UN treaty bodies body system


10 december 1948. U D H R adopted

not legally binding. Has value for all. More than 60 intl legal instruments have come from it.

”every human being is entitled to all the rights in the declaration without distinctions of any kind.”

15 march 2006. UN created Human rights council. 46 countries.

UN secretariat has High Commissioner for HR in Geneva

HR council has the Office of the High Commissioner for HR

there are special rapporeuters and working groups.

periodic review of each land every 4 years

treaty bodies

treaty body system

U D H R adopted – rights contained should be made into obligations which would be legally binding which accepted them

General Assembly has adopted many treaties

9 core treaties

non discrimination


supplemented with optional protocols which create firther procedures for implementation


I C C P R  – two protocols on individual complaints and  on abolition of death penalty


– one protocol on individual or group petitions and national petitions

c e d a w

– optional protocol

C A T  – convention against torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

  • optional protocol establishing visits to places where people may be deprived of their liberty

C R C  – convention on the rights of the child.

– protocols against child prostitution and porn and children being used as soldiers

C M W – convention on migrant workers and their families.

C R P D  (CONvention on the rights of people with disabilities)

I C P PE D (International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from  the Enforced of Disappearances)


state submits instrument of ratification to Secretary General a state can enter a reservation saying it does not bind itself to a certain provision

this reservation cannot be so much as to defeat the purpose of the treaty

implementation is monitored by HR treaty body

committees composed by 10-25 experts nominated and elected by states

they meet in Geneva or New York

Subcommitte on Torture

all treaty bodies consider reports submitted by state parties

they interpret specific themes in the

they consider inter state communications

they conduct inquiries on serious or systematic violations of the treaties concerned

they implement treaties



Int Labour organisation – they have info on issues to bring to the attention of the committees

national and internationala NGOs provide info

independent bodies provide as a link and give info

the media can raise awareness

key messages – treaty bodies are committees which monitor HR through reports and inquiries

exception of subcommittee on the prevention of torture

reports submitted by state parties

initial reports

periodic reports

reports to promote compliance

this provides a chance to scrutinise govt

consideration of a report by a committee session. several phases to a cycle. civil socieyt involved

phases. preparation of report at national level


additional info from many source. requests for futher info to state party

consideration of the report by committee in presence of the state party

concluding observations. these should be implemented by state

2006 committee adopted new guidelines

states asked to submit common core document

committee prepares  guidelines for state parties

treaty specific report. govt can review HR in their country and engage with civil society

reporting process provides learning opportunity

many ministries contribute means they look at HR conventions

national HR institutions share perspectives


NGOs try to raise awareness of rights

CEDAW is positive

knowledge and skills given

media tells people that there is a covenant

when people know their rights they can assert them

reporting states at the time of drafting report – the media can make the state aware that the role of the state party is not only governmental – all branches of it should be involved – but civil society has a role


preparation of the report is consultative

civil society is actively involved

there is a session. committees seeks complementary and objective info

UN entities meet national HR institutions

they formulate a list of issues seeking further info

when reports come in they are 2 years old

committee on the rights of the child

report is translated into working languages

state party presents report to a committee an answers questions

committee enters constructive dialogue

it is not judicial

it is not harassment. there is an exchange of opinions

NGOs come and observe.


through reporting process UN interacts with NGOs and governments

it is a chat

a chance for delegation to seek guidance on treaty implementation

committee adopts concluding observations and practical advice

enhance implementation

states translate concluding observations into the vernacular and disseminate them

some committees request that national parliaments receive the concluding observations

recommendations are in diplomatic language. it is not condemnatory

these can  be v useful for state organs and civil society. they can request more money or bodies and legislation


concluding observations say what needs to be done and identify what has been achieved

committe on discrimination against women





About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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