The Geneva Human Rights Platform Welcomes Major Breakthrough for UN Treaty Bodies

At their 34th Annual Meeting, Chairpersons of United Nations (UN) treaty bodies (TBs) agreed on a predictable review schedule of eight years.

‘We have been pushing for such predictable schedules – along with others – since the beginning of our involvement in the 2020 review. This has been a key recommendation emanating from our Academic Platform on Treaty Body Review 2020 and of our follow-up work related to this review’ underlines Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Addressing Current Flaws in the System

Accordingly, states will have to present a report on their obligations under the treaty in question every eight years and the committees will review a state’s performance even in the absence of a report. The schedules will notably take into consideration the calendar of the Universal Periodic Review to avoid overlap.

‘Such predictable review schedules will allow addressing the existing backlog of reports pending review and will increase state parties’ compliance with their reporting obligations. While this might sound technical, it constitutes a major breakthrough’ explains Felix Kirchmeier.

‘In this respect, we developed a series of recommendations and proposals on how this can work in practice, as well as on how to do the follow-up at the national level’ he adds.

Follow-up Reviews in Between

Follow-up reviews focussing on a limited number of issues will take place in between these eight-year cycle full reviews.

‘One model for such follow-up review is the in-country focused reviews that we have been testing in Sierra Leone and Grenada. Both pilots have highlighted the benefits of such in-country follow-up mechanisms for implementation at the national level’ says Felix Kirchmeier.

‘We look forward to continuing accompanying UN TBs in this endeavour by providing concrete proposals based on our research and consultations with the various stakeholders’ he adds.

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