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At a time when Geneva-based human rights mechanisms are under pressure – battling with budget cuts, staff shortages and accessibility/connectivity problems linked to the COVID-19 pandemic – it is all the more crucial that domestic human rights structures are in place and function effectively.
Our new publication National Human Rights Strategies: The Role of National Human Rights Systems in the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards analyses institutional cooperation initiatives at the domestic level designed to strengthen human rights implementation.
Authored by Domenico Zipoli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy, this Academy Briefing is the outcome of a broader research project that analyses the role of national human rights systems (NHRSs) in implementing international human rights standards and recommendations.
This Briefing consolidates into one publication the most recent efforts at systematizing the role and functions of NHRSs from both an academic and policy perspective. It represents a concrete and useful tool to further streamline the uptake of recommendations from the United Nations (UN) human rights system at the national level.
As both states and international human rights monitoring mechanisms struggle to keep up with their workload, it is important to ask ourselves whether the current international human rights system can benefit from improved coordination and leveraging of synergies at the domestic level.
‘By analysing how specific strategies are used within different NHRSs, we can identify factors that can assist in determining the most appropriate tools for monitoring, implementation and follow-up of UN human rights recommendations. Our findings represent timely avenues that ongoing reform processes at both Treaty Body and Human Rights Council levels should take into consideration’ stresses Domenico Zipoli.
Having outlined the general underpinnings and value of adopting an NHRS approach, the Briefing situates the discussion within existing best practices from different national contexts. It does so by providing a reality check from recent national strategies for human rights monitoring and implementation, according to three key capacities that shape the ability of NHRSs to function effectively, namely engagement and coordination; digital information management; and participation.
The research notably prioritized broad consultations with more than twenty partners from different national human rights systems, including Costa Rica, the Kingdom of Morocco, Mongolia and Paraguay.
‘Through such a collaborative process, it has been possible to explore often-overlooked dynamics that take place at the domestic level in response to issued international human rights recommendations’ explains Domenico Zipoli.
Building on this research and publication, the Geneva Academy will start a process of reflection, among both academics and practitioners, on a possible standardized set of Guiding Principles for the Effective Functioning of NHRSs.
Such principles would represent a useful set of tools for national human rights actors when devising their monitoring and implementation strategies. They would also be of practical use for international human rights monitoring bodies, as benchmarks in their assessment of States’ legislative, institutional and policy measures.
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In our new Working Paper The United Nations Treaty Bodies in a Transition Period – Progress Review, Professor Olivier de Frouville shares his own views on the work of UN treaty bodies during the period running from March to December 2020.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform is collaborating with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and OHCHR in the development of an online database aimed at assessing the impact of the UN human rights treaty body system.
The 2021 Annual Conference will discuss the connectivity between national human rights actors and the Geneva-based international mechanisms.
Francisco Proner / Farpa/ CIDH
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law. It will start with an introduction to the nature and sources of international human rights law and its place in the international legal system. The course will then provide a presentation of the main principles applicable to substantive rights (jurisdiction, obligation and limitations).
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.
This project aims at providing support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé by addressing emerging issues affecting civic space and eveloping tools and materials allowing various stakeholders to promote and defend civic space.
UN PHOTO /Jean Marc Ferre