Thematic Priorities - Office of the High Commissioner for Human ...

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Thematic Priorities - Office of the High Commissioner for Human ...

DiscriminationCountering discrimination,in particular racialdiscrimination,discrimination on thegrounds of sex, religionand against others whoare marginalizedBackgroundThe elimination of all forms of discrimination hasbeen one of the objectives of the United Nations sinceits creation. While ratification of key internationalinstruments is steadily increasing, effectiveimplementation at the national level remains amajor challenge. In far too many countries andcommunities, people continue to be excluded,marginalized or restricted in terms of exercising theirhuman rights.There has, nevertheless, been incremental progressmade in combating racism, discrimination,xenophobia and related intolerance, largely throughthe enactment or amendment of constitutionalprotection frameworks and domestic legislation.These steps are crucial for the protection of rightsand providing avenues for remedy and redress. Yettangible progress can only be achieved throughthe implementation and enforcement of these laws,which must be supplemented by the appropriatepolitical will and addressing the structural causesof discrimination. In some cases, it is the lawsthemselves - or the institutions and the practices -which are discriminatory.OHCHR’s roleOHCHR leads the work of the United Nationsin preventing and combating discrimination andpromoting equality and universal respect for humanrights and fundamental freedoms. The Officeadvocates for, promotes and supports reforms,including through the provision of technical adviceand assistance to States seeking to implement their16 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATIONWomen leaders of Krinding camp for internally displacedpersons in El Geneina, West Darfur, June 2012.© UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez FarranOHCHR REPORT 2012 17


DISCRIMINATIONinternational obligations and the recommendationsissued by human rights bodies and mechanisms.OHCHR also supports the efforts of national humanrights institutions (NHRIs), specialized equalitybodies, civil society, individuals and groups facingdiscrimination.The Office provides the international humanrights mechanisms with substantive and technicalsecretariat support. It works for the empowermentof groups and individuals facing discrimination byfacilitating their participation in relevant activities,carries out projects to strengthen their capacityto claim their rights and supports grassroots andcommunity-based efforts to combat discrimination.OHCHR is also mainstreaming the principles ofequality and non-discrimination throughout the workof the UN system at the global, regional and nationallevels.National laws, policies and institutions (EA 1)Increased number of national anti-discriminationand equality laws, administrative measures, policiesand programmes, including national action plans,as well as practices in compliance with internationalnorms and standardsRacial discriminationOHCHR works with governments on the formulation,adoption or revision of draft legislation and policies,as well as on institution-building and institutionalreform. OHCHR also provides human rights expertiseand advice, supports civil society organizations intheir advocacy efforts, assists United Nations CountryTeams (UNCTs) in providing comments on draft lawsand engages with a number of international humanrights mechanisms to advocate for the adoption oflaws which are in compliance with the InternationalConvention on the Elimination of All Forms of RacialDiscrimination (ICERD).Following five years of OHCHR’s engagementwith the Government and civil society actors, theRepublic of Moldova adopted a comprehensiveanti-discrimination law in May. As a result ofOHCHR engagement, the Government committed toimplementing a comprehensive ban on discrimination.In Ukraine, following recommendations issued bythe treaty bodies, OHCHR cooperated with partnersfrom international organizations, civil society and theOmbudsman Institution to generate momentum forthe adoption of a comprehensive anti-discriminationlaw, which was passed by Parliament on 6 September2012.In Kosovo 1 , OHCHR continued to support theadoption of amendments to the Anti-DiscriminationLaw, including in relation to the establishment ofan efficient monitoring mechanism, which couldimprove implementation of this law.In Ecuador, OHCHR contributed to progress madein the process to negotiate agreements between theMinistry of Justice, Human Rights and Cults and theMinistry of Coordination of Heritage and each Stateinstitution for the implementation of the trainingmodules on collective rights.OHCHR continued to provide advice on and supportto Member States in the formulation of nationalpolicies and programmes, including national actionplans to eradicate racism, discrimination and promoteequality. Support aimed at developing national actionplans was provided to Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso,Costa Rica, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.In Bolivia, the National Committee against Racismand All Forms of Discrimination adopted its ActionPlan in February 2012. Burkina Faso finalizedits draft National Action Plan which envisagesawareness-raising and human rights educationcampaigns, protection against acts of racialdiscrimination through the strengthening of thejudiciary and the improvement of access to justiceby victims. In Mauritania, the programme for theNational Plan of Action and Good Practices againstRacial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Intolerancewas launched on 26 November 2012. A NationalManagement Committee was established to overseethe development of the Plan in 2013.Indigenous peoplesIn several countries in South America, OHCHRsupported the process of adoption of new legislationrelated to the rights of indigenous peoples.On 8 August 2012, the Government of Chilepresented a draft decree on the regulation ofconsultation processes with indigenous peoples andcalled on the indigenous communities of the countryto present their observations and comments beforethe end of the year. With support from OHCHR,the Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples1Reference to Kosovo should be understood in full compliance withUnited Nations Security Council resolution 1244 and withoutprejudice to the status of Kosovo.18 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATIONOHCHR staff monitoring a consultation on the rights of indigenouspeople in the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory(TIPNIS) in Bolivia.prepared a public report presenting his commentson the draft regulation. The report was shared withthe Government and approximately 250 indigenousleaders. Discussions between Governmentalauthorities and indigenous representatives areproceeding on a more equal footing.Cameroon is in the process of enacting a law on thepromotion and protection of indigenous peoples.Government representatives and other stakeholderswere sensitized on the rights of indigenous peoplesthrough two OHCHR seminars and one ILO expertmeeting on the ratification of the ILO Conventionsrelated to indigenous peoples.In May, OHCHR issued guidelines on indigenouspeoples in voluntary isolation and initial contactin the Amazon Basin and El Chaco. This followedfrom a series of consultations held in the region tosupport the formulation of national policies thatare rooted in a principle of protection. Further tohigh-level launching events in Colombia, Ecuador,Paraguay and Peru, several initiatives are nowbeing implemented, with support from OHCHRfield presences and in cooperation with relevantauthorities, to promote this new tool and its practicalimplementation. These activities have alreadyinfluenced decision-making processes at the nationallevel and helped to ensure that legislation, policiesand programmes related to indigenous peoples livingin voluntary isolation are in line with internationalhuman rights standards, i.e., the Bolivian draft Lawon Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation andInitial Contact.In Ecuador, OHCHR published a Training ofTrainers’ Guide on the Collective Rights of thePeoples and Nationalities of Ecuador, tailored to© OHCHR/Boliviathe judiciary, the Ombudsman’s Office, the nationalpolice and the armed forces.In Guatemala, staff from the Ministry of Energy andMining (MEM) enhanced their knowledge throughtwo OHCHR trainings on international human rightsstandards and the rights of indigenous peoples,particularly regarding the obligation of States toconsult with indigenous peoples. Following thesecapacity strengthening activities and meetings withthe Vice-Ministry of Sustainable Development, theMEM is working with other Ministries to initiate adialogue process with indigenous communities thatwould be affected by a hydroelectric project and amining operation.On 30 June, the Plurinational Constitutional Court(PCC) of Bolivia issued a milestone decision regardingthe right of indigenous peoples to consultation,specifically the indigenous communities living in theIsiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory(TIPNIS). OHCHR played a key role in assisting thePCC to develop its doctrinal knowledge on the subjectthrough training activities and a seminar with expertsfrom other countries, such as Colombia, Mexico andSpain. During these events, 130 participants, whichincluded judges and judicial officials from the PCC,enhanced their knowledge on the right of indigenouspeoples to consultation.© OHCHR/Central AmericaA participant at an OHCHR workshop for indigenous women inPanama.OHCHR REPORT 2012 19


