OHCHR - Press Conference: UN Human Rights Committee's findings - 28 March 2024
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OHCHR - Press Conference: UN Human Rights Committee's findings - 28 March 2024


  • José Manuel Santos Pais (Vice-Chair)
  • Hélène Tigroudja (Committee Member)
  • Carlos Gómez Martínez (Committee Member)
Good afternoon.
Sorry for our slight delay.
Welcome to the Human Rights Committee press conference on its finding about Chile,
Guyana, Indonesia, Namibia, Serbia, Somalia
and the UK
being with us today on the podium, we have Mr
Central Pais,
Vice Chair of the committee
and Mr Gomez, members of the committee
The committee will first walk us through the main concerns
And in the second half of the press conference,
you will have a chance to ask them questions.
Without further delay, I would now pass on the floor to Mr Santo
Vice chair, please.
Thank you.
Thank you. Good afternoon.
So in the present session and the AIDS reporting procedure of the Covenant,
the committee held rich and constructive dialogues with the delegations of Chile,
Guana Indonesia,
Namibia, Serbia,
United, King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Most of the reviews were conducted in person with
the respective delegations present in the conference room.
requested the review to be conducted in a
format and the committee
accepted this request.
most of the reviews were conducted under the simplified reporting procedure,
allowing non reporting and late reporting states
to begin engagement with the committee. In
this regard,
the committee was pleased to initiate a
constructive dialogue with the allegation of Somali,
which presented its initial report
which was due for 35 years.
During the current session, delegations generally engage with frankness
and the desire to achieve a meaningful dialogue.
We have noted positive developments since the last
reviews of the state party appearing before us
while at the same time identifying areas of concerns
and making recommendations to the state parties.
An important element to take into consideration
is the fact that many of the country's reviews come at the right moment.
Some of them are engaged in constitutional reforms
or in a substantial change of domestic legislation
and policies on very important subjects
for which the concluding observations of the committee
may be of particular relevance.
A follow up report concluding observations
relating to four countries was concluded.
The four countries were Finland,
Paraguay, Tunisia and Uzbekistan.
Regarding individual communications, we considered 19 draughts in the session
relating to 43 communications,
19 were decided on the merits,
nine were declaring admissible and 15 were discontinued.
Regarding the communications decided on the merits,
the committee found violations
in 90 of them
due to the high number of individual communications
spending consideration by the treaty body system,
almost 2000,
of which more than 70 per cent relate to the Human Rights Committee alone.
strategy was agreed upon with Petitions section
to substantially increase the number of
cases considered for the upcoming sessions.
Shall I move to the countries
on Chile? The committee considered the seven periodic reports.
There were several areas of concerns raised, for instance,
fighting impunity and human rights violations
committing during the military dictatorship,
anti terrorism legislation,
violence against women and girls, prohibition of torture and the cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
right to peaceful assembly, fair trial rights and judicial independence.
the priority recommendations. The committee raise
three important areas of concern.
The first one.
Gender equality and humans,
participation in political and public life and
their representation in public and private sectors,
as well as equal rights between spouses.
The second
area of concern was excessive use of force in the context of social protests,
and the third one
was the rights of indigenous people and people of African descent.
Moving to Serbia,
We considered the fourth periodic report of Serbia
There were several areas of concerns raised, for instance,
discrimination and marginalisation faced by the Roma community,
gender equality,
violence against women, including domestic violence,
disappeared persons and accountability for past human rights violations,
prohibition of torture and the cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
asylum seekers and the principle of non rueful
independence of the judiciary and the public prosecution
right to privacy and surveillance
right of peaceful assembly.
Concerning the three priority recommendations on this country,
we address the issue of hate crimes.
The second area of concern was protection of journalists
and the third area of concern was participation in public affairs.
We may eventually delve more on this issue If you would like to
going to the third country Somalia, we consider,
uh, this, uh, uh
country as well. It was the initial report, as I referred to,
and the priority recommendations that we addressed was
first excessive use of force and killing of civilians by armed forces,
law enforcement officers, Al Shabaab
and other terrorist groups.
The Second Area Administrative of Justice and independence of the judiciary
and the Third rights of the Child.
Thank you.
Thank you, mister. As
Pais now May we have Mister Guja to present the next two countries?
Good afternoon, the Human Rights Committee.
We've reviewed the eighth Report of the
United Kingdom and Great Britain and Northern Ireland
in the
Cubs and in our dialogue we shared our concerns on several issues,
such as accountability for past human
rights violations in relation with the adoption
of the Northern Ireland Troubles Legacy and Reconciliation Act Adopted in 2023.
