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22.06.21
Statements

The growing backlog in reviewing States' human rights record must be addressed

Joint oral statement at the 47th Session of the Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue on the Annual Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

21 June 2021

Madam President,

This is a joint statement delivered on behalf of seven organisations[1] which form TB-Net (NGO Network on UN Treaty Bodies).

We thank the High Commissioner for presenting the annual report. We express our appreciation of the efforts undertaken by the OHCHR to support the treaty bodies to continue their work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We particularly welcome the fact that all treaty bodies have started piloting online reviews of States parties in the current absence of in-person meetings.

Nevertheless, we are increasingly concerned that the limited number of online reviews that can be undertaken in a single treaty body session has led to a sharp increase in the backlog of State party reports pending consideration. To prevent significant protection gaps, it is critical to stem the growing backlog of State party reports and avoid delays to other activities of the treaty bodies.

We agree with the High Commissioner that the treaty bodies' work relies significantly on in-person interactions.[2] As such, in order to ensure that treaty bodies examine State party reports and effectively discharge their mandates, we urge OHCHR to identify concrete steps that would enable in-person meetings to be resumed no later than the autumn sessions of 2021.[3] We also call on States to support and cooperate with the treaty bodies and OHCHR in such efforts, including through providing sufficient resources.

Thank you.

[1] Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR-Centre), Child Rights Connect, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GIESCR), International Disability Alliance (IDA), International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), International Womens' Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW-Asia Pacific) and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

[2] A/HRC/47/54, paragraph 134

[3] See our statement at the 33rd Meeting of Chairpersons of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/Annual-meeting/TB-Net-Statement.docx

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