The United Nations Human Rights Treaties
Rules of Procedure of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Concerning Communications
HRI/GEN/3/Rev. 3 - May 2008
XVIII. Procedure for considering communications from individuals or groups of individuals under Article 14 of the Convention
A. General provisions
Competence of the Committee
1. The Committee shall be competent to receive and consider communications and exercise the functions provided for in article 14 of the Convention only when at least 10 States parties are bound by declarations recognizing the competence of the Committee in conformity with paragraph 1 thereof.
2. The Secretary-General shall transmit to the other States parties copies of the declarations deposited with him by States parties recognizing the competence of the Committee.
3. Consideration of communications pending before the Committee shall not be affected by the withdrawal of a declaration made under article 14 of the Convention.
4. The Secretary-General shall inform the other States parties of the name, composition and functions of any national legal body which has been established or indicated by a State party, in conformity with paragraph 3 of article 14.
The Secretary-General shall keep the Committee informed of the name, composition and functions of any national legal body established or indicated under paragraph 2 of article 14 as competent to receive and consider petitions from individuals or groups of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the Convention.
Certified copies of registers of petitions
1. The Secretary-General shall keep the Committee informed of the contents of all certified copies of the register of petitions filed with him in accordance with paragraph 4 of article 14.
2. The Secretary-General may request clarifications from the States parties concerning the certified copies or the registers of petitions emanating from the national legal bodies responsible for such registers.
3. The contents of the certified copies of the registers of petitions transmitted to the Secretary-General shall not be publicly disclosed.
Record of communications received by the Secretary-General
1. The Secretary-General shall keep a record of all communications which are or appear to be submitted to the Committee by individuals or groups of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the Convention and who are subject to the jurisdiction of a State party bound by a declaration under article 14.
2. The Secretary-General may, if he deems it necessary, request clarification of the author of a communication as to his wish to have his communication submitted to the Committee for consideration under article 14. In case of doubt as to the wish of the author, the Committee shall be seized of the communication.
3. No communication shall be received by the Committee or included in a list under rule 85 below if it concerns a State party which has not made a declaration as provided for in paragraph 1 of article 14.
Information to be contained in a communication
1. The Secretary-General may request clarification from the author of a communication concerning the applicability of article 14 to his communication, in particular:
(a) The name, address, age and occupation of the author and the verification of his identity;
(b) The name(s) of the State party or States parties against which the communication is directed;
(c) The object of the communication;
(d) The provision or provisions of the Convention alleged to have been violated;
(e) The facts of the claim;
(f) Steps taken by the author to exhaust domestic remedies, including pertinent documents;
(g) The extent to which the same matter is being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement.
2. When requesting clarification or information, the Secretary-General shall indicate an appropriate time limit to the author of the communication with a view to avoiding undue delays in the procedure
3. The Committee may approve a questionnaire for the purpose of requesting the above-mentioned information from the author of the communication.
4. The request for clarification referred to in paragraph 1 of the present rule shall not preclude the inclusion of the communication in the list provided for in rule 85, paragraph 1, below.
5. The Secretary-General shall inform the author of a communication of the procedure that will be followed and that the text of his communication shall be transmitted confidentially to the State party concerned in accordance with paragraph 6 (a) of article 14.
Transmission of communications to the Committee
1. The Secretary-General shall summarize each communication thus received and shall place the summaries, individually or in composite lists of communications, before the Committee at its next regular session, together with the relevant certified copies of the registers of petitions kept by the national legal body of the country concerned and filed with the Secretary-General in compliance with paragraph 4 of article 14.
2. The Secretary-General shall draw the attention of the Committee to those cases for which certified copies of the registers of petitions have not been received.
3. The contents of replies to requests for clarification and relevant subsequent submissions from either the author of the communication or the State party concerned shall be placed before the Committee in a suitable form.
4. An original case file shall be kept for each summarized communication. The full text of any communication brought to the attention of the Committee shall be made available to any member of the Committee upon request.
B. Procedure for determining admissibility of communications
Method of dealing with communications
1. In accordance with the following rules, the Committee shall decide as soon as possible whether or not a communication is admissible in conformity with article 14 of the Convention.
2. The Committee shall, unless it decides otherwise, deal with communications in the order in which they have been placed before it by the Secretariat. The Committee may, if it deems appropriate, decide to consider jointly two or more communications.
Establishment of a working group
1. The Committee may, in accordance with rule 6l, set up a Working Group to meet shortly before its sessions, or at any other convenient time to be decided by the Committee in consultation with the Secretary-General, for the purpose of making recommendations to the Committee regarding the fulfilment of the conditions of admissibility of communications laid down in article 14 of the Convention and assisting the Committee in any manner which the Committee may decide.
2. The Working Group shall not comprise more than five members of the Committee. The Working Group shall elect its own officers, develop its own working methods, and apply as far as possible the rules of procedure of the Committee to its meetings.
3. The Committee may designate a special rapporteur from among its members to assist it in the handling of new communications.
Meetings of the Committee or its Working Group during which communications under article 14 of the Convention will be examined shall be closed. Meetings during which the Committee may consider general issues such as procedures for the application of article 14 may be public if the Committee so decides.
Inability of a member to take part in the examination of a communication
1. A member of the Committee shall not take part in the examination of a communication by the Committee or its Working Group:
(a) If he has any personal interest in the case; or
(b) If he has participated in any capacity in the making of any decision on the case covered by the communication.
2. Any question which may arise under paragraph 1 above shall be decided by the Committee without the participation of the member concerned.
Withdrawal of a member
If, for any reason, a member considers that he should not take part or continue to take part in the examination of a communication, he shall inform the Chairman of his withdrawal.