DISCRIMINATION© EPA/Mak RemissaProtestors from the ASEAN grassroots People’s Assembly tape their mouths to call for human rights and democracy after a march toParliament in Phnom Penh Cambodia, November 2012. Cambodia hosted the 21st Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summitfrom 15-20 November 2012.Discrimination against women in law and practiceOHCHR promoted the adoption of laws to ensureequality of treatment, opportunity and access ofwomen and men as part of its efforts to increase theparticipation of women in decision-making and theremoval of discriminatory laws. The Office providedtechnical advice on legislation and policy formulationand carried out advocacy activities, in cooperation withother actors, targeting governments and other partners.In November, the United Nations Assistance Missionin Afghanistan (UNAMA) released a report entitledStill a long way to go: implementation of the Lawon the Elimination of Violence against Womenin Afghanistan (EVAW). The report analysedimplementation of the EVAW Law from October 2011to September 2012 and noted an increase in thereporting of incidents of violence against women toentities such as the Afghanistan Independent HumanRights Commission and provincial departments ofwomen’s affairs. This increase in reporting is anencouraging sign that the efforts of civil societyorganizations, the Government and internationalactors have increased public awareness about andsensitization to the issue of violence against women,its harmful and criminal consequences and women’srights in general. Application of the EVAW Law,however, continued to be hampered by dramaticunder-reporting and a failure to investigate most ofthe reported incidents of violence against women.UNAMA/OHCHR, in conjunction with its counterparts,facilitated consultations on the issue of women’sshelters. The much-needed protection of victims ofviolence against women in these safe houses wasthreatened due to a growing perception by someelements that the shelters are promoting immoralactivities and should be closed down or managed bythe Government. As a result of these consultationsand concerted advocacy efforts, the Bill on theRegulation of Women Protection Centres (May 2011)was revised to incorporate the recommendations ofwomen’s groups, the shelter operators and activists.In Kosovo, OHCHR and the Gender-Based ViolenceUN Kosovo Team (UNKT) Task Force providedsubstantial comments on draft amendments to theGender Equality Law. The comments were analysedby the Legal Office/Office of the Prime Ministerwhich announced that a consultation with UNKTwill be organized in 2013 to discuss the proposedamendments and that recommendations would beincorporated in the draft.The Plurinational Legislative Assembly of Boliviaadopted two important laws related to women’srights: Law 243 on Harassment and Political Violenceagainst Women and Comprehensive Law 263 againstTrafficking of Persons, both of which are in linewith the Constitution and international human rightsconventions. In addition, OHCHR provided technicalassistance to the Alliance for the Legislative Agendafor Women regarding the drafting and revisionof the above-noted laws and the implementationof recommendations made by the Committee onthe Elimination of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) in its concluding observations (N˚ 27 and31) to the Bolivian State.20 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATIONOHCHR provided logistical support and substantiveadvice to the 11th International Conference of NationalHuman Rights Institutions and its Drafting Committee,held in Jordan in November. The Conference focusedon The human rights of women and girls: Promotinggender equality. Participants adopted the AmmanDeclaration and Programme of Action, along withregional action plans, and a firm commitment wasmade by NHRIs to increase their efforts to promoteand protect the human rights of women.OHCHR contributed to awareness-raising activitieson the implementation of Security Council resolution1325 in Senegal. The Office provided technicalassistance on the elaboration of the nationalpolicy on gender and HIV and sensitized womenparliamentarians on State institutions, the rule oflaw and the importance of mainstreaming genderin parliamentary debates relating to the formulationof the national budget. This was done in closepartnership with the Ministry of Justice and theAssociation of Women Lawyers.In other countries, specifically Burkina Faso and theGambia, national action plans were developed for theimplementation of Security Council resolutions 1325and 1820. In both cases, OHCHR provided technicaland financial support to the key lead ministries bygiving feedback on the draft action plans and byparticipating in the validation workshops.OHCHR released a publication on Women and theRight to Adequate Housing which provides analysis,conceptual and technical guidance with respectto the enjoyment of this right by women and itsgender specific dimensions. By providing positiveexamples and drawing on the extensive work of thehuman rights mechanisms, the publication servesas an effective tool for human rights advocates,policymakers and other stakeholders to improve theenjoyment of this right by women.Sexual orientationOHCHR called on governments to ensure thatspecific draft legislation related to sexual orientationwas in compliance with human rights standards. Inparticular, communications were sent to Cameroon,Nigeria and Uganda, requesting that they reviewdraft legislation affecting the rights of homosexuals.OHCHR finalized a publication to provide MemberStates and other stakeholders with a tool to assistin the establishment or strengthening of nationalmechanisms for the promotion, protection andmonitoring of steps taken to combat racism, racialdiscrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.The publication will be released in early 2013.Persons with disabilitiesThe growing number of ratifications of theConvention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(CPRD) led to an increase in requests for trainingcourses to build the capacity of national stakeholders,such as representatives of governments, civil society,including organizations of persons with disabilities,national human rights institutions and others.Raising awareness of the importance of aligningnational anti-discrimination legislation with the CRPDremained one of the key areas of OHCHR’s work ondisability rights in 2012. OHCHR provided assistanceand support to States Parties in reviewing nationallegislation and policies on discrimination againstpersons with disabilities to ensure their compliancewith the CRPD.Over 20 OHCHR human rights field presencesnow actively promote the rights of persons withdisabilities, including by focusing on law and policyreform. A seminar organized by the Office in Lusaka,Zambia, in October 2012, for representatives ofgovernments, civil society and national human rightsinstitutions from 11 countries in the subregion led tothe adoption of the Southern African Declaration of2012 on the Implementation of the Convention on theRights of Persons with Disabilities.In November, the South Darfur legislature passedthe State Act for Disabled Persons following theratification of the International Convention for theDisabled in 2008 as well as the enactment of thelocal Disabled Act in 2009.© OHCHR/Sierra LeoneWorkshop on political participation of persons with disabilitiesfacilitated by the Human Rights Section of UNIPSIL and OHCHR,October 2012.OHCHR REPORT 2012 21


DISCRIMINATIONOHCHR continued to assist States Parties toimplement their obligations under the CRPD,including those concerning the establishment ofa national independent monitoring mechanism topromote, protect and monitor implementation of theConvention (art. 33 (2)). For example, the humanrights presence in the former Yugoslav Republicof Macedonia supported the establishment, inNovember, of a National Coordination Body for theImplementation of the CRPD.Sierra Leone made progress on implementing the2011 Persons with Disability Act by establishing aNational Commission for Persons with Disabilities(NCPD) in August 2012. The Human Rights Section(HRS) of the United Nations Integrated PeacebuildingMission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) played a pivotalrole in the establishment of the NCPD, includingthrough the establishment of the TechnicalCommittee on Disabilities, the drafting of a roadmapwhich was endorsed by the Minister of SocialWelfare, Gender and Children Affairs (MSWGCA),and technical support provided to the MSWGCA andother relevant actors.The rights of persons with disabilities in MoldovaThe Cebotari family is of Romani ethnicity and includesa mother of retirement age and four adult children. Allmembers of the family have grade one disability. Theylive together in a substandard, one-room house in thenorthern town of Drochia, which serves as a living space,kitchen and bathroom. Since 2007, the Cebotary familyhad repeatedly requested social assistance from thepublic authorities. Although some emergency assistancewas allocated on a one-off basis, their requests wereconsistently refused. The family remained extremelymarginalised, in housing which threatened their health.In June 2012, the Human Rights Adviser receiveda complaint from the Cebotari family stating thatthe authorities were ignoring the needs of peoplewith disabilities of Roma ethnicity. Following adocumentation visit conducted to the Cebotari’shouse, he raised concerns related to their case invarious relevant forums. As a result, in November2012, the Ministry of Construction and the RegionalCouncil of Drochia initiated, in June, the building ofa new house for the Cebotari family, scheduled forcompletion in the first half of 2013.In related events, work by the Human Rights Adviserand UN Women resulted in the installation of waterinfrastructure in the very excluded Romani slum ofSchinoasa, outside the town of Tibirica, Calarasi County.Through an OHCHR advocacy project in theRussian Federation, the Regional Organizationof Persons with Disabilities, Perspektiva, and itspartners increased the awareness of over 400stakeholders, including government officials,educational workers, legislators, disability NGOactivists and experts, journalists, students, peoplewith disabilities and members of their families,regarding the CRPD (particularly article 24), andamendments that are required in national legislationand policies. As a result of the public discourseheld in relation to the draft Federal Law OnEducation in the Russian Federation the draft refersto the “inclusive and integrated education of peoplewith disabilities,” and stresses that the State mustcreate the necessary conditions for high-qualityeducation without discrimination for persons withdisabilities.In Iraq, the Human Rights Section of the UnitedNations Assistance Mission for Iraq, together withthe Council of Representatives and the Iraqi Allianceof Disability Organizations, held a conference onthe implementation of the CRPD which resulted inthe presentation of over 50 recommendations tothe Government and Council of Representatives toensure implementation of the rights of persons withdisabilities.OHCHR published a new training package onthe CRPD and its Optional Protocol which seeksto provide basic information on a human rightsbasedapproach to disability, discrimination on thebasis of disability, the fundamental elements ofthe Convention and its Optional Protocol and theprocesses and issues underlying their ratification,implementation and monitoring. Organizations ofpersons with disabilities and other civil society actorshave reportedly used the materials in various trainingcourses, briefings and seminars.Persons living with HIV/AIDS, stigma andmarginalizationThe Parliament of Moldova adopted amendmentsto the 2005 Law on HIV/AIDS which considerablystrengthened guarantees concerning nondiscriminationof individuals with HIV/AIDS, privacyrelated to medical treatment, confidentiality ofinformation and data protection. OHCHR providedcomments on the content of the draft Law andworked with the Special Rapporteur on the right tohealth, who communicated with the Governmentduring the initial drafting process.22 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATION© OHCHR/Moldovathis topic was circulated to NHRIs in all regions and“road-tested” in practice, including through trainingfor NHRI officials in Namibia.Access to justice and basic services (EA 4)Increased number of measures taken to contribute tothe fulfilment of economic, social and cultural rightsby individuals and groups facing discriminationCommunity meeting with the mayor of Otaci, Republic of Moldova,to address the issue of the segregation of Roma students in a schoolof the town, November 2012.Increased number of specialized equality bodies,focal points and independent national humanrights institutions, working on equality and nondiscrimination,in accordance with internationalstandardsIn Kenya, the three Article 59 Commissions,together with the other 11 ConstitutionalCommissions, came together for the first time tocreate a common platform for the complementaryimplementation of their respective mandates toprotect the rights and sovereignty of the people,as envisaged under Chapter 15 of the 2010Constitution. OHCHR supported these efforts byconvening the first Constitutional CommissionsRetreat that mapped out and addressed areas ofoverlap for the realization of rights enshrinedin the Constitution, particularly in the area ofdiscrimination.The Government of Afghanistan made some gainsin the implementation and enforcement of the2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence againstWomen (EVAW) and demonstrated its commitmentto support the protection of women’s rights.Family Response Units were created in the AfghanNational Police and Gender Units were establishedin various Government ministries and departments.UNAMA/OHCHR assisted provincial governorsand departments of women’s affairs in establishingprovincial commissions on the elimination ofviolence against women (CoEVAW) and conductedawareness-raising programs for law enforcementofficials in many provinces.OHCHR developed guidance for NHRIs on how toadvance the principles of the Declaration on theRights of Indigenous Peoples. A draft handbook onWith the support of OHCHR, the ColombianMinistry of Education developed a programmethat contributed to the transformation of learningenvironments by promoting the competencies ofchildren and youngsters to be active rights-holderswithin their families, schools and communities. TheNational Human Rights Education Plan (Planedh)project had a direct impact in 25 municipalitiesof five departments that were chosen as pilotenvironments. The project integrated teachertraining policies and human rights educationprogrammes into municipal and departmentaldevelopment plans. The capacities of 250teachers from 125 educational institutions werestrengthened.On 5 and 6 March 2012, in Lima, Peru, theSpecial Rapporteur on the rights of indigenouspeoples met with indigenous representatives andrepresentatives of the Congress of Peru on theprinciple of free, prior and informed consent in thecontext of extractive industries. His interventionprovided guidance on the principle of consultationand consent with indigenous peoples andaddressed concerns regarding a draft regulation onconsultation with indigenous peoples, which wassubsequently adopted by the Government.On 22 June 2012, the Government of the Republicof Moldova decided to amend the 2007 Law onprophylaxis of HIV/AIDS infection, strengthenedprohibitions on HIV-related discrimination in theworkplace and removed mandatory HIV testingfor non-nationals and couples before marriagein line with the recommendation of the SpecialRapporteur on the right to health. On 4 December,the Government acted on issues raised by theSpecial Rapporteur, followed up on by the OHCHRfield office and the UNCT, to improve privacy,confidentiality and data protection for personsliving with HIV/AIDS, including by ordering theremoval of the possibility of access to personal databy epidemiologists, and establishing that only thefamily doctor may have access to the personal filesof the person concerned with her informed consent(opt-in modalities).OHCHR REPORT 2012 23


