GHR second Program is entitled: ‘Implementation Now, strengthening national empowerment to facilitate the implementation of human rights at national level’ (Implementation National Plans). Aim is to contribute to the implementation processes in particular countries through training, mediation, advisory services and teaching strategies.
The Programme finds its origins in Mexico. With the support of the FDFA, at the request of the Mexican Ministry of Interior, GHRcontributed to the elaboration and the first stages of the implementation of Mexico’s national Programme for human rights in a training and mediation process between the Government and the civil society (2004-2008) until the end of the mandate of President Fox.
‘Implementation now !’ is the title of GHR programme to implement human rights on the ground through training, mediation, advisory services and teaching strategies.
There are many human rights conventions, declarations and general principles, and a series of treaty bodies, mechanisms and special procedures. Yet on the ground, a huge gap remains between UN decisions and their implementation. It is high time that these rights become reality. As for fulfilling human rights is an obligation of the States, not of the UN, national protection mechanisms must be strengthened to address implementation deficits.
To fulfil rights, there has to be a partnership between government and civil society. No government acting alone can fully assess the situation, analyse needs and priorities, and elaborate and implement public policies. Since 2003, GHR has been training human rights defenders and all stakeholders involved in rights fulfilment, so as to build their capacity to use UN procedures and develop implementation strategies.
The UN decisions, and all the recommendations from Special procedures, the treaty bodies and the UPR, form a set of priorities for implementation in each country, along with the Sustainable Development Goals. With offices around the world, the OHCHR is participating in this new drive. The call for national human rights plans of the 1993 World Conference facilitates progress made in many countries to better implement human rights.
Since 2007, GHR has launched several projects to promote a better implementation in specific countries (currently Botswana, West Papua) and on specific issues (enforced disappearances, indigenous peoples, freedom of religion or belief).
One of the important developments in the field of human rights is the emergence of National Mechanisms for Implementation, Reporting and Follow-up (NMIRFs). These are government structures mandated to coordinate and prepare reports to, and engage with, international and regional human rights mechanisms, including the UN Treaty Bodies, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Special Procedures. They also address the implementation gap by initiating, coordinating and tracking national follow-up and implementation of obligations and recommendations emanating from these mechanisms.
Although the concept of national mechanisms is not recent, States and the United Nations have in recent years put more focus on establishing and reinforcing these national mechanisms as reflected in OHCHR’s publications on National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up: A Study of State engagement with International Human Rights Mechanisms; and A Practical Guide to Effective State Engagement with International Human Rights Mechanisms, bothpublished in 2016.
The establishment of NMIRFs was a key recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on treaty body strengthening in 2012 (A/66/860), paving the way for GA resolution 68/268 on “Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system”. This resolution recognizes the need for improved coordination of reporting at the national level (para.20) and the importance of exchanging on best practices. In the framework of the 2020 treaty body review process provided for in para. 41 of GA Resolution 68/268, a report of the co-facilitators highlighted that the implementation of human rights recommendations would benefit from expanded, institutionalized follow-up at national level, such as through the introduction or strengthening of national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up.
With resolution 51/33, the Human Rights Council has now adopted four resolutions related to national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up. Resolution 30/25 (2015) encourages States to establish and strengthen national human rights follow-up systems and processes. Resolution 36/29 (2017) underlines the contribution of NMIRFs to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution 42/30 (2019) introduces implementation as one of the pillars of such mechanisms. In addition, in 2016 States created a Group of Friends to promote the agenda at the Human Rights Council.
In October 2022, under the leadership of Paraguay and Brazil, the Human Rights Council adopted HRC resolution 51/33 requesting OHCHR to organize a one-day seminar in 2023 and another one in 2024 in Geneva, to facilitate sharing experiences among States with a view to improving their national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up.
The resolution also calls for the creation of a virtual knowledge hub to enable national mechanisms to share promising practices and facilitate the creation of an online community of practice, reflecting one of the recommendations resulting from the regional consultations organized in 2021 and captured in the June 2022 report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/50/64).
One-day seminar- 23 June 2023 Hybrid/Geneva
The one-day seminar foreseen for 2023 by HRC resolution 51/33 took place in Geneva on 23 June 2023 in room XVII in Palais des Nations, during the Human Rights Council 53rd session, and in a hybrid format.
It aimed to fulfil two main objectives:
- For participants to provide feedback on the National Mechanisms’ Hub requested by HRC resolution 51/33, in its mock up version of June 2023, including on how to improve user experience and design;
- Exchange of practices and lessons and identification of key characteristics for an effective NMIRF institutional set up and mandate, based on theme 1 of the compilation of practices summarized in annex 1 of HRC report 50/64.
- Concept note of the event
- Agenda of the event
Connect to UN Web TV to watch the event again
An International Seminar on National Mechanisms for Implementation, Reporting and Follow-up (NMIRFs) in the field of human rights was organised by the Inter-ministerial Delegation for Human Rights of the Kingdom of Morocco in partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, in Marrakech on 7 and 8 December 2022.
