HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE CLOSES ITS ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINTH SESSION, ITS FIRST EVER HELD ONLINE
Adopts General Comment on the Right of Peaceful Assembly
The Human Rights Committee this afternoon closed its one hundred and twenty-ninth session, it first ever held online. During the session, the Committee notably adopted its General Comment on article 21 (right of peaceful assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Ahmed Amin Fathalla, Committee Chairperson, said the Committee had had a productive session despite the challenges related to using an online platform. While nothing could replace an in-person session and the Committee missed one of its core tasks, its constructive dialogue with the States parties, it had decided to face the challenges and advance its mandate by especially avoiding the protection gap.
The Committee had held a thorough second and final reading of the draft General Comment on the right of peaceful assembly after receiving comments from 24 States parties, including three members of the Security Council, and over 100 submissions from a variety of stakeholders.
Mr. Fathalla said that at a time when recent developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide protests, had created unprecedented challenges and opportunities in relation to the realisation of article 21, the General Comment 37 clarified how the term “peaceful assembly” shall be understood, and set standards to assist the 173 countries, which had ratified the Covenant, to fulfil their obligations under it.
The Committee had also adopted eight lists of issues (Armenia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, China, Macau, China, Iraq, Panama, Qatar and Russian Federation) and five lists of issues prior to reporting (Congo, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Guyana and Indonesia). It had further adopted 41 draft decisions, while 17 additional communications had been postponed to the one-hundred and thirtieth session.
Mr. Fathalla added that the Committee had adopted two progress reports related to the follow-up to concluding observations procedure that were due in March and July, respectively, as well as two progress reports pertaining to the follow-up to views that were also respectively due in March and July.
Finally, Mr Fathalla said the Committee adopted the draft annual report which was due in March but was postponed due to COVID-19.
The Committee adopted the session report as a whole.
The one hundred and thirtieth session of the Committee is scheduled to be held from 12 October to 6 November 2020.
The General Comment on article 21 (right of peaceful assembly) will be published in the coming days on the website of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage .