The Treaty Body Members Platform in 2021: A New 2.0 Version

The Treaty Body Members Platform (TBMP), an initiative of the Geneva Human Rights Platform, connects experts in United Nations (UN) treaty bodies (TBs) with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

Over the last years, the TBMP also focused on linking members of UN TBs with UN Special Procedures mandate holders to share expertise, approaches and exchange around specific thematic issues.

‘These mechanisms are two main pillars of the international human rights protection system. They often address the same issues and questions and it is crucial that they exchange around their respective approaches, challenges and decisions’ says Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Despite the difficult situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions for in-person gatherings, six meetings took place in 2021, varying in shape and format to continuously adapt to the sanitary situation and a fluctuating presence of UN TB members in Geneva.

Most focused on the issue of enforced disappearance due to the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. They included a private retreat for members of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED), exchanges between this Committee and members of other UN mechanisms – for instance the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and the UN Committee on Migrant Workers on the disappearance of migrants.

These were informed by two publications. The Work of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances takes stock of what the CED has achieved and details its jurisprudence as it stands today. Preventing and Addressing Enforced Disappearances in the Context of International Migration – The Contribution of International Human Rights Mechanisms analyses the contribution of international human rights mechanisms in preventing and addressing enforced disappearances in the context of international migration.

Other thematic TBMP meetings focused on the links between international human rights law and international humanitarian law, notably in the context of the work of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as again with the CED in relation to the role of armed non-State actors in enforced disappearances.

The TBMP 2.0

In 2021, the GHRP developed and launched a new online tool for all UN TB members, the TBMP 2.0 online platform, a community of practice tool that allows for ongoing online cooperation and communication between TB members.

‘This online platform is exclusively accessible to TB members and the UN Committee Secretaries, to provide a private space for communication within and across all Committees. Its main features include live chats, media and document libraries and the creation of forums and discussion groups as needed’ explains Felix Kirchmeier.

‘The human rights treaty body system – consisting of 10 treaty bodies with similar mandates and functions regarding a total of 2,388 State parties to the treaties they oversee, and 172 elected experts from various countries – has been without a practical way to exchange information until the launch of this new online platform by the Geneva Human Rights Platform. This online tool offers us, as treaty body experts, valuable opportunities to interact online as a community of practice, consult each other, collaborate on tasks, connect to share news and information, and contribute material to a resource library. It’s now up to us, as members, to use this platform to enhance harmonization and coherence between our committees’ comments Marcia V. J. Kran OC, Member of the UN Human Rights Committee (2017–2024).

This new platform was presented to Committee members and Chairpersons via a series of online meetings to further tailor it to their needs and discuss strategic issues and priorities. It became available for use in September 2021.

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