University of Minnesota

Human Rights Committee, General Comment 2, Reporting guidelines (Thirteenth session, 1981), Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, U.N. Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.1 at 3 (1994)


1. The Committee has noted that some of the reports submitted initially were so brief and general that the Committee found it necessary to elaborate general guidelines regarding the form and content of reports. These guidelines were designed to ensure that reports are presented in a uniform manner and to enable the Committee and States parties to obtain a complete picture of the situation in each State as regards the implementation of the rights referred to in the Covenant. Despite the guidelines, however, some reports are still so brief and general that they do not satisfy the reporting obligations under article 40.

2. Article 2 of the Covenant requires States parties to adopt such legislative or other measures and provide such remedies as may be necessary to implement the Covenant. Article 40 requires States parties to submit to the Committee reports on the measures adopted by them, on the progress made in the enjoyment of the Covenant rights and the factors and difficulties, if any, affecting the implementation of the Covenant. Even reports which were in their form generally in accordance with the guidelines have in substance been incomplete. It has been difficult to understand from some reports whether the Covenant had been implemented as part of national legislation and many of them were clearly incomplete as regards relevant legislation. In some reports the role of national bodies or organs in supervising and in implementing the rights had not been made clear. Further, very few reports have given any account of the factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant.

3. The Committee considers that the reporting obligation embraces not only the relevant laws and other norms relating to the obligations under the Covenant but also the practices and decisions of courts and other organs of the State party as well as further relevant facts which are likely to show the degree of the actual implementation and enjoyment of the rights recognized in the Covenant, the progress achieved and factors and difficulties in implementing the obligations under the Covenant.

4. It is the practice of the Committee, in accordance with Rule 68 of its Provisional Rules of Procedure, to examine reports in the presence of representatives of the reporting States. All States whose reports have been examined have cooperated with the Committee in this way but the level, experience and the number of representatives have varied. The Committee wishes to state that, if it is to be able to perform its functions under article 40 as effectively as possible and if the reporting State is to obtain the maximum benefit from the dialogue, it is desirable that the States representatives should have such status and experience (and preferably be in such number) as to respond to questions put, and the comments made, in the Committee over the whole range of matters covered by the Covenant.


Home || Treaties || Search || Links