United Nations

E/1997/27 CSW


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL



E/1997/27 CSW - Report of the forty-first session
                                  Annex III

          REPORT OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON THE ELABORATION OF A
          DRAFT OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION
                       OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN


1.   In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/29 of
24 July 1995, the Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a Draft
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women met as an in-session open-ended working group
of the Commission at its fortieth session.  By decision 1996/240 of
22 July 1996, the Council renewed the mandate of the Working Group so that
it might continue its work, and authorized it to meet in parallel with the
Commission at its forty-first session.

2.   Ms. Aloisia Wo"rgetter (Austria) continued to serve as Chairperson of
the Working Group.

3.   The Working Group met from 10 to 20 March 1997.  It held three
meetings (1st to 3rd) and a number of informal meetings.  It had before it
the following documents:

     (a)  Report of the Secretary-General containing a comparative summary
of existing communications and inquiry procedures and practices under
international human rights instruments and under the Charter of the United
Nations (E/CN.6/1997/4);

     (b)  Report of the Secretary-General containing additional views of
Governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental
organizations on an optional protocol to the Convention (E/CN.6/1997/5);

     (c)  Note by the Secretariat containing a compilation text prepared by
the Chairperson, based on proposals made by members of the Open-ended
Working Group at its first session, on views submitted by Governments and
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and on elements
suggested by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women (E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1);

     (d)  Report of the Open-ended Working Group (E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.2);

     (e)  Revised draft optional protocol submitted by the Chairperson on
the basis of the compilation text contained in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1
and proposals made at the forty-first session of the Commission
(E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.3 and Add.1).

4.   The Chairperson opened the meeting and made a statement.

5.   At the 1st meeting, on 10 March, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues
and Advancement of Women, made an introductory statement.

6.   At the same meeting, the representative of the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women made a statement in her
capacity as a resource person, in accordance with Economic and Social
Council decision 1996/240.


                          General exchange of views

7.   At its 1st and 2nd meetings, on 10 and 11 March, the Working Group, at
the invitation of the Chairperson, held a general exchange of views on item
5.  Delegations welcomed the compilation text prepared by the Chairperson
(E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1), which was based on the elements suggested by the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in suggestion
No. 7a/ on proposals made by members of the open-ended Working Group at
its first session (E/1996/26, annex III) and on views expressed by
Governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental
organizations (E/CN.6/1996/10 and Corr.1 and Add.1 and 2 and
E/CN.6/1997/5).  The Working Group agreed that this text should be used as
basis for the further deliberations in the Working Group and for the
process of drafting an optional protocol. 

8.   It was suggested that a first reading of the Chairperson's text be
completed at the current session of the Commission, with a view to
finalizing an optional protocol as quickly as possible.  The aim of
achieving the protocol's entry into force before the year 2000 was put
forward.  It was also suggested that the Working Group should proceed
cautiously with thorough consultations and without a specific timetable.

9.   Delegations pointed out that an optional protocol would be an
essential step in the follow-up to the World Conference on Human Rights and
the Fourth World Conference on Women.  It would strengthen the
implementation of the legal rights of women contained in the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and make the
Convention more effective in promoting and protecting those rights.  An
optional protocol would complement and strengthen the existing
implementation mechanism under the Convention, that is, the reporting
procedure under article 18.  An optional protocol, which should allow for
complaints about violations of the rights of women, would place the
Convention on an equal footing with other international human rights
treaties having communications procedures.  The optional protocol should be
consistent with, and complementary to, similar existing mechanisms, and
these should be drawn upon in its elaboration.

10.  Delegations emphasized that any possible duplication or overlapping
with similar existing procedures should be avoided.  It was noted that the
achievement of the universal ratification of the Convention, its effective
implementation, and the withdrawal of reservations by States parties
remained important goals to be achieved.  The need to improve the
effectiveness of the existing monitoring mechanism and to ensure the
efficiency of any new mechanism was noted.

11.  In preparing an optional protocol, a number of issues would need to be
resolved.  The breadth of the articles contained in the Convention,
covering political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights, and the
influence of social attitudes and practices on women's de facto enjoyment
of their rights, would need to be kept in mind.  It was also noted that the
Working Group should proceed in a way that would lead to an effective,
reliable and practical instrument that was acceptable to many States
parties to the Convention and that could be enforced effectively, in order
to complement the implementation of the Convention at the national level,
recognizing the primary role of the States parties in this regard.

12.  Questions were raised with respect to the appropriateness of the
proposed inquiry procedure in the light of the goals of the Convention.


                ACTION TAKEN BY THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP

13.  At its 3rd meeting, on 20 March, the Working Group adopted its draft
report (E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.2), as orally revised during informal
consultations.  It agreed that the revised draft optional protocol
contained in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.3 and Add. 1, as orally revised
during informal consultations, should be included in its report to the
Commission (see appendix I below).

14.  At the same meeting, the Working Group had before it a summary by the
Chairperson of views and comments made by delegations during the
negotiations on a draft optional protocol, which was subsequently
circulated in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.4.  The Working Group decided to
include the summary in its report to the Commission (see appendix II
below).

                                 Appendix I

          REVISED DRAFT OPTIONAL PROTOCOL SUBMITTED BY THE CHAIRPERSON
          ON THE BASIS OF THE COMPILATION TEXT CONTAINED IN DOCUMENT
          E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 AND PROPOSALS MADE AT THE FORTY-FIRST
                          SESSION OF THE COMMISSION


                                  Article 1

     [A State Party to the present Protocol recognizes the competence of
the Committee to receive and consider communications [submitted in
accordance with article 2].]


                                 Article 2 

     [Communications may be submitted:

     (a)  By an individual, group or organization claiming to have suffered
from a violation of any of the rights in the Convention or claiming to be
directly affected by the failure of a State Party to comply with its
obligations under the Convention; or

     (b)  By an individual, group or organization claiming that a State
Party has violated any of the rights set forth in the Convention or has
failed to comply with its obligations under the Convention, if in the
opinion of the Committee this person, group or organization has sufficient
interest in the matter.]

Alternative 1

Communications may be submitted by [or on behalf of] individuals under the
jurisdiction of a State Party claiming that any of their rights set forth
in the Convention have been violated by that State Party [and who have
exhausted all available domestic remedies].

