The treaty body reform

March 2012

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The procedures and working methods of the human rights treaty bodies have been under discussion as part of the system-wide reform that the United Nations has undertaken in recent years. Human rights treaty body reform has to date focused on the coordination and harmonization of working methods, including the adoption of “best practices” and the streamlining of State party reporting requirements through the use of a common core document and targeted treaty-specific reports. Additionally, the human rights treaty bodies are working to establish effective cooperation between themselves and the Human Rights Council, in particular with regard to the new universal periodic review.

FIACAT is involved in efforts to harmonise the working methods of bodies set up under United Nations treaties. This work began in 2002 as part of the general reform of the United Nations system initiated by the Secretary-General. In 2009, the "Dublin Statement on the Strengthening of the UN Human Rights Treaty Body System"’ was adopted. The High Commissioner for Human Rights asked the parties concerned to send him comments on this text.

Thus twenty NGOs, including FIACAT, presented a joint response to the Dublin Statement. Numerous recommendations were drafted for the Treaty bodies, the High Commissioner and the States Parties. More generally, all the bodies involved in monitoring the treaties, the Office of the High Commissioner and the States Parties were urged to ensure that the reform was geared to providing greater protection to persons liable to become victims of human rights violations.

On March 2012, 24 NGOs , including FIACAT, issued a paper on Strengthening the United Nations Treaty Bodies: Four recommendations to ensure the effective participation of non-governmental organizations to react to the adoption on 23 February 2012, of United Nations General Assembly (GA) Resolution A/RES/66/254.1. The resolution mandates the President of the GA to establish an open-ended inter-governmental process to conduct open, transparent and inclusive discussions on strengthening the treaty body system.

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