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Statement by the Committee on the Enforced Disappearances on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Strengthening the United Nations human rights treaty body system (June 2012)

7 November 2012

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances,

Recalling that since its first session, a year ago, it supported the treaty body strengthening process and endorsed the Dublin II Outcome Document during its second session, in March 2012, even though it did not participate in the process due to its recent establishment,

Aware of the importance of the strengthening of the United Nations human rights treaty body system as a whole, in order to reinforce its coherence and its efficiency,

Emphasizing the centrality and specificity of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as an new and modern legal instrument, taking in account the experience of other human rights treaties,

  1. Welcomes the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on ‘Strengthening the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System’ (A/66/860) published in June 2012, and expresses appreciation for the efforts of the High Commissioner in this regard,
  2. Notes that it benefited from being the latest treaty body to be established and that, for this reason, many of the proposals made by the High Commissioner’s report are already reflected in its rules of procedures (CED/C/1) and its guidelines on the form and content of reports (CED/C/2),
  3. Stresses the need for adequate resourcing, especially for service conferences and translation of documents, in order to fulfill the mandate of the treaty bodies and to ensure full information and accessibility to victims,
  4. Reaffirms that article 29, paragraph1, of the Convention creates a strict legal obligation for the States Parties to report within two years and that paragraph 4 offers to the Committee on Enforced Disappearances the competence to request “additional information” at any time, without periodical reports, in a very innovative way which ought to be duly preserved in the establishment of a Comprehensive Reporting Calendar,
  5. Recalls its willingness to evaluate the quality of reports submitted in accordance with harmonized guidelines, including the Common Core Documents and treaty-specific documents, and considers that strict adherence to page limitations is important and in line with its reporting guidelines,
  6. Welcomes the recommendation to streamline the constructive dialogue with States, in particular the proposal to establish country task force and to introduce strict limitations on the number and length of interventions, and to adopt short, focused and action-oriented concluding observations, with a precise time-frame and a follow-up procedure,
  7. Welcomes the recommendation to further institutionalize its engagement with United Nations entities and civil society organizations as well as with National Human Rights Institutions. The Committee notes that such an engagement is already included in its rules of procedure and that since its very first session it has been dedicating time to meeting with different stakeholders to exchange views on different issues related to enforced disappearances,
  8. Welcomes the proposal concerning an aligned consultation process for the elaboration of general comments and is willing to discuss it further,
  9. Stresses that the consideration of individual communications is the responsibility of each treaty body, which cannot be shared or delegated, but that further consultations on the methodology, as conditions of admissibility or substantial issues, and on the follow-up of the views of the Committees could be useful,
  10. Supports the recommendations made concerning reprisals, which it considers to be of great importance. The Committee has taken measures to deal with this issue, in accordance to article 12 as well to articles 30 and 31 of the Convention and to its rules of procedure, in particular rules 63, 95 and 99, and expresses its willingness to work further and consider the different proposals for effective protection as it advances on its work,
  11. Recalls its decision to incorporate the guidelines on the independence and impartiality of members on the human rights treaty bodies (Addis Ababa Guidelines) as an annex to its rules of procedure,
  12. In relation to the intergovernmental process of the General Assembly on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system, the Committee shares the view of other treaty bodies that such a process must comply with the legal framework of the respective treaties and respect their integrity, their competence to decide on their own rules of procedure and working methods, and guarantee their independence.