The Human Rights Committee is particularly concerned
by many provisions of the act,
such as the conditional immunity scheme,
the independence of the Independent Commission
for Reconciliation and Information Recovery,
the absence of power to investigate the serious violations of human rights.
The commission has only the power to review the allegations,
which does not meet the requirements to bring people to justice and to
ensure the rights of victims and their families to justice and truth.
Among other serious issues,
the committee expressed its deep concerns regarding the
Illegal Migration Act and the Rwanda safety bill.
The committee considers that this legislative framework is seriously at
odds with many of the UK basic international obligations,
not only vis a vis the covenant, but also with regard to the
the European Convention on Human Rights
and the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees
in the Cops. In the concrete
observations, the committee urged the State party to repeal this legislation.
Other concerns related to counterterrorism measures,
slavery and trafficking in persons, structural, racial discrimination,
application of the covenant overseas and in
UK dependencies.
Voting rights of prisoners are also including in our concluded observations.
The committee also requested the State Party to clarify its position
on the potential withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Human Rights Committee also reviewed the third periodic Report of
Guyana under an hybrid mode.
Our last concluded observations were adopted in 2000, so more than 20 years ago.
In the current concluded observations,
the committee expressed its concerns about corruption issues,
the situation of indigenous peoples in the country
and especially their legal status and rights,
questions of
violence against women and femicide,
problems of independence of the judiciary and backlog of judicial proceedings,
among other issues.
Questions were asked about the combination of the protection of the environment,
the fight against the harmful impact of climate change and
the oil and gas destructive activities.
The committee insisted on the need to
ensure the management of natural resources free
from any corruption waste and with the
meaningful and effective participation of affected population,
including fishermen and indigenous peoples.
Referring to the recent ratification of the
ESCAZU agreement,
the committee highlighted the importance to combine the right to a dignified life,
protection of the environment,
protection of natural resources and extractive companies activity.
The committee also noted with great interest the upcoming constitutional reform,
but insisted on the need for the state party to use this momentum
to put important parts of its domestic
legislation in line with its covenant obligations,
especially regarding the non discrimination
Other topics such as the much needed reform of the electoral system,
crackdown of the civic space, use of torture by police officers, aid,
speech and protection of disadvantaged groups such as L
people are also including in our concrete observations.
Thank you, Miss Tigua.
Now we have Mr Gomez to present Indonesia
and Namibia. Thank you.
Thank you
and good afternoon
regarding Indonesia. Our main concerns were related in
first place to the accountability for past human rights violations.
The committee is concerned by the pattern of extrajudicial executions
and welcomes the Supreme Court decision
delivered in 2023 upholding the conviction of
six law enforcement officers for the premeditated murder
and mutilation of four Papuan people in
But we are concerned by multiple reports of extrajudicial
killings and enforced of indigenous peoples in Papua,
which have not been investigated despite the state party's commitment to do so.
The committee also regrets that following the acquittal of Isaac
in 2022 there is still a lack of information on the charges brought against other
military officers who participated in the reported
extrajudicial killings of four Papuan Children in Panai
We are also concerned on the outcomes of the
investigation into enforced disappearances of
pro democracy student protesters between
1997 to 1998
and on the locations of the mass graves. Of the
estimated 500,000 victims, 500,000
victims of the anti communist massacres between
1619, 65 and 1966.
We are concerned that the decisions adopted on January 2023 on 12 cases brought
before the non judicial Resolution Team procedures
human rights violation is still not public.
Therefore, we
recommend Indonesia to guarantee the independence and impartiality
of both judicial and non judicial accountability mechanisms
to promptly investigate all human rights violations
to afford full reparation for all victims.
To ensure access to public information regarding such cases to guarantee that
mourning and commemorative activities for victims
are conducted without restrictions or threats,
and ensuring that the Commission of Human Rights Commas Hands
findings are followed through by law enforcement agencies.
The second issue, the second issue that was object of our concerns is the
persons deprived of the liberty and conditions of detention,
especially the persons with disabled with mental disabilities,
because we welcome the adoption of the Correctional System Act Law
in 2022
and we welcome
the adoption of local regulations and
bylaws prohibiting shackling to these persons.
The committee, however,
regrets the lack of information provided on penalties
or effective remedies afforded to the victims and their
families in the 4441 cases of shackling that
have been identified by the minister of Health.
