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3. Opportunities for You to Engage

3.3 NGO coalitions and coordination with other actors

This section provides information on the importance of working and coordinating with other NGOs and other relevant actors to maximise the impact of your interaction with Treaty Bodies.

Working in coalitions and collaborating with other NGOs and relevant actors, such as National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), UN country teams or National Mechanisms on Reporting and Follow Up (NMRFs), is vital for many human rights mechanisms, but especially for Treaty Bodies.

NGO coalitions can be formed on an ad-hoc basis to coordinate inputs to specific Treaty Body sessions or processes, or they can be permanent. Such coalitions can be local, national, regional or international. They can also be focused on specific themes.

NGO coordination is important to maximise the limited space and time given to NGOs to interact with the Treaty Bodies. It also gives added weight to information submitted by NGOs to Treaty Bodies.

Joint NGO reports and submissions can also be very useful for the Treaty Body members, notably by increasing coverage of a wide range of rights and issues included in the treaties.

TB-Net coalition

TB-Net is an informal group of seven international NGOs and networks which work in partnership with the UN Treaty Bodies. This group aims to strengthen the participation of civil society and rights holders in the work of the Treaty Bodies by bridging the gap between local NGOs and UN mechanisms through the following types of activities:

  • Capacity building workshops and training on effective engagement with the Treaty Bodies
  • Preparing resources and guidance for national NGOs on effective engagement with Treaty Bodies
  • Coordinating and drafting submissions to the Treaty Bodies at all stages of the review process, from shadow reports to follow up
  • Assisting with following up on recommendations made by the Treaty Bodies
  • Supporting country visits by Treaty Body members (CCPR)

Members of TB-Net

Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

  • Child Rights Connect works with over 60 international NGOs to promote the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, coordinate NGO written submissions, and undertake other tasks to assist the work of the Committee.

    • Example: Child Rights Connect has developed an online capacity building tool for civil society actors to engage more concretely and effectively with the CRC reporting process, including information on ensuring child participation in national consultations.
    • Example: Child Rights Connect provides a confidential and secure online platform for children’s rights defenders to submit written information to the UN CRC session.
    • Example: Child Rights Connect provides step-by-step information on both the standard and the simplified reporting cycles of the CRC

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

  • IWRAW-Asia Pacific convenes training sessions for NGOs in parallel to the sessions of CEDAW in Geneva and coordinates and supports the submission of NGO reports to the Committee.

Human Rights Committee (CCPR)

  • The Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR Centre) assists NGOs in making submissions to the CCPR and organises in-country workshops with NGOs to facilitate coordination of stakeholder reports to the Committee.

    • Example: The CCPR Centre also supports country visits of members of the CCPR to assist with follow up on national progress, involving meetings with national authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society, and journalists. For example, the follow up visits of the CCPR to Thailand in 2018, and Jamaica in 2017.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)

  • The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides support to NGOs engaging with CESCR through identifying opportunities for engagement and assisting with drafting and coordinating submissions.

    • Example: The Global Initiative works with national NGOs to prepare joint NGO submissions as part of the CESCR’s periodic review process. For example, during the CESCR’s review of Chile in 2020, the Global Initiative worked with a network of 750 Chilean civil society organisations to submit a Joint Alternative Report.

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

  • The International Disability Alliance (IDA) provides support to NGOs engaging with the CRPD through capacity building and supporting submissions.

    • Example: The IDA holds workshops with national NGOs to coordinate joint NGO submissions and assist with preparing for in person participation before the Committee. For example, it held a workshop with Iraqi NGOs ahead of Iraq’s first review by the CRPD.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

  • The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) provides support to NGOs engaging with the CERD at all stages of the review process.

    • Example: The IMADR has produced a template to support civil society actors’ preparation of follow up reports which assess the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations at national level. The template provides practical tips, guidance on what should be covered, and how to submit the follow up report.

Committee Against Torture (CAT)

Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers (CMW)

Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)

  • These Treaty Bodies do not benefit from the ongoing support of dedicated NGOs in Geneva, but their OHCHR Secretariat can be contacted by NGOs for information, tips and advice.

Other NGOs

The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) works for the global ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and can provide advice on the designation and functioning of National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) or country visits by members of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT).

National Human Rights Institutions

In countries where NHRIs are independent, you can engage and collaborate effectively with such institutions both ahead of and after periodic reviews of your country.

There are many examples of effective NGO-NHRI cooperation in relation to Treaty Body reviews.


NHRI-NGO cooperation on the periodic review of Denmark by CESCR Prior to the 2019 review of Denmark by the CESCR, the NHRI Danish Institute for Human Rights brought together civil society actors with both experience reporting to Treaty Bodies and those working directly on economic, social and cultural rights. The aim of these consultations was to encourage collaboration and civil society participation in the upcoming periodic review of Denmark. The meeting also involved representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The meeting contributed to a significant increase in the submission of shadow reports to the Committee by domestic civil society organisations.

Coordination with other national actors

You can also cooperate with a range of other actors at the national level, not only in preparation for your country’s periodic reviews, but also as part of the follow-up. Some relevant actors you may want to reach out to in preparation for periodic reviews may include:

  • National Mechanism on Reporting and Follow up (NMRFs)
  • Trade union
  • Parliamentary committees, including those established on specific human rights topic
  • Representatives of the judiciary
  • UN agencies and country team
  • Diplomatic community
  • Specialised institutions (e.g. on disability, on children, etc.)
  • National media

An effective way to identify relevant actors is to undertake a mapping ahead of periodic reviews. Engagement with relevant actors ahead of periodic reviews can be useful also to prepare for the follow up after the review.

See also ISHR Academy: Following up with Treaty Bodies: Engagement with NHRIs and NMRFs

Go to the next section for an exploration of Treaty Body periodic reviews and why they are useful.

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