DISCRIMINATIONIn Iraq, members of the Council of Representatives,the Government, judiciary and civil societyenhanced their knowledge on the rights ofminorities and made recommendations on legal,institutional and policy reforms aimed at ensuringthe full and equal participation of minorities in thepolitical, social and economic life of the countryduring three OHCHR/UNAMI seminars (in Basra,Baghdad and Erbil).In the United States of America, the sale ofland which is sacred to the Lakota and Dakotaindigenous people was cancelled following acomprehensive public awareness campaign. Thecampaign included a press release by the SpecialRapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoplescalling on the Government and authorities in SouthDakota to promote consultations with indigenouspeoples. A version of the Special Rapporteur’s pressrelease that was made public on Twitter was retweetedover one million times.In cooperation with the Cambodian Governmentand ILO, OHCHR supported the indigenous peoples’legal entity registration as a step towards applyingfor collective land title in Cambodia. OHCHRassisted in this effort by contributing to increasedunderstanding among relevant ministries andindigenous communities on the legal frameworkprotecting the human rights of indigenous persons.OHCHR supported specific projects in seven Phnongvillages and five Suoy villages.Participation (EA 5)Increased effective participation of individuals andgroups faced with discrimination in decision-makingprocesses, monitoring of public policies and use ofexisting national protection systems.Participation in the monitoring of public policiesand decision-making processes is essential for theexercise of human rights. OHCHR places particularemphasis on strengthening the participation ofwomen in these processes.OHCHR’s report on participation of persons withdisabilities in political and public life (A/HRC/19/36),mandated by the Human Rights Council, has beenused in advocacy efforts with Government officialsand parliamentarians to lift restrictions on the rightto vote of persons with disabilities. Many MemberStates commended its practicality in making votingprocedures more accessible to persons withdisabilities.Restoring land to the Kaqchikel community of Chuarrancho (Guatemala)On November 2012, a court rulingrestored the property of 4,185hectares to the Kaqchikel Mayacommunity of Chuarrancho, in thecentral area of Guatemala. Thisdecision represents a two-fold victoryfor indigenous peoples in the country,as it provides a legal basis for boththe recognition of ancestral lands andindigenous forms of organisation.“The court ruling benefits over 5,000families living in the community”,says young indigenous leader SantosAlvarado, president of the indigenouscommunity of Chuarrancho. “It isan important achievement becausenow we have autonomy over our ownterritory”, he remarks.During the pre-hispanic era,the indigenous community ofChuarrancho constituted an Amaq(political fraction) of the ChajomaNation. After being subjected tocolonization and being robbed oftheir land by the conquerors, in1759 the indigenous peoples ofChuarrancho bought back 4,185hectares of their ancestral landsfrom the Spanish Crown. Althoughthis purchase was recognized by thesubsequent Guatemalan authorities,the land was registered underownership of the Municipality ofChuarrancho in 2001, when therecords were digitalized.The community of Chuarrancho,with support and advice ofCOMKADES -a beneficiary NGO ofthe Maya Programme- registeredtheir legal status as an indigenouscommunity and then presented anappeal, claiming the change in theland registry was unconstitutionaland contrary to internationalhuman rights standards. “Thanksto the support of COMKADES, weorganized ourselves as an indigenouscommunity and got advice on howto recover our land”, says Alvarado.In the framework of the MayaProgramme, OHCHR-Guatemalaprovides training for strategic humanrights litigation on indigenouspeoples’ rights to indigenousorganizations, university studentsand professors. Resulting fromthese trainings, a total of 18 casesof strategic litigations have beenfiled, focusing on the rights to land,territory and natural resources,consultation, self-determineddevelopments, identity, freedomof expression and communication,intercultural bilingual education,non-discrimination and free accessto sacred places. To date, two caseshave received a favourable ruling,while the other 16 remain open.24 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATIONOHCHR and a local NGO produced a report onthe rights of ethnic minorities in Tajikistan. A pilotminority voter education campaign was held toinform and educate minority voters about theimportance of political participation in the 2012local elections which led to increased voter turnoutin minority areas. The Office also produced astudy on minority participation in decision-makingbodies at the national and local levels for CentralAsia. The report, Realization of the right to effectiveparticipation of persons belonging to nationalminorities in public affairs, analysed the right toeffective participation in practice and identifiedmajor problems regarding the inclusion of minoritiesin decision-making structures and providedrecommendations for addressing these problems.In the South Caucasus, a legal clinic focusing onprotection of the rights of persons with disabilitiesin Zugdidi, Western Georgia, was establishedin September with the financial assistance ofOHCHR. The functioning of the legal clinic and theprovision of free legal assistance, including courtrepresentation, to persons with disabilities wascomplemented by multiple advocacy campaignsand roundtable discussions between NGOs andrepresentatives of the executive government in theSamegrelo region in Western Georgia.During a workshop organized in Tunisia inDecember, women human rights defenders fromsix countries of the Middle East and North Africa(MENA) region (Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syriaand Yemen) gained increased awareness aboutthe UN conceptual framework on the protectionof human rights defenders, including analysis ofthe gender specific dimensions that affect womenhuman rights defenders differently.The Office continued to promote the methodologyof strategic litigation in order to create demandby individuals and certain marginalized groups toensure the implementation of international standards,challenge anti-discriminatory laws and test thejudicial system’s response to anti-discriminationcases.In Kosovo, OHCHR support increased the capacitiesof 10 NGOs, the Ombudsperson Institution andthe Agency for Free Legal Aid to claim the rightto non-discrimination. The Office also organized atraining on monitoring human rights for local NGOsoperating in four municipalities in northern Kosovo.Through training, local NGOs acquired theoreticalknowledge and increased their understanding ontheir role in identifying and addressing humanrights violations. A brochure was also producedcontaining basic information on the role of NGOsin monitoring human rights and references forfurther reading.In Colombia, OHCHR carried out a broadparticipatory process with more than 3,300 rightsholdersto collect their visions, expectations andrecommendations on the right to consultation ofindigenous peoples and the concept of free, priorand informed consent. The process contributed to anenhanced dialogue between indigenous peoples andState authorities at the local level.Also in Colombia, the participatory processcontributed to increasing the knowledge of ethnicColombian peoples, organizations and traditionalauthorities on international norms on free, priorand informed consultation and consent. It alsocontributed to strengthening indigenous, Afrodescendantand Rom organizations and enhancedtheir dialogue with State authorities at the locallevel. Additionally, a number of ethnic communitiesinitiated a process of internal reflection anddiscussion that led to the adoption of regionalguidelines on ways external actors must consultthem.In Guatemala, the Office facilitated dialogue andanalysis of various themes related to the protectionof human rights of indigenous peoples. Thisincluded a proposal on Constitutional Reformand the policies and a proposed reform of theMining Law presented by the President. Variousindigenous leaders and organizations publiclyexpressed their position on the ConstitutionalReform. Several leaders expressed their oppositionand other organizations presented a proposalto include additional themes in the reform.Ultimately, the proposal was withdrawn. Indigenousorganizations also presented a legal action before theConstitutional Court arguing the unconstitutionalityof the current Mining Law as it was drafted withoutconsultation with indigenous peoples according tointernational standards.In the State of Palestine 2 , OHCHR worked withHandicap International to build the capacity of thefive key national-level organizations of personswith disabilities and ensure their active involvementin ongoing discussions between UN agencies andrelevant ministries related to law reform initiativesand the development of the first National PalestinianPlan of Action for Human Rights in accordance witharticle 4(3) of the CRPD.2Reference to Palestine should be understood in compliance withUnited Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19.OHCHR REPORT 2012 25


