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

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

Conference room in New York News

Taking the Discussions on the 2020 Treaty Body Review to the Next Level

October 2019

In order to bring the substantive debates on the future of UN treaty bodies from Geneva to the political discussions in New York, the Geneva Human Rights Platform held with the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica and Switzerland a side event at the UN General Assembly in New York.

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Photo of the publication News

Optimizing UN Treaty Bodies: Wide Support to the Recommendations Emanating from our Academic Platform

June 2019

Reports submitted by states in the context of the review of UN Treaty Bodies highlight wide support to the recommendations presented in our publication Optimizing the UN Treaty Bodies System.

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Photo of the conference room with participants News

Geneva Diplomats Briefed about the 2020 Review of UN Treaty Bodies

June 2019

At a meeting co-organized with the permanent missions of Costa Rica and Japan to the United Nations in Geneva, Geneva-based diplomats discussed the current status of the 2020 review of UN treaty bodies.

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Papers related to the Geneva Human Rights Platform on a table News

Geneva Diplomats Discuss Developments around the 2020 Treaty Body Review and Next Steps in New York

November 2019

Staff from the Geneva Human Rights Platform, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and invited experts briefed state representatives in Geneva about developments related to the work of UN treaty bodies (TB) and the 2020 TB Review in New York.

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View of the 2019 Graduation Ceremony News

Three Prizes Reward Graduating Students for their Exceptional Academic Work

October 2019

Every year, at the Graduation Ceremony, three students are rewarded for their exceptional academic work via three prizes: the Henry Dunant Research Prize, the Best LLM Paper Prize and the Best MTJ Paper Prize.

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A forest Event

Is it Time for Universal Recognition of the Right to a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment?

February 2020, 09:15-13:00

To kick-start discussions at the UN about the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, this expert seminar will consider the growing recognition of this right and will answer the question: is it time for universal recognition at UN-level?

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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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Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Central Park. A pedestrian is looking at portraits of missing persons during the International Day of Missing Persons. Returned migrants and relatives of the missing painted a moveable mural. Short Course

Confronting the Truth: The Functions, Practices and Challenges of Truth Commissions

31 March - April 2020

Truth Commissions are by now an integral part of the transitional justice vocabulary and practice. This short course will provide a comprehensive, multidimensional and practical examination of this transitional justice mechanism, shedding light on both its aims and the practical challenges it has met or is likely to meet.

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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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Session of the UN Human Rights Committee Project

Treaty Body Review 2020

Started in January 2018

The Geneva Human Rights Platform 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.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms

published on December 2019

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

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Cover page of the Research Brief Publication

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

published on November 2019

Miloon Kothari

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