Alternative 2

Communications may be submitted:

     (a)  By [or on behalf of] individuals under the jurisdiction of a
State Party claiming that any of their rights set forth in the Convention
have been violated by that State Party [and who have exhausted all
available domestic remedies];

     (b)  By associations or non-governmental organizations whose purpose
is to defend women's rights and who have obtained the agreement of the
person or persons claiming to have suffered from a violation of one of the
rights set forth in the Convention. 

Alternative to 2 (a)

     (a)  Communications may be submitted by individuals or groups of
individuals under the jurisdiction of a State Party to this Protocol who
have suffered from a violation of one of the provisions of the Convention
or from a deliberate failure to comply with that provision.

Alternatives to 2 (b)

     (b)  By an individual, group or organization with a
sufficient/established interest in the matter on behalf of an individual or
group of individuals claiming that a State Party has violated any of the
rights set forth in the Convention.

     (b)  On an exceptional basis, the communication may be submitted by:

     (i)  A duly designated representative of the victim or victims;

    (ii)  An individual or group of individuals acting on behalf of a
          victim or victims in circumstances where the victim is unable to
          act herself or to designate a representative/an individual or
          group of individuals acting on behalf of a victim or victims that
          has established that it is impossible for the person or persons
          affected to submit the communication or to designate a
          representative. 


                                  Article 3

Communications shall be in writing and shall not be anonymous.


                                  Article 4

[Alternative 1

1.   The Committee shall not declare a communication admissible unless it
has ascertained that all available [legal] domestic remedies have been
exhausted [in accordance with generally recognized rules of international
law]; [this shall not apply where the Committee considers the application
of the remedies to be [unreasonably prolonged] [unreasonable] or unlikely
to bring effective relief] [unless the claimant demonstrates that such
remedies are ineffective or that the application of the remedies has been
unduly prolonged]; 

2.   The Committee shall declare a communication inadmissible:

     (i)  That it considers to be incompatible with the provisions of the
          Convention; 

    (ii)  That it considers to be an abuse of the right to submit a
          communication;

  [(iii)  That it considers to be manifestly ill-founded] [or obviously
          politically motivated];

[(iii bis)  Where there is not sufficient substantiation of the claim to
support          its examination on the merits]; 

   [(iv)  That relates to facts that occurred before the entry into force
          of this Protocol for the State Party concerned, [unless those
          facts continued after the entry into force of this Protocol for
          the State Party]];

     (v)  Where the same matter [has already been examined by the Committee
          or] [has been] [taken note of] [or] is being [examined]
          [considered] under another procedure of international
          investigation or settlement.

[3.  A communication shall be in compliance with the principles of
objectivity and impartiality [and should include information of legal
remedies or reparation undertaken by the State Party concerned]]. 

Alternative 2

A communication shall be inadmissible where, in the view of the Committee:

     (i)  It is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention;

    (ii)  It is an abuse of the right to submit a communication;

  [(iii)  It is manifestly ill-founded] [or obviously politically
motivated];

[(iii bis)  Where there is not sufficient substantiation of the claim to
support          its examination on the merits];

    (iv)  All available [legal] domestic remedies have not been exhausted
          [in accordance with generally recognized rules of international
          law] [unless in the view of the Committee the application of the
          remedies is [unreasonably prolonged] [unreasonable] or unlikely
          to bring effective relief] [unless the claimant demonstrates that
          such remedies are ineffective or that the application of the
          remedies has been unduly prolonged];

    [(v)  The facts that are the subject of the communication occurred
          prior to the entry into force of this Protocol for the State
          Party concerned, [unless those facts continued after that date]];

    (vi)  The same matter [has already been examined by the Committee or]
          [has been] [taken note of] [or] is being [examined] [considered]
          under another procedure of international investigation or
          settlement;

  [(vii)  It is in compliance with the principles of objectivity and
          impartiality [and includes information on legal remedies or
          reparation undertaken by the State Party concerned]].] 


                                  Article 5

[1.  At any time after the receipt of a communication and before a
determination on the merits has been reached, the Committee may [request]
[recommend] the State Party concerned to take interim measures [as
appropriate] [as may be necessary] [to preserve the status quo and] to
avoid [possible irreparable] [further] [harm] [damage] [if any] [to the
victim or victims of the alleged violation] [after it has been determined
that sufficient evidence exists to substantiate the claim].]

[2.  The State Party concerned [may] [shall] [give due consideration to]
consider [urgently and positively] the recommendation under paragraph 1.]

[2 bis.  Where the Committee exercises its power under paragraph 1, this
does not imply a determination [on admissibility] [on the merits] of the
communication.] 


                                  Article 6

[1.  Unless the Committee considers a communication inadmissible without
reference to the State Party concerned, the Committee shall bring any
communication submitted to it under this Protocol confidentially to the
attention of the State Party concerned.  The Committee may in exceptional
cases involving a threat to the life or physical integrity of the
[individual or individuals who is/are the subject of the communication]
[author or victim] withhold [her/their] or [her identity or identities]
[identity] during consideration of protective interim measures.] 

Alternative 1

[The State Party should be informed confidentially of the communication. 
The identity of the individual should also be revealed to the State Party
unless the individual objects.]

Alternative 2

[The Committee may bring any communication admitted by it under this
Protocol confidentially to the attention of the State Party concerned, but
shall not reveal the identity of the author unless express prior consent is
given.]

2.   Within [three] [six] months, the receiving State Party shall submit to
the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and
the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State Party.

[3.  During its examination of a communication, the Committee shall place
itself at the disposal of the parties concerned with a view to facilitating
settlement of the matter on the basis of respect of the rights and
obligations set forth in the Convention] [in the event of agreement between
the parties, the Committee shall adopt findings taking note of the
settlement of the matter].


                                  Article 7

1.   The Committee shall consider communications received under this
Protocol in the light of all [written] information made available to it by
[or on behalf of] the [author] [individual] and by the State Party
concerned.  [The Committee may also take into account information obtained
from other [United Nations] sources, provided that this information is
transmitted to the author and the State Party for comment.] 

2.   The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications
under this Protocol.

[2 bis.  When a communication is being considered, the State Party
concerned shall be entitled to take part in the proceedings of the
Committee and to make submissions orally and/or in writing.] 

