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REFORMING UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY MONITORING REFORM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2011

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Abstract

Discussions on the necessity to reform UN human rights treaty monitoring have witnessed a new dynamism over the last five years. After extensive consultation about ways to strengthen human rights treaty monitoring the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to propose a new set of reform measures in 2012. This article aims to structure and analyse the different implemented and tabled streamlining and enhancement measures. It argues that a further reform of UN human rights treaty monitoring should take account of two fundamental considerations. Firstly, next to treaty monitoring other international human rights protection methods have gained significance over the last few decades. Today, judicial enforcement and political peer-to-peer protection through the UPR mechanism effectively condition the room for added value for treaty monitoring. Secondly, given that a case for such added value can still be made, it is significant that human rights monitoring mechanisms have not so far sufficiently been equipped, or equipped themselves to achieve structural domestic impact of their recommendations and views. This not only inherently hampers their impact, but also threatens support for their activities. In particular, prior requesting of specific input, clear indicators for what is compliant behaviour and what is not, and targeted follow-up to recommendations, all crucial aspects of ‘constructive dialogue’, have not been consistently institutionalised by treaty bodies. In this light the article outlines some concrete ways forward for a reformed reform agenda that could lay the groundwork for measures to sustainably strengthen UN human rights treaty monitoring.


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Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Instituut and Contributors 2011

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