United Nations

A/51/482


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

11 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/482
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (a)


                    HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  IMPLEMENTATION
                          OF HUMAN RIGHTS INSTRUMENTS

            Effective implementation of international instruments 
            on human rights, including reporting obligations under
                   international instruments on human rights

                         Note by the Secretary-General


     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General
Assembly the report of the seventh meeting of persons chairing the
human rights treaty bodies, convened pursuant to General Assembly
resolution 50/170 of 22 December 1995.


                                     ANNEX

             Report of the seventh meeting of persons chairing the
                          human rights treaty bodies


                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   Since the adoption of resolution 37/44 on 3 December 1982, the
General Assembly has continuously kept under review the problems
relating to the effective implementation of international instruments
on human rights, including reporting obligations under international
instruments on human rights.  Those problems have also received
careful attention during the various sessions of the treaty bodies, at
some of the meetings of States parties and at meetings of other organs
such as the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Human
Rights.

2.   Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 38/117 of 16 December
1983, the Secretary-General convened the first meeting of the persons
chairing the bodies entrusted with the consideration of State party
reports in August 1984.  The report of that meeting was presented to
the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth session (A/39/484, annex). 
The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth meetings were convened by
the Secretary-General in October 1988, October 1990, October 1992,
September 1994 and September 1995.  The reports of those meetings were
presented to the Assembly at its forty-fourth, forty-fifth,
forty-seventh, forty-ninth and fiftieth sessions (in the annexes of
documents A/44/98, A/45/636, A/47/628, A/49/537 and A/50/505
respectively).  It may be recalled that, in accordance with General
Assembly resolution 49/178 of 23 December 1994, the meetings of
persons chairing the human rights treaty bodies have become annual
since 1995.

3.   In its resolution 50/170 of 22 December 1995, the General Assembly
welcomed the report of the persons chairing the human rights treaty
bodies on their sixth meeting, held at Geneva from 18 to 22 September
1995, and took note of the conclusions and recommendations in the
report (A/50/505, annex); welcomed the continuing efforts by the
treaty bodies and the Secretary-General aimed at streamlining,
rationalizing and otherwise improving reporting procedures, and urged
the treaty bodies and the meetings of persons chairing the human
rights treaty bodies to continue to examine ways of reducing the
duplication of reporting required under the different instruments,
without impairing the quality of reporting, and of generally reducing
the reporting burden on Member States.  The Commission on Human Rights
welcomed the report of the sixth meeting of the persons chairing the
human rights treaty bodies and took note of its conclusions and
recommendations in its resolution 1996/22 of 19 April 1996.

4.   The seventh meeting of persons chairing the human rights treaty
bodies was convened by the Secretary-General pursuant to General
Assembly resolution 50/170.


                       II.  ORGANIZATION OF THE MEETING

5.   The meeting was held at the United Nations Office at Geneva from
16 to 20 September 1996.  The following representatives of the human
rights treaty bodies attended:  Mr. Francisco Jose' Aguilar Urbina
(Chairperson, Human Rights Committee), Mr. Philip Alston (Chairperson,
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), Mr. Michael Banton
(Chairperson, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination),
Ms. Akila Belembaogo (Chairperson, Committee on the Rights of the
Child), Ms. Ivanka Corti (Chairperson, Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women) and Mr. Alexis Dipanda-Mouelle
(Chairperson, Committee against Torture).

6.   Representatives of the following United Nations bodies and
specialized agencies attended the meeting:  Division for the
Advancement of Women of the United Nations Secretariat, the Joint
United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDs (UNAIDS), the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and
the World Health Organization (WHO).  A member of the Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities attended the
meeting.  The following regional intergovernmental organizations were
represented at the meeting: Council of Europe (represented by the
President of the European Commission on Human Rights), and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  In
addition, representatives of the following non-governmental
organizations attended:  Amnesty International, Anti-Racism
Information Service (ARIS), Baha'i International Community, the
Catholic Association for Radio and Television, the Conference of
European Justice and Peace Commissions, International Service for
Human Rights, International Women's Rights Action Watch, the Women's
International League for Peace and Freedom, the NGO Group for the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and the World Organization
against Torture.

