NGOs meet with UN Treaty Body Chairs to discuss COVID-19
Date: 11th June 2020
Category: Reporting to and monitoring the UNCRC, Policies & procedures
The aim of this informal meeting was to discuss a way forward for UN Treaty Bodies to fully discharge their mandates in light of the challenges faced by COVID-19.
TB-Net is a group of international NGOs and networks that work closely with seven UN Treaty Bodies (including the Committee on the Rights of the Child). In the informal meeting, TB-Net issued a joint statement highlighting the essential role UN Treaty Bodies play in reviewing States’ responses to COVID-19 and making them accountable for human rights violations. In the joint statement, TB-Net urged UN Treaty Bodies to remind States of their human rights obligations and to carry out their mandates despite technical and logistical challenges posed by the pandemic. TB-Net went on to encourage UN Treaty Bodies to engage and interact online while maintaining the quality of their work as much as possible, taking into consideration the engagement of civil society in their decisions relating to online working methods including safe accessibility requirements.
TB-Net also urged UN Treaty Bodies to adopt a fixed and coordinated calendar for reviews by all Committees, as disruptions caused by the pandemic are adding challenges in the unpredictability of reviews and potentially further delaying reporting by States. TB-Net also recommends greater coordination among the UN Treaty Bodies on their substantive work, in particular in relation to General Comments and Concluding Observations, and further alignment of their working methods and procedures, which would improve the accessibility of the system for all stakeholders.
TB-Net also provided a reflection paper on the opportunities and challenges for online work for the UN Treaty Bodies and how it might impact civil society engagement.
In its paper, TB-Net suggests:
- General principles regarding online work for the UN Treaty Bodies
- Requirements for all online meetings
- Considerations on specific areas of work of the UN Treaty Bodies (including individual communications, State reporting, General Comments and Days of General Discussion)
- Key conclusions and recommendations for the Chairpersons and the UN Treaty Bodies to take into account in decisions taken on any modification of future sessions and online working methods.