National Strategies for Human Rights Monitoring and Implementation

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.

A First Study of this Kind

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.

Identifying Best Practices

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.

Broad Consultations

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.

Guiding Principles for the Effective Functioning of National Human Rights Systems

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.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

A group photo of participants in the pilot focused review News

Second UN Treaty Body Focused Review Pilot Takes Place in Grenada

8 April 2022

From 23 to 24 March 2022, the Geneva Human Rights Platform conducted in Grenada, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, its second pilot of a UN treaty bodies (TBs) focused review – designed to discuss how countries implement specific recommendations issued by UN TBs between sessions.

Read more

Peasant in in Yangambi, DRC. News

The Geneva Academy Participates in a Major Project on Implementing the Rights of Peasants

8 March 2022

The project aims at implementing the rights of peasants in 10 countries of the Global South: Philippines, India Nepal, Kenya, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Bolivia and Mexico.

Read more

Greece, ylakio, pre-removal center. Short Course

Introduction to International Human Rights Law

Fall 2022

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).

Read more

A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

14-18 November 2022

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

Read more

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Project

The Universality of Human Rights: Developing Narratives to Help Overcome Polarization

Started in January 2020

This research aims at taking stock of and contributing to a better understanding of the above-mentioned challenges to the principle of universality of human rights while also questioning their validity. It will identify relevant political and legal arguments and develop counter-narratives that could be instrumental to dealing with and/or overcoming the polarization of negotiations processes at the multilateral level.

Read more

Flyer presenting the Geneva Human Rights Platform with other publications of the Geneva Academy on display Project

GHRP Fridays

Started in January 2019

The GHRP Fridays provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on May 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Chloé Naret, Domenico Zipoli

Read more