DISCRIMINATIONIn Guatemala, OHCHR provided technical assistanceto the Indigenous Women Organization Tzununijaregarding an emblematic case of eight indigenouswomen with detention orders for opposing theinstallation of electricity posts on their property. TheCourt ruled in favour of the women and required thepayment of compensation by the private company.Also in Guatemala, 18 of the 20 indigenousorganizations supported by the Maya Programmeformally presented legal claims before competentadministrative or judicial courts. Of these cases,seven have achieved results which may potentiallychange the national protection system regarding keyareas, such as the right to participation of indigenousrepresentatives in Departmental DevelopmentCouncils, the titling of indigenous territories, therecognition of indigenous forms of organizationfor land tenure and the need for legislation toenable indigenous community radios to transmit inindigenous languages.In Honduras, rights-holders actively participated inthe elaboration of the First National Policy on HumanRights - Human Rights Action Plan, which is expectedto be approved and implemented in 2013. With theassistance of OHCHR, a consultant group was createdto analyse international recommendations and ensuretheir inclusion in the Plan.In Paraguay, NGO capacities to monitor humanrights and participate in the development of publicpolicies were improved with OHCHR support. Anew annual report of CODEHUPY (NGO humanrights network) was issued in December andOHCHR’s methodology on human rights indicatorswas taken into account by NGOs in their ownmonitoring and reporting processes.Responsiveness of the internationalcommunity (EA 10)Increased responsiveness of the internationalcommunity to critical and emerging situations whereissues of discrimination might arise and wherepotential conflict situations involving discriminationmay be presentThe Office closely followed discrimination-relateddiscussions at the intergovernmental level in relationto General Assembly resolutions on the rights of thechild, the rights of persons with disabilities, racialdiscrimination, older persons, indigenous peoples,migration and freedom of religion or belief. Adviceon OHCHR’s role as well as relevant human rightsguidance was provided, in particular on racialdiscrimination, which was taken into account infinal resolution texts, such as A/RES/67/155 onGlobal efforts for the total elimination of racism,racial discrimination, xenophobia and relatedintolerance and the comprehensive implementationof and follow-up to the Durban Declaration andProgramme of Action.The awareness of participants was raised througha number of high-level panels organized byOHCHR on issues such as racism and conflict,multiculturalism and current global human rightssituations drawing from the inspiration of NelsonMandela Day, during various sessions of the HumanRights Council and other important dates, includingthe International Day for the Elimination of RacialDiscrimination.In March, the Office supported the first formalintergovernmental United Nations discussion onviolence and discrimination against individualsbased on their sexual orientation and genderidentity. The event at the Human Rights Councilfeatured presentations by the High Commissionerand a panel of experts, a video message fromSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and an opendebate, to which representatives of some41 Member States and regional groups and anumber of NGOs contributed through either oral orwritten statements.Throughout the year, the Office raised internationalawareness of human rights violations againstlesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)persons through a range of activities. Shortvideos featuring the High Commissioner and theSecretary-General appealing for an end to anti-LGBT discrimination were watched online byalmost 200,000 people and widely broadcast at civilsociety-organized events to mark the InternationalDay against Homophobia in May. Key messageswere also disseminated via social media platformsand through feature stories posted on the OHCHRwebsite. In September, the Office published BornFree and Equal -- a 60-page booklet designed forMember States and outlining the sources and scopeof the legal obligations to protect the human rightsof LGBT persons.OHCHR contributed to information-sharing andawareness-raising on global resources to fightagainst racism and racial discrimination throughthe creation of the OHCHR database on practicalmeans to combat racism, racial discrimination,xenophobia and related intolerance. The firstphase of the project was completed in 2012 and26 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATIONincluded the compilation of information receivedfrom stakeholders, as well as the identification andanalysis of further data.In supporting the Open-Ended Working Groupon Ageing, OHCHR ensured geographicalrepresentation and gender balance in its panelsand contributed analytical inputs to the discussions.Moreover, OHCHR promoted the participation ofcivil society in the debates. The Working Group’smandate was recently upgraded by the GeneralAssembly. The 2012 Human Rights Council SocialForum marked the International Day for olderpersons by including presentations on the activeparticipation of older persons in development andglobalization.The first panel discussion to Give Voice to PeopleLiving with and Affected by HIV was held underthe auspices of the Human Rights Council. At thisoccasion, people living with HIV and marginalizedpopulations brought to light the wide arrayof human rights violations committed againstindividuals and communities affected by HIV.Delegations acknowledged that human rights werecentral to the global HIV response and highlightedin particular the importance of sustainable financingoptions to ensure access to affordable treatment.OHCHR prepared a comprehensive publicationon Promoting and Protecting Minority Rights - AGuide for Minority Rights Advocates. The Guideoffers information related to norms and mechanismsdeveloped to protect the rights of persons belongingto national or ethnic, religious and linguisticminorities and the procedures and forums in whichminority issues may be raised within the UN andregional systems.The 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Minority RightsThe UN Declaration on theRights of Persons Belonging toNational or Ethnic, Religious andLinguistic Minorities was adoptedby consensus at the GeneralAssembly on 18 December 1992.Twenty years later, it remains themost important UN instrumentspecifically devoted to minorityrights, providing authoritativeguidance and key standardsranging from non-discrimination toparticipation in decision-making.In order to make this documentmore well-known and widelyused by governments, nationalhuman rights institutions, minorityactivists, civil society, internationalorganizations and the UN, OHCHRused the opportunity of the 20thanniversary to design a range ofcommunication tools and awarenessraisingactivities. These rangedfrom creating a graphic profile anddedicated website to organizing aHuman Rights Council panel andfour regional substantive eventsin Austria, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar andThailand. A variety of social mediaplatforms were used to broadcastthe message of the Declaration to aglobal audience and encourage themto reflect on how we can all worktogether to ensure it has maximumimpact on the ground.The anniversary also inspiredgreater engagement and cooperationin the UN system, notably throughthe launch of the UN Network onRacial Discrimination and Protectionof Minorities, established in March2012 and coordinated by OHCHR.One of the first tasks of the Networkis to prepare a guidance note forthe UN system to better address thepromotion and protection of minorityrights in its work.The momentum created by theactivities resulted in enhancedawareness of the Declaration as aneffective advocacy tool in claimingminority rights at the national,regional and international levels,while ensuring the participationof minority women. Duringthese anniversary events manyparticipants reaffirmed theircommitments in this field.The Office also finalized acomprehensive publication entitled,Promoting and Protecting MinorityRights - A Guide for Minority RightsAdvocates to build the capacity ofvarious stakeholders working onminority issues.© OHCHR/MoldovaOHCHR REPORT 2012 27


DISCRIMINATIONThe Department of Public Information, incooperation with OHCHR, produced a publicationcombining the 2001 Durban Declaration andProgramme of Action, the 2009 outcome documentof the Durban Review Conference and the 2011political declaration of the 10th anniversary of theDurban Declaration and Programme of Action. Thepublication will be disseminated as a reference toolfor UN system partners, students, non-governmentalorganizations and human rights practitioners.The Office developed a global campaign, entitledLet’s Fight Racism, to highlight stereotypes,challenge perceptions, encourage discussion andchange behaviour. Images of people of differentracial and ethnic backgrounds were used onpostcards, videos, the internet and social mediaplatforms and were accompanied by the slogan,More than meets the eye. The campaign was used toconduct a multilingual social media campaign in thelead-up to the International Day for the eliminationof racial discrimination in 2012. The week-longcampaign, 7 Days & 7 Ways to Fight Racism, usedTwitter, Facebook and newer social media toolssuch as Storify, Pinterest and Google+ to reacha record number of people, including over threemillion followers on Twitter. The global networkof UN Information Centres further promoted anddisseminated the Let’s Fight Racism materials as partof their local public information campaigns.Human rights mainstreaming within theUnited Nations (EA 11)Increased integration of equality and nondiscriminationstandards and principles in UNpolicies and programmes and in other key areasincluding at the country levelOHCHR works within and across the UN systemto promote and protect human rights. It aims tointegrate a rights-based approach to the UN’s workand ensure that the principles of equality andnon-discrimination continue to serve as a solidfoundation to the UN’s programming in all spheresand activities.In March, the Secretary-General’s Policy Committeeendorsed the establishment of a UN Networkon racial discrimination and the protection ofminorities. The network is coordinated by OHCHRwith the primary aim of enhancing dialogue andcooperation between relevant UN departments,agencies, funds and programmes. The objectiveis to build coherent and contextualized UN actionand messages on racial discrimination and minorityissues, both globally and in specific regions, andprovide support for strong Secretary-Generalengagement. The network will also review thecontent of relevant training initiatives establishedwithin the Secretariat and elaborate proposalson how they could better incorporate issuesconcerning racial discrimination and national orethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.The implementation of the UN Indigenous Peoples’Partnership (UNIPP) began in 2012, with six UNjoint programmes in Bolivia, Cameroon, CentralAfrican Republic, the Congo and Nicaragua, aswell as through a regional programme in South-East Asia. While they are still in the early stagesof implementation, these joint programmes havealready yielded results, including normativedevelopments and improvements in dialoguebetween Government officials and representativesof indigenous peoples. For example, in the Congo,the UNIPP contributed to the development ofseven Governmental decrees to facilitate theimplementation of the law on indigenous peoplesin July 2012. This is the first law in Africa devotedto indigenous peoples and the decrees aim toensure its full implementation in key thematic areas,such as the protection of traditional knowledge,cultural heritage and sacred sites of indigenouscommunities as well as access to education andhealth services.In March 2012, OHCHR, through its the RegionalOffice for Europe, assumed the leadership ofthe Roma Task Force of the Regional DirectorsTeam (RDT) and was charged with drafting a jointposition paper of the RDT on Roma, which wasadopted in November 2012.In Ecuador, OHCHR, in coordination with theResident Coordinator’s Office and PRO169 of ILOPeru, organized and implemented a workshop forthe staff of other UN agencies to increase theirknowledge and strengthen their understandingabout the right to prior consultation of indigenouspeoples.OHCHR led a mapping of women’s access tojustice activities in selected member organizationsof the Inter-Agency Network on Women andGender Equality (IANWGE). The aim was toidentify trends and opportunities for cooperationin future UN programming. This processcontributed to evaluating the adequacy of currentprogramming and funding in terms of coherenceand coordination. OHCHR contributed to raisingawareness among IANWGE members and NGOs ona rights-based approach to women’s access to land28 OHCHR REPORT 2012


DISCRIMINATIONin the context of the Commission on the Status ofWomen (CSW) discussions on promoting the rightsof rural women.Human rights analysis and proposals weredeveloped to strengthen the Operational RiskManagement Framework of the Global Fund to fightAIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. OHCHR was part ofconsultations that provided clear recommendationson the implementation of the Global Fund’s humanrights strategy which included: (i) the adoptionof a human rights policy; (ii) adoption of humanrights performance indicators for human rightsprogramming; and (iii) increased human rightsknowledge and capacity within the secretariat andgovernance structure.OHCHR worked closely with other UN partnersin developing the Technical Guidance on theapplication of a human rights-based approach tothe implementation of policies and programmes forthe reduction of preventable maternal mortality andmorbidity. The Guidance, which was launched inSeptember, provides concrete advice on steps thatshould be taken by States and other stakeholders toeffectively meet their human rights obligations.Challenges and lessons learnedGaps in the full and effective implementationof international obligations in the field of nondiscriminationand equality continued in 2012.OHCHR worked to address these gaps through theprovision of technical assistance to Member Statesupon their request, tools and guidance notes andspecific workshops, trainings and general advocacyinitiatives for the international community.Reaching international consensus on antidiscriminationissues continues to be a challengeto the work of the Office, although the HighCommissioner and her staff aim to address thischallenge through advocacy efforts and professionaland effective support provided to Member States,mechanisms and treaty bodies.Issues such as opinion and freedom of religion orbelief, as well as other emerging issues will remainat the forefront of international human rights inthe years to come. Guided by key human rightsinstruments, norms and standards, the Office willcontinue to address all forms of discrimination,including racism, racial discrimination, xenophobiaand related intolerance worldwide.OHCHR REPORT 2012 29


Impunity andthe rule of lawCombating impunityand strengtheningaccountability, the ruleof law and democraticsocietyBackgroundIn 2012, Heads of State and Government cametogether at the General Assembly to discuss the ruleof law, recalling its central place at national andinternational levels. In the Declaration on the Rule ofLaw at the National and International Levels adoptedon 24 September 2012, Member States reaffirmedtheir commitment to the rule of law, as well asthe interlinked and mutually reinforcing nature ofhuman rights, the rule of law and democracy.Throughout the year, however, tragic developmentstaking place in many regions of the world, such asevents in the Syrian Arab Republic and Mali, haveonce again highlighted the fundamental importanceof preserving and enforcing the rule of law at nationaland international levels. Democratic societies foundedon the rule of law which ensure the availability ofaccountability mechanisms are more likely to provideeffective protection of human rights and appropriateredress to victims of violations when other safeguardshave failed. Concurrently, the absence of democracyand the rule of law systematically results in grossviolations of human rights and widespread suffering.Establishing effective mechanisms to ensure thatthose who commit human rights violations do not gounpunished is an important step in the restorationof the rule of law. Transitional justice is vital whenaddressing the consequences of conflict or repressiverule. It provides a framework for the rights to justice,truth, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.Such frameworks enable a comprehensive approachto combating impunity and ensuring accountabilityfor past human rights violations, redress for victimsand broader institutional reform.30 OHCHR REPORT 2012


