Enhancing the human rights treaty body system
A coordinated approach: streamlining working methods of the treaty bodies
In his 2002 report, Strengthening the United Nations: an agenda for further change, the UN Secretary-General called on the human rights treaty bodies to craft a more coordinated approach to their activities.
The ad hoc development of the treaty body system over the years led to many variations in practice and procedure between the treaty bodies which create confusion for States parties and other actors engaged in the system. In response to the Secretary-General’s report, the treaty bodies renewed their efforts to harmonize working methods to promote a consistent, though not necessarily uniform, practice across the treaty bodies
The recommendations of the third inter-committee meeting and sixteenth meeting of chairperson, building on those of the previous year, recommended that all committees:
- adopt lists of issues and questions, preferably in a pre-sessional working group;
- develop follow-up procedures;
- develop mechanisms to facilitate interaction with specialized agencies, funds and programmes, as well as special procedures mandate holders;
- enhance interaction with national human rights institutions (NHRIs).
The Secretariat was asked to produce a comparative report on the working methods of treaty bodies to be updated on a regular basis, a comprehensive report on non-reporting and delayed reporting by States parties, and a report on reservations. The Secretariat was also asked to look at ways of making the corpus of treaty body jurisprudence available in an accessible way.