7.   In addition to his address to open the meeting (see para. 13
below), Mr. Jose' Ayala-Lasso, the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights, participated in a closed meeting with the
chairpersons, who appreciated the opportunity to have a frank dialogue
with him.  The chairpersons appreciated also that the High
Commissioner had implemented the project of providing office space and
facilities for experts and special rapporteurs.

8.   Mr. Bacre W. N'diaye, chairperson of the third meeting of special
rapporteurs, representatives, experts, and chairpersons of working
groups of the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights and
the Advisory Services Programme addressed the chairpersons of the
human rights treaty bodies on 19 September 1996.

9.   The agenda for the meeting was as follows:

     1.  Opening of the meeting.

     2.  Election of the officers of the meeting.

     3.  Adoption of the agenda.

     4.  Organizational and other matters.

     5.  Review of recent developments relating to the work of the
         treaty bodies.

     6.  Improving the operation of the human rights treaty bodies.

     7.  Cooperation of human rights treaty bodies with United       Nations
         non-conventional human rights bodies and mechanisms and
         regional organizations.

     8.  Gender perspectives in the work of the treaty bodies.

     9.  Prevention of human rights violations, including early
         warning and urgent procedures.

     10. Assistance to States in implementing treaty body      
recommendations.

     11. Adoption of the report to the General Assembly.

10.  Owing to lack of time, the chairpersons decided to postpone item 9
until the next meeting.

11.  The following documentation was made available to the
participants:

     (a) Provisional agenda and annotations (HRI/MC/1996/1);

     (b) Report of the Secretary-General on improving the operation of
the human rights treaty bodies (HRI/MC/1996/2);

     (c) Report of the Secretary-General on the status of the
international instruments and the general situation of overdue reports
(HRI/MC/1996/3);

     (d) Reports of the fifth and sixth meetings of persons chairing
the human rights treaty bodies (A/49/537, annex, and A/50/505, annex);

     (e) Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women
(A/CONF.177/L.20);

     (f) Interim report on the updated study by the independent expert
on enhancing the long-term effectiveness of the United Nations human
rights treaty regime (A/CONF.157/PC/62/Add.11/Rev.1);

     (g) Vienna statement of the international human rights treaty
bodies (A/CONF.157/TBB/4 and Add.1);

     (h) Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the
World Conference on Human Rights on 25 June 1993 (A/CONF.157/24 (Part
I), chap. III); 

     (i) Compilation of general comments and general recommendations
adopted by human rights treaty bodies(HRI/GEN/1/Rev.2);

     (j) Preparation of a plan of action for a United Nations decade
for human rights education:  report of the Secretary-General (A/49/261
and Add.1); 

     (k) Reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights on the Implementation of the Plan of Action for the United
Nations Decade for Human Rights Education:  1995-2004 (A/50/698 and
E/CN.4/1996/51);

     (l) General Assembly resolutions 50/170 and 50/177;

     (m) Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1996/16, 1996/22,
1996/44, 1996/48 and 1996/78;

     (n) Report of the Secretary-General on the Restructuring the
Centre for Human Rights:  Programme Budget for the Biennium 1996-1997
(A/C.5/50/71);

     (o) Proposed medium-term plan for the period 1998-2001: 
Programme 19: Human rights (A/51/6 (Prog. 19)).

12.  The following informal working documents were also made available
to the participants:

     (a) Recommendations for advisory services and technical
assistance by treaty bodies:  compilation prepared by the Secretariat;


     (b) Actions being taken regarding recommendations made by treaty
bodies for advisory services and technical assistance in the field of
human rights:  compilation prepared by the Secretariat;

     (c) Status of the international human rights instruments: 
compilation prepared by the Secretariat; 

     (d) Status of State party reports to be submitted to the
principal international human rights instruments:  compilation
prepared by the Secretariat;

     (e) Plan of Action to strengthen the implementation of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, Centre for Human Rights;

     (f) Document relating to the round table organized by UNFPA,
Centre for Human Rights and the Division for the Advancement of Women
on "Round Table on Approaches of Human Rights Treaty Bodies Towards
Women's Health, with a Focus on Reproductive and Sexual Health
Rights".

