NGOs highlight issues for the Treaty Body Strengthening Process at the Meeting of Treaty Body Chairs


Ten NGOs, including ISHR, that firmly believe that the treaty body system requires strengthening to improve its effectiveness, present their views and recommendations for strengthening the treaty bodies to the 28th meeting of Treaty Body Chairpersons in New York. 

(New York) - The UN's expert committees responsible for monitoring State implementation of their human rights treaty obligations should take action to promote better compliance and cooperation by States and better engagement and protection of civil society, say ten leading NGOs in a joint submission on strengthening the treaty bodies to the 28th meeting of Treaty Body Chairpersons held from 30 May to 3 June 2016.

While reform of the treaty bodies is an on-going process, certain changes could significantly enhance their functioning, aim to improve the fulfilment of States Parties’ obligations and contribute to improved human rights protection.

To meet this aim, the joint NGO submission identified critical elements of the implementation of the treaty body system strengthening process and set out, amongst others, the following recommendations:

  • Treaty Body Chairs should ask those Treaty Bodies who have not already to adopt dedicated procedures to deal with late and non-reporting States.
  • The Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women should adopt the San José Guidelines against Intimidation or Reprisals without further delay.
  • The Treaty Body Chairs should integrate implementation of concluding observations as a standing agenda item at the Chairpersons meetings and encourage all Treaty Bodies to do so during their sessions.

‘It is crucial that the treaty bodies build on the progress made in recent years on addressing reprisals and in particular that all treaty bodies adopt and commit to fully implementing the San Jose Guidelines’ said Madeleine Sinclair, Co-Director of ISHR's New York office and lead on ISHR’s work to combat reprisals against human rights defenders

The joint NGO submission was mirrored in a verbal statement to the 28th meeting of Treaty Body Chairpersons on 2 June 2016.

‘If the treaty bodies are to contribute to improved human rights protection on the ground, the participation of civil society - those who directly engage with the treaty body system – should be prioritised in the strengthening processs’, said Tess McEvoy, Programme Coordinator and Legal Counsel.  

The submission and statement were supported by the following NGOs:

  • Amnesty International;
  • Centre for Civil and Political Rights;
  • Centre for Reproductive Rights;
  • Child Rights Connect;
  • International Commission of Jurists;
  • International Disability Alliance;
  • International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism;
  • International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims;
  • International Service for Human Rights; and
  • Franciscans International.

Contact: Tess McEvoy, Programme Manager and Legal Counsel, on  


  • Treaty body strengthening process
  • United Nations
  • UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies