Hosted by the South Asian University and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) at the South Asian University campus, the New Delhi meeting brought in specialists from the region to share their views on the future of UN treaty bodies.
Participants discussed an extensive range of reform proposals. They reached consensus on several issues, including the need for a joint consolidation of the system itself (harmonization of calendars, rules of procedure and working methods, joint General Comments, state report examinations and follow-up) and in relation to its stakeholders (links with national human rights institutions and civil society).
‘Participants also called for a reform of the election of treaty body’s members and the incorporation of the SDGs and Agenda 2030 within their work’ underlines Domenico Zipoli, Research Assistant at the Geneva Academy. ‘They also asked for a comprehensive report on the treaty body system's achievements to showcase its value and the need to strengthen it’ adds Domenico Zipoli.
This event closes a series of seven regional consultations that took place in Africa, Asia, Middle East, North America, Latin America and Eastern and Western Europe since 2016.
‘These regional consultations allowed getting inputs from academics and experts in the different regions’ underlines Felix Kirchmeier, Manager of Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy. ‘These inputs will feed in our report that will include suggestions for the future of the UN treaty body system’ he adds.
The United Nations (UN) human rights (HR) treaty bodies are a central pillar of the international HR protection system. They prevent HR violations by warning states about areas of concern, by advising them on durable solutions that address root causes and by adjudicating individual complaints.
Since the establishment of the first UN treaty body 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.
On 9 April 2014, the UN General Assembly (GA) adopted a landmark resolution (A/RES/68/268) on strengthening the treaty body system, which envisages a review of the measures taken at GA level in 2020. This review represents an opportunity to further reflect on the treaty body system’s future and develop innovative proposals and solutions without weakening the HR protection that the system currently affords.
The Geneva Academy is coordinating the academic input to this 2020 review via the creation of an academic network of independent researchers, a call for papers, a series of regional workshops, annual conferences in Geneva, as well as ongoing interactions with key stakeholders (i.e. states, UN treaty bodies, national HR institutions, civil society, UN entities and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights).
In this ground-breaking commentary, conducted under the auspices of the Geneva Academy, over sixty international law experts investigate the application of the Geneva Conventions and explain how they should be interpreted today.
Michael Sfard, a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer, will give two lectures in the week of 26 February, one on his new book and the other one on the new trends and challenges related to the protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
This public conference provides an opportunity to discuss the contributions of UN human rights mechanisms to the monitoring of the SDGs that seek to realize ESCR and their collaboration with the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.&am
This 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.
UN Photo/Pierre Albouy
This course focuses on the functioning and the mechanisms of the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as on the dynamics at play in this major human rights body.
© ILO/ Joydeep Mukherjee
This project aims to support the UN working group’s consultation process and thus contribute the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality in relation to the business sector via research on international human rights law and policy related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities, and the organization of a global conference in Geneva.
UN Photo / Pierre Albouy
This project, launched in 2016, examines different concepts of universality, maps contemporary challenges to the principle of HR universality in the context of specific themes covered by the HRC and discusses the role of the HRC in the promotion and protection of universally guaranteed HR.