Experts Discuss Strategies for more Effective National Human Rights Systems

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.

Identifying Best Practices and Discussing Key Questions

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.

A Larger Research

This meeting forms part of our research project on the role of national human rights systems in implementing international human rights standards and recommendations.

‘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.

Visit of the Defensor del Pueblo in the Casa de los Derechos in Tumaco, Colombia

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Portrait of Yosuke Nagai News

Our New Visiting Fellow: Yosuke Nagai

16 January 2023

Dr Yosuke Nagai is the founder and CEO of Accept International, which works on de-radicalization and reintegration for defectors and prisoners formerly involved with violent extremist groups. He just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of March.

Read more

Students during the orientation week News

79 Students Start their Academic Year

12 September 2022

The 41 students enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and the 38 enrolled in our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) arrived in Geneva for their orientation week.

Read more

CSW63 Side Event - “Take the Hot Seat” Intergenerational Dialogue Event

Child Participation in the Work of UN Human Rights Mechanisms

6 February 2023, 13:15-14:45

This Human Rights Conversation will discuss child participation in the work of UN human rights mechanisms and opportunities to move away from today’s reliance on individual organizations or UN representatives’ initiatives.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

1 March - 18 April 2023

This online short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Read more

Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

11-15 September 2023

This training course will explore the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights, as well as with their implementation and enforcement mechanisms; and provide practical insights into the different UN human rights mechanisms pertinent to advancing environmental issues and protecting environmental human rights defenders.

Read more

George Floyd protest in Washington D.C. Project

Promoting and Protecting the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association and Civic Space Worldwide

Started in June 2020

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.

Read more

Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Assessment Tool for Special Procedures' Impact Evaluation – Developing an Initial Framework

published on January 2023

Jonathan Andrew

Read more