17 December 2020
During the course of two days, more than 60 participants – experts from Geneva-based human rights mechanisms and representatives from more than 20 different national human rights systems, ranging from Latin America, Northern Africa, Far East Asia and the Pacific – discussed in an online meeting the implementation of human rights standards through national human rights systems (NHRSs).
‘This topic is both timely and important. The international covenants and conventions do have intrinsic value in shaping the discourse around the globe but they can only unleash their full potential if implemented and adhered to domestically’ underlines Ambassador Hans-Peter Jugel, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations in Geneva.
NHRSs come in different forms and structures. This seminar presented a unique forum for different national human rights actors – governmental bodies, independent state institutions and civil society organizations – to exchange their latest strategies for human rights implementation and monitoring and helped to enhance interaction between two or more national actors. The seminar notably highlighted a number of tangible common features for a most effective NHRS, providing best practice examples in a peer-to-peer learning process.
The seminar also discussed specific issues including NHRSs’ information management capacity; the capacity of different domestic actors to mutually engage with each other and liaise with international human rights bodies in the context of reporting, visits by UN special procedures or other international expert bodies; and NHRSs’ capacity to foster participation and provide a platform for consultations among national actors.
‘The discussions notably allowed identifying obstacles and good practices that can guide the process towards a consolidated NHRS, including reducing the load on national actors, reducing duplication in reporting to UN human rights bodies and the possibility of a common monitoring methodology’ explains Felix Kirchmeier, Manager of Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.
Participants also suggested exploring the possibility of devising a list of general principles related to the functioning of effective NHRSs, which might include specific sections on broad characteristics like institutional design, effective interactions among national human rights actors, meaningful participation of all relevant stakeholders, transparency and accountability in the decision-making process, availability of resources, as well as accessibility and digitalization.
‘This seminar will allow us to integrate the different experiences into our wider research, enriching our reflection on how to increase the effectiveness of national human rights monitoring and implementation strategies’ stresses Domenico Zipoli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
‘One early finding of our research is the growing relevance of digital tracking tools for human rights monitoring, implementation and follow-up – such as the National Recommendations Tracking Database and the Human Rights Index developed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); SIMORE PLUS developed by Paraguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with OHCHR; IMPACT OSS, maintained by the Impact Open Source Software Trust and IWAZI, developed by HURIDOCS. This encourages us to strengthen our efforts in the field of human rights information management systems, including research and dedicated seminars, in order to define convergences, complementarities and best practices useful for all relevant stakeholders’ he adds.
Defensoria del Pueblo Colombia
The Advocacy Project
Applications for the 2024–2025 academic year of our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law are open. They will run until 26 January 2024 for applications with a scholarship and until 24 February 2024 for applications without a scholarship.
Women in International Law is a new podcast series of the Geneva Academy and ATLAS Network that showcases women with diverse experiences and career paths in the field.
This event will discuss and analyze the innocence gap in international law and discuss different strategies for achieving greater recognition of an international right to assert claims of factual innocence.
This one-night-only film screening of The Recovery Channel will dissect this intersection and address the human rights violations witnessed in today's mental health care system and practices.
This online short course 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.
This training course will examine how the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been utilized to advance the concept of business respect for human rights throughout the UN system, the impact of the Guiding Principles on other international organizations, as well as the impact of standards and guidance developed by these different bodies.
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.