|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights
1st Meeting (AM)
States Parties to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Elect Nine Members to Human Rights Committee for Four-Year Terms
The Meeting of States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights this morning re-elected four members and elected five new members to its monitoring body, the Human Rights Committee.
Elected by secret ballot for four-year terms beginning on 1 January 2013 and ending on 31 December 2016, the new members will replace those whose terms expire on 31 December 2012. The current terms of the four re-elected members were also set to expire by year’s end.
The re-elected members included Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria), Ahmed Amin Fathalla (Egypt), Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom) and Fabian Salvioli (Argentina). Newly elected to the Committee were Kheshoe Parsad Matadeen (Mauritius), Victor Manuel Rodriguez-Rescia (Costa Rica), Anja Seibert-Fohr (Germany), Yuval Shany (Israel) and Konstantine Vardzelashvili (Georgia).
Opening the Meeting, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), gave an overview of related developments since the States parties’ last major meeting in September 2010. Since then, Pakistan and Guinea-Bissau had become parties to the Covenant, bringing the total number of States parties to 167. Tunisia had become a party to the Optional Protocol, which recognizes the competence of the Human Rights Committee to consider communications from individuals claiming to be victims of a violation by a State party of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant, bringing to 114 the total number of States parties to that instrument. Mongolia had signed on to the Second Optional Protocol aimed at abolishing the death penalty, bringing the number of States parties to that Protocol to 73.
Since 2010, the Committee had examined 25 reports by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant and had adopted concluding observations on them, he said. A total of 33 initial and periodic reports currently were pending consideration. The Committee had adopted views on 203 communications, declared 5 communications admissible and 36 inadmissible; 140 communications were pending consideration.
The Committee had adopted General Comment number 34 on article 19 concerning freedom of opinion and expression during its second session in July 2011, and it would soon develop a general comment on article 9 concerning liberty and security of persons, he said.
At its October 2011 session, the Committee had begun adoption of its first list of issues prior to reporting under the new optional reporting procedures that were set up to streamline the reporting process, he said. To date, the Committee had adopted nine such lists and, in 2014, it would begin examining States parties’ responses to them.
In its most recent annual report (document A/67/40), to be submitted to the General Assembly in October, the Committee asked for approval of additional temporary resources in order to address the backlog of communications under the Optional Protocol, he said.
He noted that Committee members had continued to participate in discussions aimed at strengthening the treaty body system, including the most recent Chairperson’s meeting on that subject held in Addis Ababa in June. To date, the Committee had adopted two public statements endorsing the Dublin II outcome document, welcoming the High Commissioner’s report on the treaty body strengthening process, and calling on States parties to provide the necessary resources for the treaty bodies’ effective functioning.
During the meeting, the representative of Liechtenstein, also speaking on behalf of Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland, took the floor to express concern over the backlog in considering States parties’ reports. He called on the General Assembly to provide sustainable resources to allow the Committee to complete that work without delay.
He said the Human Rights Committee should discuss measures to address the persistent non-compliance by States of their reporting obligations and their related challenges, and exchange views on how to ensure high quality and expertise of Committee members, such as through increasing fairness and transparency in election campaigns. He suggested setting up a platform where candidates could present themselves on an equal footing and engage with States parties and civil society in a comparative way. Furthermore, he welcomed ongoing efforts to strengthen the independence and expertise of treaty body members.
The Meeting also elected by acclamation Rodney Charles (Trinidad and Tobago) as its Chairperson, as well as Ervin Nina (Albania) and Gemma Raduan Corrius (Andorra) to serve as Vice-Chairpersons.
The results of the balloting were as follows:
Number of ballot papers:
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Konstantine Vadzelashvili (Georgia)
Anja Seibert-Fohr (Germany)
Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria)
Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom)
Ahmed Amin Fathalla (Egypt)
Fabian Salvioli (Argentina)
Yuval Shany (Israel)
Kheshoe Parsad Matadeen (Mauritius)
Victor Manuel Rodriguez-Rescia (Costa Rica)
Ndiame Gaye (Senegal)
Marat Sarsembayev (Kazakhstan)
Augustin Marie-Gervais Loada (Burkina Faso)
Richard Lukunda (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Salifou Fomba (Mali)
* *** *For information media • not an official record