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U.N. comes out with report to strengthen treaty body system

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has come out with a report to strengthen the treaty body system. This follows a process that started in 2009 aimed at bringing about gradual improvement and harmonisation of working methods of the treaty bodies and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (O.H.C.H.R.), and identifying what would constitute the necessary resources to support the work of the treaty bodies adequately and cost-effectively.

Over the years, the functioning of the treaty bodies has come under severe criticism mainly because of the backlog of reports awaiting reviews. Currently only 16 percent of State parties report on time; and even with this low compliance rate, four out of nine treaty bodies with a reporting procedure are facing significant and increasing backlog of reports awaiting consideration. Several regularly make requests to the General Assembly for additional meeting time.

As of now, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (C.R.P.D.) Committee has 50 initial reports overdue, and States wait seven years to be reviewed.

The C.R.P.D. Committee so far only had resources to meet for 2 weeks a year. Recently, they have been allowed another week. Even with the added week, it would soon have a ten-year backlog . This would adversely impact the faith of the disability movement globally on the effectiveness of the process, many of whom are involved in preparing Alternate Reports on C.R.P.D. implementation in their countries.