Treaty Body Reform: The Intergovernmental Process

11.04.2013

Just as the Dublin Process was due to culminate in the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the issue of treaty body reform became politically charged when certain Member States in New York launched a rival ‘intergovernmental process’ in the General Assembly. Human rights defenders in particular suffered a significant setback, as the intergovernmental process did not provide adequately for their participation.

 

Just as the Dublin Process was due to culminate in the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the issue of treaty body reform became politically charged when certain Member States in New York launched a rival ‘intergovernmental process’ in the General Assembly. Human rights defenders in particular suffered a significant setback, as the intergovernmental process did not provide adequately for their participation. See ISHR’s article on the creation of the intergovernmental process for more information and background.

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) launched the process in the spring of 2012 and appointed two co-facilitators to lead: Iceland and Indonesia. A series of State consultations were then held on 2 of July and 16-18 July 2012, followed by a separate NGO hearing in September 2012.

At the close of the 66th session of the General Assembly in September 2012, the co-facilitators presented a non-substantive progress report to the PGA, describing the State and NGO consultations. States then adopted a consensus resolution extending the intergovernmental process.

Looking forward, the timeline for the process is uncertain as the resolution vaguely ‘decides to extend the intergovernmental process […] with a view to identifying’ concrete and sustainable measures in the next session (emphasis added).  See ISHR’s article on the extension of the process in September 2012 and a review of the process up to that point for more information.

The co-facilitators resumed discussions in early 2013, with State consultations and an NGO hearing in February. Further consultations among States will take took place in April and May. The next and an NGO hearing is scheduled for 6 was held on 22 May 2013. Please see our ‘How to get involved page for more information.

Schedule of relevant meetings

  • 12 February 2013:           Informal meeting
  • 19-21 February 2013:     Thematic discussions, followed by informal-informals
  • 26 February 2013:           Informal interactive hearing with civil society
  • 12-17 April 2013:              Thematic discussions, followed by informal informals
  • 6 May 2013:                       Informal interactive hearing with civil society
  • 6-7 May 2013:                   Thematic discussions, followed by informal-informals
  • 22 May 2013:                    Informal interactive hearing with civil society

Relevant documents

Resolutions

Background documents

President of the General Assembly

OHCHR

Treaty Body members

NHRIs

NGOs