Saturday, January 3, 2015

Summary of 2014

2014 was potentially an important year for the human rights treaty bodies. In April the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 68/268, providing a substantial increase in resources and setting in place several reforms that will hopefully strengthen the system going forward.

From an overall system perspective, here is a summary of some of the key outputs:

Concluding observations & recommendations
·      131 sets of recommendations
·      approx. 1400 pages
·      approx. 6700 total recommendations
Average = 11 pages & 50 recommendations per state party report
State reports received during the year
94 initial & periodic reports + 18 common core reports
Note that these numbers resulted in a modest reduction of the system backlog, since 131 reports were reviewed & only 94 new reports were received in the same period
State reports reviewed
·      131 reports
·      approx. 8553 pages
·      approx. 63% exceeded the recommended page limits
·      approx. 78% were not submitted within the required due date
Average of 66 pages per report, which is 60% longer than the 40 pages recommended for most reports (initial reports are the main exception, with 60 page limit, but they comprise less than 5% of the total number of reports) (CRC reports also had a 120 page limit during this period)
Cases/decisions issued
·      This is an approx 20% increase over prior years
·      Still missing the decisions from CAT’s November session (approx 10-15 more expected)
New ratifications
58 (2.7% increase from 2013)
·      This includes ratifications of treaties (39) and ratify/accept individual complaint mechanisms (19).
·      This represents more ratifications than 2013 (46/2.2%) and about the same as 2012 (59/2.9%)
New instruments enter into force
the individual complaints mechanism of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was the only new instrument in 2014
Treaty body experts/countries
172 experts from 87 countries

New general comments
5 new general comments (including one joint comment)
1. CCPR #35 liberty & security of person
2. CEDAW #32 women asylum seekers
3. Joint CRC #18/CEDAW #31 harmful practices
4. CRPD #1 equal recognition
5. CRPD #2 accessibility
Treaty body weeks
77 weeks
 this figure includes 13 weeks of pre-sessional working group time
Harmonizing of mechanisms
·      Simplified reporting procedure
·      Reprisals focal point
·      Follow up on concluding observations
·      Follow up on views
·      Adoption of Addis Ababa conflict of interest guidelines
·      5 now have LOIPR procedure
·      2 have appointed a reprisals focal point
·      6 have follow up mechanism on COs, but practice varies and is very basic
·      5 have follow up mechanism on Views, but practice varies, not very transparent
·      Addis Ababa – 9 have adopted the guidelines
·      reprisals focal pt – CAT & CCPR
·      Follow up on COs: CCPR, CERD, CEDAW, CAT, CRPD and CED
·      Follow up on Views: CCPR, CAT, CERD, CRPD & CEDAW (+ CESC now has a table on pending cases posted on their website).
·      Addis Ababa: apparently all except CCPR have adopted the guidelines 

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