ECOSOC Resolution 1503(XLVIII) of 27 May 1970
Procedure for dealing with communications relating to violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms
The Economic and Social Council,
Noting resolutions 7(XXVI) and 17(XXV) of the Commission on Human Rights and resolution 2 (XXI) of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,
1. Authorizes the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to appoint a Working Group consisting of not more than five of its members, with due regard to geographical distribution, to meet once a year in private meetings for a period not exceeding ten days immediately before the sessions of the Sub-Commission to consider all communications, including replies of Governments thereon, received by the Secretary-General under Council resolution 728F (XXVIII) of 30 July 1959 with a view to bringing to the attention of the Sub-Commission those communications, together with replies of Governments, if any, which appear to reveal a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms within the terms of reference of the Sub-Commission;
2. Decides that the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities should, at the first stage in the implementation of the present resolution, devise at its twenty-third session appropriate procedures for dealing with the question of admissibility of communications received by the Secretary-General under Council resolution 728F (XXVIII) and in accordance with Council resolution 1235 (XLII) of 6 June 1967;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to prepare a document on the question of admissibility of communications for the Sub-Commission's consideration at its twenty-third session;
4. Further requests the Secretary-General:
(a) To furnish to the members of the Sub- Commission every month a list of communications prepared by him in accordance with Council resolution 728F (XXVIII) and a brief description of them, together with the text of any replies received from Governments;
(b) To make available to the members of the working group at their meetings the originals of such communications listed as they may request, having due regard to the provisions of paragraph 2(b) of Council resolution 728F (XXVIII) concerning the divulging of the identity of the authors of communications;
(c) To circulate to the members of the Sub- Commission, in the working languages, the originals of such communications as are referred to the Sub-Commission by the working group;
5. Requests the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to consider in private meetings, in accordance with paragraph 1 above, the communications brought before it in accordance with the decision of a majority of the members of the working group and any replies of Governments relating thereto and other relevant information, with a view to determining whether to refer to the Commission on Human Rights particular situations which appear to reveal a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights requiring consideration by the Commission;
6. Requests the Commission on Human Rights after it has examined any situation referred to it by the Sub-Commission to determine:
(a) Whether it requires a thorough study by the Commission and a report and recommendations thereon to the Council in accordance with paragraph 3 of Council resolution 1235 (XLII);
(b) Whether it may be a subject of an investigation by an ad hoc committee to be appointed by the Commission which shall be undertaken only with the express consent of the State concerned and shall be conducted in constant co-operation with that State and under conditions determined by agreement with it. In any event, the investigation may be undertaken only if:
(i) All available means at the national level have been resorted to and exhausted;
(ii) The situation does not relate to a matter which is being dealt with under other procedures prescribed in the constituent instruments of , or conventions adopted by, the United Nations and the specialized agencies, or in regional conventions, or which the State concerned wishes to submit to other procedures in accordance with general or special international agreements to which it is a party.
7. Decides that if the Commission on Human Rights appoints an ad hoc committee to carry on an investigation with the consent of the State concerned:
(a) The composition of the committee shall be determined by the Commission. The members if the committee shall be independent persons whose competence and impartiality is beyond question. Their appointment shall be subject to the consent of the Government concerned;
(b) The committee shall establish its own rules of procedure. It shall be subject to the quorum rule. It shall have authority to receive communications and hear witnesses, as necessary. The investigation shall be conducted in co- operation with the Government concerned;
(c) The committee's procedure shall be confidential, its proceedings shall be conducted in private meetings and its communications shall not be publicized in any way;
(d) The committee shall strive for friendly solutions before, during and even after the investigation;
(e) The committee shall report to the Commission on Human Rights with such observations and suggestions as it may deem appropriate;
8. Decides that all actions envisaged in the implementation of the present resolution by the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities or the Commission on Human Rights shall remain confidential until such a time as the Commission may decide to make recommendations to the Economic and Social Council;
9. Decides to authorize the Secretary- General to provide all facilities which may be requires to carry out the present resolution, making use of the existing staff of the Division of Human Rights of the United Nations Secretariat;
10. Decides that the procedure set out in the present resolution for dealing with communications relating to violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms should be reviewed if any new organ entitled to deal with such communications should be established within the United Nations or by international agreement.
1693rd plenary meeting, 27 May 1970.
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