Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Towards a More Efficient Functioning

Started in January 2019

Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures (ICPs) are a major instrument to enforce the rights enshrined in the corresponding human rights treaties and provide victims with an effective remedy before an international body. They also represent a key entry point for victims of human rights violations to the United Nations (UN) human rights system.

This work is supported by a secretariat, hosted by the Office of the UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights and entitled ‘Petitions and Urgent Actions Section’ (PUAS).

AT THE CROSSROAD OF A SECRETARIAT AND A LEGAL ENTITY

Even if UN treaty bodies (TBs) are not tribunals per se, they carry out legal work with the ICPs and must, therefore, be given the ways and means to do it

Our publication Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations precisely addressed the handling of ICPs and tackled efficiency questions related to this procedure. It also outlined a series of key recommendations to improve the system, including the creation of a judicial-like registry to provide substantive legal support to TBs.

The PUAS partially fulfils this task, struggling with institutional and financial issues, but there could be a way, through discussion and assessments to hugely improve its work.

FINDING A VIABLE SOLUTION WITH CONCRETE IMPROVEMENTS

Starting from the challenges and efficiency questions identified in our publication, this initiative aims at finding a viable solution for the ICPs and for the various actors involved – victims, states, TBs, and OHCHR as host of the PUA.

An informal task force, made of an evolving group of stakeholders – including academics, members of PUAS, TB members, diplomats, human rights NGOs, litigators and former registrars in international tribunals – will, placing victims at the centre of the debate, notably aim at equipping TBs with an appropriate tailor-made efficient and economic judicial-like registry.

TEAM

Picture of Felix Kirchmeier

Felix Kirchmeier

Manager of Policy Studies and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Felix Kirchmeier oversees the conceptualization, development and implementation of policy research at the Geneva Academy. He is also the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Picture of Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Senior Consultant

Kamelia Kemileva is an external consultant on selected mandates related to the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Publications

Cover page of the publication

Treaty Bodies’ Individual Communication Procedures: Providing Redress and Reparation to Victims of Human Rights Violations

May 2019

Claire Callejon, Kamelia Kemileva, Felix Kirchmeier

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download >

NEWS AND EVENTS

Cover Page of the Publication News

New Publication Provides Guidance to Improve the UN Human Rights Individual Complaints Mechanism

27 May 2019

Our new publication addresses the handling of individual communications, tackles efficiency questions related to this procedure and outlines a series of key recommendations to improve the system, including the creation of a registry to provide substantive legal support to United Nations treaty bodies.

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

A farmer harvests rice at Bontomanai village in Bantaeng, South Sulawesi, Indonesia News

Peasants’ Right to Seeds and Intellectual Property Rights

13 November 2020

Our new Research Brief discusses the protection of peasant’s right to seeds notably in light with the protection of this right in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

Read more

View of the guide's cover page News

How Can the Land Community Use the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants to Protect the Right to Land?

17 December 2020

Two years have passed since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. On this occasion, we are launching, together with the International Land Coalition, an easy-to-use manual that looks into how this historical declaration can be used to protect the right to land.

Read more

View of a session of the UN Human Rights Council Event

UN Human Rights Council at 15 – Role and Perspectives

28 April 2021, 13:00-14:30

This online event – co-organized with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Embassy of Switzerland in Poland – will discuss the Council’s membership and internal dynamics, as well as selected mechanisms.

Read more

Prison visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti Short Course

The Implementation of International Human Rights Law

Winter 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

Read more

A farmer in her field, DRC Training

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

6-10 September 2021

From its adoption to its content and implementation, this training course provides a comprehensive overview of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants, as well as tools to protect and promote the rights of peasants, rural women, fisher, pastoralist and nomadic communities, as well as agricultural workers.

Read more

Session of the UN Human Rights Committee Project

Treaty Body Review 2020 and Beyond

Started in January 2018

The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.

Read more

Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Started in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Military Briefing: Persons with Disabilities and Armed Conflict

published on March 2021

Alice Priddy

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Towards Transversal Standards to Evaluate the Impact of UN Special Procedures

published on February 2021

Jonathan Andrew

Read more