OHCHR / Danielle Kirby
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 strenghtening 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 consultations, 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).
To allow the broadest possible participation of all stakeholders, we invite input to this research project.
All interested researchers, think tanks, institutions, organizations and individuals are invited to submit responses to research questions developed on the basis of General Assembly (GA) resolution 68/268, or additional areas of interest to the review, with the aim of generating the broadest possible range of ideas to enhance the effective functioning of the treaty body system.
Papers should be sent to tbreview2020[at]geneva-academy.ch and will remain in the responsibility of and attributed to their authors.
It is important to note in this context that GA resolution 68/268 and the inter-governmental processes leading to its adoption examined the effective functioning of the treaty body system and did not include questions related to the implementation and impact of treaty bodies' recommendations at the national level. Despite the importance of these questions, the research questions will use the same parameters.
Professor of Public International Law at the Law Faculty, University of Geneva