Human Rights Council. Working Group on the Complaint Mechanism.
Intervention by Norway
6 December 2006
My delegation would like to thank the facilitator for his efforts and we welcome the Preliminary conclusions that have been prepared. We would also like to thank the Secretariat for the summary of the discussions held in the working group. Norway welcomes the participation of all stakeholders in this process, including NGOs.
Norway considers that one of the strengths of the 1503 procedure is that it covers all human rights in all countries irrespective of the ratification of human rights treaties. We support that the scope of the revised procedure to should remain as for the 1503 procedure “all human rights and fundamental freedoms” with a high threshold of violations. We agree with the objective as identified in the preliminary conclusion as emerging consensus.
Regarding admissibility criteria, we should not add new criteria to the existing ones under the 1503 procedure, which already has a very high threshold. As a point of departure, we agree that domestic remedies should be exhausted. It should however, be emphasised, that the nature of this procedure is such that exhaustion of domestic remedies will often not be possible. It is therefore important to add that exhaustion of domestic remedies is not required when “it appears that such remedies would be ineffective or unreasonably prolonged”. That is exactly the wording of the 1503 procedure.
We are flexible on keeping the number of stages that we have currently, and that include the Secretariat, a working group of expert and a working group of states. In our view while building on the existing 1503 procedure, the new or revised complaint mechanism should address some of its shortcomings. The expertise and independence of the experts must be ensured. Furthermore, we are concerned that a time-consuming, slow and complex procedure as we have now, has not attained the highest possible degree of efficiency. The Human Rights Council’s more frequent meetings should allow for a more effective procedure than we have had until now, including more frequent meetings of working groups of experts as well as of states.
On the issue of confidentiality, we agree with those who favour that the authors of a complaint should be informed when the complaint is received as well as about the result of the process.
Regarding the participation of the author of the communication we agree that the author should have the possibility to provide additional information.