A Filipino blogger joins a protest rally against the implemetationof the ‘Cybercrime Prevention Act’ in front of the Supreme Courtin Manila, Philippines, October 2012.© EPA/Francis R. MalasigOHCHR REPORT 2012 31


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWOHCHR’s roleOHCHR plays a leading role within the UN systemon democracy and the rule of law. Promoting respectfor democracy and the rule of law, combatingimpunity and strengthening accountability for humanrights violations underpin all activities of the Office.In particular, OHCHR supports transitional justiceprocesses and contributes to improving access tojustice for individuals and groups facing discrimination,including by enhancing the framework for accountabilityfor human rights violations, increasing humanrights protection in the administration of justice andsupporting the development of democratic institutions.In implementing its mandate, OHCHR engages withStates, national human rights institutions (NHRIs),judicial and quasi-judicial institutions, law enforcementagencies and civil society organizations. At the globallevel, OHCHR supports the development of relevantinternational norms and standards, collects goodpractices, elaborates guidance tools and carries outcapacity-strengthening activities. It also supports humanrights mechanisms in their efforts to enhance the legalprotection of human rights and accountability.At the national level, OHCHR is involved in providingnormative guidance, technical advice and capacitystrengtheningactivities which contribute to thedevelopment of robust, rule of law-based justicesystems. Assistance includes support, needsassessment related to human rights, implementationof specific activities, review of relevant legislation andpolicies to ensure their compliance with internationalhuman rights standards and the delivery of practicalhuman rights advisory and training programmes.Throughout the year, OHCHR continued to deploy effortsto actively respond to human rights crises and all relevantsituations. The following outlines some of the advancesmade in contributing to establishing democracy and therule of law and countering impunity in 2012.National laws, policies and institutions (EA 1)Progressively strengthened democratic institutionsand governance systems based on the rule of law andthe protection of human rightsConstitution-making and constitutional courtsOHCHR provided advice and assistance in thedrafting of new constitutions, advocating for theinclusion of provisions to strengthen human rights© UN Photo/Stuart PriceMembers of Somalia’s first parliament in twenty years were swornin at an open-air ceremony at Mogadishu International Airport,August 2012.and for constitutions to be in line with internationalstandards. In Somalia, the adoption of theProvisional Constitution in August followed extensiveconsultations with Somali authorities. The ProvisionalConstitution contains important provisions protectingsome fundamental human rights. In Mauritania,constitutional amendments provide for the fullindependence of the judiciary and qualify the crimesof slavery and torture as crimes against humanity.In Mexico, a constitutional amendment authorizingfederal authorities to investigate crimes againstjournalists entered into force in June, endorsing therecommendation made by the UN and OAS SpecialRapporteurs on freedom of expression.In Colombia, despite considerable advocacy effortsand activities undertaken by the Office and otherstakeholders, a constitutional reform expandingmilitary criminal jurisdiction to investigate and decidecases of human rights violations, that should insteadbe under the authority of the civilian justice system,came into force in December. Concerns persist thatthis reform will lead to impunity in cases of seriousviolations of human rights and humanitarian law.OHCHR also encouraged constitutional courtsto apply international human rights standards intheir rulings. Following advocacy by the HighCommissioner and special rapporteurs of the HumanRights Council, significant decisions upholdinghuman rights standards were issued by the SupremeCourt of Mexico and the Plurinational ConstitutionalCourt (PCC) in Bolivia. Furthermore, in December,following a workshop organized by the Office, thePCC magistrates, judges and judicial officials agreedon measures to promote access to constitutionaljustice.32 OHCHR REPORT 2012


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWIn Libya, the UN Support Mission (UNSMIL)advocated for changes in the Glorification of theDictator Law which was passed by the NationalTransitional Council. The Law was consequentlyrevoked by the Supreme Court in June which judgedit to be unconstitutional and in violation of the rightto freedom of opinion and expression.Compliance of national legislation and policieswith human rightsOHCHR continued to play an important role inproviding technical assistance and advice to manycountries on draft legislation related to varioushuman rights issues to ensure its compliance withinternational norms and standards.Legislation on tortureIn Paraguay, the definition of torture in thecriminal code was amended to bring it in line withinternational law. In Kyrgyzstan, the Parliamentapproved amendments to the criminal code andthe code of criminal procedure which broughtthe definition of torture in closer compliance withinternational law and established stricter penaltiesto reflect the gravity of the crime. In Togo, a newcriminal code was adopted by the Council ofMinisters which defines and criminalizes tortureand is more compliant with the Convention againstTorture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or DegradingTreatment or Punishment (CAT). In Uganda, thePrevention and Prohibition of Torture Bill waspassed into law which domesticated CAT andintegrated recommendations made by OHCHR toimprove the bill, including an explicit mention ofreparation for victims of torture.Legislation on the death penaltyIn Thailand, OHCHR contributed to progressmade in reducing the scope of application of thedeath penalty through consistent advocacy andtechnical assistance. The Government withdrew itsinterpretative declaration regarding article 6 of theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsafter an amendment of the criminal code whichstipulated that the death penalty should not beimposed on minors. In Singapore, the Parliamentpassed amendments to three laws that reduced thescope of application of the death penalty, makingappeals automatic and providing judges with thediscretion to impose a life sentence in certain cases.In the Central African Republic, the Governmentset up a committee to abolish the death penaltyfollowing advocacy efforts undertaken by the HumanRights and Justice Section of the United NationsIntegrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African© OHCHR/TajikistanParticipants at a seminar on human rights and torture supported byOHCHR in Yavan, Tajikistan.Republic (BINUCA). The draft law is currently tabledbefore Parliament. In relation to international humanrights mechanisms, the Special Rapporteurs onextrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions andon torture submitted reports to the 67th session of theGeneral Assembly specifically addressing the issueof the death penalty in relation to their respectivemandates (A/67/275 and A/67/279).© REUTERS/Ana MartinezA woman holding a placard that reads “Yes to life, no to thedeath penalty” during a demonstration in San Juan, Puerto Rico,September 2012.OHCHR REPORT 2012 33


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWLegislation on legal aid and independence of thejudiciaryIn Azerbaijan, OHCHR participated in theconsultation process with the working groupengaged in preparing the draft law on legal aid,which was submitted to a parliamentary committeefor approval. In Sierra Leone, the Human Rights andRule of Law Section of United Nations IntegratedPeacebuilding Mission in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL)continued its technical support to Parliament, whichpassed a Legal Aid Law establishing an independentlegal aid body to provide free legal advice andrepresentation to the underprivileged. In Guatemala,OHCHR ensured compliance with internationalhuman rights standards of the proposed reformsto the Guatemalan Law on the Judicial Career andwill continue its advocacy work to ensure that theproposed reforms are presented before Congress.Legislation on freedom of opinion andexpressionFollowing a joint letter sent in January 2012 bythe Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedomof opinion and expression, the situation ofhuman rights defenders and the rights to peacefulassembly and of association, the Governmentof Chile introduced changes to the draft Law onStrengthening the Preservation of Public Order.Notwithstanding these positive developments,the Special Rapporteurs reiterated their concernsabout other provisions that could lead to arbitraryrestrictions to the rights to freedom of expressionand peaceful assembly. OHCHR provided technicaladvice and was involved in the legislative processesin the states of Campeche and Mexico which ledto the annulment of defamation laws. Nonetheless,defamation continues to be criminalized in12 Mexican states.Legislation and policies on human rightsdefenders and journalistsThe adoption and implementation of legislation andpolicies aimed at the protection of human rightsdefenders and journalists is fundamental and was thefocus of OHCHR attention in several countries. Forinstance, in Mexico, the Law for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders and Journalists was adoptedby Congress as a result of concerted advocacy effortsundertaken by civil society and technical assistanceprovided by OHCHR. The Law, which entered intoforce in June, creates a National Mechanism for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.In Beirut, a Regional Conference for human rightsdefenders, journalists and unionists took placein May with the participation of the Deputy HighCommissioner and the Special Rapporteur on humanrights defenders. During the conference, actions forencouraging the development and implementation ofnational action plans were discussed.Legislation on children’s rightsIn Liberia, the Human Rights and ProtectionSection of the United Nations Mission in Liberia(UNMIL) provided technical assistance to the LiberiaLegislative Association to promote the incorporationof human rights standards in a bill to protect therights of the child, which was eventually passedinto legislation. The Czech Republic adopted anamendment to the Act on Child Protection. OHCHRincreased regional awareness on alternative care forinstitutionalized children through the publication anddissemination of a study on the Rights of VulnerableChildren under Three: Ending their Placement inInstitutional Care, which outlines the human rightsbasedapproach to alternative care for children ininstitutions in Central and Eastern Europe.In Rwanda, the Human Rights Advisor (HRA) andthe United Nations Country Team (UNCT) took thestrategic decision to postpone follow-up training onthe application of international laws in policymakingfor select committees and commissions of Parliamentand Senate until after the Parliamentary electionscheduled for September 2013. Moreover, the HRAwas not afforded the space to influence specific draftlaws related to human rights issues under review byParliament or to lobby for their enactment by thelegislature.Human rights action plansHuman rights action plans can be instrumentalto the development of comprehensive nationalstrategies for ensuring the effective implementationof international human rights obligations, includingwith regard to combating impunity. OHCHR assistednational authorities in their efforts for elaboratinghuman rights action plans that are in compliancewith international human rights standards in Chad,Honduras, Lebanon and Paraguay. It is hoped theywill be adopted by their respective parliaments in2013. Steps were taken in Iraq to implement theNational Action Plan (NAP), including through theestablishment of an inter-ministerial committee tooversee its implementation.Strengthening human rights compliance byjudicial and law enforcement institutionsOHCHR organized and facilitated human rightstraining for the judiciary, police and other securityforces, including military forces, in order to enhancetheir awareness of and compliance with internationalhuman rights standards in many countries, including:34 OHCHR REPORT 2012


