30 March 2000

Press Release



The Human Rights Committee this afternoon was invited to attend the Preparatory Committee meetings for the World Conference against Racism in May of this year and the follow-up meetings in 2001, Wan-Hae Lee, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told members of that body.

She said the aim of the meetings was to discuss the elements of the final document for the World Conference against Racism to be held in South Africa in 2001. The Committee was, therefore, urged to actively participate in both proceedings.

Prafullachandra Bhagwati of India, Chairman of a working group, said that due to time constraints, it was not possible to prepare a new document for presentation at the upcoming meeting in May. The group therefore suggested that a concerted effort be made to collect existing documents of the Committee that were relevant, and to present those as an example of the Committee’ contribution to the struggle against racism in the past. Members were also requested to suggest appropriate materials for inclusion.

Regarding the Preparatory Committee meetings in 2001, Mr. Bhagwati said the Committee should draw up a new general comment on racism and xenophobia for presentation at that meeting. The working group recognized, however, that given the time at its disposal, the Committee could not adopt a comprehensive general comment, such as General Comment 28 on article 3, which was just adopted. The proposed general comment would, therefore, have to be a shorter document that stated the essentials as they were reflected in the Committee’s existing work.

[Article 3 deals with the equal rights of men and women under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.]

The Committee also selected Solari Yrigoyen of Argentina to represent it at the upcoming preparatory Conference in May. It was also decided that both Mr. Bhagwati and Mr. Yrigoyen would draw up the draft for the paper to be presented by the Committee in 2001 at the other preparatory conference.

Also this afternoon, the Committee continued its discussion of the report of its other working group, chaired by Eckart Klein of Germany. Contained in the report was the Committee’s plan of action, which addressed communications, State reports, role of periodicity and inter-Committee meetings. Also mentioned in the report was the establishment of indicators, cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), joint meetings with special rapporteurs and informal consultation with governments.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 31 March, to consider the draft general comment to article 4 (scope of limitations on human rights during a state of emergency).

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