Human Rights Committee Adopts Report on Follow-Up to Views on Colombia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Paraguay and Tajikistan
The Human Rights Committee this afternoon adopted a report on follow-up to views concerning Colombia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Paraguay and Tajikistan.
José Manuel Santos Pais, Committee Vice Chairperson and Special Rapporteur for follow-up on views, presented the assessment of the responses provided by Colombia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Paraguay and Tajikistan.
The Special Rapporteur noted that there had been a violation of the Covenant in 1,419 (85 per cent) of the 1,669 views adopted since 1979.
Regarding Colombia, the case concerned enforced disappearance by parliamentary groups, with the views adopted in 2015. The State party stated it had been working to strengthen the domestic institutional framework and mechanisms for locating and assisting victims of enforced disappearances and their families. The Colombian Parliament had built a framework aimed exclusively at recognising, honouring, and locating victims of enforced disappearances and assisting their families. The State party reiterated that it continued to search for Mr. Anzola and Mr. Molina and to conduct investigations. While the counsel noted the positive contributions of the creation of the Special Unit for the Search for Persons Reported Missing, to many victims throughout the country, there had been little progress achieved regarding the disappearance of Mr. Anzola and Mr. Molina. The counsel stated that the State party had failed to implement the Committee’s views on effective reparations. The Committee recommended ongoing follow-up dialogue.
Concerning Kazakhstan, the case concerned torture and ill-treatment in detention, with views adopted in 2017. The State party stated that to ensure an objective and impartial investigation, the case was transferred to the Anti-Corruption Service for further investigation. The author was invited to give testimony to the investigator of the Anti-Corruption Service but refused to do so. The investigation was still ongoing. The counsel stated that during more than eight months of the investigation, nothing was done, except for the two summonses of the author to give testimony and the scheduling of the forensic examination. No conditions were created for the author with a disability to access premises of government authorities to give testimony. In December 2022, the criminal investigation was terminated. The author received this information only in February 2023, and thus, the investigation brought no results, and the perpetrators were not punished. The Committee recommended ongoing follow-up dialogue.
Turning to Kyrgyzstan, the case concerned torture and arbitrary detention with the views adopted in October 2020. The State party emphasised that the remedies were applicable only if the author's allegations of torture were confirmed. The State party also stated that the views of the Committee were recommendations which needed to be considered in accordance with the domestic legislation of the State party. The State party concluded that the author, who was sentenced for committing violent crimes, "was complaining to higher instances to avoid criminal liability for the crimes committed". The counsel maintained the State party was not performing its obligations under the Covenant. The author was convicted and had served his sentence, and therefore could not avoid liability. The counsel concluded that the Committee's views on the present case established grave violations of norms of substantive and procedural law during investigation and trial. The Committee recommended ongoing follow-up dialogue.
Concerning Lithuania, the case concerned restrictions to the right to participate in public life, with views adopted in March 2014. The State party stated that in March 2012, the Lithuanian Parliament tried to amend the Elections Act, which would have lifted the author's permanent ban on participation in parliamentary elections. However, in September 2012, the Constitutional Court rejected that amendment, due to its unconstitutional nature. In December 2016, the Lithuanian Constitutional Court reaffirmed the need to amend the Constitution to restore the civil and political rights of the former President Rolandas Paksas. In September 2019, members of Parliament registered and voted on a draft law which would amend the Constitution to follow the Committee's views by limiting the ban on running for office to 10 years, rather than for the lifetime, of the individual impeached. The State party concluded that the new amendments to the Constitution gave effects to the Committee's views, adopted in the Paksas case in 2014, and invited the Committee to close the follow-up procedure. The Committee decided to close the follow-up dialogue with the State party, with a note of satisfactory implementation of the Committee's views.
Regarding Paraguay, the case concerned crop fumigation agrochemicals and their effects on an indigenous community, with views adopted in September 2022. The State party maintained in 2019 that they carried out inspections and interventions to the agricultural and livestock projects of the companies involved and met with two indigenous communities. Through these inspections, it was found that the project had no living barrier, and that the community school was located 30 meters from the crop. Consequently, a new criminal procedure was opened. Some actions had been developed in 2022 to protect the right to health of the members of the community, and corrective and compensatory measures regarding the activities of the companies had been implemented. Some meetings with the indigenous community had taken place. The counsel stated the situation in the indigenous community had worsened, and measures by the State party had been insufficient to stop violations of environmental legislation and the illegal use of agrochemicals. The counsel affirmed that national institutions had not been in contact with members of the community, and they had not been given the opportunity to participate in the new criminal and administrative procedures. The Committee recommended ongoing follow-up dialogue.
Turning to Tajikistan, the case involved the torture and death of the author’s son in police custody, with views adopted in March 2020. The State party stated that according to the conclusions of the forensic medical examination commission, dated 30 April 2012, Mr. Bobokalonov died of heart failure from a pre-existing heart condition. It was not possible to establish what exactly triggered his death. According to the results of the investigation, Mr. Bobokalonov was not subjected to torture or other forms of ill-treatment by police officers, and he died a non-violent death. A comprehensive investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Bobokalonov's death was carried out and the decision to discontinue the criminal proceedings relating to his death was legally sound and justified. The State party recalled that, in June 2021, counsel requested to re-open the investigation, but this was rejected. On September 28, 2022, the author was killed by unknown perpetrators in her apartment in Dushanbe. Therefore, the counsel requested the Committee to close the follow-up dialogue with the State party. The Committee decided to close the follow-up dialogue with the State party, due to the author's death, with a note of unsatisfactory implementation of the Committee's views.
Changrok Soh, Committee Vice-Chair, thanked the Special Rapporteur for his hard work and dedication, as well as the Committee members and members of the Secretariat, before closing the meeting.
The draft report was adopted by the Committee as amended during the discussion and will be available on the web page dedicated to the follow-up procedure for views.
The Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, 3 November to close its one hundred and thirty-ninth session.
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