The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) submitted a report highlighting issues of Tibetan refugees in Nepal to the UN Human Rights Committee. The Report will help in framing a list of issues that the Committee will forward to Nepal in July in order to review Nepal’s 2nd Country Report.

All countries that ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are under obligation to submit periodic reports to the Human Rights Committee in order for the Committee to review its progress. Country reports are expected to elaborate on the measures the country has adopted to give effect to the rights recognized in the ICCPR and the progress the country has made in enabling its citizens to enjoy those rights. Nepal ratified the ICCPR in May 1991.

In 2009, the Human Rights Committee amended its review process in order it be able to address more specific issues within the country. Under the new process, the Committee sends the State parties a list of issues, which then can be discussed at the review. Briefly, the present procedure is as follows: the country submits the report last due; then the Committee sends a list of issues of concern to the country; the country replies the queries. The Committee then reviews the country’s performance through an interactive, open dialogue where Committee members can ask follow-up questions to the written replies the country had submitted. Following this, the Committee makes its concluding observations and notifies the country the deadline to submit its next report.

As the Committee usually sits only three times a year the timelines tend to be protracted. In the case of Nepal’s second report of February 2012, the Committee is to decide on the list of issues to be forwarded in July 2013 and the interactive dialogue will be in March 2014.

Under the new review process the Committee will consider reports from Non Governmental Organizations when it draws up the list of issues to send to the State under Review. Nine NGOs have reported on Nepal for the Committee’s consideration. Here is ICT’s report. You can also find it on the Human Rights Committee Sessions website.