Optimizing the UN Treaty Body System

Cover page of the publication Cover page of the publication

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

Portrait of Marco Sassòli News

Professor Marco Sassòli Steps in as New Director of the Geneva Academy

3 September 2018

Professor Marco Sassòli has been appointed as the new Director of the Geneva Academy. He takes up this role following the retirement of Professor Robert Roth.

Read more

Villa Moynier, Headquarters of the Geneva Academy News

Ten Years, Ten Milestones!

13 November 2017

This year, we are celebrating our 10th anniversary – a perfect time to take a look in the rearview mirror at the milestones we have passed. While there are many achievements we could highlight, we have selected our top ten to match our age!

Read more

Hands typing on a laptop Event

The Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association Online

11-12 October 2018

A Geneva Human Rights Platform consultation with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, civil society representatives and academics.

Read more

November 1949, Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Universal Declaration of Human Rights poster in French. Event

70 years Universal Declaration of Human Rights – A Time for Concern or Celebration?

15-16 October 2018

This conference in Berlin will discuss the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today.

Read more

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

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

25 January - 22 February 2019

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.

Read more

Young boy in a slum Training

Formation en ligne sur les Droits Economiques, Sociaux et Culturels

1 October - 18 November 2018

Cette formation en ligne permet d’acquérir une connaissance approfondie des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels (DESC), des obligations des états et des mécanismes chargés de les protéger et de surveiller leur mise en œuvre.

Read more

A woman worker at a construction site in India Project

Human Rights and Gender Equality in the Context of Business Activities

Started in June 2018

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.

Read more

Human Rights Council: a general view of the room XX during the 31st regular opening of session, Geneva, Switzerland Project

Universality in the Human Rights Council

Started in January 2015

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.

Read more