Conditions for admissibility of communications
With a view to reaching a decision on the admissibility of a communication, the Committee or its Working Group shall ascertain:
(a) That the communication is not anonymous and that it emanates from an individual or group of individuals subject to the jurisdiction of a State party recognizing the competence of the Committee under article 14 of the Convention;
(b) That the individual claims to be a victim of a violation by the State party concerned of any of the rights set forth in the Convention. As a general rule, the communication should be submitted by the individual himself or by his relatives or designated representatives; the Committee may, however, in exceptional cases accept to consider a communication submitted by others on behalf of an alleged victim when it appears that the victim is unable to submit the communication himself, and the author of the communication justifies his acting on the victim’s behalf;
(c) That the communication is compatible with the provisions of the Convention;
(d) That the communication is not an abuse of the right to submit a communication in conformity with article 14;
(e) That the individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies, including, when applicable, those mentioned in paragraph 2 of article 14. However, this shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged;
(f) That the communication is, except in the case of duly verified exceptional circumstances, submitted within six months after all available domestic remedies have been exhausted, including, when applicable, those indicated in paragraph 2 of article 14.
Additional information, clarifications and observations
1. The Committee or the Working Group established under rule 87 may request, through the Secretary-General, the State party concerned or the author of the communication to submit additional written information or clarifications relevant to the question of admissibility of the communication. A request for information my also emanate from a special rapporteur designated under rule 87, paragraph 3.
2. Such requests shall contain a statement to the effect that the request does not imply that a decision has been reached on the question of admissibility of the communication by the Committee.
3. A communication may not be declared admissible unless the State party concerned has received the text of the communication and has been given an opportunity to furnish information or observations as provided in paragraph 1 of this rule, including information relating to the exhaustion of domestic remedies.
4. The Committee or the Working Group may adopt a questionnaire for requesting such additional information or clarifications.
5. The Committee or the Working Group shall indicate a deadline for the submission of such additional information or clarification.
6. If the deadline is not kept by the State party concerned or the author of a communication, the Committee or the Working Group may decide to consider the admissibility of the communication in the light of available information.
7. If the State party concerned disputes the contention of the author of a communication that all available domestic remedies have been exhausted, the State party is required to give details of the effective remedies available to the alleged victim in the particular circumstances of the case.
1. When the Committee decides that a communication is inadmissible, or its consideration is suspended or discontinued, the Committee shall transmit its decisions as soon as possible, through the Secretary-General, to the petitioner and to the State party concerned.
2. A decision taken by the Committee, in conformity with paragraph 7 (a) of article 14, that a communication is inadmissible, may be reviewed at a later date by the Committee upon a written request by the petitioner concerned. Such written request shall contain documentary evidence to the effect that the reasons for inadmissibility referred to in paragraph 7 (a) of article 14 are no longer applicable.
C. Consideration of communications on their merits
Method of dealing with admissible communications
1. After it has been decided that a communication is admissible in conformity with article 14, the Committee shall transmit, confidentially, through the Secretary-General, the text of the communication and other relevant information to the State party concerned without revealing the identity of the individual unless he has given his express consent. The Committee shall also inform, through the Secretary-General, the petitioner of the communication of its decision.
2. The State party concerned shall submit within three months to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the case under consideration and the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State party. The Committee may indicate, if it deems it necessary, the type of information it wishes to receive from the State party concerned.
3. In the course of its consideration, the Committee may inform the State party of its Views on the desirability, because of urgency, of taking interim measures to avoid possible irreparable damage to the person or persons who claim to be victim(s) of the alleged violation. In doing so, the Committee shall inform the State party concerned that such expression of its Views on interim measures does not prejudge either its final opinion on the merits of the communication or its eventual suggestions and recommendation.
4. Any explanations or statements submitted by a State party pursuant to this rule may be transmitted, through the Secretary-General, to the petitioner of the communication who may submit any additional written information or observations within such time limit as the Committee shall decide.
5. The Committee may invite the presence of the petitioner or his representative and the presence of representatives of the State party concerned in order to provide additional information or to answer questions on the merits of the communication.
6. The Committee may revoke its decision that a communication is admissible in the light of any explanations or statements submitted by the State party. However, before the Committee considers revoking that decision, the explanations or statements concerned must be transmitted to the petitioner so that he may submit additional information or observations within the time limit set by the Committee.
7. The Committee may, in appropriate cases and with the consent of the parties concerned, decide to deal jointly with the question of admissibility and the merits of a communication.
Opinion of the Committee on admissible communications and the Committee’s suggestions and recommendations
1. Admissible communications shall be considered by the Committee in the light of all information made available to it by the petitioner and the State party concerned. The Committee may refer the communication to the Working Group in order to be assisted in this task.
2. The Committee or the working group set up by it to consider a communication may at any time, in the course of the examination, obtain through the intermediary or the Secretary-General any documentation that may assist in the disposal of the case from United Nations bodies or the specialized agencies.
3. After consideration of an admissible communication, the Committee shall formulate its opinion thereon. The opinion of the Committee shall be forwarded, through the Secretary-General, to the petitioner and to the State party concerned, together with any suggestions and recommendations the Committee may wish to make.
4. Any member of the Committee may request that a summary of his individual opinion be appended to the opinion of the Committee when it is forwarded to the petitioner and to the State party concerned.
5. The State party concerned shall be invited to inform the Committee in due course of the action it takes in conformity with the Committee’s suggestions and recommendations.
Summaries in the Committee’s annual report
The Committee shall include in its annual report a summary of the communications examined and, where appropriate a summary of the explanations and statements of the States parties concerned and of its own suggestions and recommendations.
The Committee may also issue communiqués, through the Secretary-General, for the use of information media and the general public regarding the activities of the Committee under article 14 of the Convention.