Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Towards a More Efficient Functioning

Started in January 2019

Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures (ICPs) are a major instrument to enforce the rights enshrined in the corresponding human rights treaties and provide victims with an effective remedy before an international body. They also represent a key entry point for victims of human rights violations to the United Nations (UN) human rights system.

This work is supported by a secretariat, hosted by the Office of the UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights and entitled ‘Petitions and Urgent Actions Section’ (PUAS).

AT THE CROSSROAD OF A SECRETARIAT AND A LEGAL ENTITY

Even if UN treaty bodies (TBs) are not tribunals per se, they carry out legal work with the ICPs and must, therefore, be given the ways and means to do it

Our publication Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations precisely addressed the handling of ICPs and tackled efficiency questions related to this procedure. It also outlined a series of key recommendations to improve the system, including the creation of a judicial-like registry to provide substantive legal support to TBs.

The PUAS partially fulfils this task, struggling with institutional and financial issues, but there could be a way, through discussion and assessments to hugely improve its work.

FINDING A VIABLE SOLUTION WITH CONCRETE IMPROVEMENTS

Starting from the challenges and efficiency questions identified in our publication, this initiative aims at finding a viable solution for the ICPs and for the various actors involved – victims, states, TBs, and OHCHR as host of the PUA.

An informal task force, made of an evolving group of stakeholders – including academics, members of PUAS, TB members, diplomats, human rights NGOs, litigators and former registrars in international tribunals – will, placing victims at the centre of the debate, notably aim at equipping TBs with an appropriate tailor-made efficient and economic judicial-like registry.

TEAM

Picture of Felix Kirchmeier

Felix Kirchmeier

Manager of Policy Studies and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Felix Kirchmeier oversees the conceptualization, development and implementation of policy research at the Geneva Academy. He is also the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Picture of Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Senior Consultant

Kamelia Kemileva is an external consultant on selected mandates related to the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Publications

Cover page of the publication

Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations

May 2019

Claire Callejon, Kamelia Kemileva, Felix Kirchmeier

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download >

NEWS AND EVENTS

Cover Page of the Publication News

New Publication Provides Guidance to Improve the UN Human Rights Individual Complaints Mechanism

27 May 2019

Our new publication addresses the handling of individual communications, tackles efficiency questions related to this procedure and outlines a series of key recommendations to improve the system, including the creation of a registry to provide substantive legal support to United Nations treaty bodies.

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Press briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Palais des Nations. 28 February 2019. News

New Paper Discusses the Impact of United Nations Special Procedures

12 April 2021

Our new Working Paper Towards Transversal Standards to Evaluate the Impact of UN Special Procedures discusses the impact of UN Special Procedures, reviews progress made to measure it, and proposes avenues to improve this assessment.

Read more

Portrait of Hannah Milena Elias News

MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Students Say

8 February 2021

In this interview, Hannah-Milena Elias, currently enrolled in our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, tells about the programme and life in Geneva.

Read more

View of a session of the UN Human Rights Council Event

UN Human Rights Council at 15 – Role and Perspectives

28 April 2021, 13:00-14:30

This online event – co-organized with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Embassy of Switzerland in Poland – will discuss the Council’s membership and internal dynamics, as well as selected mechanisms.

Read more

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

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Winter 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, 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

Greece, ylakio, pre-removal center. Short Course

Introduction to International Human Rights Law

Fall 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law. It will start with an introduction to the nature and sources of international human rights law and its place in the international legal system. The course will then provide a presentation of the main principles applicable to substantive rights (jurisdiction, obligation and limitations).

Read more

Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

Read more

Panel Discussion: Project

Treaty Body Members’ Platform

Started in January 2014

The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict

published on March 2021

Alice Priddy

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Towards Transversal Standards to Evaluate the Impact of UN Special Procedures

published on February 2021

Jonathan Andrew

Read more