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWtraining. The UN Doha Centre, in collaborationwith the Qatari Ministry of Interior-Human RightsDepartment, organized a five-day human rightstraining programme for the local police constabularywhich enhanced the knowledge of 26 mid-rankingQatari police officers, including four women.Participants at an OHCHR training on human rights for staffmembers of Togo’s penitentiary administration, November 2012.Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chile, the DominicanRepublic, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti,Honduras, Iraq, Qatar, Somalia, South Sudan, Tunisiaand Uganda.These trainings have contributed to, for example:in Guinea, a reduction in the use of lethalweapons by police and gendarmerie during publicdemonstrations and in the number of persons heldin custody beyond the legal limit of 48 hours; greaterwillingness by Ugandan security forces and the PrisonService to take action against alleged perpetrators ofhuman rights violations; and increased knowledgeamong new recruits of the police and National Guardin Tunisia of international human rights standardsrelating to law enforcement, crowd control and otherrelevant human rights issues.In Haiti, with the support of the Human RightsSection (HRS), the Magistrate School included amodule on international human rights in its regulartraining, which is taught by a representative of theHRS. In addition, the HRS organized a public debatebetween selected Haitian judges and a judge andsenior staff lawyer of the Inter-American Court ofHuman Rights on the national-level applicability ofinternational human rights law. The proceedingsof this debate were published as a reference andadvocacy tool to improve the use of internationalhuman rights standards in national courts. Copieswill be distributed among judges and prosecutors.In Somalia, the Human Rights Unit elaborated aninnovative training on human rights issues forjudges, lawyers and legal academics in Somaliland,Mogadishu and Puntland (see box for moreinformation on page 36). Efforts undertaken by theHuman Rights Division in South Sudan resulted inthe incorporation of human rights modules in thetraining for new police recruits and the integrationof human rights as a cross-cutting theme in police© OHCHR/TogoIn other countries such as Azerbaijan, Bolivia,Cambodia, Guatemala, Honduras, Lebanon, Mexico,Paraguay and Togo, technical assistance providedby OHCHR, often in cooperation with other UNagencies and civil society, aimed at contributing tothe strengthening of the judiciary, police and othersecurity forces and their capacity to work in fullcompliance with human rights standards.In Mexico, OHCHR undertook 36 field missions in16 states to monitor and document 110 cases ofalleged human rights violations. In this context, itconducted 120 interviews with advocates, victimsand witnesses and presented documented cases tothe human rights ombudsmen and law enforcementauthorities at the federal and local levels. OHCHRalso familiarized prosecutors with internationalhuman rights standards, conveyed concerns aboutindividual cases and patterns of violations andadvocated for compliance with their internationalobligations to prosecute those responsible. Theseefforts resulted in an improved responsivenessfrom authorities to combat impunity and ensureaccountability.In Cambodia, OHCHR supported the revision ofthe Code of Professional Conduct for lawyers byorganizing a series of consultations with lawyersto finalize the revised Code and providing experttechnical advice. The revised Code, which is nowmore compliant with international human rights law,was adopted by the Bar Association in September.OHCHR also supported trial monitoring in twoprovincial courts which resulted in improved respectfor fair trial rights. In addition, there are no longerany prisoners in Cambodia with appeals that havebeen pending for 10 or more years.Following capacity strengthening activities forlaw clerks of the Guatemalan ConstitutionalCourt and the submission by OHCHR-Mexico offive compilations of relevant international normsand standards to the National Supreme Court ofJustice, international human rights standards wereincorporated in judicial decisions in Guatemala andMexico.In Lebanon, the Code of Conduct for the LebaneseInternal Security Forces was formally launched andendorsed by the Prime Minister. Copies of the CodeOHCHR REPORT 2012 35


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWof Conduct were distributed to the 27,000 membersof the Internal Security Forces.In Tunisia, OHCHR, UNDP and ICR collaboratedto support the development of Standard OperatingProcedures (SOPs) with regard to the use of forceand firearms in public places, which were officiallypresented to the competent authorities in May.The Office provided information on human rightsstandards and norms and good practices relativeto the use of force and ethical and lawful policing.Once officially adopted, the SOPs will serve as animportant reference tool for the conduct and work ofTunisian law enforcement agents.Human rights educationHuman rights education plays a crucial role in ensuringthat relevant stakeholders, including civil society,are equipped with the human rights knowledge andawareness to contribute to the establishment andstrengthening of democracy and the rule of law.In Paraguay, the Ministry of Education requestedthat the HRA continue its cooperation in theimplementation of the National Plan on HumanRights Education which was adopted in 2012.OHCHR continued its efforts to consolidate theHuman Rights Masters Programme in the RussianThe new ambassadors for human rights in Somalia“There are no people moreimportant than lawyers to defendand advocate for human rights,”says Hassan, the Director of a LegalAid Clinic in Somaliland, reflectingon the impact lawyers can haveon the defense and promotion ofhuman rights for the protection ofthe people of Somalia.Hassan was one of 24 lawyers fromacross all regions of Somalia broughttogether for the first time in 20 yearsfor training on human rights in theadministration of justice. The trainingwas facilitated by the UNPOSHuman Rights Unit (HRU) incollaboration with UNDP in Hargeisalast May. With constitutionalsafeguards for human rightsreaffirmed under the ProvisionalConstitution, advocacy for humanrights by legal practitioners under aconstitutional framework is criticalto driving the emergence of a humanrights legal culture in Somalia.Following the collapse ofgovernment institutions during theconflict, customary practices wereheavily relied upon to mediatedisputes. A prevailing lack ofconfidence in the formal legalchannels is one of the challengesfaced by the justice institutions.The UNPOS Human RightsUnit’s support to justice sectordevelopment consists of enablingkey implementing actors such asjudges, prosecutors and lawyers toassume their roles more effectivelyin the promotion of human rights inthe administration of justice.A country-wide training projectfor legal professionals in Somalia,which started in November 2012,will continue in the future. It ishoped that this project will sparktransformational change encouraginglocal leadership for the promotionand implementation of internationalhuman rights standards in Somalia.“Human rights have to be at thecentre of the peace process”, upholdsUNPOS Deputy Representative, Peterde Clercq, recognizing that: “Humanrights abuses are at the root of theSomali conflict”.The UNPOS Human Rights Unittraining aims to encourage legalpractitioners to identify the manycommonalities that already existbetween international human rightslaw, Islamic law and the domesticlegal framework in Somalia. In orderto promote greater complianceand advocacy from those involvedin the administration of justice,international human rights standardsmust first be accepted as consistentwith the prevailing legal culture.To sustain these advancesthrough the next generation oflegal practitioners, UNPOS/HRUis further providing support tothe Somali academia. After ameeting in Djibouti in early 2012,representatives of four SomaliUniversities – namely, the Universityof Mogadishu, Puntland StateUniversity, East Africa Universityand the University of Hargeisa –committed to producing a draftcurriculum on human rights inthe administration of justice. InMay, the University delegationsharmonized these respectivedraft curricula into an integratedteaching tool for the training ofjudges, prosecutors and lawyersunder the aegis of the UNPOS/HRU in a follow-up workshop heldin Hargeisa, Somaliland. Hassannoted that the UNPOS/HRU trainingon human rights brought him torealize that “we can work togetherin the name of Somalia rather thanpolitical regions.” Indeed, both thehuman rights training and humanrights curriculum workshop broughttogether representatives of legalprofessions strongly divided alongregional lines. It gave them anopportunity to reflect on and discussa way forward for the developmentof the justice system in Somalia,in compliance with internationalhuman right standards and inrespect of legal traditions.36 OHCHR REPORT 2012


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWFederation, building on the achievements reachedduring the first pilot year. OHCHR supportedthe inter-university partnership that enabled theConsortium of Russian Universities to jointly developand implement the programme cycle for 2011-2012. Following the Consortium’s development ofa comprehensive multidisciplinary curriculum, thecourse on International Human Rights Protection isaccredited as a specialized discipline within MastersDegree studies.Fair trial indicatorsOHCHR continued to promote the use of humanrights indicators, in particular on the right to afair trial, among governmental institutions, humanrights institutions, civil society organizations andacademics. In April, the Superior Tribunal of Justiceof Mexico City, together with OHCHR, published thefirst volume of a series of publications on fair trialindicators. As of the end of 2012, nine tribunals hadinitiated the elaboration of fair trial indicators, whichhave also been approved at the federal level by theSupreme Court of Justice of Mexico and the FederalJudicial Council. In Paraguay, fair trial indicators tomonitor and promote access to justice were adoptedby the Supreme Court of Justice.Prisons and other detention facilitiesAs a result of monitoring of detention facilitiesas well as advocacy and support by OHCHRand other partners, the treatment of prisonersin detention facilities and by law enforcementofficials has improved in many countries. Forexample, in Afghanistan, national authorities andthe International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)undertook a variety of measures to address issuespresented in the United Nations Assistance Missionin Afghanistan (UNAMA)/OHCHR report Treatmentof Conflict-Related Detainees in Afghan Custody(October 2011) concerning the human rights andhumane treatment of detainees in detention facilities.Cambodian prison authorities have increased theircapacity to protect the rights of prisoners. Threeministries issued an inter-ministerial directivebanning prison production for export, followingbriefings, consultations and advocacy effortsundertaken by OHCHR.In Honduras, the Human Rights Adviser conducteda comprehensive assessment of the prison systemand made recommendations for its improvement.In Libya, an inter-ministerial committee involvingthe Ministries of Interior, Defence and Justicewas established to resolve issues and carry outinspections of facilities where cases of torture ormistreatment were occurring. In Myanmar, the© UN Photo/Logan AbassiThe Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights tours theNational Penitentiary in downtown Port-au-Prince as part of hisofficial visit to Haiti, September 2012.Government announced a special mechanism toreview outstanding cases of political prisonersfollowing advocacy undertaken by OHCHR and theSpecial Rapporteur on the human rights situationin Myanmar. In Togo, the Government adopted adecision to reduce the number of pre-trial detaineesby 50 per cent by the end of 2012. To date,421 detainees have been released.Democracy and electionsOHCHR supported national authorities to strengthennational institutions and national capacity in order toensure free and fair elections and respect of humanrights, including women’s rights, during electionprocesses through advocacy, training and awarenessraisingin: Angola, Cameroon, the Democratic Republicof Congo (DRC), Mauritania, Senegal and Timor-Leste.In Angola, OHCHR contributed to the peacefulelections in 2012 and the reporting of alleged humanrights violations therein through advocacy with theAngolan authorities to ensure respect of humanrights. In Mauritania, following advocacy effortsundertaken by OHCHR, the Independent ElectoralCommission was established in accordance withdemocratic and human rights principles. In Senegal,OHCHR contributed to strengthening the capacitiesof Senegalese civil society organizations by creatingthe Women’s Platform for peaceful elections toensure women’s participation in the presidential andlegislative elections in 2012.In Timor-Leste, the Human Rights and TransitionalJustice Section of the United Nations IntegratedMission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) provided technicalsupport to the National Human Rights Institute,OHCHR REPORT 2012 37


