Raising the Bar: The Role of the Reporting Procedure of the United Nations Human Rights Committee in the Protection of Human Rights in Africa
Keywords:ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Freedom of Expression, Right to Liberty
The United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) is saddled with the responsibility of supervising the implementation of the provisions of the ICCPR by its state parties. However, it is only the reporting procedure that mandates each state party to submit a report to the HRC periodically, outlining the steps it has taken to fulfil its obligations to the treaty. Over the years, it was observed that states tend to embellish these reports before submitting them to the HRC because it had no means of checking the veracity of the contents of the reports. Consequently, the HRC has continued to introduce novel ways of checking the accuracy of the state parties’ reports, which includes the Committee partnering with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) within the territories of state parties. This is to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the ICCPR and submit alternative reports to the HRC for it to have a more objective perspective on the level of the state compliance. To examine the effectiveness of the reporting procedure among African state parties, two states (Morocco and Rwanda) have been selected with the aim of gauging the effect of the reporting procedure in influencing state parties to fulfil their obligations to the treaty. In the course of the study, the jurisprudence of the HRC and domestic legislation of states were analysed and it is observed that for the HRC to be more effective it needs more visibility, especially within the African Continent.
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