[3.  After examining a communication, the Committee [shall adopt its views
[together with any recommendations] on the communication and] shall
transmit [these] [its views] to the State Party [concerned] and to the
[individual[s]] [victim].]

Alternative 1

[3.  After examining a communication, the Committee [shall adopt its views
[together with any recommendations] [including, where appropriate, specific
measures] on the communication and] shall transmit [these] [its views] to
the State Party [concerned] and to the [individual[s]] [victim].]


                                  Article 8

[1.  The Committee may request that the State Party concerned take specific
measures to remedy any violations [or failure to give effect to its
obligations under the Convention].]

[2.  The State Party shall take all steps necessary to remedy any violation
of rights [or failure to give effect to its obligations under the
Convention].  The State Party shall ensure that the appropriate remedy,
including, if need be, adequate reparation, is provided.]

[3.  Within [three] [six] months the receiving State Party shall submit to
the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and
the remedy that has been implemented by the State Party.]

Alternative 1

[Within [three] [six] months the receiving State Party shall submit to the
Committee a written response to the views of the Committee, including an
explanation of any action taken in the light of its recommendations.]


                                  Article 9

[1.  The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to discuss with it
the measures that that State Party has taken to give effect to the views,
suggestions or recommendations of the Committee.]

[2.  The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its
subsequent report under article 18 of the Convention details of any
measures taken [and any opinion] in response to the Committee's views,
suggestions and recommendations.]

Alternative 1

[2.  The Committee may invite the State Party to submit further information
about any measures the State Party has taken to give effect to its views or
recommendations, including as deemed appropriate by the Committee, in the
State Party's subsequent report under article 18 of the Convention.]


                                 Article 10

[1.  If the Committee receives reliable information indicating a serious
[and] [or] systematic violation by a State Party to the Protocol of rights
set forth in the Convention [or of a failure to give effect to obligations
set forth in the Convention], the Committee shall invite that State Party
to cooperate in the examination of the information and to this end to
submit observations with regard to the information concerned.

2.   Taking into account any observations which may have been submitted by
the State Party concerned as well as any other reliable information
available to it, the Committee may designate one or more of its members to
conduct an inquiry [with the consent of the State Party] and to report
urgently to the Committee.  [[Where warranted and] in agreement with the
State Party, the inquiry may include a visit to its territory.]

3.   After examining the findings of such an inquiry, the Committee shall
transmit these findings to the State Party concerned together with any
comments and recommendations.

4.   The State Party shall, within [three] [six] months of receiving the
findings, comments and recommendations transmitted by the Committee, submit
its observations to the Committee.

5.   Such an inquiry would be conducted confidentially and the [consent
and] cooperation of the State Party shall be sought at all stages of the
proceedings.]


                                 Article 11

[1.  The Committee may at [any] [an appropriate] time invite a State Party
concerned to discuss with it the measures which that State Party has taken
in response to such an inquiry.

[2.  The Committee may invite the State Party concerned to include in its
report under article 18 of the Convention details of any measures taken in
response to such an inquiry].]


                                 Article 12

[1.  States Parties to this Protocol undertake:

[(a) [Not to hinder [in any way]] [To give full support to] [To cooperate
in] the effective exercise of the right to communications established in
this Protocol];

Alternative

[(a) Not to hinder in any way the opportunities provided [individuals ...]
under this Protocol to submit communications or information to the
Committee;]

                                   *  *  *

[(b) To take all steps necessary [to prevent] [not to fail to protect] any
[individual, [or] group [of individuals] [or organization] from interfering
with the exercise of [the right of communication] [opportunities to submit
communications] or from victimizing any individual for exercising this
right or providing information to or [assisting] [cooperating with] the
Committee in its inquiries;]

Alternative

[(b) To take all appropriate steps to protect those submitting
communications or information to the Committee from interference or
reprisal by any Party;]

                                   *  *  *

[(c) To [assist] [give full cooperation to] [cooperate with] [to the extent
that it concerns the State Party] the Committee in its proceedings under
this Protocol].]


                                 Article 13

The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 21 of the
Convention a summary of its activities under this Protocol.


                                 Article 14

[States Parties undertake [to publicize] [and] [to make widely known] [in
their countries]:

[(a) [The contents of this Protocol and the procedures established under
it;] [The principles and provisions of the Protocol by appropriate and
active means];]

Alternative

[States Parties undertake to publicize and make as widely known as possible
the contents of this Protocol and the procedures established under it.]

[(b) The Committee's views, [comments, suggestions] and recommendations
concerning [the outcome of the consideration of] a communication [received]
[or an inquiry conducted].]]

                                   *  *  *

Alternative

[Each State Party undertakes to publicize the annual report of the
Committee, particularly as it concerns a communication or an inquiry
initiated by the Committee involving the particular State Party.] 


                                 Article 15

[The Committee shall develop its own rules of procedure to be followed when
exercising the functions conferred on it by this Protocol.] 


                                 Article 16

[The Committee shall meet for such a period as is necessary [within its
agenda] to carry out its function under this Protocol.]

Alternative

[The Committee shall hold meetings to exercise its functions under this
Protocol, in addition to its meetings held under article 20 of the
Convention.  The duration of such meetings shall be determined, and
reviewed, if necessary, by a meeting of the States Parties to the Protocol,
subject to the approval of the General Assembly.]


                                 Article 17

1.   This Protocol shall be open for signature by any State which has
signed, acceded to or ratified the Convention.

2.   This Protocol shall be subject to ratification by any State which has
ratified or acceded to the Convention.  Instruments of ratification shall
be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

3.   This Protocol shall be open to accession by any State which has
ratified or acceded to the Convention.

4.   Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of
accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


                                 Article 18

1.   This Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of
the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the [fifth]
[tenth] [twentieth] instrument of ratification or accession.

2.   For each State ratifying this Protocol or acceding to it after its
entry into force, this Protocol shall enter into force three months after
the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.


                                 Article 19

[The provisions of this Protocol shall extend to [all parts of federal
States and to all territories subject to] the jurisdiction of a State Party
without any limitations or exceptions.]


                                 Article 20

[No reservations to this Protocol shall be permitted.] 

Alternative

[Reservations to this Protocol shall be permitted, unless such a
reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the present
Protocol and the Convention, in accordance with the rules of international
law.]


