University of Minnesota

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights,
Panama, U.N. Doc. E/1995/22, paras. 356-362 (1994).

356. At its 50th meeting on 6 December 1994, the Committee heard a statement by the Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations Office at Geneva in which he indicated that the Government of Panama accepted the offer of the Committee to send two of its members to pursue its dialogue with the Government in relation to the matters identified by the Committee at its sixth to eleventh sessions.

357. The Committee expressed its appreciation to the Government of Panama for its readiness and willingness to cooperate with it.

358. The Committee held a discussion on various matters relating to the organization of the mission to Panama and agreed that:

- The Committee should be represented by two of its members - Mr. Philippe Texier and Mr. Javier Wimer Zambrano - and assisted on the mission by one staff member of the Centre for Human Rights;

- The mission should take place preferably before the Committee's twelfth session, ideally in March or the beginning of April 1995;

- The precise terms of reference of the mission would be further discussed by the Committee, keeping in mind that the clear focus should be on the implementation of the right to housing (Article 11 (1) of the Covenant); this would not prevent members of the Committee from accepting information on other matters which might be relevant to the Committee's eventual consideration of Panama's next periodic report but the members would not be in a position to respond to, or pursue further, any such information;

- The members of the mission should consult the Chairperson of the Committee, and if necessary through him the members of the Bureau, on any matter which, in their view, might warrant such consultation;

- The members of the mission would agree in advance on general guidelines governing their relationship with the media. These would be designed to protect the dignity and effectiveness of the mission while acknowledging the inevitable and legitimate interest of the media;

- One member of the mission, Mr. Texier, would be responsible for the preparation, on the basis of agreement with Mr. Wimer Zambrano, of a written report and its submission to the Committee at its twelfth session to be held from 1 to 19 May 1995;

- The confidential report should be considered by the Committee in private and subsequently adopted for public release;

- Significant assistance would be required from the secretariat in the preparation of the mission, particularly in obtaining and analysing relevant information. It was agreed that the secretariat should seek inputs from all relevant sources and should specifically request any pertinent reports or other information from UNDP, the World Bank, Habitat, ILO and other such agencies, as well as from non-governmental organizations.

359. The mission will have to meet the government authorities responsible for housing questions. It will also have to seek the views of institutions liable to become involved in housing problems in one capacity or another: judicial authorities, national, regional or local administrations, representatives of civil society (non-governmental organizations, churches, universities, etc.) and other qualified individuals or institutions.

360. It is also important that the mission should be able to make on-the-spot visits, particularly to areas where urban development schemes are planned, where evictions have taken place or where housing conditions are inadequate.

361. As the mission's two objectives are to gain a more precise idea of the housing situation in Panama and to pursue a dialogue with the Government and civil society with a view to securing the best possible application of the Covenant in the area of housing, it will need to hold separate meetings with the Government, representatives of civil society and individuals personally affected by housing measures, so as to allow for a free and open dialogue.

362. A precise agenda will have to be prepared before the start of the mission, in consultation with the Government of Panama, the Centre for Human Rights, the two experts and possibly the Chairperson of the Committee, as well as with bodies representative of civil society.

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