Optimizing the UN Treaty Body System

Cover page of the publication Cover page of the publication

7 May 2018

Our new publication Optimizing the UN Treaty Body System outlines a series of recommendations related to the functioning of United Nations (UN) treaty bodies (TBs), considered a cornerstone of universal human rights protection.

To prepare for the upcoming review of UN TBs by the UN General Assembly, set for 2020, the publication provides detailed and innovative solutions for optimizing the system. ‘While the last words will remain with states and TBs members, this report can provide a basis for negotiations and the blueprint for future changes’ underlines Felix Kirchmeier, Manager of Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy and co-coordinator of the Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020.

Academic Input to the Review

This work is the outcome of a three-year consultative process coordinated by the Geneva Academy – the Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020 – to collect academic inputs and ideas for the 2020 review via the creation of an academic network of independent researchers, a call for papers, a series of regional consultations, annual and expert conferences, as well as ongoing interactions with key stakeholders: states, treaty bodies, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other parts of the UN.

Key academic partners contributed to this process, including Columbia University, University Paris 2 Pantheon-Assas the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, the Inter-American Social Responsibility and Human Rights Institute, the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation, the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, University College Dublin, University of Nairobi, Strathmore Law School, South Asian University and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

‘It was important for us to provide an independent approach, grounded in academic research and free from vested interests and institutional limitations’ stresses Robert Kolb, Professor at the University of Geneva and Academic Adviser to the Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020.

‘The issue of TBs’ reform is almost as old as the system itself: many proposals that are on the table today were already formulated before. Our academic contribution takes these proposals out of their political context by analysing them, their relevance, their likelihood to be implemented and the possible need for updates’ adds Felix Kirchmeier.

A System ‘Fit For Purpose’

The final objective of the publication and of the entire process is to make the TB system ‘fit for purpose’ by outlining measures to optimize its functioning, effectiveness and efficiency while safeguarding its key protection role and maintaining the existing legal framework.

‘While the publication provides several detailed recommendations, we notably call for a consolidated state report and a single review, or a semi-consolidated state report and two clustered reviews; the implementation of incremental changes in the TBs working methods; and a consolidation of TBs’ structure in terms of membership, as well as financial and substantial support’ underlines Kamelia Kemileva, Executive Manager at the Geneva Academy and co-coordinator of the Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020.

Further Research

This publication is not the end of the process. The Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020, coordinated by the Geneva Academy, will continue to work and conduct research on issues that have not been examined yet, such as legal and strategic aspects related to individual communications addressed to TBs.

VIDEO

Optimizing the UN Treaty Bodies System

Felix Kirchmeier and Kamelia Kemileva present our new publication Optimizing the UN Treaty Bodies System which outlines a series of recommendations related to the functioning o United Nations treaty bodies, considered a cornerstone of universal #humanrights protection.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

ILGA World Logo News

In Highlight: ILGA World Database

28 March 2024

Via its DHRTTDs Directory, the Geneva Human Rights Platform provides a comprehensive list and description of such key tools and databases. But how to navigate them? Which tool should be used for what, and by whom? This interview helps us understand better the specificities of the March highlight of the directory: ILGA World Database.

Read more

View of workshop News

Experts Address Human Rights Challenges Arising from the Use of New and Emerging Technologies in Law Enforcement

20 November 2023

During a workshop on the application and potential misuse of new and emerging digital technologies, including in law enforcement and the management of peaceful assemblies, academics, law enforcement professionals, human rights lawyers and representatives from international organizations and civil society focused on how best human rights can be protected.

Read more

Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

2-20 September 2024

Participants in this training course, made of two modules, will examine the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights and the environment, familiarizing themselves with the respective implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

Read more

Garment workersto receive food from their factory during lunch time. This food is freely provided by their factory in order to ensure that workers eat healthy and hygienic food. Training

Business and Human Rights

2-6 September 2024

This training course will examine how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been utilized to advance the concept of business respect for human rights throughout the UN system, the impact of the Guiding Principles on other international organizations, as well as the impact of standards and guidance developed by these different bodies.

Read more

George Floyd protest in Washington D.C. Project

Promoting and Protecting the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association and Civic Space Worldwide

Started in June 2020

This project aims at providing support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé by addressing emerging issues affecting civic space and eveloping tools and materials allowing various stakeholders to promote and defend civic space.

Read more

View of a session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

Human Rights Conversations

Started in January 2020

A series of events aimed at discussing contemporary issues and challenges related to the promotion and protection of human rights in Geneva and beyond.

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Unpacking the Burgeoning Challenge of Environmental Protection and the Right to Food in the Context of Armed Conflict

published on April 2024

Erica Harper, Junli Lim

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Briefing N° 23: The Human Rights Data Revolution

published on April 2024

Domenico Zipoli

Read more