The UPR and Treaty Bodies
What are the Treaty Bodies?
Treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor the implementation of the core international human rights treaties and their optional protocols. Each treaty is monitored by a group of independent experts, nominated and elected for fixed renewable terms of four years by State parties. There are currently ten monitoring UN Treaty bodies.
Treaties are thematic and cover the following issues: racial discrimination, civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, discrimination against women, torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment, child rights, the rights of migrant workers and their families, enforced disappearances, and the rights of persons with disabilities.
UPR and Treaty Bodies
Both mechanisms include implementation/compliance reporting procedures, a review process and recommendations. In addition, the UPR and Treaty Bodies both aim at advancing human rights in UN Member States.
UPR recommendations are issued by peer States, while Treaty Body recommendations are issued by independent experts with recognised human rights expertise. As a result, Treaty Body recommendations tend to be a bit more specific and detailed. Recommendations from these two mechanisms can therefore be implemented, monitored and used simultaneously to hold governments accountable.
How can you integrate outcomes from the Treaty Bodies into your UPR work?
At all stages of the UPR, when reporting on, advocating, or monitoring one or more UPR recommendations covering a specific human rights issue, you should integrate and refer to relevant recommendations stemming from the Treaty Bodies. This will add weight to your UPR work and avoid duplication.
- When drafting a UPR report or mid-term report, refer to relevant Treaty Body recommendations and reports covering the same issues;
- When advocating a particular human rights issue, it is worth mentioning whether it was also raised by the Treaty Bodies;
- When monitoring UPR recommendations, include similar recommendations made by Treaty body experts.
To learn more about treaty bodies:
Universal Human Rights Index (UHRI) – OHCHR