27 States participate in Treaty Body reporting workshop

OHCHR Regional Office for Europe brought representatives of 27 States – EU Member States, candidates for EU membership and other European States – to Brussels for a one-day workshop on the innovations in reporting to International Human Rights Treaty Bodies. The participants included representatives of Ministries of Justice, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Prime Ministers’ offices, Permanent Representations of States and other Government structures.

The two main innovations are the use of a Common Core Document and (in some of the Committees) the List of Issues Prior to Reporting. “These procedures do not represent new reporting duties,” explained Wan-Hea Lee, Chief of the Groups in Focus Section of the Human Rights Treaties Division of OHCHR headquarters in Geneva. “They are intended to facilitate reporting to Treaty Bodies by States – and to make it more efficient and meaningful.”

While the discussion focused mainly on a number of technical aspects of these innovations, it also addressed some of the difficulties currently experienced by Treaty Bodies in reviewing increasing numbers of State reports within restricted periods of time and with limited resources, which may lead to a backlog of reports. Possible future reform and strengthening of the Treaty Body system was also debated in this context. The workshop was held under Chatham House rules to encourage free discussion. The open and practice-oriented character of the workshop was appreciated by numerous participants. “We have also learned from your experiences in Member States,” concluded OHCHR Regional Representative Jan Jarab.

20 October 2011

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