Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quarterly newsletter on the UN human rights treaties

The Human Rights Treaty Division of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued its latest quarterly newsletter on the treaty system, covering the period April to June 2014.  For anyone following developments of the human rights treaty system, the newsletter contains much useful information and can be downloaded from the official UN website.

The time period covered by this newsletter has been particularly important, including the final stages of the UN General Assembly's approval of its resolution on treaty body strengthening (Res 68/268 of Apr 9 2014), and the elections/re-elections of four of the core human rights committees (50% of each committee is elected/re-elected every 2 years).  

Newsletter contents

25 pages in length, the newsletter covers: 
  • the UN General Assembly resolution on treaty body strengthening and its implications for the current treaty body system
  • the 26th annual meeting of treaty body chairpersons, June 21-25
  • elections of new members for 4 different committees (the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities)
  • a new urgent action procedure adopted by the Committee on Enforced Disappearance
  • a special event on workplace exploitation held by the Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers
  • Key jurisprudence -- summaries of 8 individual case decisions issued between January and April 2014 from 4 different committees, and 3 cases where followup information has been received recently
    • A.M.M. v. Switzerland (CERD 50/2012) (Febraury 2014)
    • R.P.B. v. the Philippines (CEDAW 34/2011) (February 2014)
    • Elisabeth de Blok et al. v. the Netherlands (CEDAW 36/2012) (February 2014)
    • Follow up to Pimentel v. Brazil (CEDAW 17/2008)
    • Paksas v. Lithuania (CCPR 2155/2012) (March 2014)
    • Ory v. France (CCPR 1960/2010) (March 2014)
    • Horvath v. Australia (CCPR 1885/2009) (March 2014)
    • Follow up to X v. Sweden (CCPR 1833/2008)
    • Follow up to Aboushanif v. Norway (CCPR 1542/2007)
    • X v. Argentina (CRPD 8/2012) (February 2014)
    • Groeninger v. Germany (CRPD 2/2010)  (February 2014)
  • a report on the new web based database on timely reporting and late/non-reporting of states
  • reports on capacity building workshops held in Tunisia, St. Maarten, the Bahamas and Turkey
  • programs supporting victims of torture in  Cambodia and Mali
  • Ireland's innovative approach to gathering stakeholder input for its treaty body reports, including online methods
  • Nigeria's new torture prevention initiatives under the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture)
  • Latest ratifications of treaties (19 new ratifications and accessions during the quarter)
  • Latest state reports received under various treaties (25 reports from 20 countries, under 5 treaties, including initial, periodic, and common core reports)
  • an updated directory of contact names and email addresses for each committee
  • a listing of other useful tools and links

Committee on Enforced Disappearances

I also found the photo on p. 8 of the newsletter helpful, identifying the members of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the newest treaty body added to the system. 

From left to right in the 2nd row:
  • Mr. Enoch Mulembe (former member) (Zambia)
  • Mr. Rainer Huhle (Germany)
  • Mr. Alvaro Garce' Garcia y Santos (Uruguay)
  • Mr. Mamadou Badio Camara (Senegal
  • Mr. Mohammed Al-Obaidi (Iraq)
  • Ms. Suela Janina (Albania)
First row, left to right: 
  • Mr. Luciano Hazan (Argentina)
  • Mr. Juan Jose Lopez Ortega (Spain)
  • Mr. Emmanuel Decaux (France
  • Mr. Kimio Yakushiji (Japan)


This is number 23 in the quarterly newsletter series, which began in 2010 and has been issued somewhat intermittently since then.  The newsletter is a useful information source for those of us following human rights treaty developments, especially if the content continues to cover new developments and the regular quarterly publication schedule can be resumed. 

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