                                 Article 21

1.   Any State Party to the present Protocol may propose any amendment and
file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  The Secretary-
General shall thereupon communicate any proposed amendments to the States
Parties to this Protocol with a request that they notify her/him whether
they favour a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering
and voting on the proposal.  In the event that at least one third of the
States Parties favours such a conference, the Secretary-General shall
convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations.  Any
amendment adopted by a majority of the States Parties present and voting at
the conference shall be submitted to the General Assembly of the United
Nations for approval.

2.   Amendments shall come into force when they have been approved by the
General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two thirds
majority of the States Parties to this Protocol in accordance with their
respective constitutional processes.

3.   When amendments come into force, they shall be binding on those States
Parties that have accepted them, other States Parties still being bound by
the provisions of this Protocol and any earlier amendments which they have
accepted.


                                 Article 22

1.   Any State Party can denounce this Protocol at any time by written
notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. 
Denunciation shall take effect six months after the date of receipt of the
notification by the Secretary-General.

2.   Denunciations shall be without prejudice to the continued application
of the provisions of this Protocol to any communication [or inquiry] before
the effective date of denunciation.


                                 Article 23

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States of:

     (a)  Signatures, ratifications and accessions under this Protocol;

     (b)  The date of entry into force of this Protocol and the date of
entry into force of any amendment under article 21 and any denunciations
under article 22.


                                 Article 24

1.   This Protocol, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian
and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives
of the United Nations.

2.   The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified
copies of this Protocol to all States referred to in article 25 of the
Convention.


                                 Appendix II

       CHAIRPERSON'S SUMMARY OF VIEWS AND COMMENTS MADE BY DELEGATIONS
       DURING THE NEGOTIATIONS ON A DRAFT OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE    
       CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN  


1.   The Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a Draft Optional
Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women held a number of informal meetings to consider
the Chairperson's compilation text of a draft optional protocol, contained
in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.  The Working Group requested the
Chairperson to prepare a summary of the discussions held during the
informal meetings for inclusion in the report of the Working Group.

2.   Throughout the informal meetings, the Working Group benefited from the
comments of and replies to questions by Ms. Silvia Cartwright, a
representative of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women, who participated in the Working Group as a resource person
in accordance with Economic and Social Council decision 1996/240.  She
explained the Committee's current working methods and the responsibilities
entrusted to it in accordance with article 17 of the Convention.

3.   With the agreement of the Working Group, the Chairperson also called
on non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations to make statements
on the substance of a matter.

4.   The following reflects the Chairperson's understanding of the
discussions of the Working Group on the draft optional protocol
(E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1), arranged on an article-by-article basis.  The
Chairperson wishes to note that, since no agreement has yet been reached in
the Working Group on the question of standing and on the terminology
regarding complainants, any such references in the following summary are
without prejudice to the final outcome of the work of the Working Group.


                                  Preamble

5.   The Working Group agreed that the optional protocol would be preceded
by a preamble.  Many delegations expressed a preference for a short,
succinct preamble.  Since the preamble would be expected to reflect the
content of the optional protocol, it was agreed to revert to it once the
body of the optional protocol had been agreed upon.


                                  Article 1

6.   Many delegations expressed a preference for a concise article 1,
limited to the question of the Committee's competence to receive and
consider communications, as proposed in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.  The
Working Group agreed ad referendum to that, although some delegations felt
that the article should be expanded to address also the question of
standing.  The addition of a reference that communications would be
submitted in accordance with the provisions of the present protocol
received support.

7.   While some delegations expressed a preference for maintaining a
separate subparagraph which would make it explicit that no communications
were to be received concerning a State party that was not a party to the
protocol, the Working Group agreed that such a provision was redundant and
could be deleted.


                                  Article 2

8.   Some delegations expressed support for the formulation contained in
document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, which would facilitate access to the
communications procedure by a potentially broad range of complainants.  It
was seen as a vehicle to overcome obstacles, such as illiteracy and
poverty, frequently faced by women in accessing international procedures of
redress for human rights violations.  Some delegations noted that the
article should address two issues - first, who was entitled to submit a
communication, and secondly, the scope of rights within the Committee's
competence.

9.   Various options for dealing with the question of who had standing were
proposed.  It was proposed that the article, in two subparagraphs, should
address victims (i.e., those whose rights had allegedly been violated). 
Some delegations suggested that those rights should be directly violated. 
A second subparagraph should indicate who might submit communications on
behalf of a victim or victims.  Others suggested that the article should
incorporate a third component and provide those "having sufficient
interest", but who were neither direct victims of a violation nor acting on
their behalf, with the right to submit a communication.

10.  Some delegations favoured the approach of the first Optional Protocol
to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which grants
standing to individuals only; others envisaged the possibility of standing
for groups of individuals, which was incorporated in the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, but not for groups per
se.  Some delegations were in favour of allowing communications from
individuals and groups; others wished to include the possibility of
communications from organizations.

11.  Those favouring standing for individuals or groups of individuals only
argued that the main purpose of an optional protocol to the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women should be to
provide a remedy for violations of the rights of individuals.  They
expressed the view that groups or organizations, as such, were not the
holders of human rights and could not be direct victims of a violation of
the Convention.  They indicated that only identifiable individuals
comprising the group or organization were victims of a violation and thus
be entitled to submit a communication.

12.  Some delegations were of the view that organizations should be granted
the right to submit communications but that the groups or organizations
entitled to do so should be limited to, for example, groups or
organizations with an interest in women's rights.  Others noted that such a
limitation would exclude communications from many organizations that do not
specialize in women's issues but that might initiate important
communications.

13.  Some delegations supported the inclusion in article 2 of standing for
representatives of alleged victims and suggested that there should be the
possibility for communications to be submitted on behalf of a victim or
victims.  A number of delegations noted that there was no need to make
explicit provision for representation in the optional protocol, since such
a right was automatically part of the right to complain.  The formulation
found in other instruments providing for the submission of a communication
"on behalf of" an individual or individuals encompassed situations in which
the individual was not in a position to submit a communication.  Some
delegations suggested that the right of communication should be confined to
victims and that submission of communications on behalf of victims should
be allowed in exceptional cases only.  Other delegations suggested that the
question of whether victims could be represented by third parties in the
absence of their consent should be considered.

