Saturday, April 02, 2005

[Africa] Committee on UN treaty requesting account of human rights compliance from Sudan

An independent committee monitoring a United Nations civil rights covenant has asked the Government of Sudan to submit a special report on its compliance with six covenant articles, including the right to life and the illegality of torture and slavery, the committee chairperson said today.

Sudan's deadline would be the end of this year, French lawyer Christine Chanet told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, as the 18-member Human Rights Committee wrapped up the first of its three meetings this year on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols.

The committee previously asked the United States for a special report on its detention policies and on aspects of the Patriot Act approved after the attacks of 11 September 2001, she said, and that report was expected before the panel met again in July.

The 1966 Covenant came into force in 1976 and binds its States Parties, numbering 154 so far, to recognize that "in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights."

Under one Optional Protocol to the Covenant, 104 States parties allow the Committee to consider communications from individuals alleging treaty-based rights violations. The second Optional Protocol, to which 54 States are party, seeks to abolish the death penalty.

During this session, the committee considered reports submitted by the Governments of Greece, Iceland, Kenya, Mauritius and Uzbekistan, as well as testimony on those countries from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations, she said.

The Geneva-based committee meets twice a year at the UN complex there and once in New York, Ms. Chanet said.

April 1, UN News Centre