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Adopted in February 1989, revised in May 2007, March 2014, April 2015 and April 2017.
The functioning of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is governed by the "Procedure for the examination and treatment of complaints", which came into force on 1 January 1977, and by the subsequent decisions taken by the Governing Council and by the Committee itself.
1. The Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (hereinafter called the Committee) shall be composed of 10 members of Member Parliaments of the Inter‑Parliamentary Union (IPU), elected by the Governing Council in an individual capacity on the basis of their competence, commitment to human rights and availability. They shall have a good command of at least one of the IPU's two working languages: English and French. The IPU Secretary General shall ensure that candidates standing for election, the geopolitical groups and IPU Members are fully aware of the requirements stated above.
2. Committee members shall be elected for a single five year term. In case of resignation, loss of parliamentary mandate or death of a member, or if the affiliation of the parliament to which the member belongs is suspended, his/her term shall automatically come to an end. Members who are absent for two consecutive sessions without a valid reason lose their seat by decision of the Governing Council following a recommendation by the Committee. Upon loss of Committee membership, another person shall be elected from the same geopolitical group for a new, full five year term.
3. The composition of the Committee should reflect an equitable geopolitical distribution of seats.
4. The Committee as a whole should be gender-balanced and in principle comprise five men and five women. In any case, there shall be no fewer than four members of either sex.
1. The Committee shall defend the human rights of current, and in certain circumstances, former members of a national Parliament whenever their rights are at risk or appear to have been violated.
2. The Committee shall aim to:
(a) Prevent possible violations;3. The Committee shall examine, on the basis of a detailed procedure (cf. Annexes I, II, III and IV), complaints of alleged violations of which it is seized by a qualified source.
4. The Committee shall use all possible means to give visibility to its work in defence of the human rights of parliamentarians. The absence of a complaint shall not preclude efforts by the Committee to advocate respect for the human rights of parliamentarians and raise awareness of violations and risks faced by parliamentarians.
5. In carrying out its mandate, the Committee shall apply international, regional and national human rights standards as well as pertinent recommendations emanating from relevant United Nations, regional and national institutions.
6. The Committee shall strive to take into account gender equality concerns in its working methods, processes and objectives.
7. The Committee may suggest that capacity-building assistance be offered to the parliament and other State institutions where the alleged violation has taken place in order to address underlying concerns giving rise to the submission of the complaint.
8. The Committee may request the IPU Secretary General to organize events or conduct studies to address thematic or regional concerns which appear in its case-load and have wider ramifications for the rights of parliamentarians and/or the functioning of parliaments. The Committee may also make specific suggestions to other IPU bodies.
1. Barring exceptional circumstances, the Committee shall meet three times a year: an extended session shall be held at IPU Headquarters in January or June/July and regular sessions shall be held in the days leading up to and during each of the two IPU Assemblies.
2. The Committee's sessions shall be held in camera.
3. The Committee shall set the dates of its next sessions in the light of proposals made by the IPU Secretary General.
4. During sessions, the IPU shall provide interpretation from and into English, French and Spanish. Case files and other documentation shall be provided in English and French only. In the event that neither English, French nor Spanish is their mother tongue, members may bring interpreters to interpret into and from an additional language. Members shall be responsible for covering the costs of such interpretation and informing the IPU Secretariat sufficiently in advance so that practical arrangements can be made. The members shall ensure that the interpreters are of high quality and respect the confidentiality of the Committee’s proceedings.
1. The Committee shall elect its President and Vice-President for one year. Both shall be eligible for re-election. The Committee will strive to ensure that the President and Vice‑President are of opposite sexes.
2. The Vice-President shall replace the Committee President in the latter's absence. In case of resignation, loss of parliamentary mandate or death of the President, or if the affiliation of the parliament to which the President belongs is suspended, his/her functions shall be performed by the Vice-President. Should the Vice-President also become subject to any of the situations mentioned in the previous sentence, the Committee shall elect a new President and Vice-President for a one-year term.
1. The provisional agenda of the Committee shall be drawn up by the IPU Secretary General, in consultation with the Committee President.
2. The agenda shall include an item on follow-up action by Committee members and Member Parliaments on decisions adopted on individual cases.
At least half of the number of members in exercise of their functions shall constitute the quorum for deliberating and taking decisions.
1. The Committee's deliberations and all correspondence and documents submitted to it shall be kept confidential at all times. The Committee members shall undertake personally to respect this rule of confidentiality. The Committee shall call on the parties directly concerned to ensure that its deliberations, documents and correspondence submitted to it or sent by it remain confidential.
