Inquiry procedure

Upon receipt of reliable information on serious, grave or systematic violations by a State party of the conventions they monitor, the Committee against Torture (article 20 CAT), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (article 8 of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW), the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (article 6 Optional Protocol to CRPD), the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (article 33 of CED), the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 11 of the Optional Protocol to ICESCR) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (article 13 of the Optional Protocol (on a communications procedure) to CRC; Protocol not yet in force) may, on their own initiative, initiate inquiries if they have received reliable information containing well-founded indications of serious or systematic violations of the conventions in a State party.

Which States may be subject to inquiries?

Inquiries may only be undertaken with respect to States parties who have recognized the competence of the relevant Committee in this regard. States parties may opt out, at the time of signature or ratification or accession (article 28 CAT; article 10 of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW; article 8 of the Optional Protocol to CRPD; article 13(7) of the Optional Protocol (on a communications procedure) to CRC) or anytime (article 11(8) of the Optional Protocol to ICESCR) by making a declaration that they do not recognize the competence of the Committee in question to undertake inquiries.

Inquiry Procedure

  1. The procedure may be initiated if the Committee receives reliable information indicating that the rights contained in the Convention it monitors are being systematically violated by the State party.
  2. The Committee invites the State party to co-operate in the examination of the information by submitting observations.
  3. The Committee may, on the basis of the State party's observations and other relevant information available to it, decide to designate one or more of its members to conduct an inquiry and report urgently to the Committee. Where warranted and with the consent of the State party concerned, an inquiry may include a visit to its territory.
  4. The findings of the member(s) are then examined by the Committee and transmitted to the State party together with any comments and recommendations.
  5. The State party is requested to submit its own observations on the Committee's findings, comments and recommendations within a specific time frame (usually six months) and, where invited by the Committee, to inform it of the measures taken in response to the inquiry.
  6. The inquiry procedure is confidential and the cooperation of the State party shall be sought at all stages of the proceedings.

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Country-specific information