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

Panel at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platrform News

GHRP Annual Conference Tackles Digitalization and Human Rights

15 November 2022

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform addressed the issue of digital connectivity in the field of human rights via an expert meeting in the morning and a public discussion in the afternoon.

Read more

Orphanage in Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. News

The Geneva Human Rights Platform Accompanied the Adoption of a UN Statement on Illegal Intercountry Adoptions

4 October 2022

Two UN treaty bodies, three UN Special Rapporteurs and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances issued a Joint Statement on illegal intercountry adoptions.

Read more

Syria,  Aleppo, great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Short Course

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

10 February - 14 March 2023

This online short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

1 March - 18 April 2023

This online short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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

Mine Project

Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions

Completed in July 2021

This project aimed at identifying and clarifying policies and practices for states and businesses, including public and private investors, across the full ‘conflict cycle’ and the ‘protect, respect and remedy’ pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Assessment Tool for Special Procedures' Impact Evaluation – Developing an Initial Framework

published on January 2023

Jonathan Andrew

Read more