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWFollowing advice provided by OHCHR to theMinistries of Health and Justice on the need forhuman rights oversight in the national psychiatricservice, one of Moldova’s leading human rightsadvocates was appointed to the pilot position ofOmbudsperson for Psychiatry in May 2012.Participants at an OHCHR workshop for staff members of nationalhuman rights institutions from the Central Africa subregion.Provedoria, to enhance its capacity to monitor andreport on the human rights situation during the freeand fair presidential and parliamentary elections andensure compliance with human rights obligations.Increased engagement of national human rightsinstitutions in addressing impunityNational human rights institutions and Ombudspersoninstitutions are among the mechanisms that canensure compliance by States of their human rightsobligations and work to combat impunity andpromote the rule of law. In this regard, OHCHRadvocates for and supports their establishment incompliance with the Paris Principles.Establishment of NHRIsIn the Central African Republic, Chad, the DemocraticRepublic of Congo, Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar andYemen, OHCHR collaborated with other partnersto provide advice and assistance in drafting lawsto establish NHRIs or Ombudsperson institutions.Following the development of relevant legislation, itis anticipated that NHRIs will be formally created inthe Central African Republic, Chad and the DRC in2013. In Papua New Guinea, the National ExecutiveCouncil approved the draft enabling legislation forthe National Human Rights Commission.With the support of OHCHR, which included theprovision of legal advice to national authoritiesand civil society on applicable human rightsstandards and relevant good practices, NHRIs orOmbudsperson institutions were established in Côted’Ivoire, Iraq, Niger, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova,Sudan, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.© OHCHR/Central AfricaIn April, the Government of Yemen adopted a decisionto establish a NHRI and mandated a ministerialcommittee to prepare the legal framework. A joint HRA-UNDP project, signed with the Government in July,includes a component on supporting the establishmentof an independent NHRI.Increased compliance with Paris Principles andstrengthening of existing NHRIsIn Cameroon, Gabon, the DRC, Equatorial Guinea,Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka, OHCHRprovided advice, technical assistance, training andrelevant documentation to Governments to increasethe compliance of their NHRIs with the ParisPrinciples.As part of the steps taken by the Myanmar NationalHuman Rights Commission (MNHRC) to becomeParis Principles compliant, OHCHR advised on thedraft legislation to give the MNHRC a legislativebasis, which is awaiting finalization beforesubmission to the Parliament. The quasi-judicialcapacity of the Human Rights Commission of SierraLeone was further developed with the Human Rightsand Rule of Law Section of UNIPSIL which providedtechnical assistance in relation to a second publicinquiry into violations committed by the police inBumbuna in April 2012.In Burundi, the Commissioners of the newlyestablishedIndependent National Human RightsCommission enhanced their knowledge of theInternational Coordinating Committee (ICC) ofNational Institutions accreditation process throughOHCHR training. OHCHR, together with civil societypartners, assisted the staff of the Ombudsman Instituteof the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as civil society,to strengthen their knowledge of international humanrights standards, including through the monitoring andreporting of human rights violations. Both institutionsreceived an “A” status by the ICC.In Afghanistan, the work of all nine commissionershas continued despite the fact they have not beenreappointed since December 2011. This underminedthe capacity of the Afghanistan Independent HumanRights Commission to act as a strong advocatefor human rights. As of December 2012, thereappointment issue has not been resolved despitethe repeated interventions by the High Commissioner38 OHCHR REPORT 2012


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWand efforts of the Special Representative of theSecretary-General in Afghanistan and severalembassies.Support to establishment of other bodiespromoting human rightsOHCHR supported the efforts of States to establishauthorities tasked with promoting the implementationof human rights at the national level. In Peru, OHCHRprovided technical assistance for the establishmentof the Vice-Ministry of Human Rights and Accessto Justice within the Ministry of Justice. In Uganda,OHCHR and the Uganda Human Rights Commissionadvocated for the creation of a Human RightsCommittee in Parliament, which was established inJune, and organized an induction workshop on criticalhuman rights issues for the committee members.National accountability mechanisms establishedand operating in accordance with internationalhuman rights standards and good practicesIn Yemen, the extensive work conducted by OHCHR,with the Ministries of Human Rights, Legal Affairsand with the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor,contributed to the issuance of a Presidential Decreein September providing for the establishment of aNational Commission of Inquiry to investigate humanrights violations committed during the events of 2011.In Côte d’Ivoire, OHCHR shared information gatheredby UN mechanisms with the National Commissionof Inquiry established to investigate human rightsviolations committed after the 2010 elections. Thereport of the Commission of Inquiry was presentedto the President in August 2012 and to the SpecialInvestigation Cell to ensure that alleged perpetratorsare brought to justice. Furthermore, technical supportand training provided by the Human Rights Divisionof the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire(ONUCI) to national judicial institutions led to theholding of the first two national trials for crimescommitted during the post-electoral crisis.In Guinea, the joint advocacy efforts and legal adviceprovided by OHCHR, UN partners, the ICC and NGOsresulted in the Government’s allocation of additionalresources to the judges in charge of investigatinghuman rights violations committed during theevents of 28 September 2009. This in turn led to theindictment of two government officials named in thereport of the International Commission of Inquiry. 11“Report of the International Commission of Inquiry mandated toestablish the facts and circumstances of the events of 28 September2009 in Guinea,” S/2009/693 of 18 December 2009.In Timor-Leste, accountability for serious crimes andpast human rights violations was enhanced throughthe completion of the investigation by the Officeof the Prosecutor of approximately 80 per cent ofthe incidents identified by the Independent SpecialCommission of Inquiry. Since the establishmentof the Commission in 2006, final judgments wererendered in seven cases, while 10 cases were closedpending discovery of new evidence. As of the end of2012, investigations were pending for five incidents.The UNMIT Human Rights and Transitional JusticeSection continued supporting the work of the Officeof the Prosecutor by funding two internationalprosecutors.OHCHR continued to support authorities instrengthening national capacities to effectivelyprotect victims and witnesses of international crimesand gross violations of human rights. In Kosovo,OHCHR’s technical support and advice resulted inthe adoption of a legal framework on victim andwitness protection that effectively addressed humanrights concerns. In Uganda, OHCHR is supportingthe development of a similar legal framework.In Mexico, the Federal Congress adopted the GeneralLaw on Victims which established a National Systemfor the Attention to Victims to protect the rights ofvictims of crimes and human rights violations andtheir families. OHCHR-Mexico provided technicalassistance during the drafting process, facilitateddialogue between congresspersons and victims andconducted advocacy efforts during the final stages ofdebates.National Preventive MechanismsNational Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) establishedin accordance with the provisions of the OptionalProtocol to the Convention against Torture andOther Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment orPunishment (OP-CAT) provide effective independentoversight mechanisms to prevent torture and illtreatment.OHCHR continued to advocate for andsupport the establishment of NPMs in all regions.This was particularly successful in Cambodia,Lebanon and Tunisia, where laws were draftedestablishing NPMs. In Togo, the CommissionNationale des Droits de l’Homme is expectedto finalize the amendments to its organic lawto facilitate its restructuring to accommodate aNPM. In Ukraine, the Office of the Ombudsmanbecame the country’s NPM in October 2012, afterParliament adopted the necessary amendments tothe Ombudsman law.OHCHR REPORT 2012 39


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWTransitional justice mechanisms (EA 3)Transitional justice mechanisms increasingly establishedand operating in accordance with international humanrights standards and good practices© OHCHR/South SudanOHCHR supports a comprehensive approach totransitional justice processes and mechanisms,which includes truth-seeking initiatives, judicialaccountability mechanisms, legal reforms andreparations programmes. During 2012, the Officeprovided assistance and training in this regard inmany countries across several regions of the world.OHCHR continued to be actively engaged inmonitoring, promoting and supporting transitionaljustice processes initiated in the Middle Eastand North Africa region (MENA). In November2012, together with the Special Rapporteur onthe promotion of truth, justice, reparation andguarantees of non-recurrence and the UNDPRegional Centre in Cairo, the Office co-organized aregional consultation on transitional justice, whichhelped raise awareness about international principlesand standards among stakeholders engaged intransitional justice initiatives in the region.In Tunisia, the technical committee in charge ofoverseeing the national consultation process anddrafting the law on transitional justice increased itsknowledge on transitional justice through trainingsand technical advice provided by OHCHR.In Libya, UNSMIL provided legal and technicaladvice, and jointly with OHCHR, trained prosecutorson the screening of detainees. Consequently,a screening committee was established andbegan reviewing cases of detainees. In a publicreport issued in September, UNSMIL maderecommendations on reforming the TransitionalJustice Law adopted by the National TransitionalCouncil. This contributed to the submission tothe General National Congress of a new draftTransitional Justice Law, which incorporates themajority of recommendations made by UNSMIL.Furthermore, one of the two Laws that grantamnesties to members of the former regime andthe Thuwar was amended as a result of effortsundertaken by UNSMIL to encourage nationalauthorities to revise the Laws.In Egypt, OHCHR implemented several awarenessraisingactivities on transitional justice forGovernment authorities, national human rightsinstitutions and civil society organizations. However,due to the prevailing political instability, progressmade on transitional justice issues was limited.Image of one of the activities carried out by UNMISS with childrenin secondary schools to commemorate Human Rights Day inKuajok, South Sudan.In Colombia, the new National Centre for HistoricalMemory was strengthened through the adoptionof an interdisciplinary methodology promotedby OHCHR through trainings for 40 newly hiredinterviewers of demobilized paramilitary membersin the context of a non-judicial truth-seekinginitiative.Uganda revised its Amnesty Law to eliminateprovisions in relation to the granting of a blanketamnesty, following advocacy efforts undertaken byOHCHR with national and international partners.In particular, a report containing recommendationsof national consultative workshops, co-organizedby OHCHR on the Amnesty Law, influencedthe Government’s decision to revise the bill. InSeptember, Madagascar adopted an amnesty law inline with international norms after a joint OHCHRand Southern African Development Communitymission to the country to provide technical supportto the transitional authorities in relation to itsdrafting.In Colombia, OHCHR advised authorities toundertake prompt and effective action in casesof threats, attacks and persecution of personsinvolved in land restitution processes, as part of theimplementation of the Victims’ and Land RestitutionLaw, and provided support to authorities for moreeffective protection to those involved. Furthermore,OHCHR fostered comprehensive reparation andreturn plans within the framework of TransitionalJustice Committees for the communities of Tulapasand Los Cedros in the department of Antioquia,which resulted in budgetary allocations to improve,inter alia, a road and a health centre.40 OHCHR REPORT 2012


