Each harmonize national laws and policies[1] with the provisions

 

Each state
who have completed the stages of ratification to the treaty are committed to
submitting regular reports to the HR Committee containing a comprehensive
review of the measures they have taken to harmonize national laws and policies1
with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights2.

This is done for the purpose of strengthening the committee’s ability to accurately
assess the progress to enhance the presence complete enjoyment of the rights in
the ICCPR. Upon receipt of these reports the committee shall deliver specific
recommendations or practical advices to each individual matter or concern as to
further improve the implementation of rights. It appears that the committee,
despite gradual improvement, still remains reluctant in offering highly
specific and actionable advice. The repeating advice appears to remain “the
party should review its legislation and proactive to ensure their compatibility
with the provisions of the covenant” or “the committee is concerned with the laws governing this issue”

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While it
remains pivotal to identify issues within the territories, the committee could
benefit from more specific instructions. Appreciation of the serious backlog
the committee is experiencing is of course crucial, however, in structuring
their response the committee also provides easier means through which they can
monitor progress. They should specify the reviews to include aims, means and
expected progress. What should be achieved, how can the state achieve it at
when should it be achieved by. When specifying the suggested means they should
cover both the systematic ones relating to laws and constitutional principles,
as well as the programmatic ones relating to norms and mind-sets. When setting
out a timeline for the expected progress they should attempt to include both
long term and short-term goals for the state. The committee should always
examine if there are cases relevant to the issues at hand, and encourage the
state to make due updates of the process and results. By structuring their
responses in a matter similar to the one described the committee will enable
itself to closely monitor the progress by supervising the goals obtained.

 

The lack of
submitted reports will, nonetheless, remain a significant issue which the
committee would be wise in addressing fairly promptly. In 2011 only 15% of the
reports were submitted in a timely manner. As of April 2012, 84 reports were
overdue. While some states, e.g. Zimbabwe and Uganda, have never even submitted
an initial report, while some states, e.g. Ghana, have only submitted a core
document. A significant time delay in submission of reports leads, naturally,
to a heavy backlog within the committee. This also affect individual
complaints. As a result of this, the average time from registration to final
decision on a case is namely three and a half years3.

The importance here lies in determining reasons for the delays in submission.

Some states may experience difficulty in drafting formal, international
documents while others may experience difficulty in identifying and addressing
issues within their territory; nonetheless, the common seems to be that the
substantial workload each state is subject to by the different treaty bodies
should be restructured rather than increased. It is essential that the
committee remains an active and accessible aid in the reporting process. The
process through which states submit their reports should also be comprehensively
reviewed. As suggested by the High Commissioner4,
the committee should attempt to increase their visibility, including through
webcast and other technology, in trying to provide support in the process of
regular reports; which brings us to the third point in this essay.

 

Modernisation
of the UNHR Committee

 

The United Nations is an organisation of conservative
traditions, while maintaining their status as the single most important body
for protection and promotion of human rights. The UN has become increasingly
aware of the power of media and is still attempting to fill the demand for
their presence online. The overall look of the attempt, however, is that they have
yet to figure out and determine their profile on line. When creating media
content, one should always remain aware of the message being disseminated. Up
until 2016 there were only 11 videos on the Human Rights Committee posted in UN
Web TV. They have recently initiated customs which entails that periodical
reviews are considered, by the committee, live on camera with a state official
of the state party present. This is an appears to be a fairly good attempt to
make the committee more visible on line; however, it could and should go
further. By creating podcasts to further explain the complex issues it encounters
or by streaming webcasts from relevant lectures or seminars it could allow its
followers to dive into the world of legal complications. They could also
benefit from making human rights more accessible to the part of the population
without a legal or political background. Numerous people refrain from taking
part in discussions on human rights issues due to their lack of understanding
of the matter. Offering up their expertise as education is an easy way to make
debates on human rights more common.

1
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Monitoring implementation of the international human rights
instruments: an overview of the current treaty body system, (2005).

2
Hereinafter referred to as ICCPR.

3 Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Strengthening the
United Nations human rights treaty body system, (2012).

4
Idem.