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UN rights chief calls for stronger human rights treaty body

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] said Friday that the treaty body system is in crisis [press release] and called on the international community to strengthen it. In her report [text. PDF], she revealed that the human rights treaty body system has doubled in size since 2004 while the resources needed to maintain the system stayed the same. New treaty bodies such as the Committee of Migrant Workers (CMW), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) and Conference on Environment and Development (CED) [official websites] and other bodies addressing individual complaints have increased the complexity of the system and the need for resources. One of the challenges that the report revealed was the low number of state parties presenting their reports on time with a 16 percent on time submission rate for both 2010 and 2011. Pillay provided several measures to face the challenges and strengthen the complex system including the creation of a reporting calendar. She also noted that one of the main key factors is the increase of visibility and accessibility to these treaty bodies.

Pillay has previously called the international community to strengthen the treaty body system. In March, while addressing [JURIST report] the enforced disappearances' effect on women and children, Pillay stated that the system has a significant influence on the enjoyment of human rights across the globe, but while the system has grown exponentially, human and financial resources have failed to match up with the growth. The total number of treaty body experts have grown to 172 in 2012 compared to 97 in 2000 while tates have increased ratification under international human rights treaties from 927 to 1,586.

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