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Press Release
Adopts Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Reports of Belarus, Sudan, Guinea, Belize and Bulgaria

The Human Rights Committee this afternoon closed its one hundred and twenty-fourth session after adopting concluding observations and recommendations on the reports of Belarus, Sudan, Guinea, Belize and Bulgaria. The scheduled consideration of the report of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was exceptionally postponed to the Committee’s next session.

Yuval Shany, Committee Chairperson, in his closing remarks, noted that during this very intense and productive session, the Committee had reviewed the reports of five States parties, adopting concluding observations on Belarus, Sudan, Guinea, Belize and Bulgaria, which had been made public on Thursday, 1 November. It was noteworthy that Belize, Guinea and Belarus had engaged with the Committee after a very long time. The Committee had adopted lists of issues on Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Equatorial Guinea, Tajikistan and Mauritania, and a follow-up report on the concluding observations which highlighted important progress made in five countries. Turning to communications, the Chair said that one had been postponed pending additional information, and that of the 23 adopted decisions it had decided 15 on the merits, finding violations in all but one, and had declared four inadmissible and four had been discontinued.

After almost four years of extensive work, the General Comment on the right to life had been adopted, Mr. Shany said, paying special tribute to the late Sir Nigel Rodney for his exceptional contribution to the work on the General Comment. The Committee had decided to focus the next General Comment on article 21 on the right of peaceful assembly, and it had endorsed the document “Possible elements of a common aligned procedure for follow-up to concluding observations, decisions and views for all treaty bodies”, which the chairs of human rights treaty bodies had adopted during their thirtieth annual meeting.

With respect to methods of work, the Chair continued, the Committee had adopted the criteria for review of a State party with seriously deteriorating human rights conditions, and the guidance on identifying cases for oral comment. In an effort to strengthen the relationship with other treaty bodies, the Committee had designated the following focal points: Tania María Abdo Rocholl for the Inter-American system, Ilze Brands Kheris for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and José Manuel Santos Pais for the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Committee had decided to undertake a joint substantive statement on article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the right to freedom of association and article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concerning trade unions. In conclusion, Mr. Shany bid farewell to Sarah Cleveland, Margo Waterval, Mauro Politi, and Olivier de Frouville, noting that their exceptional contribution to the Committee would be sorely missed.

All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage, while concluding observations and recommendations issued to Belarus, Sudan, Guinea, Belize, and Bulgaria are available here.

The one hundred and twenty-fifth session of the Human Rights Committee will take place from 4 to 29 March 2019, when it is scheduled to consider the reports of Angola, Estonia, Mexico, Niger and Viet Nam, as well as the situation in Dominica, Eritrea, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the absence of a report.

For use of the information media; not an official record