Press Releases

    4 April 2005

    Monitoring Body for International Civil Political Rights Covenant Concludes Three-Week Headquarters Session

    Requests Sudan to Submit Special Report on Compliance with Key Articles of Treaty by Close of Year

    NEW YORK, 1 April (UN Headquarters) -- Shortly before the Human Rights Committee concluded its eighty-third session today, it decided to ask the Government of Sudan to submit a special report by the end of the year on its compliance with certain key articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Committee monitors. 

    The 18-member expert Committee of the General Assembly, which monitors compliance with the 1966 human rights Covenant, will send a letter to the Sudanese authorities requesting that they address their next report to six articles of the 40-article Covenant, namely articles 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 and 26.  Those articles deal respectively with:  right to life; torture; slavery; right to liberty and security of persons; freedom of movement; and equal legal protection.

    In the ensuing discussion on the Bureau’s proposal to request such a report from Sudan, experts debated whether to seek the already late periodic report from the State party, which had acceded to the Covenant in 1986, or to request a report on specific articles pertinent to the “sheer complexity” of the situation there. 

    The suggestion was also made to consider a similar request of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Some members, however, cautioned against confining such special requests to African countries, as that might run contrary to the Committee’s practice of avoiding selectivity, and result in inattention to some other troubling human rights situations around the world. 

    The Human Rights Committee, which began its session on 14 March, monitors implementation of the 1966 Covenant by its 154 States parties.  At the session just concluded, the Committee studied the reports of Iceland, Kenya, Mauritius, Uzbekistan, and Greece.  Under an Optional Protocol to the Covenant, 104 States parties recognize the Committee’s competence to consider communications from individuals alleging treaty-based rights violations.  A second Optional Protocol, to which 54 States are party, seeks to abolish the death penalty. 

    Expert from Japan and Special Rapporteur, Nisuke Ando, presented a progress report on such individual communications (document CCPR/C/83/FU2/2005), so as to inform the Committee members of follow-up activities and follow-up information received between Committee sessions on individual communications.  Three such reports would be prepared each year by the Special Rapporteur.  The contents of those reports would be summarized in the Committee’s annual report. 

    Issues and violations found in some States parties ranged from the possible deportation of the wife and children of an author in Australia, a conviction for “subversive” art and the destruction of a painting in the Republic of Korea, no investigation following torture and inhuman treatment in detention resulting in death in the Russian Federation, and the intimidation of journalists by repeated presentation of defamation of indictments in Sri Lanka.  The progress report indicates the recommended remedy, and action taken and further action required. 

    In closing, Special Representative Bacre Waly N’Diaye commended the Committee for striving to make international human rights standards an accepted reality everywhere in the world.  It had translated human rights into “even greater protection” for the victims of violations and had infused respect for and promotion of human rights around the world with a kind of oxygen.  The Human Rights Committee had recorded real progress towards universalizing respect for human rights.  It taught those countries with good practices how to improve them, and those without how to protect them. 

    Echoing those remarks, the expert from Tunisia, Abdelfattah Amor, said the Human Rights Committee “pulls the human rights train and takes the whole system with it”.  It had been increasingly strengthened, and would always go ahead, and never backwards, he said. 

    Committee Chairperson and expert from France, Christine Chanet, thanked the experts, as well as those in the Secretariat who had contributed to a successful session.

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