Note by the Human Rights Committee on the procedure for follow-up to concluding observations
Follow Up procedure at a glance
Follow-up procedure of the Human Rights Committee
In order to enhance the implementation of its recommendations by the State parties after the review, the HR Committee has established, in 2013 (CCPR/C/108/2), a specific procedure for follow-up, so-called follow-up procedure. Under this procedure, for each State party after the review, the HR Committee will select 2-4 recommendations (so-called follow-up recommendations) in its Concluding Observations and request the State party to implement them and report back to the Committee within 2 years. Recommendations that are implementable within 2 years and that require urgent attention are selected for the follow-up procedure. Other stakeholders including NGOs are also invited to assess the implementation status of these recommendations and submit their reports to the HR Committee under this procedure.
What are the grades adopted by the Committee?
Based on the information provided by the State party in so-called State follow-up report as well as from other stakeholders including NGOs, the HR Committee will evaluate the actions taken by the State party to implement follow-up recommendations. In doing so, the HR Committee also gives grades from A to E to each action taken by the State party with following criteria:
|Follow-up assessment criteria of the Human Rights Committee|
|A - Reply/action largely satisfactory
The State party has provided evidence of significant action taken towards the implementation of the recommendation made by the Committee.
|B – Reply/action partially satisfactory
The State party has taken steps towards the implementation of the recommendation, but additional information or action remains necessary.
|C – Reply/action not satisfactory
A response has been received, but action taken or information provided by the State party is not relevant or does not implement the recommendation.
|D – No cooperation with the Committee
No follow-up report has been received after the reminder(s).
|E – Information or measures taken are contrary to or reflect rejection of the recommendation
What are the criteria for deciding on which recommendations are assessed?
The Committee chooses its follow-up recommendations on the basis of two main criteria: first, that the recommendation can be implemented within 2 years after it has been adopted; and second, that it addresses an issue which requires immediate attention because of the gravity or emergency of the situation (for example, if it constitutes a major obstacle for the implementation of the Covenant, threatens human life or security, or is a long-standing issue).
How does the Committee decide on grades?
The Committee’s Secretariat drafts a preliminary analysis of the information provided by the State and other actors such as NGOs and NHRIs. The Committee Rapporteur on follow-up subsequently presents the draft report to fellow members of the Committee during a public meeting held during plenary sessions. The report subsequently published by the Committee includes a summary of the information provided by the State, a summary of the information provided by NGOs and NHRIs, and the grades and recommendations for further action by the State.
Where can I find the grades adopted by the Committee?
In the dedicated reports published after sessions of the HR Committee: Click here
In the CCPR-Centre newsletters, which include periodic updates on the latest grades adopted by the Committee: Signup Here
The individual letters addressed to the State referring to the adopted grades, which are available on the Committee’s webpage: Click here
→ “Country specific information” → “Follow up letter sent to the State party”
When are the grades adopted?
The primary condition for the HR Committee to adopt grades is once the State has submitted their follow-up report, which is due 24 months after the review. Discussion on grades by the Committee normally occur one or two sessions after the State have submitted their follow-up report, in plenary and public sessions. NGOs and NHRIs may submit contributions to complement State follow-up reports. The grades and Committee requests are subsequently transmitted to the State through their Permanent Mission in Geneva.
What are States Parties supposed to do once the grades are made public?
Unless a State receives a grade A on all urgent (or follow-up) recommendations, the Committee will request additional steps to be taken, and/or additional information to be provided with regards to the urgent recommendations. The Committee also provides deadlines for States to report back on these additional actions or information. Finally, the Committee may also request to meet with representatives of the State in Geneva.
Can States parties appeal against grades adopted by the Committee?
No. The HR Committee decides on the grades reflecting their assessment of the measures taken to comply with their urgent recommendations, based on information received by the State and other sources. There is no appeal procedure. However, the Committee may review and adopt a new set of grades following the submission of new information by the State.
What happens when a State receives a grade A?
Between 2012 and 2014, 8% of the adopted grades were A, with examples in all regions of the world. These mean that the recommendation is considered to have been implemented, and the Committee requires no further steps to be taken by the State.
What happens when a State receives a grade E?
Between 2012 and 2014, 1% of the adopted grades were E. These reflect worst-case scenarios such as when States take measures against the urgent recommendation.
Are the Committee sessions on grading public? Can States, CSOs, and NHRIs participate in these sessions?
The HR Committee meetings during which the grades are adopted and discussed are public, and they are live-streamed at UN Web TV. They normally take place during the morning of the third Monday during Committee sessions. Although representatives of States, NGOs or NHRIs may attend, they are not able to speak during these meetings.
How many rounds of grades can be adopted by the Committee? When does the follow-up end?
The Committee may adopt a total of three sets of grades following the review of a State. The follow-up procedure and the adoption of grades can be terminated as a result of various situations, such as when the next periodic report to the HR Committee or the adoption of the List of Issues prior to Reporting (LoIPR) are due within the following six months, or all answers provided by the State are satisfactory (although there has been no instance of this as of yet).
How can civil society and NHRIs contribute to the process?
They can submit alternative or ”shadow” reports as part of the follow-up process. The Committee request NGOs and NHRIs to focus their follow-up reports on the urgent recommendations, and to keep reports below 3 500 words. Reports must focus on measures taken by the State to comply with the urgent recommendations. They must be drafted in one of the UN languages and they can be submitted to the Secretariat of the HR Committee.
When should NGOs and NHRIs send their inputs to the process?
According to procedure, NGOs and NHRIs are able to submit contributions after the State have submitted their follow-up report. In practice, many NGOs have submitted reports ahead of the State, particularly in countries where State follow-up reports came in late. However, these reports are only considered by the Committee after the State has submitted their report.
Can NGO and NHRI contributions suggest their own grades?
Yes, they can. The information and suggested grades provided by NGOs and NHRIs are reflected in the analysis undertaken by the Committee and available in the follow-up report.
The CCPR Centre has designed a template of follow-up reports to the HR Committee. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further info.