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Meeting Summaries


The Human Rights Committee this afternoon closed its one hundred and thirtieth session, which it held remotely.

Ahmed Amin Fathalla, Committee Chairperson, said the Committee’s second online session had been very productive, despite the technical challenges of an online platform and the membership location time difference ranging 14 hours across the continents. Nothing could replace the in-person session and the Committee had missed, for the second time, one of the core tasks of its mandate, holding constructive dialogues with States parties.

The Committee had decided to face the challenges and uphold its important role in advancing its mandate, and especially reducing the protection gap. It had adopted six lists of issues (Ethiopia, Georgia, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg and Zambia) and seven lists of issues prior to reporting (Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen and Zimbabwe). The Committee had also dealt with 64 individual communications, out of which 50 were decided on the merits (so-called Views). Out of the 50 decided on the merits, the Committee found 48 violations. It had also adopted two progress reports on follow-up to concluding observations and to Views.

Mr. Fathalla said that in order to reinstate the Committee’s mandate of reviewing reports of States parties and holding constructive dialogues with State party delegates under the reporting procedure, the online review of the reports of two States parties at the Committee’s one hundred and thirty-first session in March 2021 would be held strictly on a trial and exceptional basis, should the in-person session not take place due to COVID-19.

Noting that this was his last meeting as a member of the Committee, Mr. Fathalla wished good luck to the High Commissioner and all the staff of her Office in their difficult task during this period of history in which, unfortunately, multilateralism was facing major challenges affecting the whole United Nations system. To defend the system, ethics should be the solid base and not self-interest of individuals or States.

Several Committee Experts then took the floor and expressed their concerns regarding the difficult conditions in which this second online session of the Committee had been held. They also paid tribute to the work accomplished by six Experts whose term would end in December.

The Committee adopted the session’s report as a whole.

The one hundred and thirty-first session of the Committee is scheduled to be held from 1 to 26 March 2020.

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage.