Governments must take action to strengthen UN human rights treaty body system

On 24 February 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/254 entitled: “Inter-governmental process of the General Assembly on Strengthening and Enhancing the Effective Functioning of the Human Rights Treaty Body System”. The resolution recognizes the important, valuable and unique role and contribution of the treaty bodies to the promotion and protection of human rights. It mandates the President of the GA to launch an open-ended inter-governmental process to conduct open, transparent and inclusive negotiations on how to strengthen and enhance the effective functioning of the UN treaty body system.

The adoption of GA Resolution 66/254 has happened at a time when States Parties and other stakeholders in the treaty body system have been participating in a consultation process that was launched by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2009 – the so-called “Dublin Process”. Those multi-stakeholder consultations have resulted in rich and varied proposals, many of which reflect the complementary and mutually reinforcing nature of different treaty body activities. It is critical that the inter-governmental process now builds on those recommendations.

A Briefing Paper on the effective participation of NGOs in the intergovernmental process,  which was endorsed by 24 leading human rights NGOs, including the HRLC, was issued on 9 March 2012.

On 12 April 2012, a further Briefing Paper was issued by 26 leading NGOs that regularly contribute to the work of the treaty bodies and that firmly believe that the treaty body system requires strengthening to improve its effectiveness. The paper sets out seven key areas in which action should be taken through the inter-governmental process to enhance the treaty bodies, improve the fulfilment of States Parties’ obligations and strengthen the capacity of rights-holders to enjoy their human rights.

On 30 July 2012, the HRLC made  a further submission to the General Assembly on treaty body strengthening.

The HRLC's engagement with the inter-governmental process complements and builds on our work with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other NGOs to strengthen the UN human rights treaty body system. See: http://www.hrlc.org.au/content/topics/international-human-rights-mechanisms/strengthening-access-to-remedies-for-violations-of-international-human-rights-21-oct-2011/