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Good morning, this is Pip. Today, we’re hearing the latest from a new project by the Geneva Human Rights Platform that seeks to bring UN human rights experts from Geneva to the field, to better understand a country's most pressing rights issues and enable states to fulfil their rights obligations under core international treaties. We caught up with participants in the first pilot which wrapped up in Freetown, Sierra Leone last week, to hear how things went.

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Pip Cook


🧭 Charting a new path for UN treaty bodies

Photo article

Participants in the pilot initiative met in Freetown, Sierra Leone last week for three days of discussion and debates. (Credit: Dr Domenico Zipoli, GHRP)

The United Nations’ treaty bodies watch over the treaties which form the bedrock of the world’s human rights standards. From protecting women’s rights to eliminating discrimination, these committees of experts are responsible for holding states accountable for their human rights obligations and ensuring they are putting the treaties into practice.

But the 50-year-old system has been hampered by challenges and inefficiencies, sparking calls for radical reform and several reviews by the UN into how to make it more effective.

Long gaps between countries' reporting cycles, backlogs of recommendations and the failure of states to submit reports mean that years can pass without any proper follow-up to the recommendations issued. Communication between treaty bodies and national actors is also often insufficient, leaving both sides in the dark regarding countries' human rights progress.

Earlier this week we heard about a new initiative that is looking to address some of these flaws. We caught up with some of the participants to hear how things went.

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