National Strategies for Human Rights Monitoring and Implementation

12 February 2021

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 session of the PhD Forum News

The PhD Forum: Promoting Exchanges Among Peers

18 April 2024

The Geneva Academy PhD Forum is a space that gathers PhD researchers and experts – in Geneva and beyond – who work in the scientific focus area of the Geneva Academy.

Read more

GenTRACK Arab States Logo News

In Highlight: GenTRACK Arab States

4 June 2024

Via its DHRTTDs Directory, the Geneva Human Rights Platform provides a comprehensive list and description of such key tools and databases. But how to navigate them? Which tool should be used for what, and by whom? This interview helps us understand better the specificities of the May highlight of the directory: GenTRACK Arab States

Read more

Treaty Body Follow Up Sierra Leone Event

Strengthening Human Rights Through Regional Engagement: Lessons from the Treaty Body Follow-Up Review Pilot Series

28 June 2024, 13:15-14:45

This side-event to the 36th Annual Meeting of the Treaty Bodies Chairpersons aims to present the findings of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Treaty Body Follow-Up Review Pilot Series.

Read more

Digital Justice Event

Digital Bridges to Justice: Enhancing Human Rights and SDG Monitoring through Innovative Technologies

3 July 2024, 13:15-14:45

This panel discussion will showcase the transformative potential of digital technologies in monitoring and implementing SDG 16, its interlinkages with other SDGs, and UN human rights recommendations.

Read more

Garment workersto receive food from their factory during lunch time. This food is freely provided by their factory in order to ensure that workers eat healthy and hygienic food. Training

Business and Human Rights

2-6 September 2024

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.

Read more

Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

2-20 September 2024

Participants in this training course, made of two modules, will examine the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights and the environment, familiarizing themselves with the respective implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

Read more

A destroyed camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, Project

Understanding the Relationship between Conflict, Security and the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

Started in May 2023

This project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management can serve as a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning.

Read more

surveillance image of people Project

Human Rights in a Digitalized World: Mapping Risk, Strengthening Regulation and Promoting the Development of International Human Rights Law

Started in August 2023

To unpack the challenges raised by artificial intelligence, this project will target two emerging and under-researched areas: digital military technologies and neurotechnology.

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Between Science-Fact and Science-Fiction Innovation and Ethics in Neurotechnology

published on May 2024

Milena Costas, Timo Istace

Read more