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3. Opportunities for You to Engage

3.6 Participating in the Treaty Body review and post-review follow up

This and the previous section provide information and tips on how you can input effectively into the review of your country.

It follows from the section on Periodic Reviews – Why are they useful?

There are several ways you can participate in the periodic review process – you can:

Section 3.5: Engage prior to the Treaty Body review

  • Engage in national consultations in the preparation of the State report
  • Submit written and oral information for the list of issues and questions (LOI), or in the case of the simplified reporting procedure, submit written and oral information for the list of issues prior to reporting (LOIPR)
  • Submit an alternative or shadow report to the Treaty Body

Section 3.6: Participate in the Treaty Body review and post review follow up

  • During the Treaty Body session, provide oral information and meet with Treaty Body members as part of the constructive (or interactive) dialogue
  • Follow up and monitor the implementation of the Treaty Bodies’ concluding observations and recommendations, including submitting written information to the follow up procedure of the Treaty Body

This section focuses on:

Participating in the Treaty Body review and post review follow up

Reporting cycle with stakeholders

To view the Treaty Bodies Reporting Cycle with Stakeholders, click here

Source: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

During and after the review (Steps 4, 5, and 6 above)

You can participate in the review of your State by the Treaty Bodies by:

  1. Participating in the constructive (or interactive) dialogue of the Treaty Body session by providing oral information (either in situ or remotely)
  2. Meeting and discussing issues with Treaty Body members
  3. Following up, monitor or support the implementation of recommendations of a Treaty Body

and:

  • building alliances with relevant actors at the local, national, regional and international levels

4. Participating in the constructive (or interactive) dialogue during the review

Treaty Body sessions

Each Treaty Body normally meets two to three times per year. A Treaty Body session lasts approximately three weeks, but that depends on the Treaty Body.

Each Treaty Body session includes:

  • reviews of periodic reports of States parties (approximately six States are reviewed in one session, and each review takes on average one day, though this varies across the Treaty Bodies)
  • adoption of list of issues and list of issues prior to reporting
  • review of individual communications
  • review of follow up communication related to both periodic reviews and individual communication
  • discussion on working methods
  • discussion on general comments and/or inquiries, and
  • meetings with relevant stakeholders, such as States, UN agencies, NHRIs and NGOs
  • Most of a Treaty Body session is devoted to formal reviews and constructive dialogues with States parties - during which NGOs can attend but not intervene. Nevertheless, all Treaty Bodies allocate specific times during their session for interaction with other stakeholders, including NGOs. For example, during ‘informal meetings with NGOs’ or ‘private sessions with NGOs’ to discuss specific States.

Examples of Treaty Body Programmes of Work

‘Public’ sessions are open to anyone who is registered with the OHCHR. NGOs can attend these sessions, observe, and speak during slots dedicated to interaction with civil society. These sessions are also available on the Treaty Bodies webcast. Information on how to register is normally provided on webpages or notes dedicated to civil society participation in the sessions.

‘Private’ sessions are open to invitees only (NGOs can be invited to attend), and are not available through the webcast. Some Treaty Bodies only hold dialogues with national NGOs in private, non webcast sessions for security reasons.

‘Closed’ sessions are open to only the members of the Treaty Body, and are not available through the webcast.

To find Treaty Body Programmes of Work

Reporting cycle with stakeholders Reporting cycle with stakeholders

Who can participate?

Anyone – individuals, groups, or representatives of an organisation – can attend a Treaty Body session. NGOs do not require ECOSOC accreditation to participate in Treaty Body sessions. Note however that some specific parts of the session programme are closed to the pubic (see below).

In order to participate in a Treaty Body session, you must register with the Secretariat of the relevant Treaty Body in advance.


Top Tips

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Participating in Treaty Body sessions

  • If you are able to attend a Treaty Body session, you can participate in spaces which are open to NGO interaction, directly brief Treaty Body members during both formal and informal meetings, and observe the discussions (including the issues raised, the government’s replies and the recommendations made by the Treaty Body).
  • Most Treaty Body sessions take place in the Palais Wilson in Geneva, except the CEDAW sessions which take place at Palais des Nations.
  • For more detail and strategic tips, see ISHR Tips & Tricks: Participating in Treaty Body sessions.
  • It is recommended to liaise with the Secretariat of the Committee early on to get relevant information.
  • It is advisable to link up with other NGOs both at the national level and at the international level. For example, members of the TB-Net coalition can provide great help and support in your engagement with 7 of the 10 Treaty Bodies.
  • If you have direct contact with individual Treaty Body members or if you know of individuals or institutions that have such direct contact, it is recommended that you inform members of your intention to participate in the review. Some Treaty Body members are amenable to liaise with NGOs to gather information relevant to the country under review – you may be able to do so outside of the formal spaces dedicated to State reviews.
  • If you are unable to come to Geneva, you can still follow and participate in Treaty Body sessions:
  • You can request to take part remotely in the dialogue with the Treaty Body ahead of the review of your State by contacting the relevant OHCHR Treaty Body Secretariat.
  • You can follow the live webcast of the Treaty Body public sessions at http://webtv.un.org/

Remember! If you can foresee any risk related to your participation in the Treaty Body session, you should take precautionary measures such as liaising with international NGOs or other actors such as diplomats or UN representative, who may be able to provide support in case this is needed. See also ISHR Academy: Security

5. Concluding observations and recommendations

Through your alternative or shadow report submitted prior to the Treaty Body session, through any oral submissions made during the Treaty Body session, and by meeting and discussing issues with Treaty Body members informally, you can present information for consideration by Treaty Bodies in their concluding observations or recommendations.

6. Follow up and implementation of Treaty Body recommendations

It is recommended that you translate concluding observations into your national language especially when the national language(s) is not a UN official language. You may request support from UN agencies or the diplomatic community to translate the concluding observations of a Treaty Body.

For additional information on how you can engage in follow up and implementation of Treaty Body concluding observations and recommendations post-review, see ISHR Academy: Following up with Treaty Bodies.

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