14.  Some delegations suggested that allowing groups with sufficient
interest to submit communications would address situations where groups of
women - for example, women who had been trafficked - had suffered
violations.  It was also suggested that such a procedure could also be of
value in the light of the many obstacles women faced in effectively using
available means for claiming their rights.  A number of delegations were
doubtful whether those with "sufficient interest" in the matter but who
were not directly affected or acting on behalf of an individual or
individuals directly affected should be entitled to submit communications.

15.  Some delegations favoured the inclusion of standing for groups with
sufficient interest in order to address systemic and widespread situations
of violations of women's rights.  Such communications could potentially
benefit large numbers of women, without identifying a specific group of
victims.  Others noted that, in their view, the main purpose of a
communications procedure was to deal with violations of the rights of
individuals and thus they did not favour such an expansion of standing. 
Such situations, it was felt, might be better addressed through an inquiry
procedure.

16.  Many delegations supported the view that communications would need to
allege a violation of rights contained in the Convention.  Other
delegations were in favour of adding that failure of the State party to
comply with its obligations under the Convention should also provide a
basis for submitting a communication.  Some delegations suggested that that
would emphasize the comprehensive framework of the Convention which covered
a broad range of rights, thus making it a tool for addressing systemic and
structural causes of discrimination.

17.  Some delegations argued that failure to comply with the obligations in
the Convention was a violation of rights and therefore saw no need for its
explicit inclusion.  The point was made that it was unusual for individuals
to submit communications regarding the failure of States parties to comply
with obligations under the Convention.

18.  Some delegations pointed out that the scope of the Convention covered
more than clearly identifiable rights of individuals.  Inclusion of a
failure-to-comply provision would make it clear that the Committee was
empowered to deal not only with situations of direct violations but also
with the failure of States parties to take measures to implement the
Convention.  It was also noted that, instead of referring to failure of
States parties to comply with obligations, reference to the fact that
violations could arise from either acts or omissions would be sufficient to
cover that concern.

19.  A number of delegations noted that only victims subject to the
jurisdiction of the State party should be entitled to submit a
communication.  Many delegations stressed the fact that women refugees and
migrant women would be included within that category.

20.  While some delegations favoured the inclusion of a reference in
article 2 to the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies as a
precondition for the submission of a communication, others argued that all
admissibility criteria ought to be contained in a later article - namely,
article 4.


                                  Article 3

21.  Many delegations expressed support for the formulation proposed in
document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 as it was similar to language used in
comparable existing international procedures.  Some delegations noted that
inclusion of language requiring transmission of admissible communications
to the State party concerned was dealt with in a later article and thus did
not need to be addressed at the current stage.  The Working Group adopted
the article ad referendum.


                                  Article 4

22.  In considering admissibility criteria, many delegations expressed
support for an approach which would place the optional protocol on an equal
footing with similar international procedures.  They noted that a higher
admissibility threshold than in other procedures would be discriminatory to
women.

23.  The Working Group considered the possibility of combining all
admissibility criteria - that is, articles 3 and 4 - into one single
article.  It was, however, found that the criteria contained in article 3
were preconditions of receivability of a communication rather than
admissibility criteria strictu sensu.

24.  The Working Group attempted to combine the admissibility criteria of
article 4 under one chapeau but found that to be difficult.  Many
delegations expressed support for the formulation contained in article
4 (1) of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.  It was noted that a formulation
which would require the Committee itself to ascertain whether certain
criteria were met was potentially too burdensome.  Therefore, a formulation
should be sought in the chapeau which would lead to a declaration of
inadmissibility on the face of the communication. 
25.  The Working Group agreed ad referendum on the inclusion of a number of
admissibility criteria, including the following:  that a communication not
be incompatible with the provisions of the Convention; that it not be an
abuse of the right to submit a communication; and that available domestic
remedies be exhausted.  Some delegations suggested the addition to the
last-mentioned criterion of the notion that such exhaustion be determined
in accordance with generally recognized rules of international law, whereas
others felt that a more specific qualification should be added which would
cover the ineffectiveness or undue prolongation of such domestic remedies. 
Others were of the opinion that no qualification should be added.  It was
also suggested that it should be the duty of the petitioner to establish
the ineffectiveness of domestic remedies.

26.  Some delegations suggested that a criterion covering manifestly
ill-founded communications be included.  A number of delegations noted that
such a criterion, while found in a number of regional instruments, was not
to be found in any comparable international procedure.  While some
delegations proposed the addition of obviously political motivation as a
criterion of inadmissibility, many others suggested that that was a
particular example of an abuse of the right to submit a communication and
argued that specificity was unnecessary.  Other delegations argued that the
submission of unfounded accusations and distorted facts formed the core of
an abuse of the right to petition granted under an optional protocol of
that nature and should thus be explicitly included as inadmissibility
criteria.

27.  While some delegations proposed the inclusion of an admissibility
criterion covering the non-retroactive applicability of the optional
protocol, other delegations argued that, by definition, international
treaties were non-retroactive and the inclusion of such a criterion was
unnecessary.  A number of delegations pointed out that violations that
continued after the entry into force of the optional protocol were not
affected by the principle of non-retroactivity.

28.  The Working Group agreed ad referendum to include a criterion covering
inadmissibility for reasons of duplication of procedures.  In that regard,
some delegations considered that only a simultaneous examination by a
procedure of international investigation or settlement should be precluded,
whereas others argued that both the simultaneous and a subsequent
examination of the matter should be precluded.  The point was made that
since the adoption of the first optional protocol to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which precluded simultaneous
examination only, other similar procedures had entered into force, thus
justifying the exclusion of both a simultaneous and a subsequent
examination of the same matter.  Some delegations argued that
communications could be brought which might fall within the competence of
different treaty bodies or where gender issues were only one aspect of a
communication.  In that regard, the role of the Secretariat in registering
and channelling communications to treaty bodies was noted.

29.  The point was made that consideration of a communication by any other
international procedure should be precluded from the moment such a
communication had been taken note of by an international procedure.  Some
delegations emphasized the need for coordination among international human
rights mechanisms.

30.  The Working Group agreed that it would be inappropriate to provide the
Committee with the competence to determine that another procedure of
international investigation or settlement was unduly prolonged.  Some
delegations suggested that a reference to the Committee's own prior
consideration of the same, or of substantially the same, matter should be
included as a ground of inadmissibility.  Others suggested that that would
be unnecessary since such cases would be covered under the abuse of the
right to submit a communication.

