Treaty Body reform

Philippe Douste-Blazy, French Foreign Minister, signing The Convention against Enforced Disappearance, Paris.

Philippe Douste-Blazy, French Foreign Minister, signing The Convention against Enforced Disappearance, Paris.

© Frédéric de la Mure/MAE


Every member state of the UN has ratified at least one of the nine international human rights treaties and over 80% of member states have ratified four. The "concerted effort" to ratify treaties and their protocols, called for at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, has to some extent been heeded, with a more than 30% increase in ratifications.

Although no treaty has achieved universal ratification, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by all but two member states (Somalia and the United States of America).

Amnesty International has contributed to the treaty system for many years, from campaigning for the elaboration of the treaties, to reporting on their implementation. In the document "Proposals to strengthen the human rights treaty bodies", published in 2003, the organization highlighted some fundamental principles underlying the treaty system that should be reinforced during the reform process, including in relation to the role that can and should be played by civil society.

Amnesty International also continues to participate actively in the annual Treaty Bodies' Chairpersons meetings and the Inter-Committee meetings, where issues around working methods and harmonization of treaty bodies' practices are discussed.

The official UN documents prepared for this meeting are available from the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) website.

Together with other NGOs active around treaty body reform, Amnesty International has produced documents containing recommendations in respect of strengthening of the treaty bodies:

Pretoria Statement on the Process of Strengthening the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System: Response by non-governmental organizations, June 2011

Dublin Statement on the Process of Strengthening the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System: Response by non-governmental organizations, November 2010

NGO Joint Submission to the 7th Inter-Committee Meeting of the United Nations Treaty Monitoring Bodies, June 2008


How you can help

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