Therefore, we recommend the State Party to harmonise laws and policies,
including local regulations,
and by laws on the detention of people with psychological disabilities,
with international human rights standards and harmonised laws and policies also
approach the situation as a health situation and not
as a prison situation.
The third issue we are worried about is the freedom of expression.
We regret the limited information on laws and
policies to protect individuals exercising freedom of speech,
including human rights defenders, community leaders and journalists.
And we are also worried about the Article 240 of
the amended criminal Code and the modification of the Law
on electronic Information and Transaction that allows to criminalise insulting
the president of the republic and other public officials.
The important thing is that we have also fixed
the follow up procedure for March of 2027.
That means that the state will come before the committee again on
that day to verify whether the recommendations have been implemented or not.
Regarding Namibia.
you know that Namibia is a wealth is a multi party democracy since its independence
and there have been even a soft transition of a change of presidency,
and regularly there have been holding
Nevertheless, of course,
human rights are a challenge for every country and also for Namibia.
The main problem that we have identified regards the rights of indigenous peoples.
We are concerned that the State Party does
not recognise communities such as the sun,
the Himba,
the O,
the O
and ova
as indigenous people because they are referred
to in the laws as marginally marginalised,
not as indigenous peoples, and therefore they are deprived
of some of the rights
that correspond to these indigenous peoples, such as
the consultation regarding the extradition of natural resources on their lands.
And we are also worried about the fact that some of the, uh of the
ancestral land of those indigenous peoples
are, uh are now of the property of the state, but not of these ethnic group groups.
we have recommended the state to consider
recognising communities such as the one I mentioned
with as indigenous peoples with concomitant
rights recognised in international standards such
as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr Gomez. Now we may open the floor for questions.
If you have any questions, please raise your hand.
We can also take question from, um online.
It seems you have presented very clearly.
And so far we don't have any question from our online participant at the moment.
Sorry, we have three questions online. Oh, I didn't see any hands raised.
Now it's for
you. Have
thank you very much.
My question is, uh, on Chile.
Sorry, because I haven't had time to read the report.
There is many reports going on this morning, so
I would like to know if in the report there are some, uh,
recommendations for Chile regarding the treatment of migrants because it's
something that is, uh is on the news there. Uh, every day,
Uh, some parts of society have link the the increase of migrants from Venezuela,
Colombia and other countries to a rising, uh, insecurity.
This has also provoked a narrative against immigration.
So, I, I want to know if this has been
touched by your report. Thank you very much.
Good afternoon. Thank you for your question. Yes, we did deal with the problem of
foreign nationals, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
We mainly concerned with the law 21 3, 25 on migration and aliens.
We took note of that law,
but we recommend that the state party to ensure that persons
in need of international protection would have unhindered access to territory
and to fair and efficient individual refugee status
or international protection determination procedures
in order to ensure respect for the principle of
non refoulement
also to guarantee compliance with due process standards and the principle of non
mining expulsion procedures. That was one of the concerns that you have raised
and also to promote
migration policy based on human rights,
including the principle of non discrimination and ensuring that legislation
conforms to international human rights standards.
And of course,
a very important subject that ties with the concern that you have raised
is the need to implement awareness raising campaigns
to promote a culture of respect for migrants and their rights
as well as the non criminalization of irregular migration.
That was one of the problems relating
particularly to the Venezuelan population.
But we asked the state party to consider these
persons not as criminalised persons, particularly as victims.
I don't know if this satisfies our question. If not, please return.
Thank you.
And, uh, we have, um, Victim member. Could you please amuse yourself
and identify your media? Please
thank you.
from West Pua,
Uh, I want to
Sorry. We can't hear you.
Sorry. We
No, we can't hear you quite clearly. Can you?
Hello. Sorry.
I am Victor Mamo
from West Papua Indonesia.
I would like to deliver a present for you.
Uh, about, uh,
on 2019,
Uh, Commissioner
of Human Rights.
Ask the
international government to fix it.
Hello? Can you help me?
Maybe I would suggest you type your question, and then we will answer your question.
OK? Thank you.
Yes, thank you.
And then now we can go to Dennis.
Please identify your, um, media organisation as well, Please.
Sure. Uh, my name is Dennis Charo,
and I work for the
Mira Waves online news and Diana.
My questions are
Can you say, uh,
how are the questions that are being posed by
the representatives of the of the UN committee Determining
um, can you say whether, um how do you react to claims by the by the government here
that the opposite? That
the that you're saying that the opposition had contaminated
um, the the, uh, the United States. Normally,
uh, on the UN HR C by virtue of the types of questions he asked.