31.  Some delegations suggested that the principles of objectivity and
impartiality, which were widely accepted in the field of human rights,
should be included as a criterion of admissibility.  Other delegations
noted that they could not agree to the inclusion of an admissibility
criterion addressing principles of objectivity and impartiality.


                                  Article 5

32.  Many delegations were in favour of the explicit inclusion of a
provision relating to interim measures in the optional protocol since such
a provision was in accordance with the current practice of similar
international procedures.  They considered that its inclusion in the
optional protocol would constitute a progressive codification of
international human rights law and would add to the transparency of the
procedure.  Some delegations recalled that interim measures were addressed
in the rules of procedure of other international procedures and suggested
that it be left to the Committee to include that matter in its rules of
procedure.

33.  Many delegations expressed a preference for language which would
enable the Committee to "recommend" such measures, as opposed to requesting
them, as currently formulated in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.  Other
delegations pointed out that the use of the term "recommend" would differ
from the language used in the practice of other treaty bodies and,
therefore, the term "request" should be retained.  Several delegations
noted that interim measures were of an extraordinary nature, similar to
comparable measures in many domestic legal systems and, as such, were
likely to be used sparingly.

34.  Many delegations suggested deletion of the term "preservation of the
status quo" as it was unclear and implicitly contained in the concept of
avoidance of irreparable harm.  Other delegations argued that the
preservation of the status quo was a well-known concept in domestic law,
which complemented the concept of avoidance of irreparable harm.  Several
delegations noted that other treaty bodies used the term "damage", as
opposed to the term "harm" in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, and suggested
that the two terms be clarified further.

35.  A number of delegations noted that a request for interim measures
might suggest prejudgment of the outcome of the consideration of a
communication.  Some delegations noted that a request for interim measures
would not in any way imply a determination on the merits of a communication
or, as the case may be, of its admissibility.  They proposed the addition
of a paragraph which would make that explicit.

36.  As to the inclusion of a provision which would call on the State party
to act in accordance with the Committee's request for interim measures
(article 5 (2)), many delegations considered that the formulation for such
a provision would need to be carefully considered.  Many delegations
expressed a preference for deleting the provision altogether, rather than
for a reformulation of the existing language.


                                  Article 6

37.  The Committee resource person noted the vulnerability of complainants
of violations of rights and the particular risks to women in that regard. 
Some delegations expressed support for the formulation as contained in
article 6 (1) of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.  Other delegations recognized
the need to reveal the victim's identity to the State party concerned in
order to enable the State party to provide explanations to the Committee
and a remedy to the complainant.  Therefore they suggested that the
revelation of the person's identity should be the rule, as knowledge of the
identity of the author by the State party was essential for providing an
effective remedy.  Some delegations stated that the complainant's express
consent prior to revealing her identity was essential to the procedure,
especially to ensure the petitioner's safety and to protect her from
reprisals.  Other delegations noted that the need for protecting the victim
could be addressed by withholding her identity temporarily during the
period of interim measures.  Others considered that permanent withholding
of the author's identity would need to be the exception.  Some delegations
suggested that such exception could be addressed in the Committee's rules
of procedure.

38.  Some delegations proposed that, rather than requiring the victim's
express consent prior to revealing her identity to the State party, the
victim should be required to object to the revelation of her identity
expressly.

39.  While some delegations argued for deletion of the first part of
article 6 (1) as being superfluous, other delegations noted that the
sentence reflected a carefully balanced sequence in the timing of the steps
the Committee would take in the consideration of communications.

40.  It was pointed out that in a number of articles of document
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 reference was made to "the author", whereas similar
instruments use the terms "individual" or "petitioner", and it was
suggested that those terms be used.  Some delegations suggested that
"victim" be used either in addition to or instead of "author".  It was
noted that the decision on the question of standing in article 2 would
determine which term should be used consistently throughout the protocol.

41.  As to time limits for the submission of information by the State party
to the Committee on a transmitted communication, some delegations were in
favour of three months, whereas others expressed a preference for six
months.

42.  Some delegations welcomed the explicit inclusion of a provision in the
optional protocol allowing a settlement at any time before a decision on
the merits by the Committee.  Noting the comments of the Committee resource
person with regard to the constructive role of the Committee, some
delegations welcomed the inclusion of such a provision as a modern means of
dispute resolution and as encouraging a friendly settlement between the
parties.  While a settlement would be based on a full disclosure of facts
by both parties, there would be no expression of views by the Committee but
instead a statement of a successful resolution of an issue.  Other
delegations pointed out that the Committee's potential role as mediator
might prevent it from playing its proper role under a communications
procedure.  They suggested that it should be left to the Committee to
address such a role in its rules of procedure.  Support was expressed for
the addition of language which would allow the Committee to indicate
clearly that a settlement had been reached on a matter.


                                  Article 7

43.  Some delegations proposed the deletion of any reference to "other
sources" of information.  Some noted that other sources of information
could, if so desired, be channelled into the process through cooperation
with either the State party or the author, thus making broadening access to
other sources of information unnecessary.  It was suggested that that could
be left to the Committee to include in its rules of procedure, as was the
case with other treaty bodies.  Other delegations pointed out that a
certain specificity with regard to such other sources of information might
be necessary and proposed to limit it to information available from United
Nations sources - for example, the reports of special rapporteurs in the
field of human rights.  Still other delegations expressed support for
maintaining the paragraph in its current formulation, without restrictions,
referring in particular to the explanations of the committee resource
person in that regard.  They noted that any information obtained from other
sources would, in any case, be transmitted to both parties for comment.

44.  While many delegations favoured the use of written information only in
the examination of a communication, some suggested that that issue should
be left to the Committee to determine.  Oral testimony should be permitted,
if the Committee so decided.  The point was made that the formulation that
information would be made available to the Committee by "or on behalf of"
the author and the State party suggested that unrelated third parties would
be entitled to provide information, which could make the process
potentially overwhelming; the formulation thus needed to be considered
further.

45.  The Working Group agreed ad referendum on article 7 (2) of document
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.

