13/10/2005
General Assembly
HR/CT/670

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO HOLD EIGHTY-FIFTH SESSION


IN GENEVA , 17 OCTOBER - 3 NOVEMBER 2005


Experts to Review Reports of Canada , Paraguay , Italy , Brazil


(Reissued as received.)


GENEVA, 13 October (UN Information Service) -- Reports submitted by the Governments of Canada, Paraguay, Italy and Brazil on measures taken to implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights will be reviewed by the Human Rights Committee at its eighty-fifth session, which will be held in Geneva from 17 October to 3 November 2005.


On the first day of the session, the 18-member Committee will adopt its agenda and programme of work.  The Committee will also hear, in a closed meeting, from representatives of non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations on the situation in the countries which it will review.


The Committee is scheduled to examine the fifth periodic report of Canada on Monday, 17 October, and Tuesday, 18 October; the second periodic report of Paraguay on Wednesday, 19 October, and Thursday, 20 October; the fifth periodic report of Italy on Thursday, 20 October, and Friday, 21 October; and the second periodic report of Brazil on Wednesday, 26 October, and Thursday, 27 October.  The review of the report of Canada will take place at the Palais des Nations, while all other meetings of the Committee will be held at the Palais Wilson.  The Committee will present its concluding observations on the country reports at the end of its three-week session on 3 November.


The Committee's concluding remarks on the fourth periodic report of Canada, which was reviewed in March 1999, can be found in document CCPR/C/79/Add.105; the concluding remarks on the initial report of Paraguay, which was considered in March 1995, can be found in document CCPR/C/79/Add.48, A/50/40, paras. 192-223; the concluding remarks on the fourth periodic report of Italy, which was taken up in July 1998, can be found in document CCPR/C/79/Add.94; and the concluding remarks on the initial report of Brazil, which was reviewed in July 1996, can be found in document CCPR/C/79/Add.66, A/51/40, paras.306-338.


The countries presenting reports are among the 155 States parties to the Covenant, which was adopted in 1966 by the General Assembly.  The Committee, as a monitoring body, periodically examines reports submitted by States parties on the promotion and protection of civil and political rights.  Representatives of those Governments introduce the reports and respond to oral and written questions from Committee members.


Under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant, 105 States parties recognize the competence of the Committee to consider confidential communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any rights proclaimed under the treaty.  At present, 332 communications are pending before the Committee.  During the course of the present session, in particular in the last week, the Committee will review a portion of these communications.


Fifty-four States parties have ratified or acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims to abolish the death penalty.


The Committee’s Special Rapporteurs for follow-up on concluding observations and for follow-up on views are also scheduled to provide progress reports on their activities during the current eighty-fifth session.  The Committee will also continue consideration of a draft revised general comment on article 14 (right to a fair trial).


Background on Covenant


The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly and opened for signature in 1966, together with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Both entered into force in 1976.


The Civil and Political Rights Covenant begins by stating that all peoples have the right of self-determination.  It recognizes that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.  It prohibits torture, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment, and the arbitrary deprivation of life.  Anyone arrested is to be informed of the reasons for the arrest, and anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge is to be brought promptly before a judge or another legally authorized person.


The Covenant also provides, among other rights, for freedom of movement, and places limitations upon the expulsion of aliens present lawfully in the territory of a State party.  In addition, the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and to freedom of expression are recognized by the Covenant, which also prohibits any propaganda for war or any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred.


States Parties to Covenant


The following 155 States have ratified or acceded to the Covenant: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Optional Protocols to Covenant


The Optional Protocol to the Covenant provides for the confidential consideration of communications from individuals who claim to be victims of a violation of any rights proclaimed in the Covenant.  The Committee can receive no communications if it concerns a State party to the Covenant that is not also a party to the Optional Protocol.


The following 105 States are parties to the Optional Protocol:  Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zambia.


The Human Rights Committee is also mandated, under article 41 of the Covenant, to consider communications from a State party alleging violations of the Covenants provisions by another State party.  This procedure can be applied when both States recognize this competence of the Committee by a relevant declaration. So far, 48 States have made the declaration under article 41.


The Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty, was adopted by the General Assembly on 15 December 1989 and entered into force on 11 July 1991.  The following 54 States have ratified or acceded to the Second Optional Protocol: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


Membership of Committee


The States parties to the Covenant elect the Committee's 18 expert members who serve in their individual capacity for four-year terms.  Article 28 of the Covenant requires that "they shall be persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights".


They are:  Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia); Nisuke Ando (Japan); Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati (India); Alfredo Castillero Hoyos (Panama); Christine Chanet (France); Maurice Glèlè-Ahanhanzo (Benin); Walter Kälin (Switzerland); Ahmed Tawfik Khalil (Egypt); Rajsoomer Lallah (Mauritius); Rafael Rivas Posada (Colombia); Sir Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom; Ivan Shearer (Australia); Hipolito Solari-Yrigoyen (Argentina); Ruth Wedgwood (United States); Roman Wieruszewski (Poland); Elisabeth Palm (Sweden); Michael O'Flaherty (Ireland); and Edwin Johnson Lopez (Ecuador).


The Chairperson is Ms. Chanet.  The Vice-Chairpersons are Mr. Glèlè-Ahanhanzo; Ms. Palm; and Mr. Solari-Yrigoyen.  The Rapporteur is Mr. Shearer.


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