REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER

FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD

CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS

EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Note by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

  The High Commissioner for Human Rights has the honour to transmit to the members of the Commission on Human Rights the report of the eleventh meeting of special rapporteurs/representatives, independent experts and chairpersons of working groups of the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights and of the advisory services programme, which took place in Geneva from 21 to 25 June 2004.


REPORT OF THE ELEVENTH MEETING OF SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS/ REPRESENTATIVES, INDEPENDENT EXPERTS AND CHAIRPERSONS OF WORKING GROUPS OF THE SPECIAL PROCEDURES OF THE

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OF THE ADVISORY

SERVICES PROGRAMME

(Geneva, 21-25 June 2004)

Rapporteur: Gabriela Pizzaro-Rodriguez

Summary

The eleventh meeting of special rapporteurs/representatives, experts and chairpersons of working groups of the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights and of the advisory services programme was held in Geneva from 21 to 25 June 2004. Twenty-six mandate-holders participated and discussed a variety of issues, including measures that could be taken to enhance the effectiveness of the special procedures system as well as ways and means of integrating their work into the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through its field presences, technical cooperation activities and the work of its National Institutions Team, and into the wider United Nations system in accordance with the Secretary-General’s reform agenda. In a joint meeting with the persons chairing the human rights treaty bodies, mandate-holders discussed the challenges that the current international climate and the fight against terrorism pose for the protection and promotion of human rights.

The participants held meetings with the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the Chairperson and the Expanded Bureau of the sixtieth session of the Commission, with interested non-governmental organizations as well as with OHCHR.

In the context of the discussions of the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, the participants welcomed the steps taken by OHCHR to improve the servicing of the mandates and enhance their effectiveness. They recommended that efforts be made to improve links between their mandates and United Nations country teams (UNCTs) and expressed the need In the context of the discussions of the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, the participants welcomed the steps taken by OHCHR to improve the servicing of the mandates and enhance their effectiveness. They recommended that efforts be made to improve links between their mandates and United Nations country teams (UNCTs) and expressed the need for more support and follow-up to their work at the country level by UNCTs and resident coordinators.

Also, it was felt that more needed to be done by all partners to disseminate information about the work of special rapporteurs; relations with the press could be important in this regard. The meeting also welcomed the steps taken to increase interaction between, and cooperation with, human rights treaty bodies.

The participants also reiterated their concerns about violations of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism measures and the need to continue to monitor developments in this area. The participants issued joint statements at the end of the meeting on this issue, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as the current attempts to institutionalize discrimination against and exclusion of migrants. The text of these statements are annexed to the present report.


II.   ENHANCING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SPECIAL

PROCEDURES SYSTEM AND CAPACITY-BUILDING

26. The meeting also addressed more conceptually the question of communications to Governments on alleged violations of human rights and of press releases and briefings. Participants exchanged their respective experiences in this regard and discussed their ability to address issues of common concern or of concern to more than one mandate either directly with Governments through communications, or through press releases and briefings. Questions relating to their status vis-à-vis the United Nations when doing so and to the clearing of their communications before they were issued were raised.

42. In concluding the items, participants reiterated their concern about violations of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism measures and stressed the need to continue to monitor developments in that area. They also expressed their concern about the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as about the current attempts to institutionalize discrimination against and exclusion of migrants. They adopted three joint statements on these situations, which are reproduced in annex I.

 


Annex I

JOINT STATEMENTS BY PARTICIPANTS AT THE ELEVENTH ANNUAL

MEETING OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS/REPRESENTATIVES,

INDEPENDENT EXPERTS AND CHAIRPERSONS OF THE WORKING

GROUPS OF THE SPECIAL PROCEDURES OF THE COMMISSION ON

HUMAN RIGHTS AND OF THE ADVISORY SERVICES PROGRAMME

B.   Violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories

The special rapporteurs/representatives, independent experts and chairpersons of the working groups of the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights and of the advisory services programme, meeting in eleventh annual session in Geneva from 21 to 25 June 2004, express our strong concern regarding continuous violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territories, despite grave concerns repeatedly expressed by the international community, including through Security Council resolution 1544 (2004) of 19 May 2004. Such expressions of grave concern have been dealt with in numerous missions and statements by special procedures. This concern has been most recently expressed in numerous statements regarding the human rights violations taking place during the military incursion by the Israeli Defence Force in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

  We deplore the practices of the Israeli authorities, including targeted killings, excessive use of force during military incursions, arbitrary and long periods of incommunicado detention, and torture and other forms of inhuman and degrading ill-treatment. Furthermore, we deeply regret the policy of demolition of Palestinian houses and destruction of civilian property, the massive confiscation and destruction of land and restrictions on the freedom of movement, which violates, inter alia, the human rights to food, housing, water, health, education and work.

  We also denounce the practice of “suicide bombings” carried out against the Israeli population.

  Recalling previous recommendations of United Nations human rights mechanisms, we would urge the Security Council to authorize an international protection force in the occupied Palestinian territories to ensure that human rights violations cease.

  We will continue to closely monitor the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and to report on violations, through joint action when necessary. We urge Israel to comply with its obligations under international law and to fully cooperate with the United Nations protection and monitoring mechanisms, including during country visits by special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights.

  The special rapporteurs/representatives, independent experts and chairpersons of the working groups of the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights and of the advisory services programme, meeting in eleventh annual session in Geneva from 21 to 25 June 2004, express our strong concern regarding the continued deterioration in the situation and the denial of the human rights of migrants. We recognize the sovereign right of States to promulgate laws and regulations concerning the entry of aliens and the terms and conditions of their stay. Such actions by States must, however, be consistent with their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law. In this regard, we wish in particular to express our concern about the current attempts to institutionalize discrimination and exclusion of migrants as well as the increasing tendency to restrict the human rights of migrants, including the treatment that migrants, especially women and unaccompanied minors, deemed to be irregular, receive.

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