46.  While many delegations expressed support for the formulation contained
in article 7 (3) of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, other delegations noted
that no reference should be made either to the adoption by the Committee of
its views or to its recommendations.  In that regard it was noted by some
delegations that the current formulation reflected the sequence of actions
taken by the Committee and established practice of other treaty bodies. 
They also pointed out that the paragraph dealt with the conclusion of the
Committee's examination of a communication - that is, after the State party
had been given the opportunity to submit its comments and information to
the Committee.

47.  Some delegations proposed the addition of a paragraph which would
allow the State party concerned to participate in proceedings before the
Committee, in accordance with the practice under certain international
conventions.  Other delegations noted that the procedures referred to were
of a different type - that is, inter-State procedures, rather than
communications procedures.  They could therefore not support such a
proposal.  They emphasized that the practice of similar mechanisms was
essentially written in nature.  Some delegations noted that if there were
to be a provision allowing oral presentation by the State party, the same
right would need to be granted to the petitioner in order to ensure
equality. 


                                  Article 8

48.  While several delegations expressed support for the article as
contained in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, other delegations considered that
the inclusion of such a provision in the optional protocol would represent
a major step which needed careful consideration.  Still other delegations
considered the article to be redundant and proposed its deletion, doubting
the appropriateness of a provision which would allow the Committee to
request States parties to take specific remedial measures.  Several
delegations noted that States parties were, in any case, under an
obligation to remedy violations, and therefore saw no reason for explicitly
including such a provision in the optional protocol.

49.  Some delegations noted that the essence of article 8 (1) was already
reflected in article 7 (3) of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 and should
therefore be merged with it.  It was also suggested by some delegations
that the question of remedial measures should be regulated in the
Committee's rules of procedure and left to the practice of the Committee.

50.  Several delegations were in favour of maintaining explicit language
regarding the State party's obligation to provide an appropriate remedy,
including adequate reparation.  They pointed out that the inclusion of such
a provision in the optional protocol would be a contribution by the Working
Group to the progressive development of international law with regard to
the right to reparation for human rights violations.

51.  Many delegations expressed support for the intent reflected in
article 8 (3) of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, which would build on the
existing practice under similar existing procedures of continuing dialogue
between the Committee and the State party after the determination of a
communication and the finding of a violation.  At the same time, several
delegations suggested that the intent of the provision be added to article
7, in a new article 7 (4), rather than remaining in article 8.

52.  Several delegations expressed their concern that the proposal on
follow-up to concluded communications might establish a parallel procedure
to the reporting procedure in article 18 of the Convention and that that
should be avoided.  They suggested that the State party ought to be given
an opportunity to provide its comments on the Committee's views with regard
to a concluded communication, so as to allow for a reflection of a State
party's potential disagreement with the Committee's views in the
Committee's annual report.  Other delegations noted that States parties
would be requested to provide their comments and information at all the
various stages of the consideration of a communication.

53.  Some delegations suggested that any follow-up, including follow-up on
measures taken by the State party, should be included in the periodic
reports of that State party.  Other delegations noted that the reporting
procedure and the communications procedure under an optional protocol,
including any follow-up to the views of the Committee, were two separate
procedures which ought to be kept separate.  The long period of time
between periodic reports would make any follow-up to communications through
the reporting process less meaningful.


                                  Article 9

54.  Several delegations underlined the importance of including a complete
follow-up mechanism in the optional protocol, noting that the absence of
such a mechanism was considered a weakness in similar existing procedures. 
The Committee resource person stressed the importance of a continuing and
constructive dialogue between the Committee and the State party.

55.  As to the differences between the provisions contained in articles
8 (3) and 9 (2), it was pointed out that article 8 (3) dealt with the
short-term follow-up, whereas 9 (2) would cover ongoing and long-term
monitoring by the Committee in the framework of the reporting procedure of
a situation that had given rise to a violation.  In that regard, some
delegations noted that parallel overlapping procedures should be avoided
and that follow-up to the communications procedure should be limited to the
steps proposed in article 9 (2), with the deletion of article 8 (3). 
Noting the different objectives of articles 8 (3), 9 (1) and 9 (2), several
delegations supported the separate retention of the three provisions.

56.  Several delegations were in favour of retaining the provisions of
article 9 and stressed the importance of a dialogue between the Committee
and the State party as a means of ensuring added protection to the
individual in the short and long term.  Some noted that the term "discuss"
used in article 9 (1) was not entirely clear as it seemed to suggest an
oral discussion between the Committee and the State party, which was not
considered to be desirable or intended.  Several delegations pointed out
that article 8 (3) should be maintained as a mandatory short-term follow-up
to the Committee's views on a communication, whereas article 9 (1) and (2)
would cover further dialogue, if appropriate, possibly in the framework of
the reporting procedure.  Some delegations suggested deletion of article
9 (1), in the light of doubts raised in conjunction with the
appropriateness of article 8 and because it raised major issues of
jurisdiction and sovereignty.

57.  While agreeing on the need for a clear and simple mechanism,
delegations also highlighted the need to strive for an effective mechanism
which would include follow-up on the steps taken by States parties in the
light of views and recommendations adopted by the Committee regarding a
communication.


                             Articles 10 and 11

58.  Many delegations expressed support for articles 10 and 11, noting that
the procedure would allow the Committee to focus on the root causes of
discrimination and would be valuable in those cases where individual
victims who suffered over and above other women could not be identified. 
Some delegations suggested the inclusion of an article that, like article
20 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment, would allow the Committee, with the agreement of
the State party, to visit its territory.  While several delegations
suggested that the time-frame in which the State party should be obliged to
respond with its observations to the Committee should be six months, most
delegations envisaged a three-month period.

59.  Several delegations indicated that any protocol to the Convention
should be confined to providing an individual communications procedure only
and not contain the inquiry procedure envisaged in articles 10 and 11 of
document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1.  In so doing they suggested that the procedure
could be unnecessarily confrontational, could require significant human and
financial resources, and was appropriate only in the context of torture. 
Some delegations questioned the efficacy of an inquiry procedure of a legal
nature under an optional protocol to deal with serious and/or systematic
violations.  They suggested that such situations might require a more
political approach - for example, through the mechanisms of the Commission
on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women.

