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HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE OPENS ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THIRD SESSION

2 July 2018

The Human Rights Committee this morning opened its one hundred and twenty-third session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, hearing an address by Antti Korkeakivi, Chief of Capacity Building and Harmonization Section, Human Rights Treaties Branch, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The Committee elected its Chair and Vice-Chair, adopted the agenda of the session, and heard the presentation of the report of the Working Group on Communications.

In his opening statement, Mr. Korkeakivi, stressed that in today’s world, human rights and individuals advocating for the rights of others were increasingly under attack.  In his last global update to the 38th session of the Human Rights Council on 18 June 2018, the High Commissioner for Human Rights had expressed serious concerns about the state of human rights and had made a strong call for enhanced action by the United Nations.  In this context, the Committee’s principled and strong work to protect and promote the rights enshrined in the Covenant, was more crucial and timely than ever, said Mr. Korkeakivi.

Following the resignation of the Committee Chair Yuji Iwasawa due to his election as a judge at the International Court of Justice, and the imminent departure of the Vice-Chair Ivana Jelić in order to take up her functions as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights, the Committee elected Yuval Shany and Mauro Politi as its Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.

Presenting the report of the Working Group on communications, Ivana Jelić, Chair of the Working Group, said that of the 36 cases reviewed, one had been postponed to the next session, violations had been found in 22, there were six cases with two options, two non-violations, and five inadmissible cases.  Of the six repetitive cases submitted to the Working Group, one had been postponed to the next session, and the discussion on others would continue with the Rapporteur on Repetitive Cases.
 

The Committee will next meet in public on Tuesday, 3 July, at 10 a.m. to continue the second reading of draft General Comment N° 36 on article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the right to life.


Opening Statement

ANTTI KORKEAKIVI, Chief of Capacity Building and Harmonization Section, Human Rights Treaties Branch, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in his opening remarks, said that in today’s world, human rights and individuals advocating for the rights of others were increasingly under attack.  In his last global update to the 38th session of the Human Rights Council on 18 June 2018, the High Commissioner for Human Rights had expressed serious concerns about the state of human rights and had made a strong call for enhanced action by the United Nations.  In this context, the Committee’s principled and strong work to protect and promote the rights enshrined in the Covenant, was more crucial and timely than ever.

Turning to the thirtieth annual meeting of the Chairpersons of the treaty bodies that had taken place in New York from 28 May to 1 June 2018, Mr. Korkeakivi noted it had focused on the alignment of working methods and other areas of implementation of the resolution 68/268, as well as the preparations for the 2020 review of the treaty body system.  Several of the meetings had been made public and had been webcast for the first time.  During the well-attended meeting with Member States, further harmonization, the issue of late and non-reporting States, engagement with civil society and reprisals, lack of sufficient resources, geographical and gender balance of the treaty body membership, as well as multilingualism, had been discussed.  The Chairpersons had agreed to propose the appointment of focal points within each treaty body to develop a common, treaty-body based position ahead of the 2020 review; to explore further alignment of the simplified reporting procedure at their next annual meeting; and had endorsed possible elements for a common aligned procedure for follow-up to concluding observations, decisions and views.  The Chairs had met with the Secretary-General who had expressed his strong support for the treaty bodies, and said that his next report on treaty body strengthening would raise various challenges faced by treaty bodies, including resources.

Mr. Korkeakivi outlined the programme of the one hundred thirty- sixth, which would include, inter alia, the review of reports by six States parties, and then paid tribute to the outgoing Committee Chair Yuji Iwasawa who had resigned due to his election as a judge at the International Court of Justice, and the Vice-Chair Ivana Jelić, who would be leaving the Committee soon to take up her functions as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights.

Election of Officers and Adoption of the Agenda

The Committee elected Mr. Yuval Shany as the new Chairperson and Mr. Mauro Politi as Vice-Chair, and then adopted its agenda for the session.

Presentation of the Report of the Working Group on Communications

IVANA JELIĆ, Committee Vice-Chair and Chair of the Working Group on Communications, said that of the 36 reviewed cases, the Working Group had decided to postpone one to the next session, and it recommended 22 violations, six cases with two options, two non-violations, and five inadmissible cases.  A total of six repetitive cases had been submitted to the Working Group, one had been postponed to the next session, while the discussions on other cases would continue with the Rapporteur on Repetitive Cases.


For use of the information media; not an official record

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