The Committee considered the initial report of Malta (CCPR/C/68/Add.4)
at its 1283rd and 1287th meetings, held on 1 and 3 November 1993, and
adopted at its 1289th meeting (forty-ninth session), held on 4 November
1993 the following comments:
The Committee welcomes
the State party's initial report and the constructive manner in which
the dialogue with the Committee has been engaged. It notes that the
information submitted in the report and that provided orally by the
delegation, both in its introductory statement and in the comprehensive
and detailed replies to oral questions, enabled the Committee to obtain
a clear picture of Malta's actual compliance with the obligations
undertaken under the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights. The Committee, however, regrets that the report deals mainly
with constitutional provisions and contains little information about
the practical application of the provisions of the Covenant.
2. Factors and difficulties affecting the application
of the Covenant
The Committee notes that there are no indications in the report or in
the oral submission on the factors or difficulties which may impede
the effective implementation of the Covenant's provisions.
3. Positive aspects
The Committee notes the
efforts undertaken by the Government of Malta in order to guarantee
effectively the protection of civil and political rights. Chapter
IV of the national Constitution provides an appropriate basis for
the effective protection of most of the human rights contained in
The recent adoption by
Parliament of a number of legal measures, such as the Local Council
Act, the proposed review of the Civil Code in order better to ensure
the equality of children born out of wedlock and to promote the equality
of sexes and the proposed revision of the Investigation of Injustices
Act, the forthcoming consideration by Parliament of a draft Data Protection
Act and Information Practices Act, indicate the commitment of the
Government of Malta to bring its national legislation into line with
The Committee notes with
satisfaction that, in 1990, Malta acceded to the first Optional Protocol
at the same time as it acceded to the Covenant.
4. Principal subjects of concern
The Committee is concerned
at the fact that the Covenant, unlike the European Convention for
the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, has not yet
been incorporated into the national legal order. The Committee also
expresses concern over the status of the Covenant within the legal
system of Malta and the lack of clarity concerning the resolution
of eventual conflicts between the Covenant and domestic legislation.
In this connection, the
Committee recalls that, in accordance with article 2, paragraph 2,
of the Covenant, each State party to the Covenant undertakes to take
the necessary steps to adopt such legislative or other measures as
may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant.
The Committee also expresses
concern over the apparent preference accorded, in the domestic law
as well as in legal doctrine and jurisprudence, to the European Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as against
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In that
regard, the attention of the State party is drawn to the fact that
the latter guarantees a number of human rights not protected under
the former and that permissible restrictions are less broad-based.
The Committee notes that
the reservations entered by Malta upon ratification of the Covenant
with respect to a number of provisions have an adverse effect on the
effective implementation of the Covenant. No convincing reasons have
been offered for the reservations to articles 13 and 14, paragraph
6. Additionally, given the actual situation of human rights protection
in Malta, some reservations may now have become obsolete.
The Committee further
notes that certain requirements of the Covenant, such as those referred
to in articles 9, paragraph 3, and 26, are not fully met. In that
connection, the attention of the State party is drawn to the pertinent
General Comments adopted by the Committee as well as to the Committee's
jurisprudence under the Optional Protocol.
5. Suggestions and recommendations
The Committee recommends
that the State party take appropriate measures to incorporate the
substantive provisions of the Covenant into domestic law and ensure
that the restrictions imposed under domestic law do not go beyond
those permissible under the Covenant.
The Committee also recommends
that the Government review, with a view to withdrawing, the reservations
made upon ratification of the Covenant, particularly those concerning
articles 13 and 14 of the Covenant.
The Committee expresses
the hope that the Government of Malta will consider ratifying the
Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant aiming at the abolition of
the death penalty.
The Committee emphasizes
that further measures should be taken to ensure that the provisions
of the Covenant be made more widely known, particularly among the
legal profession, members of the judiciary and administrative authorities.
The general public should also be adequately informed of the provisions
of the Covenant and those contained in the Optional Protocol.