13.  The meeting was opened by Mr. Jose' Ayala-Lasso, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who addressed the
chairpersons.
 
14.  Ms. Ivanka Corti was elected Chairperson-Rapporteur of the meeting
unanimously.  The chairpersons agreed that the principle of rotation
among the treaty bodies should be taken into consideration in future
meetings.

15.  On 20 September 1996, the chairpersons considered the draft report
of their seventh meeting.  The report, as amended during the course of
the meeting, was adopted unanimously by the chairpersons.


                 III.  REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS RELATING TO THE WORK
                       OF THE TREATY BODIES

16.  Under this agenda item, the chairpersons provided information on
recent activities of the treaty bodies they represented. 

17.  The chairperson of the Human Rights Committee referred to the
increased active participation by specialized agencies and
non-governmental organizations in the monitoring procedures under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  He referred to
the process to review the Committee's rules of procedures and its
working methods.  He also stated that the Committee had decided to
prepare a series of new general comments and had appointed Committee
members to prepare drafts.  He pointed out that one of those general
comments would concern article 3 of the Covenant regarding
discrimination against women.

18.  The chairperson of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights stressed that the very existence of his Committee was legally
tenuous because it had not been explicitly established by the Covenant
of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Therefore, its legal
existence could be called into question by the Economic and Social
Council.  Consideration should be given in the future to steps to be
taken to remedy this situation.

19.  The chairperson also regretted that his Committee had not been
able to establish a constructive relationship with the World Bank and
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), despite numerous
requests.  He noted the positive experience that the Committee on the
Rights of the Child had had with UNICEF in terms of close cooperation,
a relationship which had served not only to help promote knowledge of
the Convention and its effective implementation, but which had also
resulted in substantial additional financial and other resources being
made available to that Committee.  However, he questioned the wisdom
of having one treaty body that was extremely well funded, while other
treaty bodies had inadequate resources and administrative support with
possibly no natural outside agencies to provide additional funding
that could lead to increased effectiveness and more optimal
functioning.

20.  The chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
indicated that the Committee had visited Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sri
Lanka and Pakistan, in cooperation with UNICEF, and subsequently
participated in a seminar on the elimination of child labour.

21.  The Committee had been asked to participate in a significant
number of regional and international meetings.  Most prominent among
these had been the World Congress against Commercial Sexual
Exploitation of Children in Stockholm.  The chairperson pointed out
that all these visits made the Convention and the work of the
Committee better known but the virtual universal ratification of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, even if a positive achievement,
posed the problem of the burden of work to the Committee in the
present conditions.

22.  The chairperson of the Committee against Torture commented that
the major problems facing his Committee included ensuring that States
parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment and Punishment respect reporting deadlines and
reservations by States to conducting investigations.  He also stressed
that the Committee continued to work closely with international and
regional mechanisms established to fight against torture.

23.  The chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination referred to his Committee proposal of a new procedure
for examining State parties initial reports when they are seriously
overdue.  He pointed out that the Committee's latest annual report to
the General Assembly contains a new and detailed chapter on its
methods of work, which explains how the Committee proceeds on a wide
range of issues.  The Committee had also decided to eliminate a
summary of the discussions of initial and periodic reports in its
annual report.

24.  The chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women referred to a seminar organized by a
non-governmental organization on how to improve the content and
quality of concluding observations.  She drew particular attention to
the development of the proposed optional protocol describing the
progress made by the in-session Working Group of the Commission on the
Status of Women at its fortieth session.  She informed the meeting
that the working group had accepted the participation of an expert
from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
as a resource person.  The Committee had also decided to explore on
the basis of experience of other treaty bodies how to regularly
receive information from non-governmental organizations and to what
extent their representatives could participate in its monitoring
procedures.  The Committee had also decided to adopt a new form of
annual report to the General Assembly which would focus on its
concluding observations.  The Committee had appointed some members as
focal points to follow the work of the other treaty bodies.


