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CNDH's contribution to the reform of the UN human rights treaty body system

The Moroccan National Human Rights Council (CNDH) took part in the informal consultation with States, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and NGOs, organized on August 28, 2020, in Geneva, by the co-facilitators of the review process of the UN human rights treaty body system, namely the permanent missions of Morocco and Switzerland to the UN in New York. The aim of this consultation is assessing the progress made since the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 68/268 in 2014, and identifying ways that will allow strengthening the functioning and efficiency of the treaty bodies.

The CNDH's contribution to this process took two forms. First, a written contribution was shared with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the co-facilitators. Besides the CNDH, only six NHRIs, out of 122, submitted written contributions, including those from India, Argentina, Guatemala, Greece and Denmark. A total of 90 written contributions were received, including 55 from Member States, 22 from NGOs, 7 from UN experts and 6 from NHRIs. Secondly, the CNDH delivered, by video and at the invitation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), an oral statement at this consultation taking up points already highlighted in its written communication.

In its statement, the CNDH underlined the role of “A” status NHRIs in the implementation and follow-up of the recommendations of the treaty bodies. It also suggested that recommendations be more focused, targeted and addressing the obligations enshrined exclusively in the treaty. The CNDH shed light on the importance for States to respect their reporting obligations. The CNDH also considers that the reporting process should be streamlined and unified, by adopting common and harmonized rules and canvas addressing the format and content of parallel NHRI reports. Capacity building programs should be organized for all stakeholders, including NHRIs and NGOs. Shadow Reports from NHRIs should be available in at least two UN working languages ​​for better dissemination among treaty body members.

The CNDH also recommended that NHRIs should be provided with meaningful space and support to optimize their participation when reviewing their respective states, by giving them, for example, the possibility to hold private meetings with the country rapporteur. NHRIs mandated with a quasi-jurisdictional mandate, should be consulted by treaty bodies regarding individual complaints they receive from various sources. Given their key role in human rights legislation, parliaments, like NHRIs, should be given speaking rights at treaty bodies sessions to inform debate and dialogue. National candidates to the positions of treaty bodies member should be selected on the basis of their competence, integrity, impartiality and independence. Detailed CNDH recommendations are available on the OHCHR website.

Other consultations were held with States, members of treaty bodies and representatives of the OHCHR. Following these consultations, the co-facilitators will draw up a report with recommendations to assess and decide on new measures to strengthen and improve the human rights treaty bodies system. A closing meeting will be organized before September 15, 2020, during which the co-facilitators will present the outline of the report and the relevant recommendations. The report will be presented to the UN General Assembly.