Junior researcher, Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Associate Professor of International Law, Utrecht University, the Netherlands; Leuven University, Belgium
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are participating increasingly in the multifaceted work of the Human Rights Committee (HRC), which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In particular, they have supplied shadow reports, provided input for the Committee’s general comments, and have supported individuals filing communications with the Committee. In so doing, they have eroded the central role of the State in the various HRC procedures, have enriched the sources on which the HRC can draw, and have contributed considerably to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Committee’s work. Still, some improvements can be made to NGOs’ participation, such as the introduction of greater transparency in NGO reporting and increased cooperation and coordination between the various NGOs.
The First Optional Protocol (1966) establishes an individual complaints mechanism and the Second Optional Protocol (1989) aims at the abolition of the death penalty. As of June 2011 113 and 73 States were Parties to the Protocols respectively. 167 States are Parties to the Covenant itself.
Tyagisupra note 9 p. 278.
Tyagisupra note 9 p. 278.
GA Res.220021UN GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 60 UN Doc. A/6316 (1966).
See Tyagisupra note 28 p. 218 for a detailed account. As Tyagi puts it very eloquently in The UN Human Rights Committee: “This exercise indicated glasnost in the Soviet perception of NGOs.”
Tyagisupra note 28 p. 219.
Buergenthalsupra note 27 p. 353.
CCPR/C/SR.1755 21 July1999at par. 44 45 & 46.
UN Doc. A/55/40 (Vol. I) (2000) par. 17 the Committee states that it “welcomed the increasing interest shown and the participation by these agencies and organizations and thanked them for the information provided.”
Bayefskysupra note 27 p. 184. Nowadays NGO contributions to the State report writing process vary by country but often governments and NGOs are not very eager to cooperate in the drafting process. NGOs believe that the UN Committees underscore the importance of NGOs maintaining their independence from the government in this process. See e.g. http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/svaw/law/un/enforcement/CRC.htm.
Article 1 ICCPR (1966).
Tyagisupra note 28 p. 403.
Bayefskysupra note 27 p. 188.
O’Flahertysupra note 67 p. 45.
UN Doc. A/48/40 10 July1993par. 466.
Tyagisupra note 28 p. 294.
Tyagisupra note 28 p. 383.
Fischersupra note 21 p. 147
Tyagisupra note 28 p. 224.
Tyagisupra note 28 p. 225. See also idem at 822 “An officially prescribed albeit limited role along with suitable safeguards is better than the laissez-faire situation that currently prevails.”).