The Human Rights Treaty System has long been an island of depoliticized truth seeking within the UN Organization. However, over the years, participants in the UN’s Human Rights Treaty Bodies have grown accustomed to the scarcity of resources and capacity needed to maintain the robust monitoring of the treaty performance of states. This year, the System faces a crisis of funding, political neglect and public confidence due to the delays and delinquency of contributing member states.
In a letter to the Treaty Body chairpersons, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mme Michel Bachelet announced that three treaty-monitoring bodies will have to curtail or postpone their work in 2019 amid uncertainty over future funding. As of 7 May 2019, only 40 member states have fully paid their dues in full and on time.
As regular partners of the Treaty Bodies, HIC Members are directly affected. However, in the context of declining multilateralism and states’ retreat from their international law obligations, this distortion of the System could be an indicator of further shortfalls to come, unless states and the UN reverse the trend.
Therefore, HIC expressed its concern in an open letter to the UN leadership to signal the alarm and urge greater respect and needed development of the UN Human Rights Treaty System. In the same stroke, HIC officers have pledged to do their own part.
HIC’s open letter of concern to UN leadership
Letter of HC Michelle Bachelet to Human Rights Treaty Body chairpersons
Statement on Financial Situation of the United Nations
UN budget shortfalls seriously undermine the work of the Human Rights Treaty bodies(press release)