Statement by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Consultation on Review of the Human Rights Treaty Body System 2 June 2020 at 10am

Mr. President. Madam High Commissioner. Mr. Co-Facilitators. Excellencies.
I congratulate you, Mr. Co-facilitators, on your appointment to lead this important process. We are confident that under your able leadership this review would bring about much-needed changes to the treaty body system.

I thank the PGA and the High Commissioner for being with us today and for their important statements.
Excellencies. Bangladesh is party to 08 out of the 09 core human rights treaties and recently completed its reporting obligations in full. As a current member of the Human Rights Council, we are committed to remain engaged in this process. I assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation.

It is good to see representations today from both New York and Geneva; this would certainly bring greater coherence and harmonization in our work.

We believe that the report of the Secretary General and GA resolution A/RES/68/268 could serve as a good basis to guide the review process. I join previous speakers in calling for the process to be inclusive, transparent, and based on consensus.

Allow me to briefly share our position:

First: We need to break the silos. More coherence and synergy needs to be brought into the work of the treaty bodies, especially in respect of the issues with overlapping mandates. This would help address the resource constraints of the treaty bodies and also benefit State parties in the implementation of recommendations. In this regard, we
support the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a common platform of recommendations.

Secondly: Greater coordination is needed between State parties and the treaty bodies on procedural matters, including developing the annual work plan and the working procedures for the review.

Thirdly: It will be important to address the long-standing issue of the capacity constraints and resource challenges faced by the developing countries in effectively fulfilling treaty obligations, especially reporting obligations, as well as participating in the review process.

Fourthly: Gender and other disparities in the treaty body membership must be addressed. While member states indeed have a responsibility in the nomination of candidates, the system itself needs to have a minimum standard requirement in line with the UN’s system wide gender parity for elections. Additionally, to bring fresh vision and dynamism in the work of the Committees, there should be a cap on reelection of members.

Fifthly: To ensure the quality, accountability and independence of the experts, there should be a review of the nomination criteria. This would go a long way in building the confidence of the State parties on the treaty body system as a whole. A guideline for member states could be thought of in this regard.

Finally: Many of the present day challenges such as those posed by climate change, use of ICT and frontier technologies, and pandemic situations such as we are facing now, which have human rights implications, were not conceived of when the various human rights treaties were adopted. We wish to see the review process address these
emerging issues.

I thank you all for your kind attention. And we look forward to actively contributing to a productive outcome of this exercise.