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The Human Rights Treaty Bodies

What are the Human Rights Treaty Bodies?

The human rights treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of international human rights treaties.

There are nine international human rights treaties, often referred to as the core treaties, which States can sign up to, making them a State party to the treaty in question. Each State party to a treaty has an obligation to take steps to
ensure that everyone in the State can enjoy the rights set out in the treaty. Therefore, when a State is under review for a treaty it has ratified, it has an obligation to address and implement the recommendations, or concluding observations that the treaty body in question sets forward.

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In depth…

The nine core treaties concern:

  1. civil and political rights;
  2. economic, social and cultural rights;
  3. torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  4. racial discrimination;
  5. gender discrimination;
  6. rights of persons with disabilities;
  7. rights of the child;
  8. protection of all persons from enforced disappearance;
  9. rights of migrants workers and members of their families.

The compliance with and implementation of each of these nine treaties by States that have ratified them is monitored by an accompanying treaty body.

In addition to periodic reviews of State compliance with the conventions, treaty bodies consider individual complaints, conduct country inquiries, adopt General Comments that articulate the treaty body’s interpretation of the treaty provisions, thematic issues or its own methods of work, and organize thematic discussions (known as days of general discussions) to interpret the provisions of their treaty or treaties, among others.

Where can I learn more?

More information on the treaty bodies overall and individually per each treaty body is available at: ohchr.org/treaty-bodies

The Treaty Bodies Youth Steps

What steps have the Treaty Bodies taken on youth?