It is undisputed that procedures inside the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Treaty Body Branch and also between treaty body (TB) members need to adapt to today’s technologies. Mechanisms and rules put in place in the times of letters and faxes are not anymore up to the task to deliver efficiently in a quickly changing environment where the volume of work has sharply increased over the years.
But how to do so, what to do, by whom and on which budget? The terminology, with references to ‘digital shift’, ‘digital uplift’ or ‘digital transformation’ shows that the vast area of working methods' digitalization is seen differently in scope by various actors. Furthermore, quick sectorial solutions bring the risk of moving from existing siloes to digital ones, so even if some areas might serve as good examples, a major challenge will be the ‘uplift’ of the whole secretariat structure across the board.
This GHRP Friday will look at the technical options currently under discussion, their potential impact and the process required to get there – in terms of decision making, financing and practical implementation. Panelists will also address the value of a digital platform and knowledge management for both internal proceedings, but also for enhancing the transparency and interaction with all stakeholders.
To limit the scope of our discussions, this meeting will neither discuss the substantive impacts of digitalization on the enjoyment of human rights, nor the specific working methods of each committee. It will rather address the systemic approach of knowledge management and digitalized procedures, keeping in mind the claims put forward by TB members (e.g. CRPD paper) to look carefully into which TB activities can be moved online.
The GHRP Fridays provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change. They are open to all interested delegations, TB members, staff from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and civil society.
This event series of the Geneva Human Rights Platform – co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Morocco, Switzerland and Uruguay to the UN in Geneva – aims at discussing the outcomes of the 2020 UN Treaty Body Review.
Sharon Braekman is pursuing a MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law at the Geneva Academy. She tells us about her background, the programme and what it will bring to her career.
In 2021, the Geneva Human Rights Platform developed and launched a new online tool for all UN treaty body members to interact online as a community of practice, consult each other, collaborate on tasks, connect to share news and information, and contribute material to a resource library
the blowup, Unsplash
The Geneva Human Rights Platform team will be travelling to New York to host a side event on ‘Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – where do we stand’.
Dustan Woodhouse, Unplash
This training course will explore the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights, as well as with their implementation and enforcement mechanisms; and provide practical insights into the different UN human rights mechanisms pertinent to advancing environmental issues and protecting environmental human rights defenders.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy
We are a partner of the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which aims to map and analyse the human rights challenges and opportunities presented by the use of big data and associated technologies. It notably examines whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of the digital age.