1. The Committee
considered the third periodic report of Austria (CCPR/C/83/Add.3) at
its 1718th and 1719th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1819-1719), held on 30 October
1998, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 1726th
meeting (CCPR/C/SR.1726), held on 5 November 1998.
2. The Committee
welcomes the detailed report submitted by the State party and expresses
its appreciation for the clear, updated information provided orally
by the delegation. While noting the high quality of the report of the
State party, the Committee notes the considerable delay in its submission;
the report would have been improved by the inclusion of quantitative
and practical data, although the delegation provided such additional
B. Positive factors
3. The Committee
welcomes the ratification by Austria of the Second Optional Protocol
to the Covenant with effect from 2 June 1998.
4. The Committee welcomes
the withdrawal by Austria of some of its reservations to the Covenant;
it would have been appreciated if the reasons for these withdrawals
and the precise nature of their effect, as well as the reasons for maintenance
of the remaining reservations, had been more clearly explained.
5. The Committee
welcomes the recent constitutional and legislative changes aimed at
improved protection against discrimination; the admission of women to
the armed forces and their advancement in the Civil Service is appreciated;
legislation to promote the rights and prospects of disabled persons
is also welcomed.
6. The Committee
also welcomes the end to the monopoly on radio broadcasting and the
establishment of private radio stations in Austria.
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
7. While noting
that the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms has been incorporated into the Austrian Constitution,
the Committee emphasizes that a number of articles of the Covenant exceed
the scope of the provisions of the European Convention. The Committee,
therefore, recommends that the State party ensure that all rights protected
under the Covenant are given effect in Austrian law.
8. The Committee
is concerned that the State party made it clear that it has no intention
of adopting appropriate procedures for taking into account the Committee's
Views under the Optional Protocol consistent with its obligations under
article 2 of the Covenant.
9. The Committee
is concerned that there is no provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure
whereby a statement by way of confession must, if challenged, be proved
not to have been extracted by means of torture or ill-treatment. The
Committee recommends that steps be taken to amend the Code of Criminal
Procedure in this regard.
10. The Committee
notes with concern that the presence of a lawyer to advise a detained
person is not authorized at the preliminary stage of judicial criminal
investigation (prior to the person's appearance before a judge). It
recommends that the Code of Criminal Procedure be revised so as to guarantee
more fully the right of a suspect to be assisted by a lawyer at all
stages of the proceedings. Further, whilst commending the efforts undertaken
by the State party to prevent, investigate and punish acts of ill-treatment
of suspects and detainees, the Committee regrets that audio recording
of the interrogations of the detainees is not yet used systematically.
The Committee recommends that audio recording of interrogations be implemented
in all Länder.
11. The Committee
is concerned about certain features of Austria's law and procedure concerning
asylum seekers and immigrants. These concerns relate to (i) apparently
insufficient legal guarantees to prevent deportation in cases where
there is a risk of treatment that would violate article 7; (ii) the
treatment of persons against whom there is a deportation decision but
who remain in the country, raising issues under articles 7, 10 and 16;
and (iii) sanctions against passenger carriers and other pre-frontier
arrangements that may affect the rights of any person to leave any country,
including his or her own (art. 12, para. 2 of the Covenant).
12. The Committee
considers that, despite recent reforms, the nature and functions of
the autonomous administrative tribunals continue to raise questions
in connection with the requirements of "due process" under article 14
of the Covenant. It encourages the State party fully to implement the
principle of independence of all courts and tribunals.
13. The Committee
considers that existing legislation on the minimum age of consent for
sexual relations in respect of male homosexuals is discriminatory on
grounds of sex and sexual orientation. It requests that the law be revised
to remove such discriminatory provisions.
14. The Committee
notes with concern that the State party appears to restrict the definition
of minorities to certain legally recognized groups. It requests that
specific information on all ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities
be included in Austria's next periodic report, in the light of the Committee's
General Comment No. 23 (50).
15. The Committee
is concerned that legal provisions in Austria relating to the recognition
of religions and the benefits accorded to recognized religions may result
in discrimination contrary to articles 18 and 26 of the Covenant.
16. The Committee
would appreciate information, in the next periodic report, about the
application and effect of article 283 of the Criminal Code, concerning
propaganda and incitement to war and to national, racial or religious
17. The Committee
requests that in its next periodic report the State party provide further
information about measures being implemented to counter all forms of
violence against women.
18. The Committee
requests that the State party address the Committee's concerns and recommendations
in detail in its next periodic report.
19. The Committee
sets the date for the submission of Austria's fourth periodic report
as October 2002. It requests that the text of the State party's third
periodic report and the present concluding observations be published
and widely disseminated within Austria and that the next periodic report
be disseminated among non-governmental organizations operating in Austria.