UNHCR Training Package


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From my work as a Legal Advice intern at United High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, in the spring of 2008. PowerPoint Presentation created as part of training package for UNHCR HQ and Global Staff. I gathered all the information (on political and legal human rights mechanisms) and created the slides. The presentation received very positive feedback.

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  • UNHCR Training Package

    1. 3. <ul><li>OBJECTIVE: </li></ul><ul><li>to integrate human rights into all areas of UNHCR’s work </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate persons of concern into the human rights instruments and mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>Supply staff with human rights-protection tools, capacitate them to use these </li></ul><ul><li>WHY: </li></ul><ul><li>Charter of the United Nations </li></ul><ul><li>1993 Vienna Declaration & Program of Action </li></ul><ul><li>1997 Program for Reform & 2005 World Summit Outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Persons of concern to UNHCR entitled to almost all rights set out in the international human rights instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Broader range of rights in IHR law than in IR law instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Progressive development of IHR law informs interpretation of RL </li></ul><ul><li>Human rights mechanisms as protection tools </li></ul>
    2. 4. <ul><li>Core international human rights instruments </li></ul><ul><li>International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) </li></ul><ul><li>International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) </li></ul><ul><li>International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) </li></ul><ul><li>Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) </li></ul><ul><li>Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) </li></ul><ul><li>Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) </li></ul><ul><li>International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CRMW) </li></ul><ul><li>Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) </li></ul><ul><li>International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance </li></ul>
    3. 5. <ul><li>Treaty-based bodies: the Treaty Monitoring Bodies </li></ul><ul><li>Charter-based bodies: the Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review </li></ul>
    4. 7. What are they and who is in them? <ul><li>Created under the respective international human rights instruments to monitor State parties' compliance with their treaty obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Committees of independent experts </li></ul><ul><li>Nominated and elected by States parties </li></ul><ul><li>Four-year-long fixed, renewable mandates </li></ul><ul><li>Elections for half of the members every two years </li></ul><ul><li>Treaty bodies receive support from Treaties and Council Branch of OHCHR Geneva </li></ul>
    5. 8. Treaty Body Monitors… Membership Meets in… CERD ICERD 18 Geneva CCPR ICCPR 18 Geneva/NY CESCR ICESCR 18 Geneva CEDAW ICEDAW 23 Geneva/NY CAT CAT 10 Geneva CRC CRC & 2 OPs 18 Geneva CMW ICRMW 10 Geneva CRPD CRPD 12-18 Geneva
    6. 9. What do they do? <ul><li>Monitor State parties' compliance with their treaty obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Consider reports submitted by States </li></ul><ul><li>Issue guidelines to assist with preparation of reports </li></ul><ul><li>Elaborate General Comments (or, in the case of CERD and CEDAW, General Recommendations ) </li></ul><ul><li>Some may consider complaints from individuals alleging violation of their rights </li></ul><ul><li>Some may conduct inquiries </li></ul>
    7. 10. Consideration of State parties’ reports <ul><li>Initial report submitted by State party </li></ul><ul><li>Committee may receive information from other sources, e.g. UN agencies, international and regional organizations, NHRIs, NGO’s, academic institutions and media. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some TMBs provide special role for UN agencies, i.e. CEDAW (art.22), CRC (art.25, in particular UNICEF) and ICRMW (art. 74  ILO) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Country Report Task Force (CRTF) draws up list of issues and questions to be fielded by State prior to consideration </li></ul>
    8. 11. <ul><li>Formal consideration: constructive dialogue </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some require presence of State delegation; some can proceed in its absence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Non-adversarial process </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Concluding observations, recommendations with advice on further steps to improve implementation of treaty obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Periodic reports on implementation of observations, new recommendations </li></ul>
