UN rights chief urges states to consider proposal to strengthen rights treaty body

UN rights chief urges states to consider proposal to strengthen rights treaty body

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[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Monday urged member states to consider proposals [statement] to strengthen the world’s human rights treaty body system. At an informal meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, Pillay said that the treaty body system represents “one of the greatest achievements in the history of the global struggle for human rights” and is benefiting everyone:

The incremental growth of the treaty body system over the past few years, with the adoption by States of new human rights instruments and the creation of new treaty bodies, is testimony to its global standing. All parties benefit from their work. Victims reach out to treaty bodies for redress and reparation through the individual complaints system. States depend on them for expert advice on treaty implementation and a greater understanding of their obligations under international human rights law. And the involvement of experts, civil society groups and State representatives in reporting and other processes generates a genuine dialogue at the national level that empowers individuals and improves laws, policies, programmes and institutions.

President of the General Assembly [official website], Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser [official profile], addressed [statement] the informal meeting by citing two main objectives of the intergovernmental process. The first objective is to strengthen the treaty bodies’ capacity and efficiency in aiding member states to fulfill their obligations while the second is to improve the influence of the treaty bodies on national government leaders by making their work more efficient while at the same time acknowledging their independence.

Pillay had previously called [JURIST report] on the international community to strengthen the treaty body system amid a crisis it is facing. 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. 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. 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.