31 May 2006
Dear Sub-Commission members,
This letter is intended to inform you of the state of affairs with regard to the ongoing process leading to the establishment of the Human Rights Council and the implications that this process may have for the Sub-Commission and its activities. You are kindly invited to take note of the following:
General Assembly action
As decided by the General Assembly in its resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 entitled "Human Rights Council", all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights, including the Sub-Commission, will be assumed, as of 19 June 2006, by Human Rights Council, which will review them as appropriate within one year, inter alia "in order to maintain a system of... expert advice" (operative paragraph 6).
Present status of the Sub-Commission and preparations for its 58th session
The Commission on Human Rights concluded its work on 27 March 2006 and, pursuant to ECOSOC resolution 2006/2, it will be abolished with effect on 16 June 2006. The Sub-Commission with all its working groups will continue to exist in its present form until such time when the Council adopts any decision(s) affecting this body and its mechanisms, mandates and activities.
Since no election of Sub-Commission members was held during the 62nd session of the Commission on Human Rights which was short and procedural, all present Sub-Commission experts are expected to continue to exercise their functions pending any relevant decisions of the Human Rights Council.
Since no action was taken by the 62nd session of the Commission on the draft decisions and other proposals recommended by the 57th session of the Sub-Comission for approval by the Commission, they will not be implemented pending consideration and action by the Council, if any.
The meeting of the Sub-Commission and its working groups in 2006 will only be convened if confirmed by the Human Rights Council. However, the OHCHR continues at present with its usual preparatory work for the Sub-Commission's session, taking into account that the 58th session of the Sub-Commission was originally scheduled to be held from 7 to 25 August 2006.
All reports and working papers mandated for preparation for the 58th session of the Sub-Commission will, upon receipt by the Secretariat, be processed abd circulated with the following footnote on the cover page of each document:
"Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/251, all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights will be assumed as of 19 June 2006 by the Human Rights Council, which will review them as appropriate".
Please bear in mind that according to the established UN rules, all pre-session documents should be submitted for processing 10 weeks prior to the scheduled beginning of a session. The deadline for the submission of your reports and working papers was thus on 29 May 2006.
Human Rights Council
The elections of the first members of the Human Rights Council took place on 9 May 2006, and the first session of the Council will be held from 19 to 30 June 2006. It is expected that during this session, the Council would adopt a number of decisions connected with the assumption and reciew by the Council of Commission's mandates and mechanisms, including a decision relating to the Sub-Commission and its working groups on contemporary forms of slavery, indigenous populations, the Social Forum and the working group on communications (1503 procedure) and concerning the term of office of the present Sub-Commission members.
For general information on the Human Rights Council, you may also consult the OHCHR website at the folowing address: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/
Arrangements for travel to Geneva
As was mentioned above, the meetings of the Sub-Commission and its working groups scheduled for July-August-September of this year will only be held if confirmed by the Human Rights Council at its first session in June 2006. On this understanding, you are kindly requested to make preliminary reservations for your travel to Geneva folowing the same procedure as in previous years, i.e. through Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) agents or their representative in your area. THe United Nations will instruct the CWT agents to go ahead with the issuance of your tickets only after adoption by the Human Rights Council of a decision confirming the meetings of the Sub-Commission its working groups and indicationg their duration.
No purchase of tickets by the traveller should be made without a prior authorization by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The Secretariat will promptly inform you of any relevant decision(s) adopted by the Human Rights Council next June and provide you with any other pertinent information.
A copy of this letter will also be sent for information to your alternates, if any.
Please feel free to contact the Sub-Commission secretariat (Mr. Guennadi Lebakine: tel. +41 (0)22 917 93 28 / 917 94 01 / 917 92 19; fax: +41 (0)22 917 90 11) for any assitance or information you may require.
With kind regards,
Maria Francisca Ize-Charrin
Chief, Treaties and Commission Branch
-General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 entitled "Human Rights Council";
-ECOSOC resolution 2006/2 of 22 March 2006 entitled "Implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251";
-Commission on Human Rights resolution 2006/1 of 27 March 2006 entitled "Closure of the work of the Commission on Human Rights".
Text of the resolution adoptedon 22 March 2006 by the Economic and Social Council at the fifth meeting of its 2006 organizational session.
2006/2. Implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251
The Economic and Social Council,
Recalling its resolution 5 (I) of 16 February 1946, by which it established the Commission on Human Rights, and its subsequent relevant resolutions relating to the mandate of the Commission,
Also recalling General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,
1. Requests the Commission on Human Rights to conclude its work at its sixty-second session, which should be short and procedural, and to transmit its final report to the Council,
2. Decides ro abolish the Commission on Human Rights with effect on 16 June 2006.