Increasing implementation of the outcomes of the international human rights mechanisms

The international human rights mechanisms (mechanisms) include the Human Rights Council (HRC), its Special Procedures (independent experts and working groups) and Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and the Treaty Bodies. Their monitoring and analysis, as well as their interaction with States and a wide array of stakeholders, help to identify strengths and weaknesses in human rights law and practice, and create opportunities for reform. The support that we provide to the mechanisms is a core element of our work.

Rising reporting requirements and the volume of mechanisms’ recommendations have created an implementation gap for many States. To implement the mechanisms’ recommendations in a holistic and integrated manner will require more effective coordination, communication and action.

In the coming years we will strengthen the link between the work of the mechanisms and required action at country level by building partnerships with the UN system, Member States and other stakeholders. We will make better use of key entry points for implementation, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Secretary-General’s prevention agenda, and provide tools to support the implementation of recommendations. We will also seek to broaden non-traditional actors’ engagement with the mechanisms, especially actors working on emerging human rights issues, and maximize their important preventive role in foreseeing and forestalling violations.

Over the period 2018-2021, together with our partners, we will work so that:

National institutionalized structures facilitate an integrated and participatory approach to reporting to the human rights mechanisms and implementation of their recommendations.

We will help develop additional systems and support existing National Mechanisms for Reporting and Follow-up (NMRF), to enhance implementation of recommendations of all international human rights mechanisms.  We will support Governments to strengthen their engagement, coordination, consultation, and information management capacity with a focus on ensuring meaningful consultations; and assist States to develop implementation plans and use related tracking databases. Model terms of reference for an NMRF, training materials, guidelines and checklists, and the dissemination of good practices will underpin these efforts.

Civil society organizations, national human rights institutions, and non-traditional actors, particularly those working on emerging human rights issues (frontier issues), increasingly engage with the international human rights mechanisms and use their outcomes.

We will reach out to civil society organizations, national human rights institutions and non-traditional actors to build networks for cross-learning, develop a one-stop online platform for engagement with the mechanisms, and exploit up-to-date communications to facilitate two-way exchange of information during mechanisms’ hearings. To increase engagement by actors unfamiliar with the mechanisms, we will carry out targeted communication campaigns and develop capacity-building tools on emerging human rights issues.

Policy-makers, legislators and courts make increased use of the outcomes of the international and regional human rights mechanisms.

The outcomes include thematic and country recommendations, but also interim and urgent protection measures. We will seek to ramp up their dissemination by the United Nations inter-agency coordination teams at country level (UNCTs) and communities of practice of State officials. We will also assist policy makers, legislators and courts to translate them into national policies, legislation and decisions; and put processes in place to ensure urgent measures reach relevant actors promptly.

International human rights mechanisms contribute to the elaboration of international law and jurisprudence, in particular in the context of emerging human rights concerns (“frontier” issues).

We will support mechanisms’ efforts to identify gaps in international law and provide jurisprudential guidance on emerging human rights issues. We will develop our in-house capacity; identify experts and key forums in association with States, UN and regional bodies, NHRIs, and civil society organizations; organize platforms and meetings to elaborate legal issues or clarify standards; increase the collaboration and involvement of the mechanisms with regional human rights organizations; and develop guidelines to facilitate their engagement in judicial proceedings, as amicus curiae or expert witnesses.

International human rights mechanisms are increasingly effective in promoting and protecting human rights.

We will focus on making the mechanisms coherent and promote enhanced integration in the various processes that influence their operation. For this purpose we will increase awareness among both the mechanisms and State officials of the importance of concrete, practical and mutually reinforcing recommendations; develop policy and capacity building tools to ensure a holistic approach to implementing mechanisms’ recommendations; and develop information tools for analysing human rights trends and patterns as a contribution to prevention of crisis and early warning. We will work to ensure that the mechanisms are more accessible and visible, through enhanced use of videoconferencing and webcasting, and will document and disseminate stories about the impact that mechanisms have on the lives of people.

Work under all six pillars covers the core components of our mandate, enabling universal but strategic coverage (given resource limits) of human rights in all countries. The thematic pillars are indivisible, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Through four major Shifts to our approach, we will better adapt our work to the changing external context. These shifts will help us focus on key threats to rights and key opportunities for leveraging support to better protect and promote rights. The shifts we will make across our six pillars are to:

i. Support prevention of conflict, violence and insecurity.
ii. Protect and expand civic space.
iii. Support and further develop the global constituency for human rights.
iv. Deliver human rights in the context of emerging global concerns (‘frontier issues’).

These Shifts’ will further unify our efforts as one Office; driving coherence, scale and measurable human rights impact in an uncertain world.

Our work will be ‘people-centred’. Across everything we do, including when we focus on the human rights of other population groups, we will shine a spotlighton the human rights of women, young people and persons with disabilities. In support of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’s human rights-based commitment to ‘leave no one behind’, we will highlight the human rights concerns of women, young people and persons with disabilities, including as defenders of rights.