INPUD joins over 500 other civil society organisations in expressing our concern about the functioning of UN Treaty Bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has led to postponements, cancellations, and scaling-down of nearly all scheduled Treaty Body sessions in 2020, and since July have been limited to virtual meetings. This means planned reviews of state parties have had to be rescheduled. The problem is further exasperated by the financial crisis suffered by the OHCHR and the UN.
This unprecedented situation will require effort from all stakeholders. We are concerned that, despite some steps taken already, the challenges and constraints analyzed by the Treaty Bodies’ Working Group on COVID-19 still apply. Given the plethora of human rights restrictions and violations arising from the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial for rights-holders that the Treaty Bodies, who are the only independent and expert monitors of the legally binding human rights treaties, are able to fulfill their mandates and independently assess states’ compliance.
We urge the Treaty Bodies and their Secretariats to schedule State reviews no later than 2021, and OHCHR to prioritise resources and tools for this.