NGOs call for enhanced predictability in State reviews and adequate funding for Treaty Bodies

Published on 24 Oct 2019, 09:33 AM

More than 30 NGOs submit a joint proposal to improve the UN Treaty Bodies reporting procedure

View of the Palais des Nations in Geneva where several sessions of the UN Treaty Bodies take place.

The CCPR-Centre, along with 30 NGOs worldwide, presented one joint proposal to enhance the scrutiny of States' human rights obligations by the United Nations Treaty Bodies (UNTBs), with the aim of ensuring a timely and universal reporting. This proposal is also available in French and Spanish.

This joint proposal marks the conclusion of a broad consultation process in which many CSOs, as well as academic organizations, participated throughout the year.

"This proposal ensures that all States Parties engage on regular basis. It will solve the issue of the non-reporting States which remains endemic for the time being."

- Patrick Mutzenberg, Director of the CCPR Centre

Content of the Proposal

The NGOs stress the relevance of reconciling the two reporting cycles and the periodicity proposed by the Covenants and Convention monitoring bodies, as reflected in the Treaty body Chairpersons Position Paper on the future of the treaty body system, in order to reinforce the notion of one system and to strengthen the follow-up and implementation of UNTB recommendations

Thus, the proposal focuses on the existence of a fixed and synchronized calendar valid for all the Committees to ensure that reviews before each Committee take place in a coordinated manner and that no more than two reviews per year are scheduled for each State (with a limited excpetion for States that have ratified all the human rights treaties). 

The proposal also suggests a two-level cycle that will allow monitoring through a comprehensive review every eight years and a focused review in the middle of such cycle: 

  • There will be a comprehensive review every 8 years, which includes a six hour review, and that will adress all the provisions of the respective treaty; and
  • There will be a focused review every 8 years, staggered alternatively between the comprehensive reviews, which will focus on assessing the progress made on the most pressing issues as identified in the comprehensive review, as well as any new or urgent issues that have arisen. 

This focused review would take place in the concerned State by two to three treaty body members, possibly organised jointly by two committees.

Alternatively the focused review could take place in Geneva with State representatives for two to three hours, if the State refuses a country visit or has otherwise compromised the feasibility of a country visit or at a regional UN headquarters.

Call for adequate funding for UNTBs

Additionally, over 40 CSOs, including the CCPR-Centre, submitted a joint proposal reaffirming their support to the content of Resolution 68/268 and calling for its full implementation. Thus, NGOs called States to provide adequate resources for the treaty body system, and to ensure they adequately fund all aspects of the treaty bodies' work.

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