The Treaty Bodies are committees composed of a variable number of experts responsible for managing the follow-up and monitoring of the commitments made by the countries upon accession and ratification of the international conventions on human rights. The members of these bodies are periodically elected by the States Parties to each Convention.
There are currently ten Treaty Bodies:
- Human Rights Committee (CCPR) – civil and political rights;
- Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) – economic, social and cultural rights;
- Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) – racial discrimination;
- Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – women’s rights;
- Committee Against Torture (CAT) & Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) – elimination of torture;
- Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) – children’s rights;
- Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) – migrant workers’ rights;
- Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – rights of disabled people;
- Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) – enforced disappearances.
Treaty bodies usually meet in Geneva twice a year, in sessions lasting 15-20 days each.
Their main tasks include: receiving periodic reports from States Parties; taking care of “hearings” during which the state of implementation of the International Conventions in a particular country is examined; and the release of “general comments” interpreting individual rules or parts of the treaty. In some cases they can carry out surveys or missions. They can also, if respective treaties so provide, receive reports from individuals or groups in relation to violations of the conventional obligations assumed by a country.