Treaty Bodies

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Treaty Bodies at the United Nations

 

Committee against Torture (CAT) was established pursuant to Article 17 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to supervise the implementation of the Convention. The Convention requires states to take effective measures to prevent torture within their borders, and forbids states to return people to their home country if there is reason to believe they will be tortured. States Parties to the Convention are required by Article 19 to submit an initial report on the measures taken to give effect to their undertakings under the Convention within one year after its entry into force for the State Party concerned and thereafter every four years. Under certain circumstances, the CAT may consider complaints or communications from individuals claiming that their rights under the Convention have been violated. The CAT usually meets in May and November each year in Geneva.

 

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is a UN body of 18 experts that meets three times a year to consider the five-yearly reports submitted by UN member states on their compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It was established by Economic and Social Council resolution 1985/17 to supervise the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights but functions like a treaty body.

 

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was established pursuant to Article 17 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to supervise the implementation of the Convention. The Committee meets twice a year to review reports on compliance with the Convention's provisions that the signatory nations are required to submit every four years. The Committee's members, described as "experts of high moral standing and competence in the field covered by the Convention", are elected to serve four-year terms in staggered elections held every two years. Its officers are a chairperson, three vice-chairpersons, and a rapporteur.

 

Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) is a body of independent experts established pursuant to Article 72 of the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The purpose of the Committee is to supervise the implementation of the Convention by its State parties. It is the newest among the treaty bodies: it held its first session in March 2004 and normally meets once per year. States are required by Article 73 to submit an initial report one year after acceding to the Convention, and then every five years. The Committee examines every report addressing its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of "concluding observations". The Committee can also consider individual complaints or communications from individuals, claiming that their rights under the CMW have been violated but only after 10 States parties have accepted this procedure, in accordance with article 77 of the Convention.

 

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is a body of human rights experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It consists of 18 independent human rights experts, elected for four-year terms, with half the members elected every two years. Members are elected by secret ballot of the parties, with each party allowed to nominate one of its nationals to the Committee. All parties are required to submit regular reports to the Committee outlining the legislative, judicial, policy and other measures they have taken to give effect to the Convention. The first report is due within a year of the Convention entering into effect for that state; thereafter reports are due every two years or whenever the Committee requests. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the state party in the form of "concluding observations".

 

Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a body of independent experts established pursuant to Article 43 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to supervise the implementation of the Convention. States Parties to the Convention are required by Article 44 to submit an initial report on measures adopted which give effect to the rights recognized therein and on the progress made on the enjoyment of those rights within two years of its entry into force for the State Party concerned and thereafter every five years. The Committee examines each report and raises concerns or makes recommendations to the State party. The Committee cannot consider individual complaints.

 

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a body of human rights experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It will initially consist of 12 independent human rights experts, with half elected for a two-year term and half elected for four-years. Thereafter members will be elected for four-year terms, with half the members elected every two years. All states parties are required to submit regular reports to the Committee outlining the legislative, judicial, policy and other measures they have taken to implement the rights affirmed in the Convention. The first report is due within two years of ratifying the Convention; thereafter reports are due every four years.

 

Human Rights Committee (HRC) is a body of 18 experts that meets three times a year to consider the five-yearly reports submitted by UN member states on their compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Committee is one of seven UN-linked human rights treaty bodies. States Parties to the Covenant are required by Article 40 to submit an initial report on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights recognized within the Covenant and on the progress made in the enjoyment of those rights one year after its acceding to the Convention, and then every five years. The Committee examines each report and raises concerns or makes recommendations to the State party. The Committee also considers communications under the First Optional Protocol received from individuals who assert that their rights have been violated without domestic redress.

 

OHCHR - International Law

Human Rights Bodies - Complaint Procedures

Simple Guide to Treaty Bodies - International Service for Human Rights

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