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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.
Defensoría del Pueblo
Serhat Öztürk graduated from our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in October 2020. He is now working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey. In this interview, he tells about the programme and what it brought to his career.
During an online expert meeting hosted by the Geneva Human Rights Platform, more than 20 UN Special Rapporteurs and members of UN working groups, as well as OHCHR staff, civil society representatives and lawyers explored how the impact of UN Special Procedures’ visits, recommendations and inquiries can be effectively measured and evaluated.
This online event will discuss experiences and outcomes of actions taken to promote the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.
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 short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.