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Other processes and legal instrumentsOther processes are accessible to Indigenous Peoples even if they were not created specifically for them. Learn more here about some of the processes for which Docip offers strategic support.

Other processes and legal instruments

Other processes are accessible to Indigenous Peoples even if they were not created specifically for them. Learn more here about some of the processes for which Docip offers strategic support.

To be a Docip volunteer involves putting one’s skills at the service of indigenous delegates during their participation in the UN arena.

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Human rights treaty bodies

These bodies are committees of independent experts that are mandated to monitor the States' implementation of the international legal instruments they have ratified. In fact, following ratification of a legal instrument, the State is required to submit periodic reports to the relevant committee. This committee then reviews these reports and makes concluding observations and recommendations, and the State must then commit to follow these recommendations. Members of civil society may send shadow reports related to the State's report on the human rights situation. Although there is no specific committee for Indigenous Peoples, they are also invited to work with the treaty bodies and to participate in the submission of reports.

These committees are called human rights treaty bodies because each one is attached to a specific international legal text. There are 10 treaty bodies in all; each is listed below, along with the legal instrument with which it is associated:

Charter Body: Human Rights Council

Established by resolution A/Res/60/251 of 3 April 2006, the Human Rights Council replaces the Commission on Human Rights. It is the principal body of the United Nations in matters relating to human rights. The secretariat of the Council is secured by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The main features of the Human Rights Council are:

  1. It is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly (the former Commission had operated under the Economic and Social Council).
  2. It is composed of 47 Member States (compared with 53 for the Commission).
  3. The Council is permanent. It meets throughout the year and holds three regular sessions per year totalling at least 10 weeks; each year constitutes a cycle of sessions starting in June.
  4. Special sessions are also held when requested by at least one-third of the Member States.
  5. Each State must submit to a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) related to its compliance with its obligations and commitments in the area of human rights.

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Established by United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/251 in 2006, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC). Every four and a half years, various countries come before the UPR to assess the human rights situation within their national territory. Before appearing before the UPR, the State must submit a report on the situation of human rights in their country, as well as on the relevant initiatives and commitments it has made over recent years. Members of civil society are also invited to submit a shadow report. At the end of each review, a report is made public in which several recommendations are made to the State in question. The commitment and participation of civil society members and Indigenous Peoples are important in the follow-up to these recommendations. On the UPR's official website you will find all report documents submitted by States and civil society, as well as the recommendations made by the UPR.