    9. 12. Reporting periodicity Source: OHCHR Fact Sheet No. 30 Treaty Initial report within Periodic reports every ICERD 1 year 2 years ICESCR (ECOSOC’s discretion) 2 years 5 years ICCPR 1 year 4 years (CCPR discretion) CEDAW 1 year 4 years CAT 1 year 4 years CRC 2 years 5 years CRPD 2 years 4 years ICRMW 1 year 5 years CRC-OPSC/OPAC 2 years 5 years of with next CRC report
    10. 13. Operation of the Committees Committee Frequency of meetings States under review/session CERD February & July-August Approx. 11 CESCR April & November + pre-sessions 4-6 CCPR March, July and October 4-8 CEDAW January, June & October + pre-sessions 8-13 CAT April-May & November 4-9 CRC January, May & September + pre-sessions 8-15 CMW April & November 1-2
    11. 14. General Comments/Recommendations <ul><li>Interpretation of provisions in treaty </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of subjects: from interpretation of substantive provisions to general guidance on information to be submitted by States and e.g. the role of NHRIs </li></ul><ul><li>Compilation produced and updated regularly </li></ul><ul><li>Thematic discussions ( days of general discussion) – CEDAW, CRC, CCPR & CESCR: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open to external participants (e.g. UN partners, NGO’s and individual experts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outcome may assist in drafting of new General Comment </li></ul></ul>
    12. 15. Individual Complaints <ul><li>Also known as communications or petitions </li></ul><ul><li>Allowed by CCPR (1 st OP), CERD (OP, art. 2), CAT (art. 22) and CEDAW (art. 14); CMW (art. 77) </li></ul><ul><li>Only if State recognizes competence </li></ul><ul><li>Committee’s decision not legally-binding </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals, or third parties on their behalf, may submit complaint, alleging violation of right(s) under corresponding treaty </li></ul><ul><li>Petitioner must have exhausted local remedies </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed procedure outlined by each treaty </li></ul>
    13. 16. Inquiries <ul><li>CAT and CEDAW </li></ul><ul><li>If receive reliable information of serious, grave or systematic violations of the conventions </li></ul><ul><li>States must recognize competence; may opt out: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CAT  art. 28 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CEDAW  art. 10 of Optional Protocol </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Committee requests State to submit observations </li></ul><ul><li>Decides on designation of member(s) to conduct urgent, confidential inquiry, make report; may include State visits </li></ul><ul><li>Examination by Committee and request for State observations; CEDAW  six-month deadline </li></ul><ul><li>May, with State’s consent, include summary account of proceedings in annual report </li></ul>
    14. 17. Other treaty-based mechanisms <ul><li>Optional Protocol to CAT (OPCAT)  seeks to prevent torture and other forms of ill-treatment through a system of regular visits to places where persons are deprived of liberty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subcommittee on Prevention (SPT): 10 independent practitioners of administration of justice, detention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>First-ever visit in October 2007 (to Mauritius) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Observations, recommendations to State are confidential; made public if country agrees. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mandate complemented by national preventive mechanisms (NPMs). </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 18. <ul><li>State-to-State complaints </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CAT, CRMW, ICERD, ICCPR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Procedure outlined by relevant treaty, e.g. ad hoc Conciliation Commission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disputes over interpretation or application of convention (CEDAW, CAT and ICRMW): negotiation or arbitration; if both fail may submit to ICJ within six months </li></ul></ul>
    16. 20. Relevance <ul><li>Treaty bodies competent to examine extent to which persons of concern to UNHCR enjoy rights set out in the treaties </li></ul><ul><li>Concluding Observations, recommendations as protection advocacy tools reflecting UNHCR’s recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Concluding Observations as country-of-origin information </li></ul><ul><li>General Comments, recommendations provide guidance on scope , content of rights set out in treaties </li></ul><ul><li>Decisions in individual cases of concern to UNHCR can e.g. help prevent refoulement, further develop of standards </li></ul>
    17. 21. UNHCR input <ul><li>Submission of confidential comments highlighting extent to which person of concern (do not) enjoy rights under treaty before (pre-)session </li></ul><ul><li>Oral summary of confidential comments during (pre-) session in closed meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Provision of input into draft General Comments/ Recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Submission of confidential information on individual cases </li></ul>
