Oral joint statement of 26 April on Review of Mandates

26/04/2007
Press release

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
Human Rights Watch (HRW)

26 April 2006,

The International Federation for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch would first like to express our gratitude to the Facilitator for his proposed text, which is most useful. We are also hopeful that the African Group is willing to consider some of the issues that are at the heart of the effectiveness of special procedures, in this case the Code of Conduct.

Last time the Working Group met on the Review of Mandates, some States, including the Ambassador of Algeria, mentioned their will to consider the protection of witnesses and victims in the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct should enable in principle « Special Procedures to act for the defense of victims of violations, notably in asking for urgent measures by concerned States, inviting governments to respond to precise allegations and grant reparations ». A reference should also guarantee « the primary necessity of ensuring the protection of witnesses and the acceptance of the confidentiality of sources of information ». The representative of Belgium mentioned this element this morning.

We welcome the Facilitator’s proposal to include the cooperation with and by Governments. However the existing text does not reflect clearly the responsibility of the States to cooperate fully with the special procedures. We welcome the oral contribution made by the representative of Philippines last week accepting a reference to State cooperation. The Code of Conduct should in principle refer to the obligation of States to cooperate with the procedure, that includes

the respect of the independence and impartiality of mandate holders as well as the
facilitation of their work, including through country visits, in respect of their terms of reference;
the absence of interference in the relationship built between mandate holders and civil society;
States declaring their intention to fully implement the recommendations of special procedures;
Should Member States repeatedly refuse to cooperate with special procedures, the Council should take appropriate measures.

FIDH and HRW thank you Mr Facilitator as well as the distinguished delegations present.

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