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
What is an Early Warning System (EWS) for HRDs?
An ‘Early Warning System’ (EWS) is an apparatus put in place to monitor, detect, and predict situations where HRDs may be vulnerable or at risk.
An EWS can alert the NHRI of potential future violations when threats are identified so the NHRI can take action to prevent or respond to those threats. Since an EWS functions chiefly by analysing data and predetermined indicators, it can detect patterns, potential protection crises, factors that motivate attacks, as well as periods and areas of greatest vulnerability.
Developing an EWS is a key national action (4) of the APF Regional Action Plan for Human Rights Defenders (RAP).
Importance of an EWS
HRDs have stressed the importance of preventive rather than reactive measures.
With prior information and constant monitoring, it is possible to detect threats at an earlier stage and act promptly with the intention of preventing, rather than responding to, attacks and violations. Beyond preventing specific attacks, an EWS may track attacks on HRDs and analyse patterns.
The resulting information can be used to guide human-rights oriented public policy, it can also change the culture of civilian security, from one of responsiveness and improvisation, to a culture of prevention.
NHRIs can also bring this information to the attention of the international community.
“It is essential that an EWS responds to the national context and the specific risks HRDs face, which means that the system itself will vary greatly from one country to another. Any EWS seeking to prevent violations against HRDs, should be staffed with qualified personnel trained on risks faced by HRDs, and who understand the context in which they work, and who have an understanding of the adequate methods of addressing those risks.”
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
There are three main categories for the functions of an EWS
The monitoring phase is intended to detect potential risks, and includes obtaining data from the ground, from the context in which HRDs carry out their activities. The data obtained is analysed and registered according to a predetermined set of indicators and subsequently analysed and reported so that actions can be taken
- Analysing information (risk assessment)
Practical guidance on the monitoring and analysing phases are elaborated in National Action 5 on Monitoring violations, specifically on subsection III “Collect disaggregated data on violations from HRDs networks and other community sources”
Once data is collected, risks identified and analysed, the EWS should alert relevant stakeholders, chiefly those who can protect the HRDs at risk. This may include national, regional and international authorities. If deemed appropriate, the alert may be made public.
Once actions have been taken to minimise the identified risk, it is important that the EWS follows up to verify if measures taken were actually effective. If agreements were reached between different parties, it is necessary to verify that these have been complied with. If the risk hasn’t completely subsided, the EWS could coordinate with competent authorities what new actions should be taken, or take new actions on its own.
Other aspects of an EWS
Reporting on violations
NHRIs can report on violations of HRDs, referring to specific cases or to the general context, to bring attention to their situation. Reports can serve advocacy or litigation campaigns at national, regional and international levels, and can include recommendations to authorities, aimed at achieving structural change.
EWS can play a role in coordinating intervention by various entities to protect HRDs. For example, in cases of land conflicts, NHRIs can play a role in obtaining protection for affected communities, alerting national and international stakeholders of potential human rights violations, and contacting translators and culturally-sensitive mediators to facilitate communication and defuse tensions. Cooperation with security forces and justice operators (investigators, prosecutors) can also be valuable.
Independent investigations and access to justice
Some NHRIs also carry out independent investigations of violations suffered by HRDs and support victims in taking legal action. If appropriate, results from independent investigations can be shared with competent authorities in charge of prosecution.
Financial assistance can be essential for HRDs to evade risk. Grants can be provided to support HRDs to cover essential expenses, such as secure communication, humanitarian assistance, medical, legal, travel, relocation, equipment replacement, transportation, monitoring, administrative, advocacy campaigns’, training activities or capacity strengthening.
Responses of rapid response teams
Elaborated further below, teams specifically designed to provide an urgent and immediate protection can help minimise risk.
Protection measures are usually granted by a protection mechanism that can be housed within an NHRI. NHRIs may also support HRDs in requesting protection measures from other authorities (such as regional human rights bodies). While these measures vary, some common measures include: protective accompaniment, regular contact and visits with HRDs, trial monitoring, urgent appeals, public statements, emergency grants, and relocation initiatives.