    18. 22. Internal procedure <ul><li>Request for input into Confidential Comments (CC’s) from country-specialist colleagues : ca. 2-4 months before session </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Draft input reviewed, edited by ‘human rights team’ in PPLA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CC’s submitted to Secretary of treaty body min. 2 weeks before session </li></ul><ul><li>Oral summary of CC’s delivered during closed meeting on first day of session </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring of sessions by intern team </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback: summary of dialogue between Committee members and State delegation, OHCHR meeting summary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sent to colleagues in Field and Bureau </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Upon publication, analysis of Concluding Observations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sent to colleagues in Field and Bureau </li></ul></ul>
    19. 29. Genesis and Purpose <ul><li>Established by UNGA through GA Resolution 60/251 (April 3, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Successor of Commission on Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Subsidiary organ of UNGA; submits annual report </li></ul><ul><li>47 member States elected by the majority of GA members: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Africa: 13 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asia: 13 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eastern Europe: 6 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Latin America, Caribbean : 8 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Western European and Other: 7 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>serve for 3-year period, maximum of 2 consecutive terms. </li></ul></ul>
    20. 31. <ul><li>Election should take into account candidates’ contribution to promotion, protection of human rights, voluntary pledges and commitments </li></ul><ul><li>At least three sessions per year, in Geneva </li></ul><ul><li>At least ten weeks </li></ul><ul><li>May hold special sessions at request of Council member State with support of 1/3 of membership </li></ul>
    21. 32. Resolution 60/251 – Mandate <ul><li>“ the Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ the Council should address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon. It should also promote the effective coordination and the mainstreaming of human rights within the United Nations system” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ the Council shall be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation, with a view to enhancing the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development” </li></ul></ul>
    22. 33. Purpose <ul><li>Forum for dialogue on thematic issues on all human rights </li></ul><ul><li>Promote human rights education, advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make recommendations to GA on further development of human rights law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote States’ implementation of human rights obligations </li></ul></ul>
    23. 34. <ul><li>Contribute towards prevention of human rights violations; respond promptly to human rights emergencies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Undertake Universal Periodic Review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with Governments, regional organizations, national human rights institutions and civil society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make recommendations with regard to promotion, protection of human rights. </li></ul></ul>
    24. 35. The Advisory Committee <ul><li>Replaced Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Promotion of Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Think-tank </li></ul><ul><li>Provides expertise, advice, and conducts research on thematic issues at the Council’s request </li></ul><ul><li>18 experts serving for a maximum of 2 three-year terms </li></ul><ul><li>Members serve in personal capacity </li></ul><ul><li>Up to two sessions and 10 working days; ad hoc additional sessions as approved by the Council </li></ul>
    25. 37. Relevance <ul><li>Key intergovernmental body on human rights </li></ul><ul><li>Adopts thematic, country-specific resolutions, decisions; many applicable to persons of concern </li></ul><ul><li>Holds interactive dialogues with Special Procedures on themes, country-specific situations of interest to UNHCR </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation of High Commissioner for Human Rights annual report </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up to Durban Declaration and Program of Action </li></ul><ul><li>Statements, e.g. by dignitaries during High-Level segment), may provide useful information on country-positions, lobbying tools </li></ul>
    26. 38. UNHCR input <ul><li>Contribution of information to reports presented by Special Procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Active participation in negotiation of relevant Resolutions and Decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring of sessions and provision of feedback to colleagues in Field and at HQ </li></ul>
