18 March 2022
The Human Rights Committee this afternoon adopted a report by the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations concerning Australia, Guatemala, Lebanon and Norway.
According to the Committee’s procedure, the Committee selects a minimum of two and maximum of four recommendations, termed the follow-up recommendations, to be included in the follow-up procedure; these recommendations are indicated in the Committee’s concluding observations issued to a State party following their review by the Committee. When reviewing follow-up reports, the Committee assesses the replies using the scale from A for largely satisfactory replies to E for replies that indicate that the measures taken go against the Committee’s recommendations.
Vasilka Sancin, Committee Vice-Chair and the Special Rapporteur on follow-up to concluding observations, presented the assessment of the responses provided by Australia, Guatemala, Lebanon and Norway.
Beginning with Australia, Ms. Sancin said that the Committee noted Australia’s commitment to upholding the principle of non-refoulement, but expressed regret that the State party remained committed to regional detention of asylum seekers while their claims were processed. The Committee also expressed regret that migration legislation requiring asylum-seekers’ boats to be turned back had not been repealed. On mandatory immigration detention, the Committee welcomed the availability of judicial review of ongoing detention, measures taken to avoid prolonged immigration detention, and the provision of access to review of decisions related to adverse security assessments. However, the Committee expressed concern at the lack of measures taken to reduce the period of initial mandatory detention; to ensure that all immigration detention was reasonable, necessary and proportionate; and to strengthen appeal procedures.
Concerning Guatemala, on the issue of judicial independence, the Committee expressed regret about a lack of measures taken to develop a protocol for the protection of persons involved in judicial proceedings, to strengthen the witness protection programme and to uphold the independence of judicial officials in their work, and repeated its call for Guatemala do so. On freedom of expression, assembly and association, the Committee welcomed efforts made to draft a public policy on human rights defenders, but expressed regret regarding the delay in its adoption. On the rights of indigenous peoples, the Committee expressed regret regarding the lack of action taken to prevent forced evictions that were not in line with international standards, and the failure to promote the language and culture of indigenous peoples on commercial and community radio stations on an equitable basis, and repeated its call to do so.
As for Lebanon, on the issue of violence against women, the Committee expressed its concern about the lack of concrete steps to strengthen legal protection against domestic and sexual violence against women. It welcomed the proposal of a law criminalising sexual harassment; measures to improve data on violence against women; measures to encourage use of a telephone hotline to report violence; and the launch of a national strategy to combat violence against women. The Committee noted the State party’s commitment to upholding the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and welcomed the lifting of curfews, but expressed concern at the absence of information from the State party on steps taken to implement the Committee’s recommendations. The Committee expressed concern regarding the State party’s failure to take on the recommendations of the Committee and strengthen existing protections for migrant domestic workers.
Concerning Norway, the Committee welcomed the launch of national action plans against rape and domestic violence, and the establishment of a committee to review partner homicide cases. The Committee expressed regret that Norway had not amended the Immigration Act to ensure greater protection of asylum seekers from refoulement and “chain refoulement,” and repeated its call to do so. On the rights of indigenous people, the Committee welcomed amendments to legislation promoting equality; the Sami Pathfinders Web site launch; the action plan against racism and discrimination; and amendments to the Sami Act concerning consultations. The Committee regretted the State party’s position that there was no need to enhance the legal framework on Sami reindeer rights, and called for information on measures to increase recruitment of Sami language teachers and make Sami language instruction available in kindergartens in all regions.
The draft reports were adopted by the Committee as amended during the discussion and will be available on the web page dedicated to the follow-up procedure for concluding observations.
All the documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available at UN Web TV.
The Committee will next meet at 3 p.m. on Monday, 21 March to hear the progress report on follow-up to Views.
Produced by the United Nations Information Service in Geneva for use of the information media;
not an official record.