25 October 2013
The Human Rights Committee held a meeting this morning in which it adopted a follow-up progress report on individual communications adopted by the Committee at its one hundred and ninth session. The Committee also discussed its methods of work.
The Committee Member acting as Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Individual Communications, Mr. Yuji Iwasawa, presented the progress report (CCPR/C/109/3) covering submissions received and processed between July and October 2013. The total of 21 cases from 17 countries related to Algeria (three cases), Azerbaijan (one), Canada (one), Colombia (one), France (two), Kyrgyzstan (one), Latvia (one), Paraguay (one), the Philippines (one), the Russian Federation (two), Sri Lanka (one), Sweden (one), Turkey (one), Ukraine (one), Uruguay (one), Uzbekistan (one), and Venezuela (one). The Committee’s recommendations had not yet been implemented in most cases, and the follow-up dialogue was ongoing in all cases.
Experts exchanged views on the issue of whether or not State parties had implemented the Committee’s recommendations if they had not provided responses to the Committee. Final performance evaluations should not be submitted while a dialogue with a State party was still ongoing, which was why the Committee’s assessments listed in the report should be viewed as provisionary. The next report from the Special Rapporteur would be provided in March 2014.
Given the heavy burden imposed on the Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Individual Communications, the Committee decided to appoint Ms Anja Seibert-Fohr as Deputy Special Rapporteur to assist the Special Rapporteur.
During the meeting Nigel Rodley, Committee Chairperson, briefed the Committee about his presentation of its annual report to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. His presentation inspired comments and questions from a number of State parties, all of which had been positive and supportive. The sole substantive question came from Kenya, on perceived contradictions regarding the Committee’s position on polygamy, given that polygamy was reportedly recognized as a matter of culture under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There were indications that the Committee may receive additional Secretariat support in 2014.
Mr. Rodley highlighted other issues raised at the General Assembly, which included the Addis Ababa Guidelines, adopted by the Committee in the late 1990s, which it was agreed remained the sole regulation regarding the code of conduct of Committee Members. There were proposals that treaty bodies hold a session in New York every two to three years but the issue of dual chambers had also been raised. States providing the most financing to treaty bodies were finding it difficult to continue the same levels of funding, due to the financial crisis. Strong support had been voiced for the simplified procedures of reporting (such as sending list of issues prior to reporting) and using modern audio-visual tools, such as webcasts and video links, to enhance the presence of the delegations.
In the ensuing discussion Committee Members asked about the status of the treaty body strengthening process and the possibility of introducing a master calendar. The Chairperson replied that there was unwillingness among a number of States to accept the introduction of a comprehensive reporting schedule was supportive, but further discussions and considerations would be needed.
The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 28 October at 10 a.m. to consider the Progress Report of Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Concluding Observations.
For use of the information media; not an official record