Human Rights Committee
24 March 2014
The Human Rights Committee this morning discussed a progress report by the Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Concluding Observations and a progress report by the Special Rapporteur on Follow-up to Views.
The Committee’s procedure for following-up to its concluding observations issued to States consists of identifying a limited number of its recommendations which required additional information from a State party, within one year from the consideration of the Committee’s review of a State party’s country report. At every session the Committee Member acting as Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations presents an updated progress report to Committee Members.
Fabian Omar Salvioli, Committee Member and Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, briefed the Committee on the follow-up procedure with the Netherlands, Argentina, Estonia, Norway, Armenia, Lithuania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany.
With regards to the Netherlands, Mr. Salvioli said that the Committee would, in the absence of further information provided by the State party, reiterate its recommendation that the Netherlands reviewed its legislation on euthanasia in light of the Covenant’s recognition of the right to life. The Committee noted that substantial progress had been made in ensuring asylum seekers were given the opportunity to adequately substantiate their claims through the presentation of evidence.
The Committee had asked Argentina to provide updated information on the impact of measures taken to reduce prison overcrowding. The report also enquired on statistics with regard to investigation and prosecution of reported acts of torture and ill-treatment. The Committee regretted that no information had been provided on measures taken to implement its recommendation to put an end to evictions and safeguard the communal property of indigenous peoples.
In the absence of a response from Estonia, the Committee decided to reiterate its recommendation for it to establish a national human rights institution in full compliance with the Paris Principles, and mechanisms to prevent torture. The Committee noted that Estonia had provided information on its programme on gender equality, and would ask about practical effects and results of this programme.
The Committee welcomed the fact that Norway had conducted consultations with non-governmental organizations for the establishment of a new national human rights institution, but required further information on the result of the process. The Committee welcomed measures take concerning the use of force against mental health patients and asked for information on their impact.
Concerning Armenia, the Committee regretted that information from non-governmental organizations and information provided by the State party differed on whether measures had been taken to implement the Committee’s concluding observations. The Committee therefore asked for clarifications on measures taken to investigate allegations of excessive use of force during the 1 March 2008 events as well as allegations of torture; on sentences passed in that context and reparations provided to the victims and on efforts made to ensure the independence of the judiciary.
The Committee welcomed the adoption of an action plan against discrimination by Lithuania. It sought information on specific measures to ensure that the national legislation was not interpreted or applied in a discriminatory manner against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Committee decided to reiterate its recommendation that Lithuania investigate allegations of its complicity in human rights violations as a result of counter-terrorism measures.
Regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Committee asked for further information on the impact of the measures taken to expedite the prosecution of war crime cases, including measures taken to further increase the number of prosecutors. The Committee also requested information on how Bosnia and Herzegovina was guaranteeing that victims of sexual violence had access to adequate psychological support. The Committee reiterated its recommendation with regards to the right to compensation for cases of enforced disappearances.
The Committee welcomed that Germany had revised its asylum procedure to allow suspensive orders in cases of transfer of asylum seekers to any State bound to the Dublin II Regulations. It asked whether Germany would extend the suspension of transfer of asylum seekers to Greece beyond January 2014. The Committee required additional information on investigations and appropriate sanctions for those responsible for violation of legal provisions related to the use of physical restraint measures in residential homes.
Yuji Iwasawa, Committee Member and Special Rapporteur on Follow-Up to Views, presented updates to the progress report on follow-up to views. The updates related to individual communications involving Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, France, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Norway, Paraguay, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay and Uzbekistan. Mr. Iwasawa told the Committee that during the session he had met with representatives of Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal.
The two follow-up reports would be incorporated into the Committee’s annual report, which would be adopted at the end of the session then presented to the United Nations General Assembly.
The Committee will next meet in public at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 25 March when it will begin the second reading of the draft general comment on Article 9 of the Covenant, on the right of everyone to liberty and security of person.
For use of the information media; not an official record