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Human Rights Advocacy
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  1. Human Rights Advocacy “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead, anthropologist

  2. What is human rights advocacy? • a strategy toinfluence policy (reform ofpolicies, but also effective implementation and enforcement of policies), • deliberateprocess - must be clear who you are trying to influence and what policy you wish to change, involves delivering messages that are intended to influence those who make policy decisions • audiences typically include multilateral institutions, governments and bilateral donors and governments at the local, regional, or national level • direct - asking a policy maker in person to take action • indirect - trying to influence public opinion through the media.

  3. Using UN HR system for advocacy Human Rights Council • Universal Periodic Review • Complaint Procedure • Special Procedures HR Treaty bodies • Concluding observations • General comments • Individual complaints • Confidential inquiries • Early warning procedures • Urgent action procedures

  4. Human Rights Council • Universal Periodic Review (UPR) periodically reviews the fulfillment by each of the United Nations 192 Member States of its human rights obligations and commitments • Complaint Procedure - addresses consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and fundamental freedoms based on communications received from individuals, groups or organizations that claim to be victims of human rights violations or that have direct, reliable knowledge of such violations. • Special Procedures monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories (country mandates), or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide (thematic mandates). Mandate-holders (special rapporteurs, special representatives, representatives, independent experts and members of working group)

  5. How to engage with the Universal Periodic Review • Participating in consultations held by Governments to prepare their national reports on the human rights situation in their countries; • Preparing submissions on the human rights situation in States under review for potential inclusion in the summary of stakeholders’ submissions prepared by OHCHR. The OHCHR summary is taken into consideration by the Working Group when reviewing States; and • Contributing to the follow-up to the implementation of review outcomes

  6. Special Procedures • Monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories (country mandates), or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide (thematic mandates). • Unlike United Nations treaty bodies, special procedures can be activated even where a State has not ratified the relevant instrument or treaty, and it is not necessary to have exhausted domestic remedies to access the special procedures • Mandate-holders ‘ activities may include: • Receiving, sharing and analyzing information on human rights situations; • Responding to individual complaints; • Conducting studies; • Sending urgent appeals or letters of allegation to Governments; • Undertaking country visits at the invitation of Governments and producing findings • and recommendations based on these visits; • Providing advice on technical cooperation at the country level; and • Engaging in general promotion.

  7. How to engage with Special Procedures • Submitting individual cases to special procedures; • Providing information and analysis on specific human rights concerns • Providing support for special procedures’ country visits • Working locally or nationally to advocate, disseminate, follow up and implement the work of special procedures • Inviting special procedures mandate-holders to participate in their own initiatives; • Meeting individual mandate-holders throughout the year and participating in the annual meeting of special procedures mandate-holders

  8. Using UN HR system for advocacy HR Treaties bodies • concluding observations (concerns and recommendations regarding the observance of the treaty obligations by state) • general comments (interpretation of the treaty and application of particular HR instruments) • individual complaints (individual claiming that their rights were violated) • confidential inquiries (based on well-founded reports of serious, grave or systematic human rights violations) • early warning procedures (prevent escalation of existing problems) • urgent action procedures (immediate action to prevent or limit the scale of serious human rights violations)

  9. How to work with HR Treaty bodies • Promoting the ratification of a treaty; • Monitoring compliance by States parties with their reporting obligations; • Submitting written information and material to human rights treaty bodies, including through written reports; • Participating in human rights treaty body sessions as observers or through oral submissions; • Following up on human rights treaty bodies’ concluding observations • Submitting an individual complaint to human rights treaty bodies • Providing information to generate confidential inquiries • Providing information for early warning and urgent procedures

  10. Using UN HR system for advocacy • Shadow reports • Individual complaints

  11. Submitting a shadow report • Point to laws and practices, which are incompatible with the treaty • Be clear and precise, accurate and objective; • Make concrete recommendations • Be submitted as early as possible before the scheduled examination of the State’s report, as this allows human rights treaty bodies to take the written report into consideration when preparing lists of issues, preparing for sessions and drafting concluding observations. • The information must be country-specific and relevant to the mandate of the human rights treaty body to which it is addressed. • it should make direct reference to the article of the treaty providing the specific right that is allegedly violated; • allegations of human rights violations should always be supported by relevant evidence and documentation; • all information should be correctly referenced.  

  12. Submitting a complaint on alleged HR violation • Individual complaints under the international human rights treaties (petitions); • Individual communications under the special procedures of the Human RightsCouncil • the complaint procedure of the Human Rights Council

  13. How to work with Concluding Observations and UPR outcome document • Working together with the Government to help it meet its obligationsand use it in its advocacy initiatives • Monitoring the human rights situation in particular countries and the steps taken locally to implement the concluding observations of committees; • Raising awareness about the recommendations that States parties are required to implement, and how they can be used to improve the enjoyment of human rights nationally

  14. Steps in developing advocacy initiative 1. Determine your goals and objectives (broad, narrow, short-term, long-term, specific, attainable, realistic) 2. Establish a target audience (national, local government, international organizations, civil society organizations, private sector, individuals-public), conduct research on who the players are

  15. Steps in developing advocacy initiative 3. Develop your message and brainstorm strategies for action 4. Develop an action plan 5. Implement an action 6. Evaluate your results and actions

  16. Advocacy actions • Lobbying (policy or law makers) – to achieve change of policy, commenting laws, • Networking and building coalitions • Open Letters, Urgent Appeal Letters, Petitions of support • Educational forums, conferences and workshops

  17. Advocacy actions • Work with media (educate, raise awareness and public consciousness, public education campaign, raise awareness about recommendations made by an international body, encouraging participation of citizens in public affairs) • Prepare advocacy materials (fact sheets, reports, FAQ sheets, website)

  18. Questions to ask when preparing advocacy initiative