                     IV.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

         A.  Improving the operation of the human rights treaty bodies

Promotion of international human rights treaties

25.  The chairpersons recommend that any new human rights treaties
should contain a provision that facilitates subsequent procedural
amendments without going through the full constitutional ratification
process in the State parties.  It was suggested, for example, that any
new human rights treaties should be drafted to provide that if two
thirds of the States parties to such a treaty find that a decision to
amend is procedural, then they can amend it in a meeting of States
parties without referring it to their constitutional procedures for
ratification.

26.  The chairpersons further recommend that consideration be given to
more creative approaches whereby several of the various procedural
amendments to the human rights treaties could be packaged together in
a single, comprehensive document to be transmitted to the States
parties to allow them the option of invoking their constitutional
amendment procedures only once for all the amendments. 

27.  The chairpersons also recommend that the view of the treaty body
concerned should be taken into account when the General Assembly
considers proposals for optional protocols to human rights treaties.

States parties

28.  The chairpersons note that a number of problems continue to exist
between States parties and the treaty bodies, including the failure of
some States to fulfil their reporting and financial obligations, and
the increasing reporting burden upon States deriving from treaty
bodies' requests for information.  The chairpersons reiterate the
recommendation of their fifth meeting (A/49/537, para. 17) that such
problems be considered at regular meetings of States parties.  These
problems will demand extended attention when the independent expert
has reported on possible long-term approaches to enhancing the
effective operations of the treaty system.

Treaty-monitoring process

29.  The chairpersons recommend that members of treaty bodies refrain
from participating in any aspect of the consideration of the reports
of the States of which they are nationals, or communications or
inquiries concerning those States, in order to maintain the highest
standards of impartiality, both in substance and in appearance.

Human rights education

30.  The chairpersons recommend that members of the various treaty
bodies undertake substantial efforts in relation to all States
parties, as well as their own national parliaments and human rights
institutions, to publicize the six principal international
instruments.

31.  They further recommend that UNDP be invited to present at the next
meeting of persons chairing the human rights treaty bodies a plan of
action on how the principal human rights treaties and various
reporting procedures could be promoted through its programmes. 
Similarly, when invited to the next meeting of persons chairing human
rights treaty bodies, ILO, UNHCR, UNESCO, WHO, UNICEF should also be
asked to indicate what contribution they could make to the
dissemination of knowledge about the principal human rights treaties
and the various reporting procedures.  Also, the Inter-Parliamentary
Union (IPU) should be asked to attend the next meeting for the same
purpose.  The United Nations information centres should be asked to
prepare a report regarding what they have done to disseminate
information about the various international human rights treaties and
the work of the treaty bodies.

32.  The chairpersons also recommend that national human rights
institutions and non-governmental organizations take a more active
role at the national level in monitoring and reporting upon the
various steps States parties have taken or are in the process of
taking to promote knowledge of the six principal human rights
treaties, their translation into appropriate languages, as well as the
dissemination to the public of States parties reports to the various
treaty bodies and the concluding observations of the treaty bodies
relating to such reports.  International or regional non-governmental
organizations that work in cooperation with national organizations, as
well as national non-governmental organizations themselves, are
encouraged to present such information to the next meeting of the
chairpersons.

External relations of treaty bodies

33.  The chairpersons recommend that the person elected to chair the
meeting of chairpersons continue to represent all of the persons
chairing human rights treaty bodies in between the annual meetings in
order to follow-up on the implementation of the chairpersons'
recommendations and have the opportunity to attend meetings that could
affect the treaty bodies as a whole.

