Human Rights Treaty Body Reform: New Proposals

By Andrew Kloster and Joanne Pedone | June 27, 2011

The article addresses the neglected question of the proper role treaty bodies. It provides a nuts-and-bolts guide to the treaty body mandates for United Nations delegates, States Parties, and international lawyers and sketches the proper and improper actions for treaty bodies to take. The authors argue that if treaty bodies were limited to their proper role, they could more effectively use their already scant resources to promote human rights. The article also provides an in depth analysis of three treaty bodies, showing how their practices have strayed far from their limited mandates, and proposing explanations for how and why treaty bodies have overstepped their mandates. Finally it identifies the inaction of States Parties as enabling a host of problems that have distorted the treaty body system and provides specific suggestions for internal reform of the international human rights legal apparatus.