Treaty Body Review 2020

Started in January 2018

The United Nations (UN) human rights (HR) treaty bodies (TBs) are a central pillar of the international HR protection system. Since the establishment of the first UN TB in 1970, both treaty ratifications and the treaty body system have expanded significantly. While this has enhanced HR protection worldwide, it has also created complex challenges that affect the system and those who interact with it: states, national HR institutions, UN entities, civil society organizations, individual complainants and rights-holders at large.

THE 2020 REVIEW

On 9 April 2014, the UN General Assembly (GA) adopted a landmark resolution (A/RES/68/268) on strengthening the TB system, which envisages a review of the measures taken at GA level in 2020. This review represents an opportunity to further reflect on the TB system’s future and develop innovative proposals and solutions without weakening the HR protection that the system currently affords.

Providing Expert Inputs

The Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.

This contribution builds upon the three-year global project of the Academic Platform, which developed models to optimize the reporting and dialogue processes of TBs.

The GHRP has since refined the proposals, adding a calendar system to schedule clustered TB reviews optimally, and identified measures to update the Communication procedure.

TEAM

Picture of Felix Kirchmeier

Felix Kirchmeier

Manager of Policy Studies and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Felix Kirchmeier oversees the conceptualization, development and implementation of policy research at the Geneva Academy. He is also the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Picture of Stefania Di Stefano

Stefania Di Stefano

Project Assistant

Stefania Di Stefano is Project Assistant at the Geneva Academy and a PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies since 2018.

Picture of Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Senior Consultant

Kamelia Kemileva is an external consultant on selected mandates related to the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Picture of Domenico Zipoli

Domenico Zipoli

Associate Research Fellow

His research focuses on causal mechanisms related to National Human Rights Institutions engagement with the UN Human Rights treaty body system.

OUTPUT

 Briefings in Geneva and New York

Regular briefings in Geneva and New York with and for various stakeholders – diplomats, civil society organizations, members of UN TB and experts – allow to discuss and finetune positions towards the 2020 review.

Guidance to Improve the UN Human Rights Individual Complaints Mechanism

The publication Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations addresses the handling of individual communications, tackles efficiency questions related to this procedure and outlines a series of key recommendations to improve the system, including the creation of a registry to provide substantive legal support to UN treaty bodies.

An Efficient Tool to Implement UN Treaty Bodies’ Recommendations

At an expert conference co-organized with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights on 18–19 September 2019, UN TB experts, academics, national and international NGOs and governmental representatives discussed the implementation of a new mechanism aimed at improving the work of UN TBs, the TRIP: Technical Review of Implementation Progress.

Learning from the Universal Periodic Review

The UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has brought new life into the measures taken at the international and national levels to hold states accountable to their international human rights law obligations. The UPR has also generated a number of new initiatives at national levels to implement recommendations emanating from the UPR process. The Research Brief The Universal Periodic Review Mid-Term Reporting Process: Lessons for the Treaty Bodies attempts to draw lessons from the UPR mid-term reporting process that can assist TBs in improving the impact of their work at the national level.

A New Tool to Optimize the Planning of Treaty Bodies Sessions

 The ‘Treaty Body Scheduler’ is a new tool that allows planning, in the context of a consolidated report and clustered dialogue, the best schedules for TBs sessions. While the duration of TBs sessions would remain approximately the same, the schedules developed by this tool would allow delegations to reduce their travels to Geneva. This type of organization would also promote greater interactions between Committees’ members as they would be in session simultaneously.

The Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020

The Geneva Academy coordinated a major project aiming at providing academic input to the 2020 review of UN treaty bodies by the UN General Assembly. This project, which ran from 2015 to 2018 and involved more than 300 academic partners and experts, developed key recommendations to improve the work of UN TBs, many of which have been supported by states. Several states across all continents and regional groups, as well as NGOs, experts and members of UN TBs have endorsed a number of these recommendations.

Publications

Cover page of the Research Brief

The Universal Periodic Review Mid-Term Reporting Process: Lessons for the Treaty Bodies

November 2019

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the publication

Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations

May 2019

Felix Kirchmeier, Kamelia Kemileva, Claire Callejon

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover page of the publication

Optimizing the UN Treaty Body System

May 2018

Domenico Zipoli

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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NEWS AND EVENTS

A session of a UN treary body in Geneva News

Formal Launch of the 2020 Review of UN Treaty Bodies: Our Input

June 2020

The Geneva Human Rights Platform has been contributing to this review by providing expert input, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the discussions towards the follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.

Read more >

Name plate of the UN Secretary-General News

Treaty Bodies, States and NGOs Discuss the Last Report of the UN Secretary General

March 2020

At a meeting of the Geneva Human Rights Platform, diplomats, members of UN treaty bodies (TBs) and civil society representatives discussed and exchanged around this document and the upcoming review of UN TBs by the UN General Assembly.

Read more >

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN in Geneva (room of the UN Human Rights Council News

UN Secretary General Refers to our Work in his Latest Report on the Status of the Human Rights Treaty Body System

February 2020

In his latest report to the UN General Assembly on the status of the human rights treaty body system, António Guterres refers to our work on the future of UN treaty bodies.

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Name plate of the UN Secretary-General News

Treaty Bodies, States and NGOs Discuss the Last Report of the UN Secretary General

March 2020

At a meeting of the Geneva Human Rights Platform, diplomats, members of UN treaty bodies (TBs) and civil society representatives discussed and exchanged around this document and the upcoming review of UN TBs by the UN General Assembly.

Read more

Photo of a flyer of the Geneva Human Rights Platform News

The Geneva Human Rights Platform in 2020

January 2020

In 2020, the Geneva Human Rights Platform will continue to work on the connectivity of human rights mechanisms, broadening the scope by also looking at the connectivity of Geneva-based human rights bodies with regional mechanisms in Africa, the Americas and Europe.

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Small irrigation system with polluted water in N’Zerekore, Guinea Training

The Protection of Human Rights and the Environment

23- November 2020

This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of human rights and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing human rights mechanisms. The 2020 edition will have a specific focus on water pollution and scarcity.

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A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

2- November 2020

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

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First annual conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Project

The Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Started in June 2019

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A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson Project

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Started in April 2019

Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.

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Cover page of the Annual Report 2019 Publication

Annual Report 2019

published on May 2020

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