What NHRIs do
Complaints handling and investigation
Manual - Undertaking effective investigations
Requirements for an effective investigations team
Identifying issues and deciding whether to investigate
Planning an investigation
Setting up the interview
Organising the interview
Interviewing individuals who fall into a special category
Six principles for effective interviewing
Collecting physical evidence
Visiting a scene and collecting evidence
Writing an effective investigation report
Mainstreaming gender in NHRI investigations
Conducting Virtual Investigations
Conducting investigative interviews virtually
Mendez Principles on Effective Interviewing for Investigations
Engage with the international human rights framework
How NHRIs work
Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA)
SCA Rules of Procedure
Statement of Compliance (SOC) Template
SCA Procedure for Challenge Before the Bureau
SCA Practice Note 1 - Deferrals
SCA Practice Note 4 - NHRIs in Transition
SCA Practice Note 2 - Special Reviews
SCA Practice Note 5 - Sources of information to assess the performance of NHRIs
SCA Practice Note 3 - Assessing the Performance of NHRIs
A practical guide to the work of the SCA
Gender disaggregated data
Mental Health for NHRI Staff
Human rights issues
Human Rights Defenders (HRDs)
Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs)
Women Human Rights Defenders protection approaches
Global Report on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders
Establishing HRD focal point staff at NHRIs
Protection of Human Rights Defenders: Best practice and lessons learned
Report violations to the international human rights machinery on HRDs
NHRIs and the Protection of HRDs: Insights from Indonesia and Thailand
Secure management of information from HRDs
Monitoring the situation of HRDs: Case study from Kenya
NHRI reprisals as HRDs
Mongolia: Human Rights Defenders Law
The Situation Of Human Rights Defenders Working To Address Violence Based On Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity In Kenya
The Marrakech Declaration
The APF Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders 2019
Front Line Defenders 2020 Global Analysis
Operational Guidelines - Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders (RAP)
NHRIs are HRDs
What is an Early Warning System (EWS) for HRDs?
Defining Human Rights Focal Points
Model law on Human Rights Defenders
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders 2016
Countering narratives against HRDs
UN declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs)
Business and Human Rights (BHR)
Emergency measures and COVID 19 - guidance document
The human rights dimensions of COVID-19
COVID-19 and NHRIs study
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Guiding principles on internal displacement
Handbook for the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons
The Pinheiro Principles
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC)
Understanding sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
Being L, G and B in Asia Pacific
Being transgender in Asia Pacific
Being intersex in Asia Pacific
International and regional developments in human rights law
The Yogyakarta Principles
The APF’s response to the Yogyakarta Principles
What more NHRIs can do
COVID-19 & LBGTI people
The right to a healthy environment
Intergovernmental mechanisms project (IGM)
Fact Sheet Series - Engaging with IGMs on the right to a healthy environment and climate change
IGM Fact Sheet 1 - NHRIs: Trusted partners for change
IGM Fact Sheet 2 - Introducing the right to a healthy environment
IGM Fact Sheet 3 - ASEAN and human rights
IGM Fact Sheet 4 - The Pacific Islands Forum
IGM Fact Sheet 5 - Climate change and human rights
IGM Fact Sheet 6 - The Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights
Introducing the Intergovernmental Mechanisms Project
IGM Project - Baseline Assessment
NHRI engagement with regional mechanisms
NHRIs and environmental rights course
The human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment - HRC resolution
The Framework Principles on Human Rights and the Environment
How are human rights impacted by climate change?
The Aarhus Convention
The UN Special Rapportuer on the Right to a Healthy Environment
The Human Rights to Healthy Environment in Southeast Asia: National Human Rights Institutions
Escazú Regional Agreement
Human rights and climate change
Compendium of actions to address climate change and protect human rights
GANHRI Statement - Climate Change: The role of National Human Rights Institutions
Addressing Climate Change – UN Special Procedures
NHRI COP26 Symposium
Practical Guidance for NHRIs on Climate Change
Climate change and Human Rights: Contributions from NHRIs
Climate mobility and displacement
NHRIs in Humanitarian action
International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
Humanitarian action definition and terms
Human Rights Based Approach to disaster management in New Zealand
CHR Philippines and Typhoon Yolanda
Integrating humanitarian action into general operations - Philippines Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
Gender considerations in humanitarian action
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
IASC Operational Guidelines on Protection of Persons in Natural Disasters
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
IASC Guidelines on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action
Vulernable groups in humanitarian emergencies
Humanitarian principles and standards
Updated by Faso Aishath
- Identify what issues the matter raises and decide which issues, if any, will be investigated.
- Be able to justify the reasons for the decision.
- Determine if there are any underlying systemic issues.
Before the NHRI launches an investigation, it should decide exactly what it is, and what it is not, investigating.
As the NHRI reviews a complaint or a matter that has been brought to its attention, the first thing it should do is identify the human rights issue/s involved.
The NHRI then needs to determine:
- Do the issues fall within the NHRI’s mandate?
- How will they be framed?
- What will be investigated?
- What will not be investigated?
A human rights-based tool – such as the FAIR Approach – can help guide this assessment. The gender dimensions raised in the complaint must also be considered.
The FAIR Approach: Applying human rights to practice
The four key steps of the FAIR Approach are:
- Facts: What is the experience of those involved and what are the important facts to understand?
- Analyse rights: Develop an analysis of the human rights at stake
- Identify responsibilities: Identify what needs to be done and who is responsible for doing it
- Review actions: Make recommendations for action and later recall and evaluate what has happened as a result
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SELECTING ISSUES
- Be specific: Keep the issue/s as focused as possible.
- Keep an open mind: Good investigators do not rule anything out until they have sufficient evidence to do so.
- Prioritise: If there is more than one issue apparent or being alleged, identify which is the most important and rank the remaining ones in order.
- Manage expectations: Clearly set out the scope of the investigation, including any limits on what is being investigated.
- Consult: Get input from others who may have relevant knowledge when framing the issues to be investigated.
KEY QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Once the NHRI has determined the human rights issue/s involved, it must be able to explain why it will investigate the matter. Just as importantly, it should be able to explain why it will not undertake an investigation, if that is the decision made.
The following questions can assist the NHRI as it considers what issues it will investigate and why:
- Does the NHRI have the jurisdiction/mandate?
- Does the NHRI have the resources to do the investigation properly and within a reasonable period of time?
- Would an investigation be an effective use of those resources?
- Is another body investigating the matter, or should one be?
- Is an investigation in the public interest?
- Have there been a number of similar complaints?
- How old is the issue?
- Is there a lot at stake?
- How will the decision to investigate, or not investigate, reflect on the NHRI?
- Is the complaint malicious, frivolous or vexatious?
IDENTIFYING SYSTEMIC ISSUES
A systemic issue may be the root cause of widespread human rights violations. In this situation, the NHRI may be able to resolve an individual complaint but if it ignores the underlying issue/s, it will continue to receive similar complaints.
The NHRI should identify any possible systemic issue/s before launching an investigation.
The APF’s manual on national inquiries discusses how to choose the issue that will be the subject of the national inquiry, as well as the criteria that should be considered when making that choice, including:
- How objectively significant the issue is in the country
- How strong public perception is of the significance of the issue
- Whether the issue has been the subject of a previous inquires or investigations
- How much external commitment there is to addressing the issue
- The potential that exists to build broader, long-term public interest in the issue.
FIND OUT MORE
Chapter 4, Undertaking Effective Investigations: A Guide for National Human Rights Institutions (APF, revised 2018)
Chapter 3, Manual on Conducting a National Inquiry into Systemic Patterns of Human Rights Violation (APF, revised 2019)