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
- Ideally there should be two interviewers, one to lead the interview and one to support.
- The lead interviewer should have expertise, status and knowledge relevant to the investigation.
- All documents should be organised before the interview starts, as well as any equipment, video recordings or notes that may be used during the interview.
- Interviews should take no more than three hours. Include time for breaks if it is necessary for the interview to be longer.
WHO SHOULD CONDUCT THE INTERVIEW?
The NHRI should choose an investigator who is best placed to lead an effective interview. They should have knowledge and understanding of the overall investigation, as well as the ability to establish a rapport with the witness.
In selecting the investigator, attention should be given to gender and culture. Consideration should also be given to the “status” of the investigator, as well as their knowledge of the particular field under investigation.
HOW MANY INVESTIGATORS SHOULD CONDUCT THE INTERVIEW?
It is generally best to have two investigators conduct an interview, including those done by telephone and/or Skype.
Interviewers have a lot to do during an interview, including:
- Asking questions
- Listening to the answers
- Watching body language
- Making notes
- Writing down the statement, if it is not being digitally voice recorded
- Ensuring that recording equipment is working properly
- Producing documents at the appropriate moment
- Crossing off questions as they are answered
- Developing questions as new information emerges.
When there are two investigators, one can concentrate on actively listening to the answers. They can focus fully on the interviewee, ensuring they feel heard and building rapport. The other investigator can look after everything else.
WHAT RESPONSIBILITIES DOES EACH INTERVIEWER HAVE?
The lead investigator:
- Covers the introduction
- Provides background information
- Asks the opening question
- Asks any specific questions not covered in introduction.
The second investigator:
- Makes dot points of what the interviewee says
- Writes down any new questions that arise
- Watches body language, nods and smiles
- Remains silent until the lead interviewer is finished and then the roles reverse.
Any materials, such as photographs or documents, should be organised before the interview starts and they should be in the order they are likely to be produced. Original documents should never be taken into an interview in case they are deliberately destroyed.
All electronic equipment – such as video cameras, voice recorders and so on – should be set up and tested beforehand.
It is a good idea to have a calendar available if the interview will discuss dates relating to a series of events. If diagrams or maps are to be used, they should be ready and to hand.
The interviewers should:
- Dress in a professional manner that respects the interviewee and the environment
- Take steps to prevent or minimise interruptions as they disrupt the flow of the interview
- Seat the interviewee where they feel most comfortable.
PHYSICAL SET-UP AND EQUIPMENT
If the interview is being conducted at a location where there is some control over the physical set-up of the room – such as the NHRI’s office – it may be possible to arrange the room to the investigator’s advantage. Safety should always be a key consideration.
The equipment to be used, if possible, should include:
- Two digital voice recorders (DVR), in case one breaks down or malfunctions
- Paper and pens, for notes and diagrams
- A camera to take photographs, particularly to record injury
- Water and glasses.
HOW LONG SHOULD THE INTERVIEW TAKE?
Make sure enough time has been set aside for the interview. Take as long as is needed, particularly with key witnesses. However, care needs to be taken that an interview does not take too long. Interviews should take no more than three hours or so. Include time for breaks if it is necessary for the interview to be longer.
Tips for Beginning the Interview
- Build on any rapport that has been developed: Make use of any information you have been able to gather, for example through an Internet search. If you know the person has a particular interest, casually bring that into the conversation.
- Put yourself at ease: The investigator should do whatever they need to do in order to feel at ease before the interview begins. A relaxed manner will usually be reflected in the quality of the interview
- Look for visual information: The investigator should look at the interview closely for any visual information that may be relevant; for example, clothing that reveals political or club affiliations, glasses, etc
- Explain the interview process: Repeat the personal introduction and explain again the purpose of the investigation. Tell the interviewee beforehand how the interview will be structured and encourage them to be as detailed as possible in their responses.
FIND OUT MORE
Chapter 13, Undertaking Effective Investigations: A Guide for National Human Rights Institutions (APF, revised 2018)