34.  The chairpersons express the wish that the Economic and Social
Council amend the rules of the Commission on Human Rights so that the
treaty bodies are recognized as having a distinct status that would
enable them to participate in all relevant meetings.  They further
request that the General Assembly indicate in a resolution that the
treaty bodies should, as a matter of principle, be permitted to
participate in international meetings of interest to them.  The
Secretariat should take the necessary steps to establish a special
fund within available resources to facilitate travel by one or more
treaty body members to United Nations meetings and conferences that
are considered to be of direct importance to the work of the treaty
body concerned.  The chairpersons are of the view that the inability
of the treaty bodies to participate in international meetings of vital
importance constitutes a setback for the improvement of the knowledge
of the work of the various treaty bodies and even the awareness of
their importance.

35.  The chairpersons affirm once again that non-governmental
organizations play a vital role in supplying the treaty bodies with
documentation and other information on human rights developments that
is extremely useful for their monitoring activities and that each
treaty body should consider how best to monitor and facilitate this
role.  The chairpersons agree that at their next meeting a specific
opportunity would be provided to non-governmental organization
representatives to present their views.  This would not prejudice in
any way their participation at appropriate points during the meeting
as a whole.  

36.  The chairpersons encourage non-governmental organizations to
continue to take an active role in critically examining the work of
the treaty bodies.  Their constructive criticism should stimulate more
effective performance by the treaty bodies as a whole as well as the
performance of their individual members.

37. The chairperson notes that there have been very extensive delays
in efforts by the Centre for Human Rights to develop electronic
information systems that were recommended by the Commission on Human
Rights as long ago as 1989.  They note that in the meantime there have
been many major developments in human rights databases, especially on
the World Wide Web, and that materials of direct relevance to the work
of the treaty bodies are now available on databases such as those of
the UNHCR, UNICEF, ILO and the University of Minnesota
(http://www.unicc.org/unhcrcdr/; gopher://hqfaus01.unicef.org:70/1;
http://www.unicc.org/ilo/index.html; http://www.umn.edu/humanrts/;
http://heiww.unige.ch/humanrts/).  They urge those involved in the
development of these databases to seek to include treaty body
materials as fully as possible on their sites and recommend that the
Centre for Human Rights make a particular effort to cooperate in every
possible way with the complementary development of such databases.

38.  The chairpersons express the view that non-governmental
organizations should be invited by the chairperson of a treaty body to
attend the press conference usually held at the end of each session
without their participating in the dialogue between the journalists
and the members of the treaty bodies.  Individual treaty bodies may
also wish to consider a separate non-governmental organization
briefing at the end of their sessions in addition to the traditional
press conference.

39.  The chairpersons request each treaty body to make available to the
public the addresses of their members so that communication, in
particular between non-governmental organizations and treaty body
members, can be facilitated.  The request of treaty body members who
object to their coordinates being made available to the public should
be respected.

Secretariat support

40.  The chairpersons note with concern that the plans to restructure
the Centre for Human Rights, which will have a major impact on
existing long-standing arrangements in relation to the servicing of
the five Geneva-based treaty bodies, have proceeded on the basis of no
meaningful consultation with the chairpersons or with the treaty
bodies.  They note that, less than two weeks before very major changes
are to be announced and implemented, they have not yet received any
information that would enable them to understand how the new
arrangements will look or how they will operate.  In view of the need
to ensure that an effective working partnership is developed between
the treaty bodies and the Secretariat, the chairpersons call upon the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that this
lack of consultation and transparency be remedied in the following
ways:  (a) each chairperson should be notified of the details of the
reorganization of the relevant part of the Centre for Human Rights as
soon as they are announced; (b) each Committee should be briefed in
detail as to the arrangements; and (c) genuine consultations should
take place between representatives of the treaty bodies and the
Secretariat to ensure the optimal use of available resources.

41.  The chairpersons also consider it to be essential that the staff
members servicing the treaty bodies be encouraged to discuss among
themselves and with the treaty bodies the best ways in which to
organize the work in which they are mutually engaged.  This spirit of
partnership and interaction has been notably absent in the past,
despite the considerable contribution that it can make to improved
working relations and more effective servicing. 

42.  On the basis of the extremely vague details provided thus far by
the Secretariat in relation to the proposed restructuring of the
Centre for Human Rights on the servicing to be provided to the treaty
bodies, the chairpersons express their deep concern that the apparent
elimination of individuals designated as Committee secretaries will be
extremely inefficient, counter-productive and ultimately unworkable.