2. The Committee's decisions shall be made public as a matter of principle unless it believes there are overriding reasons to keep a decision confidential. Such reasons include strong indications that:
(a) only confidentiality will promote a resolution of the case;In respect of confidential cases, the IPU Secretary General shall communicate the decision only to the parties concerned. The Committee may also mandate the Secretary General to convey a confidential decision to other parties which it deems to be in a position to help it in the examination of the case. The Secretary General shall not be held responsible for the reproduction and distribution of the Committee's confidential decisions and other submissions by the parties concerned.
3. When the Committee meets during IPU Assemblies, its President shall report on its work to the Governing Council, to which it shall submit draft decisions for adoption on individual cases which, if adopted, shall enjoy the support of the full IPU membership. Should the Committee President be unable to attend, the report shall be presented by the Vice-President or, in his/her absence, by another Committee member designated by the Committee. The report to the Council may also contain one or more personal testimonies from the persons affected or their representatives. The text of all adopted decisions shall make mention of any clear reservation on the substance of the decision expressed by the delegation of the country concerned and/or other parties.
1. The Committee shall prioritize discussion of and action on its cases. To this end, the Committee shall always examine cases which are submitted to it for the first time. It shall further prioritize examination of cases with significant developments, cases of ongoing risk to life, physical integrity and liberty or continuing serious intimidation and cases in which no developments have occurred but which require a strategic discussion and/or shift of focus.
2. Previous decisions on cases shall remain applicable as long as they have not been superseded by a new decision of the Committee.
3. Once a year, during an extended session held in January or June/July, the Committee shall examine all the cases before it and shall plan, to the extent possible, its activities for the next 12 months, including the hearing of delegations, sources and other parties and the organization of on‑site missions, visits and trial observations. The foregoing shall not preclude the discussion or planning of activities at the Committee’s other sessions.
4. At the extended session, the Committee shall decide for each case whether or not it will be the subject of a decision at that session. The Committee may decide, in respect of the other cases, whether, in the absence of a decision, specific follow-up action is required. The Committee shall adjourn the adoption of any decision on the other cases to a future session on the understanding that its concerns as expressed in its most recent decisions in those cases shall remain valid.
The Committee may consult experts, hold hearings, carry out on‑site missions and visits and mandate the observation of trial proceedings in accordance with established rules and criteria (cf. Annexes III and IV).
In principle, Committee members shall not attend and participate in deliberations and decisions on any case concerning a member of parliament who is a national of his/her country. The Committee may, however, invite the member concerned to provide his/her observations on the case.
As a general rule, the Committee's decisions shall be taken by consensus. In the absence of consensus, the Committee shall decide by a majority of the members present.
1. Within 14 days after the end of the session, the IPU Secretary General shall provide Committee members with a succinct summary of what, if any, decision was taken for each case at the session.
2. Between sessions, the IPU Secretary General shall promote implementation of the case decisions and other follow-up action identified by the Committee at its previous session(s) and take steps in respect of any new or other cases warranting an immediate response. With regard to the other cases, the IPU Secretariat shall closely monitor developments.
3. The Committee members, and first and foremost its President, may be consulted where appropriate between sessions on the submission of new cases and developments in cases already under examination by the Committee, as well as on the organization of on‑site missions, visits and trial observations.
4. Between sessions, the Committee may exceptionally adopt a public or confidential decision in the event of an urgent situation requiring its immediate attention. To this end, should the IPU Secretary General receive information from a qualified source warranting an urgent Committee decision, he/she shall contact the Committee President, and with the latter’s approval, inform all other members, suggest a course of action and ask for their feedback within 48 hours, or in absolute emergencies, 24 hours.
1. The work of the Committee shall be based on the principle of parliamentary solidarity. It shall therefore seek, where useful, to engage with IPU Member Parliaments in facilitating satisfactory settlements in the cases before it and to give prominence to parliamentary action taken to promote such solutions.
2. Following each Committee session, the IPU Secretary General shall invite all IPU Member Parliaments to take action to follow up the decisions on individual human rights cases and to report on any action taken. In so doing, the Secretary General may pay special attention to certain cases warranting parliamentary action.
3. The Committee may also take other steps to promote parliamentary solidarity. Such efforts may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Requesting the IPU Secretary General to write to the chairpersons of the geopolitical groups about the public cases pending in or outside their regions;
One or more of the members of the Committee and/or the IPU Secretary General may propose amendments to the Rules for discussion by the Committee. The Committee shall discuss such proposed amendments and adopt, with the support of an absolute majority of the members present at the time of the vote, its own views thereon. Should these views favour specific amendments to the Rules, such amendments shall be submitted to the Governing Council for approval.
The Committee shall have a Secretary and a team of IPU staff to assist it in its day‑to-day work. The Secretary shall be under the direct authority of the IPU Secretary General and, along with the former’s team, cooperate closely with other IPU staff to ensure the effectiveness of the Committee’s work.
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