The Treaty Body Members Platform in 2023

18 January 2024

The Treaty Body Members Platform (TBMP), an initiative of the Geneva Human Rights Platform, connects experts in United Nations (UN) treaty bodies (TBs) as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

In recent years, the TBMP also increasingly linked members of UN TBs with UN Special Procedures mandate holders to share expertise, approaches and exchange around specific thematic issues, following the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) ‘all-mechanism’ approach.

In 2023, the TBMP continued to accompany members of UN treaty bodies to address crucial issues related to their work, along with contemporary human rights challenges. It held nine informal meetings for UN human rights experts, with the participation of relevant OHCHR staff. These took place in-person at Villa Moynier, online and – for enhanced accessibility standards – at the Palais des Nations. In addition, the TBMP offered a private space for OHCHR’s treaty body secretariat staff for internal meetings.

Two additional meetings, linked to the TBMP took the form of bigger conferences: a one-day inter-committee retreat on individual communications, and a full week of meetings for the Committee on Enforced Disappearances to work on their General Comment on Disappearances in Migration.

‘The TBMP formed the very beginning of the Geneva Human Rights Platform’s activities’ explains Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform. ‘We are convinced that all the research input and piloting of new procedures will only be taken up by the TB system, if genuine dialogue exists between the members of those UN bodies, allowing them to be in the driving seat implementing changes to maintain and reinforce the importance of independent human rights monitoring.’

From sexual and reproductive rights to human rights in conflict situations

The meetings allowed TB members to exchange their approaches to various thematic issues with their peers, including sexual and reproductive rights, economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) in conflicts, and approaches to enforced disappearances

Members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child met with their colleagues of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to discuss jurisprudence and observations on sexual and reproductive health and rights and exchanged in another meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls.

A Working Group of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities met with experts on climate-induced disasters to gather inputs for their upcoming General Comment on Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that deals with the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.

Members of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights used the TBMP to discuss plans towards a General Comment on ESCR in conflict situations, as well as to meet with representatives of regional human rights bodies dealing with ESCR, notably of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and the Inter-American Commission and Court.

Another meeting allowed for an informal conversation between the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which is part of the system of the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures.

Facilitating the Development of a General Comment on Disappearances in Migration

To facilitate the drafting of the first General Comment by the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the GHRP organized an informal one-week session for the Committee members, including background research and conference facilitation. This week-long session helped the Committee to prepare the draft of its first-ever General Comment, launched later in 2023.

The background research provided in this project allowed the GHRP to publish a Research Brief on this specific General Comment that also addresses the role and importance of General Comments and their potential impact.

Addressing the Impact of Climate Change on Human Rights

In 2023, the TBMP continued to hold a specific series of online meetings, open to all TB members, on the impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights.

During these meetings, TB members exchanged with the authors of the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), linking in that way climate science and human rights expertise and policy.

‘While climate change affects a cross-cutting range of rights, it has no explicit mention in human rights treaties that were drafted decades ago. In such a context, we set as a priority to update Committee members with regular scientific input and allow them to have yearly exchanges with the scientific community’ explains Felix Kirchmeier.

Reflecting on TBs’ Working Methods on Individual Communications

A full day of inter-committee expert discussions – co-organized with OHCHR and the Paris Human Rights Center – allowed to reflect on TBs’ working methods concerning individual communications. The meeting aimed at harmonizing the various Committees’ practices to handle petitions and was already the second in a series of joint meetings dedicated to enhancing the capacity of the system to deal with communications and reduce the ever-growing backlog of cases.


Participants in the training course News

Training Boosts Geneva Diplomats’ Expertise in UN Human Rights Council

23 January 2024

Our Geneva Human Rights Platform offered, in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a three-day executive training course for Geneva-based diplomats on  the functioning of UN human rights mechanisms and negotiation practices at the multilateral level.

Read more

world map in data lines News

New Publication Explores the Human Rights Data Revolution

2 April 2024

The Human Rights Data Revolution details the transformation which promises to enhance the effectiveness, inclusivity, and scope of human rights monitoring and implementation worldwide.

Read more

A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

11-15 November 2024

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

Read more

Garment workersto receive food from their factory during lunch time. This food is freely provided by their factory in order to ensure that workers eat healthy and hygienic food. Training

Business and Human Rights

2-6 September 2024

This training course will examine how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been utilized to advance the concept of business respect for human rights throughout the UN system, the impact of the Guiding Principles on other international organizations, as well as the impact of standards and guidance developed by these different bodies.

Read more

George Floyd protest in Washington D.C. Project

Promoting and Protecting the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association and Civic Space Worldwide

Started in June 2020

This project aims at providing support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé by addressing emerging issues affecting civic space and eveloping tools and materials allowing various stakeholders to promote and defend civic space.

Read more

Online folders Project

Digital Human Rights Tracking Tools and Databases

Started in March 2023

This initiative wishes to contribute to better and more coordinated implementation, reporting and follow-up of international human rights recommendations through a global study on digital human rights tracking tools and databases.

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Unpacking the Burgeoning Challenge of Environmental Protection and the Right to Food in the Context of Armed Conflict

published on April 2024

Erica Harper, Junli Lim

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Briefing N° 23: The Human Rights Data Revolution

published on April 2024

Domenico Zipoli

Read more