APF Community Contact us
News : Article

Landmark treaty body session to be held in Apia

Graphic: Apia, Samoa

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is set to meet in the Pacific Island nation in March 2020.

UN human rights treaty bodies LogoUN human rights treaty bodies

Samoa will be the first country to host a United Nations treaty body session outside of Geneva, with the Committee on the Rights of the Child set to meet in the Pacific Island nation in March 2020.

The 18-person Committee will gather in Apia, along with translators and support staff, for country reviews that include the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu. Kiribati will be under pre-session review.

The Committee approved moving the meeting to Samoa during its session in September 2019, as part of a trial to host meetings outside the UN's Geneva headquarters.

You could say Samoa is reforming the UN treaty body system.

UN human rights treaty bodies Logo Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, Committee on the Rights of the Child

Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, who sits on Samoa's Supreme Court, is a member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

He told the Samoa Observer that he was "immensely proud" to see the treaty body make such a bold decision.

Justice Vui said that instead of having their reviews conducted over a webcast to save on the expensive and time-consuming flights to Geneva, delegates from Pacific Island countries will now be able to present to the Committee in person.

He said the session will almost certainly have climate change at its forefront and consider how children from the small Pacific Island countries are being affected by warming oceans, rising sea levels and acidification, among other issues.

Human rights treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor the implementation of these treaties. There are currently ten treaty bodies established by the Human Rights Council.

In 2017, human rights academics argued that only holding treaty body meetings in Geneva disadvantages countries in the global south.

They said that bringing the treaty bodies closer to people "on the ground" would contribute to the effectiveness and relevance of the international human rights system they are tasked with upholding.

Date: 27 October 2019

Source: Samoa Observer

Image credits

  1. Apia, Samoa - Flickr CC