Monitoring procedures

States parties are expected to ensure ongoing protection of fundamental rights and the availability of domestic remedies for breaches of those rights. The core human rights instruments ratified by New Zealand provide for the following procedures for monitoring compliance:

Periodic report

All core human rights instruments provide for a reporting procedure. Every State that has ratified an instrument (a covenant or convention) has to submit periodic reports to a committee specific to that treaty.

The reports indicate the measures adopted during the reporting period to give effect to the provisions of the treaty. Each treaty has its own reporting period but they generally range from four to five years. Sometimes a periodic report covers multiple reporting periods.

Common core document

In addition to the report, a State also has to provide the United Nations with a ‘common core document’. This is a document containing information of a general and factual nature relating to the implementation of all the treaties to which the reporting State is party and which may be of relevance to all or several treaty committees. When a treaty committee considers a periodic report, it will also take into account the information provided in the core document.

NGOs and shadow reports

States Parties appear in person during the examination and answer questions from the committee. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are able to present their opinions and information to the committee in the form of so-called ‘shadow reports’ as well as orally during the committee’s NGO hearings, which precede the committee’s consideration of government reports.More information about NGO participation in the reporting procedure is available in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ publication: 

Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society (external link) .

Individual complaints procedure

Many of the core instruments provide for individual complaints procedures. Complaints can only be lodged against a State that has accepted the procedure with respect to the relevant instrument. Individual complaints procedures enable individuals and groups of individuals that claim to be a victim of a breach of the instrument concerned, to submit a complaint (called a ‘communication’) to the relevant treaty committee. The State against which the complaint has been lodged has the opportunity to respond to the complaint and present its comments. The committee will decide on the admissibility of the complaint and express its opinion on the merits (often called ‘views’). The views of the committees are not legally binding but, again, are considered as authoritative.

Read more about individual complaints procedures (external link)

Other procedures

Some of the core instruments also provide for other types of procedures such as state-to-state procedures (for example, ICCPR, CAT, CERD), inquiry procedures (for example, CAT, CEDAW), State visits (for example, CAT), an early warning and urgent action procedure (for example, CERD) or national implementation and monitoring procedures (for example, CRPD).

Key human rights reporting dates

Date Activity Instrument / process
June 2016 New Zealand Government to submit its 8th periodic report under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women CEDAW
September 2016 Committee on the Rights of the Child to examine New Zealand’s 5th periodic report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and  New Zealand’s initial report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention (sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography) CRC
March 2017 New Zealand Government to submit its response to specific recommendations by the Human Rights Committee ICCPR
May 2017 New Zealand Government to submit its 4th periodic report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR
August 2017 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to examine New Zealand’s combined 21st and 22nd periodic reports under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination CERD
October 2018 New Zealand Government to submit its 3rd report under the Universal Periodic Review UPR
October 2018 New Zealand Government to submit its 2nd periodic report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities CRPD
May 2019 New Zealand Government to submit its 7th periodic report under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CAT
May 2023 New Zealand Government to submit its 8th report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR

Find out more about:

New Zealand's common core document [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Overview of the reporting procedure (external link)

Compilation of Reporting Guidelines including the guidelines on common core document and treaty specific reports [PDF, 528 KB]

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