    27. 40. What are they? <ul><li>Established by former Commission on Human Rights, assumed by Human Rights Council </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanisms of independent experts to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world </li></ul><ul><li>25 thematic and 9 country mandates </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of mandates: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special Rapporteur </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Special Representative of the Secretary-General </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Representative of the Secretary-General </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Independent Expert </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Working Group (5 independent experts from each region) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    28. 41. How they operate <ul><li>Examine, monitor, advise, publicly report on human rights situations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>country mandates: countries or territories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>thematic mandates: major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conduct country visits to investigate human rights situation at national level </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to specific allegations of human rights violations with Urgent Appeals/Actions or Letters of Allegation to governments </li></ul><ul><li>Dialogue with Governments on findings, recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>Report to Human Rights Council and General Assembly on findings, conclusions, recommendations </li></ul>
    29. 42. <ul><li>Thematic mandates </li></ul><ul><li>RSG on the human rights of internally displaced persons </li></ul><ul><li>SR on torture </li></ul><ul><li>SR on violence against women </li></ul><ul><li>SR on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance </li></ul><ul><li>SR on the promotion of human rights while countering terrorism </li></ul><ul><li>Working Group on Arbitrary Detention </li></ul><ul><li>Independent Expert on minority issues </li></ul><ul><li>SR on freedom of religion or belief </li></ul><ul><li>SR on the human rights of migrants </li></ul><ul><li>SR on right to education </li></ul><ul><li>SR on right to food </li></ul><ul><li>SR on trafficking, SR on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and SR on contemporary forms of slavery </li></ul><ul><li>SR on freedom of opinion and expression </li></ul><ul><li>SR on adequate housing </li></ul><ul><li>SR on right to health </li></ul><ul><li>Independent Expert on safe drinking water and sanitation </li></ul>Key Special Procedures for UNHCR
    30. 43. <ul><li>DPRK </li></ul><ul><li>Myanmar </li></ul><ul><li>Sudan </li></ul><ul><li>Somalia </li></ul><ul><li>Liberia </li></ul><ul><li>Burundi </li></ul>Country mandates
    31. 44. Relevance <ul><li>Mandate enables experts to raise issues that UNHCR cannot publicly raise </li></ul><ul><li>Country reports as country-of-origin information </li></ul><ul><li>Thematic, country-specific reports as protection advocacy tools for UNHCR </li></ul><ul><li>Thematic reports/studies contribute to further development of human rights law </li></ul><ul><li>Urgent Actions can help prevent human rights violations, e.g. refoulement </li></ul>
    32. 45. UNHCR input <ul><li>Oral, written pre-mission briefings </li></ul><ul><li>Briefings during missions </li></ul><ul><li>Input into thematic reports </li></ul><ul><li>Review of draft thematic, country-specific mission reports </li></ul><ul><li>Alerting Special Procedures to individual cases, specific situations in respect of which Urgent Appeals or Letters of Allegation could be sent </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions on themes to raise in future reports, countries to visit </li></ul>
    33. 47. GA Resolution 60/251 <ul><li>Mandates Human Rights Council to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot; undertake a universal periodic review , based on objective and reliable information , of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue , with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs ; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies . &quot; </li></ul></ul>
    34. 48. Purpose <ul><li>Improvement of human rights situation on the ground </li></ul><ul><li>Fulfillment of State's human rights obligations, commitments; assessment of positive developments, challenges faced by State </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancement of State's capacity, technical assistance: consultation, consent of State </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing of best practice among States, other stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Support for cooperation in promotion, protection of human rights </li></ul><ul><li>Encouragement of cooperation, engagement with Council, other human rights bodies, OHCHR </li></ul>