Thank you. Thank you for your question.
Actually, we made very clear,
including our chair and the members of the of the Human Rights Committee.
We made very clear with
the delegation
that when we ask question, we use exactly the same methodology for all states.
All States party to the covenant.
It means that we prepare the questions based on credible information,
reliable resources we received.
And we explained also to the delegation that
all the report and all the information we
referred to in our dialogue were put on the website of the Human Rights Committee.
So it's also something the chair
explained at the beginning of the dialogue and we highlighted this element. So
we use indeed, public document, public information
and the interest of the dialogue is not to accuse any state and Guyana
here in this case.
But it's to bring the attention of the state to some of the
information. We received some statistics etcetera, etcetera
and to give
the delegation the opportunity to provide their
feedback or to provide their replies.
that's the methodology we use with all the states.
Indeed, sometimes we receive some criticism,
but it's public and transparent methodology.
mean, we cannot say more, I would say, and I can understand that the state
is not happy with the way we draught our questions. But
these questions reflect some concerns and serious concerns we have in
terms of implementation of the covenant in the state Party.
I would say it's
the logic. When a state does accept to ratify an international instrument,
it also accept to be overviewed by the Human
Rights Committee as the monitoring body of the covenant.
Thank you. I can see. Um, Dennis, do you have a a follow up question?
Yes, I would like to know. Broadly speaking.
will Guyana be punished?
if it does not implement any of the recommendations that
have been highlighted in the in the final document.
And what are some of the sanctions that that Guyana can possibly face if it does not
take any action to resolve those many issues
that you've pointed out in your concluding document?
Excellent question. Thank you very much.
No, we do not punish any states actually, what we call our concluded observations
in our concluded observations, we make recommendations.
And the idea and the logic of these recommendations is really to
guide states parties and to help state parties in their process of implementation.
We have what we call.
So when we issue the concrete observations,
we have indeed these three priority recommendations.
And then we have a follow up mechanism.
And the follow up mechanism
is precisely a mechanism that was adopted by the Human
Rights Committee to try to help the state to implement
the concrete
observations. But again,
the report is not a judgement adopted by a tribunal. Also, we are not a tribunal.
We do not have.
I would say the function or the mission to punish any state is really
something that must be taken by the States as a sort of guiding document
with our concerns with our recommendations to
better implement the covenant in the territory of the state. So
I hope it answers your question.
Thank you, Mister Guja. Now we have a nick from New York Times.
Nick, you have the floor.
Yeah. Thank you for this briefing and for taking the question.
looking at the UK, um,
and the Overseas Operations Act that you mentioned I mean the UK delegation,
I think in the course of the hearing
said that this still left open
the possibility of prosecution in all cases. So I'm I'm I'm wondering,
why you you You don't accept that reassurance and you still feel
that this is a bill that is worth repealing or significantly amending?
Secondly, um, when you look at,
the public order act, uh, the counterterrorism legislation, the investigatory
powers Bill Um, I wonder if you have any wider concerns, uh,
about the U K's trajectory when it comes to protection of civil rights.
Thank you.
Yes, thank you. Also for for for raising this point. So on your first question,
I mean, this was a serious This is a serious concern.
So we put this in the conversation because it's really a serious concern.
It's not a new issue.
This impression of impunity, absence of investigation,
absence of prosecution for allegations of war,
crime or grave violations of human rights, torture and so on committed overseas.
of course, we are very happy to receive this insurance from the state party.
But we would be much more happy to have precise information on prosecution,
investigation and if needed
sanction of soldiers or UK agents when they commit
crimes or serious violation of human rights. So
I mean again, it it. It's good to hear that the leg
that the state party is willing to, uh,
improve the implementation of accountability.
But we cannot say that we are satisfied by, uh, this, uh, general answer
on your second question, it's really something we have. Um
we have also shared with with with the UK delegation what you call the trajectory.
And it's a very concerning trajectory, I have to say, especially,
and a couple of members of the Human
Rights Committee highlighted this in the dialogue,
especially after the Brexit.
what was an important element of concern for the Human Rights Committee is
that even after the Brexit,
the UK agreed, especially with the Windsor Agreement,
to continue to apply
fundamental rights to continue to
apply some pieces of legislation or some
pieces of EU
what in many,
many sectors you have mentioned so the public order act and so on the counter
counter terrorism measures.