43.  The annual meeting of chairpersons has the potential to perform
very important functions in terms of ensuring a more effective as well
as a more efficient functioning of the treaty supervisory system.  If
this potential is to be fully realized it is essential that a
consistent flow of information be made available to the chairpersons
so that they are in a position to discuss the relevant issues in an
informed and focused manner.  The chairpersons note, by way of
example, that the key issue of a radical reduction of the resources
concerning the documentation of the treaty bodies has not always been
dealt with in a satisfactory manner.  If the chairpersons are to be in
a position to discuss in a meaningful way an issue that has the
potential to undermine the very foundation upon which the existing
system of reports and supervision is based, it is essential that they
be briefed in detail and provided with all of the relevant background
documentation.

44.  In order to ensure the availability of comprehensive documents
submitted by some States parties to the treaty bodies, the
chairpersons request the Secretary-General to exempt the treaty bodies
from the rule established by the General Assembly in its resolution
36/117 B of 10 December 1981, according to which United Nations
documents should be distributed only when they are available in all of
the official working languages of the bodies concerned.  For such
documents, the chairpersons request discretion to designate in what
working language or languages those documents should be made available
to ensure the timely consideration by treaty bodies of all material
submitted by the States parties concerned.

45.  The chairpersons received during the meeting a copy of the "Plan
of Action to strengthen the implementation of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child" prepared in 1995 by the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights.  Although the time remaining after the
distribution of the document did not permit a discussion of its
content, the chairpersons note with appreciation the efforts made to
strengthen the support provided to the Committee on the Rights of the
Child.  They also note, however, that as a result of this programme
and of the special support already received by the Committee from
other sources, there is a risk of a radical imbalance emerging between
the resources and support available to the Committee on the Rights of
the Child and that available to the other five treaty bodies.  While
assurances have been given that there will be a significant flow-on
effect and that the programme for the Committee on the Rights of the
Child is a pilot programme that could subsequently be applied in
relation to other treaty bodies, the chairpersons call for greater
attention to be given to the measures necessary to ensure that such an
imbalance does not occur.

46.  The chairpersons reaffirm their support for the request of the
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to have
its secretariat to be transferred to the Centre for Human Rights in
Geneva, which is contained in Committee's resolution 14/II.  The
chairpersons regret that this resolution, as well as the numerous
recommendations of the chairpersons of human rights treaty bodies on
this matter, have not been respected.  They share the Committee's view
that the Committee cannot function properly if its secretariat is
physically separated from the secretariat of all the other human
rights treaty bodies.

47.  The chairpersons recommend that the development and maintenance of
the treaty body information database system be pursued and reinforced. 
They also recommend that, as soon as this information system is fully
operational, each member of all treaty bodies be given the possibility
to access the database; and that access to documents for general
distribution be made available to the public by means of the Internet
Web site to be established by the Centre for Human Rights.

48.  The chairpersons request the Secretary-General to make the
necessary arrangements so that all experts of the treaty bodies obtain
the United Nations certificates to which they are entitled during
their mandate.


             B.  Cooperation of human rights treaty bodies with   
                 United Nations non-conventional human rights 
                 bodies and mechanisms and regional organizations

49.  The chairpersons note that one of the items on the agenda for the
Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to be held
at Singapore in December 1996, concerns proposals to adopt a "social
clause" which would link respect for certain human rights (notably
freedom of association, non-discrimination in employment, and the
elimination of exploitative child labour) to access to trade
opportunities.  They note that whatever the respective merits of such
proposals, the system of treaty supervision in which the treaty bodies
are engaged already provides an important avenue for monitoring
compliance with States obligations in these and related areas and that
a greater effort should be made to strengthen these existing
opportunities.

50.  The chairpersons note that some organizations such as ILO and
UNHCR have established CD-ROM databases relating to their
international instruments and fields of activity and recommend that
such organizations make that material available to the Centre for
Human Rights and to individual treaty body members, at a reduced
price, to contribute to the improvement of their work. 

