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Parliamentary bodies dealing with human rights :
Human Rights Committee

Type of parliamentary body Specialized
Nature Permanent
Related to chambers Nationalrat
Date of creation 18 November 1999
Last renewal date 17 December 2013
Mandate The Committee is responsible for preliminary deliberation of bills concerning fundamental rights. The following items of business are dealt with: Federal Government bills, private members' bills, popular initiatives or Federal Council bills. The bills are referred to the Committee by the Speaker of the National Council. Topics covered include human rights policies, racism, xenophobia, anti-discrimination in Austria and abroad, moreover the procedure for granting the right of asylum. Also the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights treaties are subject of discussion.
Membership The National Council determines the number of members and substitute members of each committee. The members and substitute members are recruited from the parliamentary groups in proportion to their number of members. The parliamentary groups communicate to the President the names of the members and substitute members to which they are entitled, who are thereupon considered elected for the entire legislative period. As of December 2013 the Committee has 24 members
Working methods The Chairperson decides on the agenda, convenes committee meetings, opening and closing them. Committees are deemed to have a quorum if more than half of their members are present. Such a quorum is only required for votes and elections. At the beginning of deliberations on an item of business the committee elects a rapporteur, on whose proposal the item of business may be discussed in its entirety or in part or during separate general and special debates. The committee Chairperson recognizes the members who have asked for the floor in the order in which they made their request. Unless expressly decided otherwise, all committee decisions are taken with a majority of the members present. The members of the federal government and the State secretaries have the right to participate in all of the proceedings of the committees. The committees may also require the presence of members of the federal government at their deliberations. Although the committee sessions of the National Council are not generally open to the public, the rules of procedure of the National Council make an exception in several special instances. For example, the public is admitted to deliberations on federal government reports being finalized by a committee, and not therefore discussed in a plenary session of the National Council, and to fundamental debates on referendum petitions at which experts and witnesses are heard. The reports of the committee’s sessions are made public.
Relations with other parliamentary bodies There is only an informal exchange of information between the members of the committees (because members of the respective committees are also members of other committees). A bill can be referred to another committee.
Relations with external bodies Members of the Federal Government (ministers), their representatives or other experts may be summoned by the Committee to provide information orally or in writing. NGO representatives are usually not allowed to attend sessions, unless they are summoned as experts by the Committee. NGOs may also express their opinion by submitting written statements on bills.
Subjects dealt with Universal Periodic Review of Austria, reform of the ECHR, Human Trafficking (e.g. protection of victims of child trafficking), situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Austria, reports of the Austrian Ombudsman Board with regard to human rights (observes and investigates the conduct of bodies authorised to exercise direct administrative power and compulsion), protection of ethnic minorities.
Main address Nationalrat
Dr. Karl Renner-Ring 3,
A-1017 VIENNA (Austria)
Phone +43 1 401 10 27 08
Fax +43 1 401 10 27 46
E-mail david.liebich@parlament.gv.at
Name Ms. Alev Korun
Name Mr. David Liebich

Information on this page was last updated on 17 April 2014
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