The interaction of States with UN Mechanisms for The Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

  1. Opening Remarks and Starting Points for Reflection.
  • The Vienna Conference (1993): The United Nations' Human Rights system (HR) has continued to mutate and become more complex in parallel, particularly through the proliferation of treaty bodies (TB), special procedures (SP) and the creation of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and its mechanism of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2006. The interaction of states with all UN mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights should have the fundamental purpose of assisting the states, in a spirit of continued cooperation and interactive and constructive dialogue, to implement their international obligations.
  • Process of strengthening treaty bodies initiated by Ms. Navi Pillay, former High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2009: the process involved basically the TB system, but the interdependence of HR issues, the mandates of different mechanisms (assumed by the HRC), the means available and dedicated by states in reporting, particularly in terms of monitoring the recommendations of the system, and the growing involvement of civil society and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) make this process undeniably more global.
  • A new approach is proposed to ensure more effectiveness and efficiency in terms of monitoring as it pertains to the reporting process and the implementation of the recommendations of the different UN system mechanisms. This approach requires us to make a shift in the paradigm of reporting and monitoring as a "burden" or a "bureaucratic exercise" to the adoption of a more effective and efficient approach in this interaction. It should be based on the creation of permanent mechanisms for interagency coordination, the adoption of strategic plans specifically dedicated to the monitoring and preservation of institutional memory relating to the interaction in its various stages.
  • The Moroccan experience deserves to be highlighted as part of WFHR with regard to the evolution of the Kingdom interaction with the UN mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights:
  • Progressive ratification process from the 'hard core' of the conventional arsenal of HR: today Morocco is a party to all the instruments of this arsenal;
  • Creation of the Inter-ministerial Delegation for Human Rights (IHRL) as an interdepartmental coordination structure for HR issues with relevant responsibilities allowing to impact the government policy and the various public policies thereunder.
  • Adoption of a strategic plan for monitoring the recommendations of various UN HR mechanisms.

2. Variations of the Different Problems Inherent to the Interaction of the State with UN Mechanisms Likely to Be Discussed at the Forum.

- General issue (upstream) of the ‘implementation of international obligations of states’: Knowledge and understanding of international standards of Human Rights by ‘policy makers,’ those responsible for law enforcement, etc.

- Issues related to ‘Reporting':

Coordination between departments and with other stakeholders: building the capacity of public institutions and other national stakeholders.

Methodology for the preparation of national reports and different approaches (exclusive or inclusive)

Civil society capacity building.

- Issues related to the evaluation of the HR situation: “Indicators.”

- Issues related to monitoring and more specifically to the recommendations of the UN mechanisms:

Overlaps / categorizations of the recommendations / Prioritizing / Timeline of implementation.

Formulations of civil society recommendations and the role of the later in the monitoring process.

- Issues related to the format of "inter-governmental/ inter-ministerial mechanisms of coordination:" permanent / punctual, roles and responsibilities / mandate.

3. Objectives of the Forum.

- Exchange of experiences, best practices, ideas about possible innovations relating to different issues inherent to the interaction of the state with UN mechanisms;

- Discussion about the perspectives, challenges in today's world (digital era, webcast, 'participatory democracy');

- Elaborating a document (summary report) with the conclusions and recommendations to improve the processes of interaction and strengthen their tools.

4. Experts and Individuals Who May Be Involved.

  • National stakeholders

- IHRD: people who worked on national reports or documents submitted to the UN system.

- CNDH: people who worked on national reports or documents submitted to the UN system

- Local NGOs who have developed experience in alternative reporting.

- Local experts called upon to develop national reports (governmental or alternative).

- Representatives of States: Brazil, South Africa, Cameroon, Spain, Great Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, South Korea, Spain, USA.

  • Leaders and experts from OHCHR and monitoring mechanisms (TB, SP; UPR).
  • International NGOs with experience or expertise in reporting: UPR Info (Geneva-based), Universal Group (Geneva-based), Centre for Civil and Political Rights (Geneva- based).

5. Forum Format (Interactive discussion):

  • Podium: one representative of each stakeholder (government, UN-OHCHR, NGOs, NHRIs);
  • Presentation of the main issues of the interaction By two UN experts;
  • Case Presentation: Experiences of the States;
  • UN experts’ reaction;
  • Feedback from local and international NGOs;
  • NHRIs’ Feedback;
  • Summary report by an expert UN-OHCHR.