Nov 22

Past Event

Improving Implementation and Follow Up: Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, Universal Periodic Review

Event Materials


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</not-mobile>On November 22-23, Foreign Policy at Brookings, the Open Society Justice Initiative and UPR-Watch hosted a two-day conference on improving the implementation at national level of the findings and recommendations of three of the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms—treaty bodies, Special Procedures, and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The five-year review of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the ongoing reform of the treaty bodies, and the upcoming second cycle of the UPR provide timely opportunities to protect and strengthen these mechanisms’ role in closing the implementation gap.

Download the conference agenda »
Read the summary of recommendations »
Read the report of proceedings »
Ted Piccone, senior fellow and deputy director of Foreign Policy, was interviewed after the event » (watch on YouTube)

Implementation is a crucial indicator of effective human rights procedures, whether it be the implementation of the observations and ‘Views’ of treaty-based bodies, the recommendations of Special Procedures, or the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. However, there has been relatively little attention paid to the implementation rates of these three mechanisms, which together form the cornerstone of the United Nations’ human rights protection system.

This problem has been compounded by a lack of authoritative evidence concerning the impact of these mechanisms at the country level and the efficacy of their follow-up procedures. Moreover, while there have been considerable efforts to improve the working methods of the treaty bodies, Special Procedures and UPR process at a unit level, comparatively little attention has been paid to developing a framework for cooperative follow-up procedures among these mechanisms. At a time of renewed interest in treaty body strengthening, discussions on the five-year review of the Human Rights Council, as well as the upcoming second cycle of the UPR, the conference offered an important opportunity to focus on these common challenges. 

The first day of the conference assessed the state of implementation associated with each of these three mechanisms; identified 'good practices' and roadblocks to effective implementation at the national level; and addressed prospects for improving follow-up mechanisms within each system. On the second day, participants discussed ways in which implementation can be improved by developing a framework for cooperative follow-up procedures among the treaty bodies, Special Procedures and the UPR process. It also looked at how other parts of the UN system can be involved in facilitating implementation of recommendations.

Event Agenda

  • Opening Remarks

    • Kyung-wha Kang

      Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • Panelists

    • Ted Piccone, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Latin America Initiative, Project on International Order and Strategy
    • Ambassador Alicia Arango

      Permanent Representative of Colombia to Human Rights Council

    • Rachel Brett

      Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, Quaker UN office in Geneva

    • Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez Camacho

      Permanent Representative of Mexico to Geneva

    • Olawale Fapohunda

      Managing Partner, Legal Resource Consortium of Nigeria

    • Michael O’Flaherty

      Member of the UN Human Rights Committee

      Professor of Applied Human Rights, University of Nottingham

    • Michel Forst

      Secretary General, Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme

      UN Independent Expert on Haiti

    • James Goldston

      Founding Executive Director, Open Society Justice Initiative

    • Said Hammamoun

      Senior Legal Advisor, UPR-Watch

    • His Exellency Mr. Omar Hilale

      Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN Office in Geneva

    • Murray Hunt

      Legal Adviser, Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, UK

    • Walter Kalin

      Former Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

    • Anders Kompass

      Senior Director, Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division, OHCHR

    • Miloon Kothari

      Former UN Special Rapporteur on Housing

    • N’jat M’jid Maalla

      Special Rapporteur on Sale of Children

    • Vitit Muntarbhorn

      Former Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

    • Rachel Murray

      Professor of International Human Rights Law and Director, Human Rights Implementation Centre, University of Bristol

    • Bacre Waly Ndiaye

      Director, Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division, OHCHR

    • Tania Baldwin-Pask

      Adviser, Amnesty International

    • Bertrand Ramcharan

      Professor of International Human Rights Law, Geneva Graduate Institute of International Studies

      Former Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights

    • Katharina Rose

      Geneva Representative, International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

    • Dubravka Simonovic

      Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

      Special Rapporteur for the Follow-Up of Concluding Observations

  • Closing Remarks

    • His Excellency Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow

      President of the Human Rights Council


November 22-23, 2010

Centre International de Conferences Geneve

Room 3


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