    35. 49. Procedure <ul><li>UN Member States to be reviewed within four years in 1 st cycle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>48 States per year, 16 countries per session </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Human Rights Council Member States to be reviewed during term of membership </li></ul><ul><li>Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 details modalities and procedure </li></ul><ul><li>Review based on UN Charter, UDHR, human rights treaties to which State is party, voluntary pledges and commitments, customary international law </li></ul>
    36. 50. Process <ul><li>Review based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>State report </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OHCHR Compilation Report - information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, special procedures, United Nations documents </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OHCHR Stakeholders Report - information provided by other relevant stakeholders (e.g. NGOs, NHRIs, research institutes, Regional organizations) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Three-hour interactive dialogue between State delegation and Council Member and Observer States </li></ul><ul><li>Working Group comprising 47 Council Member States assisted by three Rapporteurs ( troika ) </li></ul><ul><li>Adoption of Outcome Document in plenary </li></ul>
    37. 51. Outcome <ul><li>Outcome Document containing: report on the interactive dialogue, conclusions and/or recommendations and voluntary pledges and commitments by reviewed State </li></ul><ul><li>Council members and observers (including UNHCR) may take the floor to make general comments during plenary session before Outcome Document is adopted </li></ul><ul><li>Next review to be carried out in four years </li></ul>
    38. 53. Countries up for review during next two sessions <ul><li>Gabon </li></ul><ul><li>Ghana </li></ul><ul><li>Peru </li></ul><ul><li>Guatemala </li></ul><ul><li>Benin </li></ul><ul><li>South Korea </li></ul><ul><li>Switzerland </li></ul><ul><li>Pakistan </li></ul><ul><li>Zambia </li></ul><ul><li>Japan </li></ul><ul><li>Ukraine </li></ul><ul><li>Sri Lanka </li></ul><ul><li>France </li></ul><ul><li>Tonga </li></ul><ul><li>Romania </li></ul><ul><li>Mali </li></ul><ul><li>Botswana </li></ul><ul><li>Bahamas </li></ul><ul><li>Burundi </li></ul><ul><li>Luxembourg </li></ul><ul><li>Barbados </li></ul><ul><li>Montenegro </li></ul><ul><li>United Arab Emirates </li></ul><ul><li>Israel </li></ul><ul><li>Liechtenstein </li></ul><ul><li>Serbia </li></ul><ul><li>Turkmenistan </li></ul><ul><li>Burkina Faso </li></ul><ul><li>Cape Verde </li></ul><ul><li>Colombia </li></ul><ul><li>Uzbekistan </li></ul><ul><li>Tuvalu </li></ul>
    39. 54. Relevance <ul><li>Considered by States as THE review of the human rights situation </li></ul><ul><li>State, OHCHR and Outcome reports closely scrutinized, considered ‘authoritative’ in terms COI providing an assessment of human rights situation in a particular country </li></ul><ul><li>OHCHR Compilation and Stakeholders may provide useful COI </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome Documents as protection advocacy tools if they contain recommendations on how State should improve implementation of human rights obligations, commitments </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome Documents may contain explicit recommendations regarding need for capacity building by UNHCR, partners in areas falling under our mandate </li></ul>
    40. 55. UNHCR input <ul><li>Assisting States in preparation of State reports </li></ul><ul><li>Submission of public UNHCR information to OHCHR for Compilation report </li></ul><ul><li>Submission of confidential UNHCR information to OHCHR (can only be used by OHCHR to corroborate info received from e.g. NGOs) </li></ul><ul><li>Submission of compilations containing excerpts from recent treaty body Concluding Observations and reports by Special Procedures </li></ul>
    41. 56. <ul><li>Delivering “general comments” in the Council plenary meeting” prior to adoption of Outcome Document, e.g. focusing on UNHCR’s willingness to offer technical advice and assistance in areas falling under its mandate </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging NHRIs, NGO partners to submit information to OHCHR Stakeholders report on the extent to which persons of concern to UNHCR (do not) enjoy their human rights; </li></ul><ul><li>Lobbying Council Member, Observer States to raise issues of relevance to (persons of concern to) UNHCR during inter-active dialogue; </li></ul><ul><li>Indirectly, by providing confidential comments to treaty monitoring bodies, information to Special Procedures. </li></ul>
    42. 57. Dignity and justice for all
    43. 59. OHCHR’s presence in the field <ul><li>11 Country Officers </li></ul><ul><li>UN Peace Missions </li></ul><ul><li>8 Regional Offices </li></ul><ul><li>Human Rights Advisers </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid Response Unit </li></ul>
    44. 60. Concept and technical assistance: F rancisco J avier R ivera S errat Presentation: K arolina L indholm- B illing 2008