History and Background
Thursday, 11 April 2013 09:52

Reform of the treaty body system has been discussed for decades, but has been given stronger impetus in the last few years. This section aims to provide some of the historical context to more recent efforts through the Dublin Process and Intergovernmental Process.

OHCHR’s page on the “Effective implementation of international human rights instruments: Development of the human rights treaty system” provides links to relevant documents beginning with Philip Alston’s report to the General Assembly in 1989. Alston—at the time a member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights—was appointed by the Secretary-General of the UN to prepare a study on “possible long-term approaches to the supervision of new instruments on human rights”.

Following a series of reports by Alston, the Secretary-General called for modernisation of the system in his 2002 report, an 'Agenda for Further Change'. This was formulated most clearly in the recommendations of the former High Commissioner for Human Rights in her concept paper for a single unified treaty body in 2006. While most of the points raised in her report were not accepted by either States parties or Committee members, it nonetheless initiated serious discussions around the need for reform and identified key areas. Those discussions led eventually to the Dublin Process [link to our page on the Dublin Process], initiated by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2009. The aim was to encourage all relevant stakeholders—States, treaty body experts, NGOs, national human rights institutions, academics, and UN entities—to develop proposals to strengthen the treaty body system. A separate intergovernmental process was initiated in early 2012 by a group of States at the General Assembly in New York and is still ongoing.

For additional background information on treaty body reform, see Chapter V of ISHR’s Simple Guide to Treaty Bodies and Reform of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Monitoring Bodies: developments 2006 – 2009, a background paper produced for the drafting meeting of the Dublin Statement on the Process of Strengthening of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System (November 2009).

Last Updated on Friday, 12 April 2013 10:16
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2019