51.  The chairpersons recommend that in the future treaty bodies
consider much more carefully what kind of assistance they would like
from United Nations bodies and specialized agencies.  They should do
their upmost to describe as precisely as possible their requests to
such bodies and specialized agencies. 

52.  The chairpersons recognize that cooperation is a reciprocal
process and recommend that treaty bodies similarly work with United
Nations bodies and specialized agencies to enhance the effectiveness
of their work, by providing documentation and responding to specific
requests.

53.  The chairpersons recommend that, where appropriate, the treaty
bodies take a more active role in supporting, suggesting topics for,
and cooperating in the preparation of studies by the Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, as well as
by special rapporteurs and other experts appointed by the Commission
on Human Rights.  The chairpersons note the important contribution
that special rapporteurs and other experts appointed by the Commission
on Human Rights have made to the work of the treaty bodies and
recommend that efforts continue to be made to increase existing
cooperation.  Special rapporteurs and other experts whose work is of
direct relevance to the activities of a particular treaty body could
schedule their visits to the United Nations in connection with the
meeting of the treaty bodies concerned in order to have direct
cooperation on issues of mutual concern.

54.  The chairpersons recommend that written reports for general
distribution be issued about the development of cooperation between
the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Bretton
Woods institutions and UNDP, given the interest of various treaty
bodies in developing a constructive relationship with these
organizations.

55.  The chairpersons are of the view that it would greatly assist the
treaty bodies to have access to the country reports prepared by the
World Bank and request that the Centre for Human Rights proceed
expeditiously in its planned meeting with World Bank officials in
November 1996 to put into place procedures for access to such
documentation.

56.  The chairpersons recommend that the Centre for Human Rights engage
in an active dialogue with Bretton Woods institutions so that in the
references to human rights standards by these institutions, the
applicable United Nations human rights instruments will be given a
preeminent role.

57.  The chairpersons recommend that individual treaty bodies enhance
cooperation with regional human rights mechanisms when appropriate. 
It notes with satisfaction that the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination and the Human Rights Committee are engaged in
the process of establishing liaison relationships with a number of
regional human rights organizations.


           C.  Gender perspectives in the work of the treaty bodies

58.  The chairpersons wish to recall that at their sixth meeting they
recommended the following:

     (a) The treaty bodies shall fully integrate gender perspectives
into their presessional and sessional working methods, including
identification of issues and preparation of questions for country
reviews, general comments, general recommendations, and concluding
observations.  In particular, the treaty bodies should consider the
gender implications of each issue discussed under each of the articles
of the respective instruments;

     (b) Guidelines for the preparation of reports by States parties
should be amended to reflect the necessity of providing specific
information on the human rights of women for consideration by the
respective committees;

     (c) In undertaking investigative procedures, the treaty bodies
should make special efforts to elicit information about the situation
of women in the area of inquiry;

     (d) Treaty bodies should consistently request
gender-disaggregated data from States parties and from United Nations
specialized agencies and use the data in reviewing country reports;

     (e) The treaty bodies should make every effort to exchange
information on progress, developments and situations concerning the
human rights of women;

     (f) In preparing reports of the treaty body sessions, attention
should be paid to the use of gender-inclusive language wherever
possible.

59.  The chairpersons noted that the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination, having considered the recommendation to change
its guidelines for the preparation of State party reports, decided
that they did not need alteration.

60.  In the light of the recommendations of the sixth meeting of
chairpersons to incorporating gender perspectives in the work of the
treaty bodies, the chairpersons recommend that each treaty body
continue to consider how it might most effectively include this issue
in its work practices.

61.  The chairpersons recommend that the issue of gender perspective in
the work of the treaty bodies be placed on the agenda of their next
meeting to enable them to review the progress made in the meantime.


                D.  Assistance to States in implementing committee
                    recommendations

62.  The chairpersons recommend that treaty bodies be as specific as
possible in elaborating concluding observations on State party reports
involving recommendations for technical assistance to be made
available by the Centre for Human Rights to the State concerned. 


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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