Pakistan

Human rights body reminds Pakistan of duty to report on civil and political rights

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NEW YORK (4 April 2011) : The Human Rights Committee may examine Pakistan's actions to promote and protect human rights guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, despite a reservation excluding itself from the treaty's reporting obligations.

In a statement issued Friday at the end of its 101st session in New York, the Committee recalled that article 40 of the Covenant, to which Pakistan has made a reservation, gives the Human Rights Committee the competence to study reports submitted by States Parties.

"This [function] is of critical importance for the performance of the Committee's monitoring functions and essential to the raison d'être of the Covenant," the Committee said.

The Committee's rules of procedure allow it to examine a State Party's record in the absence of a report. Under the Covenant, Pakistan's initial report is due on 23 September 2011.

During its three-week session, the Committee issued observations and recommendations on the implementation of civil and political rights by Mongolia, Serbia, Slovakia and Togo after examining their reports. The Committee also considered the Seychelles in the absence of a report.

The Committee discussed a "General Comment" – an interpretative guidance to states – on article 19 of the Covenant, which guarantees freedom of expression and information.

It also identified issues and questions to be put to Iran, Yemen, Norway, Dominican Republic, and Malawi ahead of the consideration of their reports during upcoming sessions.

In addition, the Committee considered 40 individual communications alleging violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights against various States parties.

The Human Rights Committee is a body of 18 independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is one of the primary international human rights treaties. Adopted in 1966, the Convention has 167 countries as parties.

The Committee's concluding observations are available at the following link: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/hrcs101.htm