Human Rights Council

Resolution 6/4. Arbitrary detention

The Human Rights Council,

Reaffirming articles 3, 9, 10 and 29, as well as other relevant provisions of the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recalling articles 9, 10, 11, and 14 to 22 of the International Covenant on

Civil and Political Rights,

Recalling also Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1991/42 of 5 March

1991 and 1997/50 of 15 April 1997, as well as resolution 2005/28 of 19 April 2005,

Recalling further General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006

entitled “Human Rights Council”,

Recalling the resolutions 5/1 “Institution-building of the United Nations

Human Rights Council” and 5/2 “Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-

holders of the Human Rights Council” of 18 June 2007 and stressing that the

mandate-holder shall discharge his/her duties in accordance with these resolutions and

their annexes,

1. Decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group on Arbitrary

Detention for a further period of three years, in accordance with resolutions 1991/42

and 1997/50 of the Commission on Human Rights:

(a) To investigate cases of deprivation of liberty imposed arbitrarily or

otherwise inconsistently with the relevant international standards set forth in the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights or in the relevant international legal

instruments accepted by the States concerned;

(b) To seek and receive information from Governments and

intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and receive information from

the individuals concerned, their families or their representatives;

(c) To act on information submitted to its attention regarding alleged cases

of arbitrary detention by sending urgent appeals and communications to concerned

Governments to clarify and to bring to their attention these cases;

(d) To conduct field missions upon the invitation of Government, in order

to understand better the situations prevailing in countries, as well as the underlying

reasons for instances of arbitrary deprivation of liberty;

(e) To formulate deliberations on issues of a general nature in order to

assist States to prevent and guard against the practice of arbitrary deprivation of

liberty and to facilitate consideration of future cases;

(f) To present an annual report to the Human Rights Council presenting its

activities, findings, conclusions and recommendations;

2. Encourages the Working Group, in fulfilling its mandate:

(a) To work in cooperation and dialogue with all those concerned by the

cases submitted to it, and in particular with States that provide information which

should be given due consideration;

(b) To work in coordination with other mechanisms of the Human Rights

Council, with other competent United Nations bodies and with treaty bodies, bearing

in mind the role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human

Rights in such coordination, and to take all necessary measures to avoid duplication

with those mechanisms, in particular regarding the treatment of the communications it

receives and field missions;

(c) To carry out its task with discretion, objectivity and independence;

3. Takes note of the latest reports of the Working Group (E/CN.4/2006/7

and A/HRC/4/40), including the recommendations contained therein;

4. Requests the States concerned to take account of the Working Group’s

views and, where necessary, to take appropriate steps to remedy the situation of

persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and to inform the Working Group of the

steps they have taken;

5. Encourages all States:

(a) To give due consideration of the recommendations of the Working


(b) To take appropriate measures in order to ensure that their legislation,

regulations and practices remain in conformity with the relevant international

standards and the applicable international legal instruments;

(c) To respect and promote the right of anyone who is arrested or detained

on a criminal charge to be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized

by law to exercise judicial power and to be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or

to release;

(d) To respect and promote the right of anyone who is deprived of his/her

liberty by arrest or detention to be entitled to bring proceedings before a court, in

order that the court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his/her detention

and order his/her release if the detention is not lawful, in accordance with their

international obligations;

(e) To ensure that the right deferred to in subparagraph (d) above is

equally respected in cases of administrative detention, including administrative

detentions in relation to public security legislation;

(f) To ensure that the conditions of pretrial detention do not undermine the

fairness of the trial;

6. Also encourages all States concerned to ensure that any measures taken

to combat terrorism comply with their obligations that ensure protection against

arbitrary detention, bearing in mind relevant recommendations of the Working Group;

7. Further encourages all States to cooperate with the Working Group,

and to give serious consideration to its requests for visits, so that it may carry out its

mandate even more effectively;

8. Notes with concern that a persistent proportion of urgent appeals of the

Working Group has been left unanswered and urges the States concerned to give the

necessary attention to the urgent appeals addressed to them by the Working Group on

a strictly humanitarian basis and without prejudging its possible final conclusions;

9. Expresses its profound thanks to the States that have extended their

cooperation to the Working Group and responded to its requests for information, and

invites all States concerned to demonstrate the same spirit of cooperation;

10. Takes note with satisfaction of the fact that the Working Group has

been informed of the release of some of the individuals whose situation has been

brought to its attention, while deploring the many cases that have not yet been


11. Requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to

the Working Group, particularly with regard to the staffing and resources needed for

the effective fulfilment of its mandate, especially in respect of field missions;

12. Decides to continue consideration of the question in conformity with

its programme of work.

[Adopted without a vote] 21st meeting

28 September 2007