 13 July all day; the joint second and third periodic report of Armenia on 16 July in the afternoon and 17 July in the morning; and the third periodic report of Kenya on 17 July in the afternoon and 18 July in the morning.  The Committee will adopt its concluding observations on the implementation of the Covenant by these countries towards the end of its three-week session.

With the exception of Maldives, all the countries under review during this session have presented reports to the Committee before.  Information for the one-hundredth and fifth session can be found via the link, and all the documentation from previous sessions, including the Committee’s concluding observations, can be accessed via the Committee’s website.  The Committee’s previous concluding observations and recommendations can be accessed via the following links: on the initial report of Armenia (CCPR/C/79/Add.100); on the fourth periodic report of Iceland (CCPR/CO/83/ISL); on the second periodic report of Kenya (CCPR/CO/83/KEN) and on the third periodic report of Lithuania (CCPR/CO/80/LTU).

The five countries presenting reports are among the 167 States parties to the Covenant, which was adopted in 1966 by the General Assembly.  The Committee, as a monitoring body, periodically examines reports submitted by States parties on the promotion and protection of civil and political rights.  Representatives of those Governments introduce the reports and respond to oral and written questions from Committee members.

Under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant, 114 States parties recognize the competence of the Committee to consider confidential communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any rights proclaimed under the treaty.  At present, 323 communications are pending before the Committee.  During the course of the present session, the Committee will review 20 of those communications.  Seventy-three States parties have ratified or acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims to abolish the death penalty.

Background on the Covenant

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly and opened for signature in 1966, together with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Both entered into force in 1976.

The Civil and Political Rights Covenant begins by stating that all peoples have the right of self-determination.  It recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.  It prohibits torture, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment, and the arbitrary deprivation of life.  Anyone arrested is to be informed of the reasons for the arrest, and anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge is to be brought promptly before a judge or another legally authorized person.

The Covenant also provides, among other rights, for freedom of movement, and places limitations upon the expulsion of aliens present lawfully in the territory of a State party.  In addition, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and to freedom of expression are recognized by the Covenant, which also prohibits any propaganda for war or any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred.

States Parties to Covenant

The following 167 States have ratified or acceded to the Covenant: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia,  Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Optional Protocols to the Covenant

The Optional Protocol to the Covenant provides for the confidential consideration of communications from individuals who claim to be victims of a violation of any rights recognized in the Covenant.  The Committee can receive no communications if it concerns a State party to the Covenant that is not also a party to the Optional Protocol.

The following 114 States are parties to the Optional Protocol: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zambia.

The Human Rights Committee is also mandated, under article 41 of the Covenant, to consider communications from a State party alleging violations of the Covenants provisions by another State party.  This procedure can be applied when both States recognize this competence of the Committee by a relevant declaration. 

The Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty, was adopted by the General Assembly on 15 December 1989 and entered into force on 11 July 1991.  The following 74 States have ratified or acceded to the Second Optional Protocol: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

Membership of the Committee

The States parties to the Covenant elect the Committee's 18 expert members who serve in their individual capacity for four-year terms.  Article 28 of the Covenant requires that "they shall be persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights."  They are: Ben Achour Yadh (Tunisia); Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria); Christine Chanet (France);   Ahmad Amin Fathalla (Egypt); Cornelis Flinterman (the Netherlands); Yuji Iwasawa (Japan); Mr. Walter Kalin (Switzerland), Zonke Zanele Majodina (South Africa); Iulia Antoanella Motoc (Romania); Gerarld Neuman (United States); Michael O'Flaherty (Ireland); Rafael Rivas Posada (Colombia); Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom); Fabian Omar Salvioli (Argentina); Marat Sarsembayev (Kazakhstan); Krister Thelin (Sweden) and Margo Waterval (Suriname). 

Sadly Committee Member Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, of Mauritius, passed away on 3 June 2012.  A tribute to Mr. Lallah will be held during the opening meeting. 

The Committee Chairperson is Zonke Zanele Majodina; and the Vice-Chairpersons are Yuji Iwasawa, Michael O'Flaherty and Fabian Omar Salvioli.

Programme of Work

Monday, 9 July

10 a.m.         Opening of session, adoption of agenda, report of working group (public)
10.30 a.m.     Tribute to the late Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, former Member of the Committee (public)
11.30 a.m.     Briefings by United Nations organizations and specialized agencies (closed)
12.00 p.m.     NHRIs and NGOs brief on Iceland and Lithuania (closed)

3 p.m.          Fifth periodic report of Iceland (CCPR/C/ISL/5) (public)

Tuesday, 10 July

10 a.m.         Iceland continued (public)

3 p.m.          Third periodic report of Lithuania (CCPR/C/LTU/3) (public)

Wednesday, 11 July

10 a.m.         Lithuania continued (public)

3 p.m.          Bureau meeting & communications (closed)

Thursday, 12 July

10 a.m.         Methods of work (closed)
12.30 p.m.     NHRIs and NGOs brief on the Maldives (closed)

3 p.m.          Initial report of the Maldives (CCPR/C/MDV/1) (public)

Friday, 13 July

10 a.m.         Maldives continued (public)

3 p.m.          Maldives continued (public)

Monday, 16 July

10 a.m.         Meeting with Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (public)
11 a.m.         Communications (closed)
12.00 p.m.     NHRIs and NGOs brief on Armenia and Kenya (closed)
 
3 p.m.          Third periodic report of Armenia (CCPR/C/ARM/3) (public)

Tuesday, 17 July

10 a.m.         Armenia continued (public)

3 p.m.          Third periodic report of Kenya (CCPR/C/KEN/3) (public)

Wednesday, 18 July

10 a.m.         Kenya continued (public)

3 p.m.          Bureau and communications meeting (closed)

Thursday, 19 July

10 a.m.         Communications (closed)

3 p.m.          Methods of work (public)

Friday, 20 July

10 a.m.         Communications (closed)

3 p.m.          Methods of work (public)

Monday, 23 July

10 a.m.         Communications (closed)
 
3 p.m.          Country report task force (closed)

Tuesday, 24 July

10 a.m.         Bureau meeting (closed)
11 a.m.         Progress report of Special Rapporteur on Follow-Up to Concluding Observations (public)
12 p.m.         Progress report of Special Rapporteur on Follow-Up to Views (public)

3 p.m.          Concluding observations (closed)

Wednesday, 25 July

10 a.m.         Concluding observations (closed)

3 p.m.          Concluding observations (closed)

Thursday, 26 July

10 a.m.         Country report task force (closed)

1 p.m.          Press Conference (public)

3 p.m.          Communications (closed)

Friday, 27 July

10 a.m.         Country report task force (closed)

3 p.m.          Methods of work and announcements of bureau decisions (public)



For use of the information media; not an official record

CT12/001E


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