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
- The investigation report should aim to educate and persuade.
- The report should include an introduction, background and findings and recommendations
- The report should clearly explain how the conclusions have been reached.
- Keep the report as short and as clear as possible and avoid any hint of bias.
The report of the investigation prepared by the NHRI, generally seeks to do two things:
- Educate and inform decision makers and the public by shining a spotlight on a human rights violation; the report explains what has happened or what is happening.
- Persuade the reader that the NHRI’s findings are sound and its recommendations are valid and should be implemented. This is where the NHRI becomes an advocate, based on the facts and the law.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF REPORT WRITING
Decision makers and the public are inundated with reports and information. It is important then that the NHRI is able to present a clear and compelling report.
Some tips to achieve this outcome include:
- Think strategically, including by writing in a way that appeals to your intended audience.
- Create a framework before you start to write the report.
- Write as you go. Add content to the framework as the investigation progresses.
- Leave the analysis and recommendations until the end.
WRITING AS QUALITY CONTROL
Writing a report is an excellent way of identifying what information has been missed in the fact-finding phase of the investigation. There will usually be something missing, even for the very best investigator. It might be questions that a witness was not asked or a document that was overlooked. Any gaps and shortcomings will quickly become apparent as an investigator begins to write the report.
HOW TO STRUCTURE THE NARRATIVE
No two investigative reports are exactly the same. However, if the goal is to describe what happened during a specific incident, then the structure used for writing the report is usually reasonably straightforward.
This structure has a beginning, middle and an end. It is simple, effective and flexible.
- Introduction: Explains what is being investigated and why.
- How the evidence was gathered: Demonstrates that the investigation was thorough, professional and fact-based.
- Background: Provides a brief overall context for the investigation and explains why the NHRI launched the investigation
- What happened before the incident? Gives a brief account of any relevant events leading up to the incident
- What happened during the incident? Provides a chronological account of what happened during the incident, which is supported by witness statements and/or physical, digital or other sources of evidence.
- What happened after the incident? Describes what happened to all parties immediately after the incident. This section should include the details and results of any forensic processing and results.
- Findings and recommendations: The report should focus on the actual facts of the investigation until the final section on findings and recommendations. Avoid opinion and adjectives.
HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR ANALYSIS
It can be quite a challenge to organise the evidence and develop a clear rationale for reaching findings and proposing recommendations, particularly in complex, multifaceted cases where there are a number of competing interests.
Issue: What is the issue that is the subject of the report?
Rules: What are the rules that apply to the issue?
The investigators should set out any human rights laws and standards that are relevant to what is being investigated.
Analysis: How do the rules apply, based on the facts?
The investigator sets out the relevant facts and then applies the rule/s to them. As this is done, the investigator will be able to develop an answer to the issue, based on the rule.
Conclusion: What is the conclusion to respond to the issues raised in the investigation?
WRITING A REPORT OF AN INVESTIGATION INTO A SYSTEMIC ISSUE
Writing a report of an investigation into a systemic issue can be more complex. The investigator will likely have to juggle multiple issues, some of which overlap. Any number of separate events may have to be explained and analysed.
One approach is to organise the report by themes, each of which may include a number of interrelated issues.
TIPS FOR GOOD WRITING
Good writing is about communicating clearly with your audience. Here are some general tips for writing an effective report.
- Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
- Use “active” language where possible; for example, “The investigator writes the report” is better than “The report is written by the investigator”.
- Use headings, sub-headings and text boxes to break up the text.
- Have someone else read the draft report, especially someone who is not familiar with the investigation, to ensure the information is clear and the analysis and recommendations make sense.
- Edit well to ensure accuracy and clarity.
FIND OUT MORE
Chapters 26, Undertaking Effective Investigations: A Guide for National Human Rights Institutions (APF, revised 2018)