Press Releases

    22 March 2002


    NEW YORK, 21 March (UN Headquarters) -- Briefly setting aside the examination of country reports this morning, the Human Rights Committee -- charged with monitoring implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights -- discussed and adopted a working group paper concerning follow-up to the concluding observations it makes on reports from States parties.

    The Committee was established to monitor the implementation of the Covenant and its related Protocols in the territory of the States parties. Its 18 members -- independent experts -- are empowered to consider reports on measures adopted and progress made in achieving the observance of the rights enshrined in the Covenant. After examining the reports of States parties, the Committee issues concluding observations. This morning’s meeting was devoted to considering ways to improve the observations.

    The working group noted that, of the 15 States parties considered during 2001, so far only one had provided information based on the Committee's concluding observations, making the need to identify ways and means to clarify procedures on those communications all the more important.

    The Committee decided, at the recommendation of its working group that a special rapporteur will be designated to examine the follow-up information received from a State party pursuant to the Committee’s request, with the assistance of a Secretariat follow-up officer. That special rapporteur will consult with the country rapporteur in the process, and then submit his or her findings to the Committee. The experts also decided to set aside sufficient time for discussion of the special rapporteurs finding and the adoption of formal recommendations, if any.

    [The Committee Secretary said that as part of the Global Plan of Action for Treaty Bodies, a follow-up officer had been hired in March.]

    The Committee also decided to establish a procedure for dealing with States parties that do not submit follow-up reports within the imparted deadline. The working group's recommendations in that regard include contacting the States parties concerned in an informal manner approximately two months prior to the deadline to determine whether a submission could be expected, and sending reminders to States parties one month after the deadline.

    The Committee on Human Rights will meet at 10 a.m. Friday, 22 March to begin consideration of the fourth periodic report of Hungary.

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