Here are my thoughts on item 4(c) of the treaty body chairs agenda.
Item 4(c) Consultation process for the preparation of general comments
Best practice. It is strongly recommended that each of the Committees follow the practice now used by the Human Rights Committee to have a general discussion on each new general comment, before the first draft is produced. NGOs and other stakeholders should be invited to this general discussion. Dates, details of the meeting and reports submitted should be posted well in advance of the meeting.
New technologies/new drafting approaches. Please keep new technologies and your potential audience in mind. General comments can be accessed electronically now by many more stakeholders than before. They can be translated into local languages by many freely available software translation programs. Keeping this in mind while drafting general comments can make them more readable, more accessible, and more useable by intended stakeholders. Beginning with an executive summary, bullet points, or other highly readable introduction can also be quite effective in this regard.
Migrant workers. The Convention on migrant workers is in danger of being left behind. It has the smallest number of ratifications and the only Convention with no individual complaint mechanism which has come into force. Different aspects of migrant workers rights are covered in every human rights instrument. It is strongly recommended that all of the treaty bodies search for ways to establish joint general comments or other joint statements which help to spread the influence of the ICMWMF in all areas of commonality shared with the other treaty instruments. In this way the CMW can perhaps gain important visibility and involvement in the treaty body system. This may help to leverage the CMW’s expertise to a wider audience.