The 32nd meeting of the Chairpersons of the 10 UN Committees took place online from 27-30 July 2020 to deal with the following pressing items: the UN budget crisis, the General Assembly review of the treaty body system in 2020 and the work of the treaty bodies in relation to COVID-19.
The current underfunding represents a major threat to their mission, and may affect the upcoming review meetings from September onwards. In their statement “Work of human rights treaty bodies at risk, warn UN Committee Chairs“, the Chairs made a strong call on States and the Secretary-General to fully support the work of human rights treaty bodies, especially in time of the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to a wide range of human rights violations around the world.
In these unprecedented times with continuing travel restrictions and limitations on in-person meetings, the UNTB Chairs have discussed how to continue undertaking their mandate to the extent possible. Although the Committees have continued to work through online sessions, they raised that this is only a temporary solution.
The informal COVID-19 Working Group of the Chairpersons, established to facilitate cohesive and collective responses by the treaty bodies as a system, is working on the procedural aspects of their upcoming sessions as well as on the practical impact of COVID-19 on the enjoyment of human rights.
Audio recordings of public meetings are made available here: https://conf.unog.ch/digitalrecordings/