Indeed we have
and we are witnessing a really regressive trend and
trajectory so important part of our dialogue with the delegation
and important part of our conclusion. Observations
aim at
highlighting this very concerning trend and trajectory in many,
many sectors when dealing with civil and political rights.
And I hope our message
will be heard by the UK.
Thank you, Mr
Earlier, we had a reporter from Indonesia.
When we couldn't hear him, he typed a question and then I just read it out for you.
Um, they,
uh he's asking whether the Human Rights Committee will have any plan to visit we
because that was mentioned from a previous high Commissioner.
But it didn't happen.
So is there any plan that the Human Rights Committee will do something?
Thank you. Thank you for the question.
We are not planning to visit Papua because we have not
the means, not the right to do such an action. We have strong
recommendations about the situation in Papua,
but we are not
in our mechanism. These kind of visits are not foreseen.
Can answer
if I might just add something on this, uh
is a very well known
concluding observations. And the decisions by the Human Rights Committee
are used by other agencies of the United
Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner
to pursue
engagement with the state parties concerned. So it's
to be expected that the concluding observations that we have just issued
on Indonesia will be taken up by the Office of the High Commissioner
and the Country Task Force teams there so that they could
pursue and eventually an engagement with the authorities of the State Party
to be able to delve further into the matter to be able to monitor
the situation on the ground.
So even if it is not the
Human Rights Committee that is directly implicated on this,
I'm sure that the Office of the High Commissioner will
the concluding observations that we have issued
Thank you. Could I add something also?
And as I said before,
on 29 March 2027 we will start a follow up procedure in which we will
hear not only the state party, but also the organisations of civil society
to verify whether this specific recommendation of
Papua has been implemented or not, and then, according to our procedure, we will
qualify the grade of implementation of our recommendation
and of course these will make part of our report that we
will send to the General Assembly of the United Nations afterwards.
This is our mechanism, our follow up mechanism.
Thank you. Both of you.
Um, do we have any more, uh, follow up question or new questions?
Yes, we have one.
you have the question, but please identify your, um, media organisation, please.
Hi. My name is Nabila from Temple.
Um, sorry.
I think I missed some of the things you said in the beginning of Indonesia's report.
I'd like to clarify something
about a recent incident involving the Indonesian army
and indigenous Papuan people.
So the army recently admitted that their soldiers tortured a Papuan civilian.
Was that particular incident discussed at all in the session? Thank you.
Yes, it was discussed.
In fact, we stated that we were We welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court
upholding the conviction of six law officers for the
premeditated murder and mutilation of four Papuan people in
we think that the situation is not good and that this is one of the
reasons why we recommend the State Party to
follow this kind of fight against impunity.
So that in three years time we will
see if something has been done on this field or not.
Thank you.
Any more questions?
I think we don't have any more questions for now. So,
vice chair or experts,
Do you have anything to add before we close the press conference?
Yes, maybe something
for people who are attending this press conference.
It is extremely important when we issue Cong
observations that in your own country you try
to disseminate as widely as possible and,
as I would say simply as possible, our
CS for the broad audience. Because indeed these are quite technical ducks.
But these documents are also adopted by the
Human Rights Committee to for the people.
So please, also as media try to disseminate as much as possible in
the most simplest way
the concerns and the recommendations of the Human Rights Committee,
it would be very appreciated.
Thank you.
Yes, thank you very much.
I would also to add something on the importance of the concluding observations that
issued I mentioned before
that they will be touched upon and followed by several UN agencies,
now turn to two other stakeholders that are very
important to us the first national human rights institutions.
More and more,
they are relying on concluding observations that we have issued on
their respective countries in order to engage with the respective governments
to improve the situation of human rights in their
in their countries. And the second one is civil society organisations.
So civil society organisations are
one of the backbones of the work of this committee.
We rely on the information not only for the preparation of
the list of issues that we submit to state parties,
but also
for the preparation of the dialogue,
for the conducting of the dialogue and for the follow up of the dialogue.
the process that we have just ended, it's not ended, it just started.
I mean, now that we have issued
concluding observations, we are beginning
the process of monitoring them
and for that it is absolutely essential that national human rights institutions,
civil society organisations and also the media
keep track of what we have determined in order for them also to follow closely
within the boundaries of their respective states.
The level of engagement of the State party in
following the the terminations that we have just issued.
Thank you,
Mr Gomez. Do you have something?
So I believe our press conference has come to an end.
Thank you very much for your participation and have a good day.