The Jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Other Treaty Monitoring Bodies

In: European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online
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  • 1 Mag.iur. (University of Salzburg, Austria), LL.M., S.J.D. (George Washington University), European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI).

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  • 1 Adopted on 16 December 1966, entered into force on 23 March 1976, 993 U.N.T.S. 171. The right to lodge individual complaints depends on a state's ratification of the Optional Protocol; in other words, the complaints procedure is optional, while the state reporting procedure is mandatory for all states parties to the Covenant. 2 Arts. 8 and 14 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted on 7 March 1966, entered into force on 4 January 1969, 660 U.N.T.S. 195. 3 Arts. 17 and 22 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted on 10 December 1984, entered into force on 26 June 1987, G.A. Res. 39�46. 4 Established to monitor compliance with the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, adopted on 16 December 1966, entered into force on 3 January 1976, 993 U.N.T.S. 3. 5 Article 17 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted on 18 December 1979, entered into force on 3 September 1981, 1249 U.N.T.S. 13. The 1993 World Conference on Human Rights' Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action recommends the introduction of a complaints procedure similar to that of the HRC, but that recommendation has yet to be implemented. 6 Art. 43 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted on 20 November 1989, entered into force on 2 September 1990, G.A. Res. 44/25.

  • 7 See the table showing the status of ratifications of major UN human rights treaties at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/a_ccpr.htm. 8 For comprehensive reviews of the Committee's procedure and/or practice, see Dominic McGoldrick, The Human Rights Committee (Oxford, 1991); Manfred Nowak, U.N. Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, CCPR Commentary (Kehl am Rhein, 1993); P.R. Ghandhi, The Human Rights Committee and the Right of Individual Communication (Aldershot, 1998); and Sarah Joseph, Jenny Schultz and Melissa Castan, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Cases, Materials and Commentary (Oxford, 2000). A shorter description of the Committee's competencies can be found in Manfred Nowak, "The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights", in: Raija Hanski and Markku Suksi (eds.), An Introduction to the International Protection of Human Rights (Abo, 1997), 79. 9 For a review of the admissibility practice under the Covenant and the European Convention on Human Rights, see Tom Zwart, The Admissibility of Human Rights Petitions (Dordrecht, 1994). See also Alexander H.E. Morawa, "The Individual as a Party to International Human Rights Litigation, With Particular Reference to the Issue of 'Abuse of the Right to Petition"', 4 Journal of International Relations 11 (1997). 'o Cf. Communication No. 787/1997, Vishwadeo Gobin v. Mauritius, decision on the admissibility of 16 July 2001, CCPR/C/72/D/787/1997, at para. 6.3 (holding, by a majority, that in the absence of a reasonable explanation by the author a five-year delay in submitting a communication would qualify as an abuse of the right to petition). " HRC, [2001] Annual Report to the General Assembly (hereinafter "Annual Report"), A/56/40 (Vol. I), 110 et seq., para. 113. 12 Cf. Communication No. 78/1980, A.D. (The Mikmaq Tribal Society) v. Canada, decision on the admiss- ibility of 29 July 1984, II Selected Decisions, 23.

  • " Nowak, "The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ...", 95. 14 statement by HRC member Mr. Klein in response to the Austrian delegation, Summary Record of the 1719th Meeting, 30 October 1998, CCPR/C/SR.1719, at para. 22. 15 Communication No. 489/1992, Peter Bradshaw v. Barbados, decision on the admissibility of 19 July 1994, CCPR/C/31/D/489/1992, at para. 5.3, amongst many others. `6 Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Lithuania, CCPR/C/79/Add.87, dated 19 November 1997, at para. 8. " HRC, [2001] Annual Report, Vol. I, 130, para. 173. 18 Communication No. 780/1997, Vladimir Petrovich Laptsevich v. Belarus, views of 20 March 2000, CCPR/C/68/D/780/1997, at para. 10. The Committee later specified that its "recommendation in case No. 780/1997 (Laptsevich v. Belarus) is a new step towards more specific pronouncements on the remedy, in referring to the amount of compensation". [2000] Annual Report, Vol. I, 90, para. 594. 19 HRC, [2001] Annual Report, Vol. I, 105, para. 89. 20 The most significant cases are quoted subsequently in this report and also referred to in the footnotes; therefore it is unnecessary to list them here.

  • 21 Kristin Henrard, Devising an Adequate System of Minority Protection (The Hague, 2000), 161. ZZ Communication No.671/1995, Jouni E. Ldnsman et al. v. Finland, views of 30 October 1996, CCPR/C/65/D/671/1995, at para. 10.7. 23 CAT, Communication No. 113/1998, Radivoje Ristic v. Yugoslavia, views of 11 May 2001, [2001] Annual Report, 115.

  • 24 CCPR/C/69/D/760/1997. See also Alexander H.E. Morawa, "Minority Languages and Public Administration - A Comment on Issues Raised in Diergaardt et al. v. Namibia", ECMI Working Paper No. 16 (October 2002), at http://www.ecmi.de/doc/public_papers.html.

  • zs See Communications Nos. 197/1985, Kitok v. Sweden, views of 27 July 1988, [1988] Annual Report, 221; 167/1984, Ominayak and the Luhicon Lake Band v. Canada, views of 26 March 1990, [1990] Annual Report, 1; 511/1992, 1. Lansman et al. v. Finland, views of 26 October 1994,

  • CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992; and 671/1995, J. Lnnsman et al. v. Finland, as well as General Comment No. 23, The Rights of Minorities (Art. 27), dated 8 April 1994, para. 7. [Please note that footnotes in the original text are not reprinted in the original version but modified in order to comply with Yearbook style regulations].

  • 26 CCPR/C/70/D/547/1993.

  • 27 See, inter alia, the Committee's views in Communication No. 197/1985, Kitok v. Sweden, para. 9.2. See also the Committee's views in the two G6nsman cases, Nos. 511/1992, CCPRjC/52/D/511/1992; and 671/1995, CCPR/C/58/D/671/1995.

  • z8 Communication No. 511/1992, 1. Lansman et al. [1. Finland, para. 9.4. z9 Cf. ibid., paras. 9.6 and 9.8.

  • 3° See Communication No. 197/1985, Kitok c. Sweden. 31 Communication No. 511/1992, I. Lansmann et al. v. Finland, paras. 9.6 and 9.8.

  • '2 CCPR/C/72/D/884/1999.

  • 33 Application No. 59379/00, Tadeus Kleckovski u. Lithuania, decision on the admissibility by a committee of the Third Section of 31 May 2001. " Decree of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania "On the Writing of Names and Surnames in the Passports of Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania" of 31 January 1991 (based on the author's translation).

  • 's Reference is made to Communication No. 453/1991, Coeriel and Aurik v. the Netherlands, views of 31 October 1994, CCPR/C/52/D/453/1991, para. 10.2. 36 With reference to Communication No.488/1992, Nicholas Toonen v. Australia, views of 31 March 1994, CCPR/C/50/D/488/1992, para. 8.3.

  • " Richard D. Alford, Naming and Identity: A Cross-Cultural Studu of Personal Naming Practices (New Haven, 1988). 'e The Lithuanian equivalent of the applicant's last name is Kleckauskas.

  • '9 Former citizens of the USSR and stateless persons who, after the declaration of independence on 11 I March 1990, opted for Lithuanian citizenship.

  • 40 CERD,C'S9/D/11/1998.

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