Presentation on theme: "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.”"— Presentation transcript:
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 to influence policy (reform of policies, but also effective implementation and enforcement of policies),deliberate process - 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 decisionsaudiences typically include multilateral institutions, governments and bilateral donors and governments at the local, regional, or national leveldirect - asking a policy maker in person to take actionindirect - trying to influence public opinion through the media.
3 Using UN HR system for advocacy Human Rights CouncilUniversal Periodic ReviewComplaint ProcedureSpecial ProceduresHR Treaty bodiesConcluding observationsGeneral commentsIndividual complaintsConfidential inquiriesEarly warning proceduresUrgent action procedures
4 Human Rights CouncilUniversal Periodic Review (UPR) periodically reviews the fulfillment by each of the United Nations 192 Member States of its human rights obligations and commitmentsComplaint 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; andContributing to the follow-up to the implementation of review outcomes
6 Special ProceduresMonitor, 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 proceduresMandate-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 findingsand recommendations based on these visits;Providing advice on technical cooperation at the country level; andEngaging in general promotion.
7 How to engage with Special Procedures Submitting individual cases to special procedures;Providing information and analysis on specific human rights concernsProviding support for special procedures’ country visitsWorking locally or nationally to advocate, disseminate, follow up and implement the work of special proceduresInviting 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 bodiesconcluding 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)Confidential inquiries (if they receive reliable information containing well-founded indications of serious, grave or systematic violations)Early warnings and urgent action procedures - prevent existing problems in States parties from escalating into new conflicts, or to prevent a resumption of conflicts. Urgent action procedures aim to respond to problems requiring immediate attention to prevent or limit the scale or number of serious 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 observationsSubmitting an individual complaint to human rights treaty bodiesProviding information to generate confidential inquiriesProviding information for early warning and urgent procedures
10 Using UN HR system for advocacy Shadow reportsIndividual complaints
11 Submitting a shadow report Point to laws and practices, which are incompatible with the treatyBe clear and precise, accurate and objective;Make concrete recommendationsBe 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. 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 preparingWhen referencing a United Nationsdocument, paragraph numbers should be referred to, as page numbers vary from onelanguage to another. This should apply also to citations of State reports, which mustbe referred to in their official United Nations version;
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 Rights Councilthe complaint procedure of the Human Rights CouncilIndividual complaints under the international human rights treaties (petitions);five of the core international human rights treaties;(To the Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture, the Committeeon the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on theElimination of Racial Discrimination or the Committee on the Rights of Personswith Disabilities)Individual communications operate under the thematic and geographic mandates ofthe special procedures of the Human Rights Council; andThe Council’s complaint procedure addresses consistent patterns ofgross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms occurring in any part of the world and under any circumstances
13 How to work with Concluding Observations and UPR outcome document Working together with the Government to help it meet its obligations and use it in its advocacy initiativesMonitoring 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 nationallyThis may be done by organizing thematic discussions, round tables, seminars andworkshops, translating and publishing UPR outcomes and working with NHRIs andthe national media, and by raising awareness of UPR outcomes among the general public and civil society;
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 areTarget audience – conduct research on who all the players are. If you are aiming at policy reform, why is this issues important to legislators? How is it in the public interest? Why should the media notice your efforts? Who would be your most likely alliances as coalition partners? Who will be your biggest opposition. This will help you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your position and prepare opposing arguemnts.
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 actions3. Message should be clear, simple and well thought out. Develop points of support for your arguments, keeping in mind target audience.If criticizing policy or law, develop recommendations for improvement or change.Timing of the advocacy initative might be an essential component, especially during elections, policy formulations…6. Has there been progress in the targeted area?, Were decision makers held accountable? Did we engage citizens and stimulate discussion and participation? Were resources effectively used?
17 Advocacy actionsLobbying (policy or law makers) – to achieve change of policy, commenting laws,Networking and building coalitionsOpen Letters, Urgent Appeal Letters, Petitions of supportEducational forums, conferences and workshopsLobbying politicians – key members of their staff, internal politics, try to find information about the stance of the person in advance, be focused to ask what you want, clearly state your expectations, idenfy specific steps that can be taken, use facts and information gather through human rights monitoring, powerful personal stories, relate to international human rights standards, offer recommendations, if commitments are made follo-up with thank you letter reinteraing any agreementsNetworking – developing allies among other CSOs, political sympathisers, experts and academics, who can support and strengthen your work – hosting or attending conferences, discussion panels and workshopsCoalitions – backing of strong constituency – shared resouces and expertise – expand reach and influence, inefficient decision-making processes, compromise
18 Advocacy actionsWork 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)Advantages: makes major contribution to shaping public attitudes and opinion, create awarness, exposing large scale HR violations and shaming goverments, can influence public policyDisadvantages: may carry political or ideological affiliations, over-simplify issues, perpetuate stereotypes, might distort the information, can be sensationalistIdenfity target audience and choose appropriate outlet, sensitive timing, press conferences, press realiease,
19 Questions to ask when preparing advocacy initiative