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Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms

The UN and other reginoal human rights bodies engage in a variety of activities that seek to protect, monitor, and advance human rights worldwide. One tool for human rights compliance is that of monitoring and reporting on human rights conditions. International treaty bodies monitor and report on human rights conditions in member countries. Parties to international and regional human rights treaties are required to submit regular reports detailing their compliance. The UN reviews human rights compliance by all countries through the Universal Periodic Review process. Sometimes a human rights body independently undertakes a mission to monitor human rights conditions in a particular country or for a particular group of people. 

UN Charter-Based Mechanisms: The Human Rights Council (HRC) uses the Universal Periodic Review and other "Special Procedures" derived from their power under the United Nations Charter. Charter-based human rights bodies have the authority to review human rights practices of all members of the United Nations. 

UN Treaty-Based Mechanisms: Each international human rights treaty has a committee of independent experts known as a treaty body. The treaty body monitors the implementation of the treaty. Each country that has signed and ratified a treaty must submit regular reports to the treaty body about the human rights situation in the country. Eight treaty bodies review implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention Against Torture, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers, and Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Regional Human Rights Bodies: Regional human rights mechanisms play an important role in monitoring government compliance with human rights obligations and in providing a place for individuals and groups to hold governments accountable when a government fails to protect and promote human rights. Regional human rights mechanisms have been established under treaty agreements between governments in the major regions of the world, including the Americas, Europe, and Africa.