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Treaty Body Strengthening

The Treaty Body Chairpersons and OHCHR staff meet PRs of Iceland and Tunisia, Co-Facilitators of the Inter-Governmental Process, January 2014The 10 Treaty Bodies constitute a fundamental pillar of the international human rights protection system.

The Treaty Body System has grown exponentially since the establishment of the first treaty body in 1969 and doubled in size over the last decade– a growth which has greatly enhanced human rights protection.

However, the growth of the Treaty Body System does not come without challenges. Some of these challenges include:


  • A growing backlog of State reports, individual communications, and urgent actions
  • Insufficient compliance by States parties with their reporting obligations
  • Diverging working methods among the treaty bodies

Since 1988, four major initiatives have been taken by the UN to enhance the effectiveness of the treaty body system:

  1. The reports by Independent Expert Philip Alston (1988 – 1996)
  2. The UN Secretary-General’s proposal of a single report (2002 – 2006)
  3. High Commissioner Arbour’s proposal of a unified standing treaty body (2006)
  4. The treaty body strengthening process, which resulted in General Assembly resolution 68/268 (2009 – 2014)

Resolution 68/268 comprises two review mechanisms:

  • A biennial report by the UN Secretary-General on the state of the treaty body system
  • An overall review of the effectiveness of the measures taken pursuant to resolution 68/268 no later than 2020

TREATY BODY STRENGTHENING PROCESS (2009-2014)

Symbol number
Title
Language

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Leaflet on Treaty Body Strengthening

 E  F S R A  C

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Press release: UN strengthens key human rights reporting system

E

A/RES/68/268

GA resolution on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system

E F S R A C (Word)
E F S R A C (PDF)

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HC report on Treaty Bodies strengthening 

E

A/66/860

Strengthening the United Nations human rights treaty body system

E F S R A C

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Consultations for States parties in New York (April 2012), Geneva (February 2012), and Sion (May 2011)

Consultations among treaty body members 

Consultation among academics, National Human Rights Institutions, or Civil Society Organizations

Multi-stakeholders consultations

Outcome documents, reports, and statements

Stakeholders’ written submissions:


A/HRC/25/22 Report of the Secretary-General on measures taken to implement resolution 9/8 and obstacles to its implementation, including recommendations for further improving the effectiveness, harmonization and reform of the treaty body system E F S A C R
A/66/344 Measures to improve further the effectiveness, harmonization and reform of the treaty body system (A/66/344) E F S A C R

PREVIOUS PROPOSALS

THE UNIFIED STANDING TREATY BODY (2006)

Symbol number
Title
Language

A/61/351

Report of a brainstorming meeting on reform of the human rights treaty body system, “Malbun II”, Liechtenstein

A C E F R S

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Preliminary non-paper on legal options for a unified standing treaty body (Secretariat Paper)

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The OHCHR Plan of Action: Protection and Empowerment

E

HRI/MC/2006/2

The High Commissioner’s concept paper, including her proposal for a unified standing treaty body

A C E F R S

A/59/2005

Report of the Secretary-General "In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all"

A C E F R S

THE SINGLE REPORT (2002-2006)

Symbol number
Title
Language

HRI/GEN/2/Rev.6

Compilation of reporting guidelines, including the guidelines on common core document and treaty specific reports

A C E F R S

E/CN.4/2003/126

Effective functioning of the human rights treaty bodies: Note by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

A C E F R S

A/58/351

Status of implementation of actions described in the report of the Secretary-General entitled "Strengthening of the United Nations: an agenda for further change"

A C E F R S

A/58/123

Report of a brainstorming meeting on reform of the human rights treaty body system, Malbun, Liechenstein

A C E F R S

HRI/ICM/2003/3

Background note on the Secretary-General's proposals for reform of the treaty body system

E F S

A/57/488

Management review of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (report by Office of Internal Oversight Services)

A C E F R S

A/57/387

Report of the Secretary-General “Strengthening of the United Nations: an agenda for further change”

A C E F R S

A/57/387/Corr.1

Corrigendum - Report of the Secretary-General “Strengthening of the United Nations: an agenda for further change”

A C E F R S

THE ALSTON PROPOSALS (1988-1996)

Symbol number
Title
Language
A/52/507 Views of the Treaty Body Chairpersons on the report of the Independent Expert A C E F R S

E/CN.4/1998/85

Views on the report of the independent expert solicited in 1998 and 2000

A C E F R S

E/CN.4/1998/85/Corr.1

Views on the report of the independent expert solicited in 1998 and 2000

A C E F R S

E/CN.4/1998/85/Add.1

Views on the report of the independent expert solicited in 1998 and 2000

A C E F R S

E/CN.4/2000/98

Views on the report of the independent expert solicited in 1998 and 2000

A C E F R S

E/CN.4/2000/98/Add.1

Views on the report of the independent expert solicited in 1998 and 2000

A C E F R S

E/CN.4/1997/74

Final report on enhancing the long-term effectiveness of the United Nations human rights treaty system, by the independent expert, Mr. Philip Alston

A C E F R S

A/CONF.157/PC/62/
Add.11/Rev.1

Interim report on enhancing the long-term effectiveness of the United Nations human rights treaty system, by the independent expert, Mr. Philip Alston

A C E F R S

A/44/668

Initial report on enhancing the long-term effectiveness of the United Nations human rights treaty system, by the independent expert, Mr. Philip Alston

A C E F R S

General information

Treaty body strengthening
The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System (Rev.1)
A | E | R | S
What is a human rights treaty body? – a short video
Working Methods I
E | F |  S
Working Methods II
E | F | S
Rules of Procedure
A | C | E | R | S
Glossary of terms
Press Releases

Coordination between the treaty bodies
Treaties
Activities
Reporting to the Committees
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