The event gathered a total of 50 state representatives from different regions of the world. UNDP and the League of Arab States also participated. A declaration (the so-called “Marrakech declaration”) was adopted after the event whereby the NMIRFs present committed to promote the establishment or strengthening of NMIRFs and engage in a network of NMIRFs under the leadership of Morocco.
Previously, a roundtable organized by OHCHR in partnership with the Geneva Human Rights Platform, the Universal Rights Group and the Danish Institute for Human Rights was organized on 5 September 2022 in Geneva to hear member states and other stakeholders on how they intend to give effect to the recommendations made in HRC report 50/64. The event, which gathered around 50 participants both in situ and online, was the occasion for further exchanges and resource mobilization on NMRF initiatives and was very timely to continue generate momentum around NMIRFs. HRC resolution 51/33 was adopted a month later during the Human Rights Council session.
Regional consultations on experiences and good practices relating to the establishment and development of national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Pусский | Español
Human Rights Council resolution 42/30 on promoting international cooperation to support national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español
The status of National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up in Southern Africa, Practices, challenges and recommendations for effective functioning
Videos on NMIRFs
- General introduction
- Coordination capacity
- Information management
- Consultation capacity
- Engagement capacity
references and sources:
DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS TRACKING TOOLS AND DATABASES
Started in March 2023
Throughout the last decade, human rights actors at both national and international levels have introduced a growing number of digital tracking tools and databases (DHRTTDs) designed to facilitate a more holistic approach to human rights monitoring and implementation. Such tools represent an innovative solution for all human rights actors to better organize and coordinate information management and data collection on the steps taken to implement international human rights recommendations.
The development of such software is a potentially significant step forward in realizing human rights at the national level. Whilst the trend is expanding, what is missing is coordination as well as exchanges of good practices and challenges among different tool developers and users.
This initiative wishes to contribute to better and more coordinated implementation, reporting and follow-up of international human rights recommendations through a global study on (DHRTTDs).
This directory provides the international community with the most up-to-date overview of these online tools and databases.
This dedicated space on the GHRP website will be regularly updated with new and innovative DHRTTDs, making them easily accessible to all stakeholders. The directory features dedicated pages for each tool – providing an in-depth analysis of each tool’s primary functions, developers, users, and a direct link to the tool itself.
1. LEARNING FROM OUR EXPERIENCE IN MEXICO
GHR started in Mexico. Invited by the Mexican Ministry of Interior (SEGOB), and with the support of the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), GHR contributed to Mexico’s national Programme for human rights (2004-2008). On the basis of a major assessment of the situation prepared by OHCHR (‘El Diagnostico’), we conducted dozens of courses throughout the country, for NGOs, several ministries, judges and lawyers. Seminars with NGOs and Government Representatives were also held to elaborate specific public policies. The Swiss Federal Council also stressed the importance of GHR work:
‘The process described above has made a significant contribution towards the urgently required implementation of a uniform national plan for the promotion of human rights. The fact that a Swiss human rights organisation has successfully acted as mediator between civil society and government and supported the Mexican Ministry of the Interior through the provision of expertise represents a good example for implementing similar projects in other countries’.
(FDFA, ‘Peace and human rights in Switzerland’s foreign policy – Report 2006’ approved by the Swiss Federal Council on 15th June 2007, p. 18)
The Mexico project was evaluated (2007) to learn from this experience and to prepare similar initiatives in other countries. Projects were launched (Botswana, Papua). In the absence of local conditions to pursue such activities on the spot, implementation was further promoted through training and campaigns in Geneva (Colombia, Nepal, Sri Lanka). Thematic projects were set-up on enforced disappearances, indigenous peoples, freedom of religion or belief.
2. NATIONAL PROTECTION MECHANISMS
In 2016, the General Assembly of GHR initiated a study project on the impact of UN institutions, mechanisms and procedures on the strengthening of the domestic human rights protection mechanisms. A questionnaire was sent to our partners to assess the impact in their country of UN human rights system, and the interaction between Government and civil society. These questions have been integrated in all GHR Courses and in a specific Course on implementation strategies, with focus on the elaboration and realization of public policies and national plans. Over the last years, we conducted the annual Course of GHR at the Lucerne Akademy on strategies to implement human rights inside countries.
