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HR/5316
23 June 2016
States Parties to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1st Meeting (AM)

States Parties to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Elect Seven New Members, Re-elect Two of Human Rights Committee

The thirty-fifth Meeting of States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights re-elected two members of the Human Rights Committee today, together with seven new members of the monitoring body, in three rounds of secret balloting.

Elected in the first round were incumbent Committee members Ahmed Amin Fathalla (Egypt), Anja Seibert-Fohr (Germany) and Yuval Shany (Israel), as well as José Manuel Santos Pais (Portugal), Ilze Brands Kehris (Latvia), Tania María Abdo Rocholl (Paraguay) and Marcia V.J. Kran (Canada).

Rounds two and three saw the election of Christof Heyns (South Africa) and Koita Bamariam (Mauritania) respectively.

All nine will serve four-year terms beginning on 1 January 2017 and ending on 31 December 2020.

By acclamation, the States parties elected Hiroshi Minami (Japan) as Chairperson and Benjamin Valli (Monaco) as Vice-Chairperson of the Meeting.

At the outset of the meeting, Charles Radcliffe, Chief of the Global Issues and Inter-Governmental Section in the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted how, in Geneva, the Committee today celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights with a joint meeting with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Stressing the indivisibility and interdependence of all rights, he hoped that delegations would support upcoming anniversary events, including those planned for the General Assembly’s seventy-first session.

Since 2014, he said, the Committee had increased the number of State party reports examined to 39, thanks to extra meeting time and resources provided by the General Assembly under resolution 68/268, as well as its own initiatives to improve its working methods.  Currently, 19 initial and periodic reports were pending consideration.  In terms of individual communications, he said, the number of live cases at the end of 2015 stood at 536, of which more than 200 were ready to be decided by pending examination by the Committee.

He went on to discuss the Committee’s ongoing adoption of a list of issues prior to reporting under its new optional reporting procedures, known as the Simplified Reporting Procedure.  To date, he said, it had adopted 28 lists of issues and examined 10 reports received under that Procedure, which 39 States parties had signed up to.  While grateful to the General Assembly for providing, through resolution 68/268, two and a half extra weeks of meeting time in 2015 and 2016, it regretted an insufficient provision of human resources.  As a result, the Committee was not able to avail itself of the extra meeting time.

Mr. Radcliffe also noted that English and Spanish versions of a handbook for treaty body members were ready, with versions in other languages coming out soon.  Hopefully, he said, the handbook would help States in nominating and electing competent and independent treaty body members.

In other business, representatives of Belarus and the Russian Federation made statements regarding the Committee’s working methods.

Mandated to monitor implementation of the International Covenant and its Optional Protocols within the territory of each State party, the Human Rights Committee comprises 18 independent experts of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.  It is elected by States parties, with half its members elected every second year, and all serving four-year terms.  The Committee convenes three times a year for three-week sessions, two of which are held in Geneva and one in New York.

The 1966 International Covenant commits its 168 States parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, in addition to electoral and due process rights, and the right to a fair trial.  It lays out fundamental human rights in areas such as self-determination and discrimination.  Particular articles establish a ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Voting Results

The results of the first round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers:

165

Number of invalid ballots:

1

Number of valid ballots:

164

Abstentions:

0

Present and voting:

164

Required (absolute) majority:

83

Number of votes obtained:

José Manuel Santos Pais (Portugal)

103

Ilze Brands Kehris (Latvia)

98

Tania María Abdo Rocholl (Paraguay)

97

Marcia V.J. Kran (Canada)

93

Ahmed Amin Fathalla (Egypt)

92

Anja Seibert-Fohr (Germany)

92

Yuval Shany (Israel)

83

Sergiy Kyslytsya (Ukraine)

73

Christof Heyns (South Africa)

68

Fabián Omar Salvioli (Argentina)

65

Koita Bamariam (Mauritania)

63

Rhadys Iris Abreu Blondet de Polanco (Dominican Republic)

59

Rookmeenee Narainamah Narayen (Mauritius)

58

Alvina Gyulumyan (Armenia)

57

Lalane Josiane Ralaivaoarisoa (Madagascar)

57

Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom)

54

Dodzi Komla Kokoroko (Togo)

53

Bello Bukhari (Nigeria)

47

Victor Manuel Rodríguez-Rescia (Costa Rica)

43

Sêgnitondji Isidore Clément Capo-Chichi (Benin)

36

Osman El Hajjé (Lebanon)

34

Honoré Mitshabo Tshitenge (Democratic Republic of Congo)

28

The results of the second round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers:

164

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

164

Abstentions:

0

Present and voting:

164

Required (absolute) majority:

83

Number of votes obtained:

Christof Heyns (South Africa)

94

Koita Bamariam (Mauritania)

77

Fabián Omar Salvioli (Argentina)

74

Sergiy Kyslytsya (Ukraine)

73

The results of the third round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers:

164

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

164

Abstentions:

0

Present and voting:

164

Required (absolute) majority:

83

Number of votes obtained:

Koita Bamariam (Mauritania)

86

Fabián Omar Salvioli (Argentina)

78

For information media. Not an official record.