Past Event

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

Monday, November 22 - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Centre International de Conferences Geneve
Room 3


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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.