Centre for Civil and Political Rights

UN Human Rights Committee 109 Session

14 October - 1 November 2013, Geneva

Overview of the Session

Newsletter Contents

I. Review of State Reports

  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
  • Djibouti
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Uruguay
  • Postponement of the review of the USA

II. Follow-up to Concluding Observations and to Individual Communications

III. First Reading of General Comment on Article 9

IV. Next Session

At its 109th Session (14 October to 1 November 2013) the Human Rights Committee reviewed the reports of five States Parties - Bolivia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Mozambique and Uruguay. The Committee had also intended to review the United States of America, but four days before the start of the session the USA requested that the review be postponed due to the ongoing government shutdown. Reluctantly, the Committee agreed to this request.

The Committee also adopted Lists of Issues in relation to the reports of six States: Burundi, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Latvia and Sudan. These lists of issues will shortly be available from the CCPR Centre website.

It considered 22 Individual Communications, finding 5 inadmissible, deciding 13 on the merits, and discontinuing consideration of 4. Six meetings were also devoted to the first reading of draft General Comment 35 on article 9 (Liberty and Security of Persons).

For more information on the 109th session read the Centre for Civil and Political Rights' Overview of the Session in English, French or Spanish.

I. Review of State Reports

Bolivia: An avalanche of legislation, but little information on its application

The Minister of Justice, the head of the Bolivian delegation, presented a long list of the legislation that has been adopted in recent years with the objective of improving the human rights situation in Bolivia. Despite these efforts, the Committee members regretted the lack of information on the implementation of all these laws in practice. [Read more and find out the recommendations of the Committee]

Djibouti: Hope fades as delegation avoids admitting to human rights abuses

The responses provided by the delegation of Djibouti were not of a high standard; they avoided responding to many of the questions posed by the Human Rights Committee members by repeatedly questioning the legitimacy of the Committee’s information and alleging that the it represented mere figments of the imagination of the opposition. [Read more and find out the recommendations of the Committee]

Mauritania: Too much national legislation contrary to the ICCPR

Several Committee members noted that some provisions of national law are contrary to the Covenant, notably the criminalisation of homosexuality and the prohibition on Muslims changing their religion, both of which ‘offences’ carry the death penalty, in violation of Article 6 of the ICCPR. [Read more and find out the recommendations of the Committee]

Mozambique: UN experts dismayed by the lack of investigation and accountability for civil and political rights violations

Mozambique's initial report was seventeen years overdue when it was submitted in 2012. Despite this evidence of the State's reluctance to engage with the Committee, the delegation seemed to genuinely want to demonstrate its efforts in creating laws and implementing them to protect and enforce human rights in the country. However, the National NGO coalition, which attended the review, highlighted that the delegation replied to many of the Committee's concrete questions in an extremely abbreviated form. [Read more and find out the recommendations of the Committee]

Uruguay: The first review under the new List of Issues Prior to Report Procedure

The Committee recognised that there had been important progress in implementing the ICCPR in Uruguay. However, the Committee members expressed some concern about the lack of implementation of the Committee's views on Individual Communications, particularly the case of Peirano Basso v. Uruguay, the inequality between men and women in education and employment, the continuing police abuses which may constitute case of torture and street children. [Read more and find out the recommendations of the Committee]

USA fails to appear before the Human Rights Committee due to the shutdown

On 10 October 2013, only four days before the start of the Human Rights Committee's 109th session, the United States of America requested that the review of its fourth periodic report be postponed as the State delegation was unable to attend due to the Government shutdown. [Read more]

II. Follow-up to Concluding Observations and Follow-up to Decisions on Individual Communications

The report of the new Rapporteur on Follow-up to Concluding Observations assessed recent information on the implementation of the Committee's recommendations in relation to Bulgaria, Guatemala, Kosovo (UNMIK), Slovakia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, using the new evaluation system. [Read more]

The Rapporteur on Follow-up to Individual Communications also presented his report. The significantly revised system of evaluation based on grading the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations will provide a clear assessment of the measures taken by the State. [Read more]

III. First Reading of the General Comment on Article 9

Draft text: English, French, Spanish

The Human Rights Committee made substantial progress with regard to the first reading of the Draft General Comment on Article 9 over the session, reaching paragraph 58 of the 71 in the text. [Read more]

IV. Next Session (10 - 28 March 2014 - Geneva)

The Centre for Civil and Political Rights works to improve the implementation of the ICCPR by promoting and enhancing NGO engagement with the UN Human Rights Committee.

More information is available from the Centre's website.

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