The United Nations Human Rights Treaties
There are nine core International Human Rights treaties. The most recent Human Rights Treaty is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
- International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Some of the treaties are supplemented by optional protocols, which provide further substantive rights or include further monitoring procedures. For example, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities allows for individual complaints and inquiries, if a State Party if systematically violating the rights contained in the Convention.
When a State accepts a human rights treaty through ratification, it becomes a State Party to that treaty and assumes the legal obligations to implement the rights set out in this treaty.
State Parties assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights.
- The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights.
- The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses.
- The obligation to fulfil means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.
International Committees of independent experts, also called Human Rights Treaty Bodies, monitor the implementation of the treaties’ provisions in those countries that have ratified them.
There are nine human rights treaty bodies in total. One of them is The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). The primary tasks of all the Human Rights Treaty Bodies is to monitor and provide guidance on the implementation of the relevant treaty:
- by reviewing the reports submitted periodically by States parties.
- by publishing its interpretation of the provisions of the relevant treaty in the form of General Comments.
Committees consist of 10 to 23 independent experts with recognized competences in the field of Human Rights. It is the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva which receives submissions and letters, prepares reports and provides technical and logistical support for the different Committees. The OHCHR is also working to ensure the accessibility of the meeting rooms and that civil society representatives with disabilities are able to engage in the work with the Committees.
Inclusion Europe has developed specific information and guidance for organisations of people with intellectual disabilities or their representatives on how to access and work with the Committee on the Right on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Inclusion Europe has also successfully implemented a project on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the child from the perspective of children with intellectual disabilities. The material developed during the project could help you engaging with the Committee on the Rights of the Child and collaborating with child’s rights NGOs. You can read more on the project website: www.childrights4all.eu.