Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Towards a More Efficient Functioning

Started in January 2019

Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures (ICPs) are a major instrument to enforce the rights enshrined in the corresponding human rights treaties and provide victims with an effective remedy before an international body. They also represent a key entry point for victims of human rights violations to the United Nations (UN) human rights system.

This work is supported by a secretariat, hosted by the Office of the UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights and entitled ‘Petitions and Urgent Actions Section’ (PUAS).

AT THE CROSSROAD OF A SECRETARIAT AND A LEGAL ENTITY

Even if UN treaty bodies (TBs) are not tribunals per se, they carry out legal work with the ICPs and must, therefore, be given the ways and means to do it

Our publication Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations precisely addressed the handling of ICPs and tackled efficiency questions related to this procedure. It also outlined a series of key recommendations to improve the system, including the creation of a judicial-like registry to provide substantive legal support to TBs.

The PUAS partially fulfils this task, struggling with institutional and financial issues, but there could be a way, through discussion and assessments to hugely improve its work.

FINDING A VIABLE SOLUTION WITH CONCRETE IMPROVEMENTS

Starting from the challenges and efficiency questions identified in our publication, this initiative aims at finding a viable solution for the ICPs and for the various actors involved – victims, states, TBs, and OHCHR as host of the PUA.

An informal task force, made of an evolving group of stakeholders – including academics, members of PUAS, TB members, diplomats, human rights NGOs, litigators and former registrars in international tribunals – will, placing victims at the centre of the debate, notably aim at equipping TBs with an appropriate tailor-made efficient and economic judicial-like registry.

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 Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Senior Consultant

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

Publications

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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NEWS AND EVENTS

Cover Page of the Publication News

New Publication Provides Guidance to Improve the UN Human Rights Individual Complaints Mechanism

May 2019

Our new publication 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 United Nations treaty bodies.

Read more >

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