60.  Some delegations requested further clarification on the sources of
information that would trigger the process and how the veracity of that
information would be assessed.  Others pointed to the capacity of the
procedure to encourage dialogue between the State party and the Committee,
and suggested that the notion of the "cooperation" of the State party
should be incorporated into the procedure.

61.  A number of delegations suggested that the procedure should be
available where the violation was both serious and systematic.  Some argued
in favour of a provision in the protocol that would allow the State party
to "opt out" of an obligation to submit itself to the inquiry procedure,
whereas others did not favour such a provision.


                                 Article 12

62.  Although some delegations were of the view that article 12 of document
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 was not required in the protocol because any State that
had ratified or acceded to the Convention and the protocol would be obliged
to ensure that the procedures in the protocol could be accessed by all
persons under its jurisdiction, most delegations supported the inclusion of
an article that captured the spirit of article 12.  Many delegations
supported the reformulation of the provision in article 12 (a) in a
positive way so as to promote the relationship of the Committee and States
parties.


                                 Article 13

63.  The Working Group adopted article 13 of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 ad
referendum.


                                 Article 14

64.  Although some delegations suggested that article 14, which would
require States parties to make the protocol and its procedures known in
their countries, was unnecessary since international treaties ratified or
acceded to by many States were publicized in official gazettes, many
delegations were in agreement with the spirit of the article, which a
number noted was included in the rules of procedure of other bodies with
similar proceedings.  Some delegations believed that the views of the
Committee should be made known to the public by the State party only.  A
number of delegations suggested the reformulation of the article to require
the State party to make the protocol and its procedures widely known, while
others suggested that it might be unduly burdensome for the State party to
be required to publicize the Committee's views on individual communications
and inquiries.


                                 Article 15

65.  Some delegations doubted the necessity for the inclusion of the
article which would give the Committee the power to develop its own rules
of procedure with regard to the procedures elaborated in the optional
protocol.  They noted that the power to do so was to be found in article 19
of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women.  It was noted that a provision relating to rules of procedure was to
be found in article 39 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights but not in its first Optional Protocol and that, while it
might not be necessary to include such an article, the article provided
useful clarity.


                                 Article 16

66.  Although there was some support for the article, a number of
delegations suggested that a specific provision relating to the meeting
time of the Committee so as to allow it to carry out its functions under
the protocol, as proposed in article 16 of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, was
inappropriate and linked to resourcing of the proposed protocol.  Some
delegations suggested that the provision should indicate that the Committee
should meet for such a period as was necessary within its agenda to carry
out its functions under the protocol.


                                 Article 17

67.  Many delegations were satisfied with article 17 as set out in document
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, which addressed signature of, accession to and
ratification of the optional protocol.  Some delegations suggested
technical amendments relating to drafting and agreed that those issues
should be resolved in the light of legal opinion.


                                 Article 18

68.  Many delegations were of the view that the optional protocol should
enter into force after the fifth instrument of ratification or accession
was lodged with the Secretary-General so that victims would be able to take
early advantage of its procedures.  Others suggested that wide acceptance
of the optional protocol was of value and that the threshold should be 10
States parties, while a number were of the view that 20 should be required.


                                 Article 19

69.  Some delegations suggested that article 19 inappropriately sought to
extend the jurisdictional reach of the Convention and should therefore be
deleted.  It was suggested that it be reformulated to indicate that the
provisions of the protocol extend to the jurisdiction of a State party
without any limitations or exceptions, while a number of delegations
suggested that the formulation in document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 was
acceptable.  Some delegations doubted the necessity for the article, and
many delegations requested further information on the legal implications of
the proposal.


                                 Article 20

70.  A number of delegations pointed out that the Vienna Convention on the
Law of Treaties allowed reservations but prohibited any reservation which
was contrary to the object and purpose of a treaty.  A number of
delegations supported the inclusion of article 20, which precluded any
reservations to the optional protocol, noting that the Vienna Convention on
the Law of Treaties permitted such an article.  It was suggested that the
inclusion of the article was consistent with existing international
practice and would be appropriate for a modern instrument designed for the
twenty-first century.  It was pointed out that the opportunity of States
parties to choose not to submit to the inquiry procedure envisaged in
articles 10 and 11 of document E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 could be addressed by way
of an opt-out provision.  Several delegations suggested that the optional
protocol should not include an article concerning reservations.  It was
pointed out that, in any event, reservations to the protocol could not
affect the obligations undertaken by a State party as party to the
Convention.  Some delegations argued for a more specific provision, which
would allow specified reservations only or prohibit specified reservations.


                                 Article 21

71.  Delegations agreed with article 21 ad referendum as reflected in
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1, which concerned amendments to the optional protocol. 
It was suggested that further consideration be given to paragraph 3 of
article 21, which might not encompass procedural amendments which did not
affect all States parties.


                                 Article 22

72.  Delegations agreed with article 22 as contained in document
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 with a proviso on the inquiry procedure, providing for
denunciation of the protocol in principle and suggested that its language
be revised to follow that of article 13 of the first Optional Protocol to
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The Working
Group agreed that denunciation should take effect six months after the date
of receipt of notification of denunciation by the Secretary-General.


                             Articles 23 and 24

73.  Delegations agreed with articles 23 and 24 of document
E/CN.6/1997/WG/L.1 ad referendum.


                                  Resources

74.  The Working Group was aware that the entry into force of the optional
protocol would have resource implications.  It agreed to defer
consideration of the matter until the content of the protocol became
clearer and there was a basis for a more informed discussion of the matter.


             Comments of a member of the Human Rights Committee

75.  The Working Group was assisted by the comments of Ms. Elizabeth Evatt,
a member of the Human Rights Committee, who described aspects of the work
of that Committee in the context of the first Optional Protocol to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  She indicated that
the procedure provided by the first Optional Protocol did not entitle the
Human Rights Committee to pronounce on the domestic law of a country but
rather allowed it to determine whether the State party's law and practices
were in compliance with its international obligations which had become
binding on it because of ratification of or accession to a treaty.  She
noted that the Human Rights Committee's practice of requesting interim
measures had been respected by most States parties.  She also noted that
very few communications received by the Committee had been ruled
inadmissible on the grounds of being frivolous or vexatious.  She indicated
that the Committee drew a distinction between situations in which domestic
remedies were available but their application had been unreasonably
prolonged and situations in which domestic remedies were essentially
unavailable.


    	

 


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