NGOs get to contribute to almost all the activities of the Treaty Bodies, and ILGA provides support and guidance whenever it can. ILGA consults with other organizations working with the UN Treaty Bodies as well as with members of the relevant Committees, in order to exchange information, coordinate efforts and increase the impact of our engagement with the Treaty Bodies.
ILGA has released its first two annual reference compilations for the Treaty Bodies. Here you will now easily find all the recommendations made to more than 100 countries on LGBTI when they were reviewed by seven of the UN Treaty Bodies in 2014 and 2015.
The UN Treaty Body References to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics compilations can be downloaded here: 2014 | 2015.
ILGA has also produced a guide explaining how advocates working on trans issues can engage with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Click here to download the guide in English | in Russian
- ILGA has systematized its deadline notification process to ensure that member organizations are aware of opportunities to engage in the reviews of their countries. For information on upcoming deadlines, please click here.
Preparation of the state report:
- NGOs may be provided with the opportunity to submit information and make recommendations to their Government as it is preparing the official State report to a Treaty Body.
NGO Submissions and Reports:
- NGOs can submit a report directly to the Treaty Bodies on whether the State is complying with its duties under the treaties.
- Firstly, civil society can help to shape the List of Issues (the questions that the Committees send to the State in advance of the review highlighting particular areas of concern) or the List of Issues Prior to Reporting (the issues that the Committee wants the State to discuss in its report – this is done before the State has prepared its report and is a new procedure that is only used some of the time).
- Secondly, NGOs can send information right before the full review of the State at a Treaty Body session in Geneva. Giving information in these two ways can help to shape what issues the Committee raises with the State.
- ILGA sends out a monthly email update to member organizations reminding them of approaching deadlines and provides assistance in the drafting of NGO reports. These reports are integral in ensuring that LGBTI and SOGIESC related questions are raised in both the list of issues and questions to be sent to the State and during the constructive dialogue.
For example: In 2015, ILGA assisted LIPRIDE from Liberia and ILGA-Portugal from Portugal in the preparation and submission of reports for the 62nd Session of Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and in Geneva-based advocacy. ILGA also supported the Executive Committee for NGO Forum on CEDAW–Turkey in preparing a report on Turkey to the 64th Pre-Sessional Working Group of CEDAW. Three references to SOGIE issues were included in the List of Issues for Turkey and a reference to equal access to assisted reproduction was made in the recommendations on Portugal.
Attending a Treaty Body session:
- ILGA attends the plenary sessions of Treaty Bodies and acts as liaison between LGBTI rights defenders and the United Nations by facilitating their attendance at these sessions. While NGOs are not allowed to speak during the formal dialogue between the treaty body and the concerned State, their attendance is critical for two reasons. Firstly, NGOs to gain invaluable first-hand knowledge of the issues raised during these sessions.
- Secondly, NGOs get the opportunity to brief committee members of human rights concerns in regards to LGBTI persons. ILGA participates in briefings before and during the Treaty Body sessions, where NGOs can present oral or written submissions to the Committee Members in person.
For example: ILGA assisted two activists from LGBT Centre in Mongolia and Observatorio Derechos Humanos y Legislación from Chile in their training for and participation during the 55th Session of Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in 2015, including organising speaking slots at the formal and informal briefings of the Committee by civil society and assisting in drafting the statements presented, and setting up meetings with Permanent Missions. There were two recommendations regarding SOGI in the Concluding Observations of the Committee for Mongolia, including the second ever call by the CESCR for recognition of same sex relationships, and one recommendation in the case of Chile (with the State having announced a new policy on Trans children during the Session).
- Some Treaty Bodies organise general discussions in order to examine a particular theme or issue of concern. These lead to the creation of a General Comment, which provides the Treaty Body’s interpretation of a particular aspect of their treaty.
- ILGA keeps track of when General Comments are being prepared and provides input at the appropriate time. Through its submissions and work with partners on draft General Comments of Treaty Bodies, ILGA’s work has resulted in the inclusion of references to SOGIEI issues and LGBTI persons
For example: In 2015, ILGA presented an oral submission, prepared in consultation with, and endorsed by, the International Commission of Jurists and Kaleidoscope Australia Human Rights Foundation – to the Human Rights Committee (HRCee) during its half-day General Discussion in preparation for its draft General Comment on the Right to Life. The submission was the only submission focused solely on particular risks/violations to the right to life of LGBTI persons.
Engagement with Committees:
- ILGA assisted in the preparations of civil society who were invited to make a presentation to the HRCee during a briefing organized by OHCHR on intersex persons in 2015. OHCHR and a Swiss intersex defender made a presentation, and ILGA shared statements from intersex rights organizations from Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Almost all Committee Members, along with OHCHR staff supporting the HRCee, attended the session and eight of them asked questions during the meeting.
- ILGA helped to facilitate the annual Joint Meeting between the Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT) and the Committee against Torture, which focused on risks of torture of LGBTI people. The discussions led to the adoption by the SPT of this document on the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of LGBTI persons in detention.
ILGA’s Submissions to the Treaty Bodies
ILGA works with our national, regional and international partners to prepare Shadow Reports and other submissions to Treaty Bodies. Below are some examples.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- LIBERIA – Shadow Report for the 62nd Session
- PORTUGAL – Shadow Report for the 62nd Session
- TURKEY – Shadow Report for the 64th Pre-Sessional Working Group
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- Written Submission – GENERAL COMMENT NO. 20 ON ADOLESCENTS
Human Rights Committee (HRCee)
- Oral Submission – GENERAL COMMENT NO. 36 ON THE RIGHT TO LIFE
- CANADA – Shadow Report for the 114th Session
- KAZAKHSTAN – Shadow Report for 117th Session in Russian and English
Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture
- CHILE – Submission for Country Visit in Spanish and English
- ROMANIA – Submission for Country Visit
- UKRAINE – Submission for Country Visit
If you have any questions about engaging with the Treaty Bodies, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org