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What happens if a State party does not submit a report to the UN Human Rights Committee?

Обновлено 16.04.2024 15:51


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Some States are systematically late in submitting their reports and/or are not participating in the planned dialogue. All this leads to the fact that the situation in some States parties has not been considered by the Committee for many years. In response to this unacceptable situation, the Committee decided in 2001 that discussion of the situation in a particular State was possible at the discretion of the Committee and in the absence of a report, and, if necessary, in the absence of a delegation of representatives of the State party, which would be informed in advance of the proposed date for such consideration. The main factor taken into account when deciding which State will be considered in accordance with this procedure is, of course, the delay in the submission of the report or its non-submission. At the same time, in a closed session, the Committee adopts preliminary concluding observations on the basis of information provided to it on the State party concerned. These observations are transmitted to the State party and may subsequently be made public in their original or modified form.

The purpose and significance of the reporting process.

The process of preparing the report described above provides an opportunity for the State party, within its national structures, to understand the content of the obligations it has undertaken under the Covenant and to gain an understanding of the current situation with regard to the observance of Covenant rights, as well as to identify areas requiring reform in order to ensure full implementation of the Covenant. Consultations within government structures and between the Government and civil society in order to prepare a detailed report can improve understanding of the Covenant and the goals in the field of human rights in general. At the same time, the atmosphere of transparency in the preparation of the report reveals the degree of compliance by the State with its obligations and ways to further facilitate their implementation by individuals and organizations. The Committee's consideration of the report allows for a dialogue between the State party and a group of impartial and highly qualified experts, during which areas for improvement can be identified and appropriate proposals made. The process of preparing and reviewing reports also allows other States seeking to ensure the implementation of the Covenant to gain an understanding of the best practice options and experience gained in this regard.

Finally, the outcome of this procedure, in the form of concluding observations, provides a reliable guide for the development of legislation, policies and programmes in the future. Although the concluding observations are aimed at one State party, they can also be used by other stakeholders to promote the enjoyment of human rights in the State party and to create an appropriate human rights culture. In addition, they can serve as valuable guidance for other Participating States experiencing similar problems.

What is the direction of the preparation and presentation of reports?

The process of preparing and submitting reports has been the subject of discussion for a number of years, not least because of the trend towards a significant increase in the volume of pending reports, which affected all treaty bodies to varying degrees in the 1990s, as well as general concerns about the effectiveness of the entire process. Over the past three years, the Committee has been seriously engaged in improving the process of preparing, submitting and reviewing reports. As a rule, a reform proposal is put forward by one or more members of the Committee, which is studied on behalf of the Committee by an informal working group from among its members with the assistance of the secretariat, and then discussed in plenary, and a decision is taken on it.

At the same time, the treaty bodies are increasing their efforts to harmonize procedures in order to reduce duplication and overlap in their work and use the relevant qualifications and experience of the treaty bodies. Examples of ongoing work to enhance coordination among treaty bodies are the results of the recently introduced practice of annual meetings of the chairpersons of treaty bodies and inter-committee meetings attended by members of each of the treaty bodies. The documents agreed upon at these meetings can be found in the database of treaty bodies of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (http//

In 2002, the Secretary-General called for further reform of the treaty body system. In response to this call, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has initiated consultations with treaty bodies, States parties and other stakeholders to identify ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the treaty body system. One possible way to simplify such a system is for States to submit a single consolidated report to all treaty bodies covering in full all their obligations under the treaties to which they are parties.

In particular, the possibility of using a substantially expanded core document, which would cover all issues common to treaties and would be presented along with brief reports on treaty-specific issues, with particular attention to follow-up to previous concluding observations of the treaty body, is currently being explored. In June 2004, the inter-committee meeting and the meeting of committee chairmen agreed that States that would like to use this approach in preparing reports to treaty bodies could adopt it.

It can be expected that in the coming years there will be further improvements in the working methods and practices of all treaty bodies, including the Human Rights Committee.


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