3. THE BOTSWANA PROJECT
Mrs. Alice Mogwe, Director of DITSHWANELO, the Botswana Centre for Human Rights), was a trainee in our 27th Geneva Course (June-July 2012). After the first UPR of Botswana (January 2013), the Government created a Joint Task Force composed of several Ministries and two NGOs to examine the UPR recommendations and prepare a national strategy. With the support of Botswana’s government, DITSHWANELO, the NGO focal point for the UPR process in the country, and GHR convened three (two-day) consecutive National Workshops in Gaborone. The first one was devoted to the analysis of the recommendations from the UPR process, from the UN Special procedures and the African system (April 2013). The second Workshop (February 2014) concerned the elaboration of a draft Comprehensive Human Rights Strategy and National Action Plan (CHRSNAP). The third Seminar focused on the civil society contribution to the CHRSNAP process (November 2018). Each time, DITSHWANELO and GHR visited the main stakeholders before and after the workshops (NGO coalition, Ombudsman, President’s Office, Attorney General, several Ministries, employers and trade unions, development agencies). In November 2020, the Office of the President invited them to prepare a new Workshop. But, GHR could not join this new event. Since the beginning of the pandemic, DITSHWANELO and GHR continued to meet on-line.
5. GHR PROJECT ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE
Several GHR members were actively involved in the creation of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID, 1980), in the elaboration of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances (1992), and in the negotiations on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which entered into force in December 2010 (ICED).
In this project, GHR monitored all the sessions of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED). Between 2012 and 2021, GHR convened seven Experts Seminars with the CED and the WGEID, most of them co-sponsored by the delegations of Argentina, France, Chile and the Netherlands. Themes of the Seminars were the working methods and rules of procedures of CED and WGEID, the cooperation between them, the strengthening of NGOs coalitions, the universal ratification of the convention. Two Seminars presented the Documentary ‘The Subversives’ on the pioneering work of former UN Human Rights Director Theo Van Boven (13 November 2018, 27 February 2019), followed by with round-tables with the Dutch Ambassador and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
GHR was entrusted with the coordination of NGOs activities before and during the first Conference of the States Parties to the ICED (19 December 2016), which decided that, after its first period of activities, the CED would continue to monitor the Convention.
GHR also regularly presents oral statements during CED sessions. On 7 October 2019, GHR raised concerns for the patterns of arbitrary arrests and secret detention, and for enforced disappearances of migrants. Following questions from CED members, GHR called for a study on enforced disappearances in the context of migration:
|‘Many migrants are disappearing, often voluntarily to escape States’ scrutiny and the
risk of being forced back to their country of origins. But many migrants also disappear forcibly
as they are in the hands of traffickers to cross seas and borders. (..) We have no figures, but we believe this problem should be studied, and questions could be asked when examining the reports of States parties from regions where massive migration flows take place, for instance in Europe (persons coming from Africa and the Middle East, in particular form Syria and Iraq, in Latin America with the flow of migrants from Venezuela), in South East Asia, in particular with the Rohingas’.GHR letter to the CED, 10 October 2019
As the CED decided to draft a General Comment on Enforced disappearance in the context of migration, GHR focused its 7th Expert Seminar on Enforced Disappearances on this matter (24 November 2021). Five experts presented the problem of disappeared migrants in Central America, Asia, Iraq, and Greece. Other speakers introduced their reports on migration and disappearances (reports from the WGEID, the German Institute for Human Rights, the Geneva Academy). Hugo Relva (Amnesty International), delivered a key-note speech on opportunities and challenges, before Prof. Ramcharan made a first synthesis. The Ambassador of Argentina, Federico Villegas, made the final address.
In 2022, GHR transmitted the report of its 7th Expert Seminar to the CED. We also submitted our comments on the Concept note of the CED for its General Comment on enforced disappearances in the context of migration (15 September 2022):
7. GHR PROJECT ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Amidst polarized debates in the HR-Council, due mainly to the (mis)use of religions in the political arenas, GHR started in 2010 this project on the freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), which included a study to better and Courses at the Universites of Padova (2011), and Lyon (2020). In December 2012, GHR and the Human Rights Centre of Padova organized an Expert Seminar in Geneva entitled ‘the UN and Religious Freedom‘. With the support of the Dutch Government, GHR convened In June 2015 a second Seminar on FoRB, this time on gender related rights, with more than 100 participants. The third joint Seminar of Human Rights Centre and GHR took place in Padova (on Religions, Conflicts and Minorities) for the first Academic Board meeting of a new joint PhD Programme of five Universities on ‘Human Rights, Society and Multi-level Governance’ (September 2015).
GHR also trains religious coalitions. We conducted several NGOs briefings on FoRB in Geneva and we supported the initiative of Asian partners to set-up a platform for civil society organisations from seven countries, called South Asia Forum for Freedom of Religion or Belief (SAF-FoRB). In December 2018, GHR trained the forty participants of SAF-FoRB meeting in Bangkok. At their request, In 2019, we prepared their draft By-Laws and background documents for their third Bangkok meeting. Their assignment to GHR for 2020 and 2021 concerned a Report on the best ways to set-up a legal entity for the coalition. Based on their reactions, GHR submitted a draft for their Statutes. In 2022, GHR provided them with further advice on the set-up of their legal entity.