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWIn Nepal, OHCHR contributed to raising awarenesson transitional justice through the October 2012release of the Nepal Conflict Report, whichdocuments and analyses serious violations ofinternational law that occurred during the 1996-2006 conflict. It also worked to establish a databaseof around 30,000 documents, designed to providea tool for Nepalese institutions and civil society tocontinue the process of seeking truth and justice forthe crimes committed.Access to justice and basic services (EA 4)Increased access to justice for individuals and groupsfacing discriminationProgress was made in the development of a joint UNWomen, OHCHR and UNDP programme on accessto justice for women. All three organizations draftedand approved the concept note and the terms ofreference of the multi-partner Trust Fund to supporta joint programme. Project documents are expectedto be developed and approved in 2013.OHCHR also supported the elaboration of a RegionalProtocol for the Investigation of Femicide in orderto strengthen capacity of law enforcement officers inLatin America to investigate, prosecute, punish andredress femicide.In Cambodia, the Office increased awareness ofthe rights of people in police custody, includingthrough the publication, together with the Ministriesof Interior and Justice, and distribution of an “ArrestRights Card,” which explains in plain language therights of detainees. OHCHR also improved accessof rights-holders to quality legal representation,in partnership with Avocats sans Frontières, toprovide free legal representation for four monthsin criminal cases throughout the country. A legaladvocacy officer will be recruited to assist lawyersin developing arguments using international humanrights law.In Colombia, OHCHR encouraged victims to usenational protection mechanisms and fostered theadoption of protection measures by the NationalProtection Unit in cases of threats and attacksagainst and the persecution of persons involvedin land restitution processes. For instance, in thedepartment of Bolívar, OHCHR, in coordinationwith the National Protection Unit, helped ensureprotection measures for a land restitutionclaimant whose life had been threatened bypost-demobilization groups. The intervention ofOHCHR in Becerril (Cesar) also helped a groupof investigators and journalists working on landgrabbing to receive the necessary protection tocontinue carrying out their work.A human rights case in CambodiaOHCHR employed a Legal Advocacy Officer whoserole it is to work with lawyers in pursuing emblematichuman rights cases (strategic litigation) as well as tosupport lawyers defending their clients with argumentsbased on national and international human rights law.In late 2011, a female garment factory worker (S.R.)was convicted under the human trafficking lawbecause of her same-sex relationship with a teenagefellow factory worker. S.R. assumed her girlfriendto be at least 15 years old (the age of consent)because of her employment, however, she was infact under 15 at the time, having used someoneelse’s birth certificate to gain employment in thefactory. The prosecution was pursued at the requestof the girlfriend’s family, who disapproved of therelationship. S.R. was sentenced to five years prisonafter a trial with fair trial rights concerns.OHCHR’s Legal Advocacy Officer supported S.R.’sappeal against her conviction, engaging a lawyer andproviding expert legal support to the lawyer, includingarguments based on article 14 of ICCPR and GeneralComment No. 32 of the Human Rights Committee.OHCHR and the lawyer successfully sought an expeditedhearing by the Court of Appeal. During the hearing on12 December 2012, the Court recognized the existenceof a same-sex relationship. On 31 December 2012, theCourt of Appeal overturned the first instance decision,dropped the charges against S.R. and ordered herimmediate release.Human rights defense lawyers in KyrgyzstanOne-month strategic litigation internships wereorganized by OHCHR for lawyers in Kyrgyzstan towork with leading NGOs in Russia. The participatinglawyers were selected as being among the mostqualified and motivated in defending victims of serioushuman rights violations. The internships allowedKyrgyz lawyers to benefit from the experience of theirRussian colleagues in defending victims of torture,ill treatment and arbitrary arrest. Upon their return,these lawyers proved to be better equipped to draftindividual petitions to the Human Right Committeewhich improved the quality of their defence strategy atthe national level. OHCHR also provided professionalmentoring and practical training to the lawyers.OHCHR REPORT 2012 41


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAW© REUTERS/Jorge AdornoWomen and children taking part in a march in Asuncion, Paraguay, to demand the protection of their rights. The placard reads, “We want thegovernment to value our rights.”Responsiveness of the internationalcommunity and the United Nations system(EA 10)Increased responsiveness of international entities,including the International Criminal Court,international tribunals, the Human Rights Counciland UN human rights mechanisms to combatimpunity in critical human rights situationsOHCHR, together with other relevant entities,contributed to ensuring that the Declaration onthe rule of law at national and international levels,adopted by the General Assembly on 24 September2012 at the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law,included numerous reaffirmations by MemberStates of their commitments related to human rightsand various components of the rule of law. Thiswas a unique occasion for Member States to makeindividual pledges, including regarding issues such asthe independence of the judicial system, equal accessto justice and transitional justice and impunity.The High Commissioner continued to advocateglobally, through a continuous output of publicstatements, speeches and opinion articles, onthe need to investigate human rights violations,ensure the accountability of those responsible andprovide reparations to victims. In addition, the HighCommissioner continued to engage with MemberStates during sessions of the Human Rights Council,while on mission to 10 countries (including Algeria,Barbados, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, South Sudanand Zimbabwe), and during high-level bilateralmeetings in Geneva and New York, to advance theresponsiveness of the international community onaccountability situations. The High Commissioneralso contributed to increasing the prominence ofhuman rights and accountability aspects of crises42 OHCHR REPORT 2012


IMPUNITY AND THE RULE OF LAWthrough her interventions at the Security Council onthe situations in Libya, Sudan and South Sudan, Syriaand the State of Palestine.Throughout the year, the Office continued to providemethodological advice to commissions of inquiryand fact-finding missions, set up by the HumanRights Council, including to the Syria Commission ofInquiry and the Fact-Finding Mission on the IsraeliSettlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,which led to an increased coherence in approachesand methodologies. Lessons learned exercises wereconducted following the Commission of Inquiry onLibya and the second phase of the Commission ofInquiry on Syria. OHCHR also led an internal reviewof commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missionswhich will enhance their effectiveness and OHCHR’sability to support the work of these investigativebodies.Advocacy work undertaken in relation to theuniversal abolition of the death penalty continued in2012. In preparation for the adoption of resolutionA/67/44 by the General Assembly in December,which calls for a global moratorium on the deathpenalty, the Office organized a Global Panel event inNew York. The event resulted in greater awarenessof the human rights deficits of implementing thedeath penalty and possible strategies for transitioningto abolition or the application of a moratorium.OHCHR also continued to raise the awareness ofMember States regarding due process and the rightto fair trial in the context of counter-terrorism andpromoted progress at the national level througha series of recommendations on the protection ofhuman rights while countering terrorism. For thispurpose, OHCHR organized, in collaboration withthe UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation TaskForce, two regional expert symposia for stakeholdersfrom the MENA region and Europe.With a view to ensuring better protection for thehuman rights of those who are deprived of theirliberty, OHCHR continued to participate in theUNODC-led process to revise the Standard MinimumRules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including byproviding information on relevant human rightsstandards and jurisprudence.Challenges and lessons learnedDuring 2012, OHCHR continued to activelycontribute to the ongoing efforts of the UNsystem to enhance the rule of law and combatimpunity. Bearing in mind ongoing demandsarising out of developments in North Africa andthe Middle East, as well as in other regions in theworld, more efforts and resources are needed toensure that OHCHR can effectively respond to themany human rights challenges being faced. Forinstance, many challenges remain in regard to theadequate resourcing of investigative bodies andthe establishment of fast-track procedures for therecruitment of staff that supports such investigations.Strategic efforts should be made to address thesechallenges. In particular, OHCHR needs to advocatemore visibly and effectively for the mandatoryinclusion of commitments to combat impunity andthe promotion and protection of human rights inpeace mediations, negotiations and agreements.The Declaration on the rule of law at nationaland international levels adopted by the GeneralAssembly in September 2012 constitutes a goodadvocacy tool in this regard, which will requireadequate follow-up to ensure implementation ofindividual pledges made by Member States.Much more remains to be done at the nationallevel, including securing clear political commitmentsfrom States to counter impunity and ensuring theirimplementation through effective legislation andpolicies. OHCHR’s advocacy work will thereforeneed to be strengthened and its capacity must beincreased in order to respond to calls for technicalassistance and the provision of expert legal advice.OHCHR’s leadership role in enhancing accountabilityfor violations, fostering transitional justicemeasures and supporting institution-building hasgreatly benefited from its partnership with otherorganizations within the UN system. OHCHR isstrongly committed to a coordinated, coherentand responsive approach to the rule of law andaccountability in order to strengthen the delivery ofassistance and underline the broader human rightsmessage.OHCHR REPORT 2012 43


Poverty andeconomic,social andcultural rightsPursuing economic, socialand cultural rights andcombating inequalitiesand poverty, includingin the context of theeconomic, food andclimate crisesBackgroundThe year 2012 presented many challenges andopportunities with respect to the promotion andprotection of human rights. The Arab uprising,global financial crisis and rising inequalities withinand between countries fuelled a powerful globalsocial movement for human rights. The falloutfrom the financial crisis continues to be acute inmany countries in both the South and North, thepoorest of which are often the hardest hit. Austeritymeasures had serious implications for the enjoymentof economic and social rights through the rollingback of social safety nets. Human rights demandsare universal, urgent and insistent and are featuringstrongly in international debates on the form andcontent of the post-2015 global development agenda.The fallacy that development outcomes can beachieved and sustained without due considerationfor human rights has been clearly exposed. TheUniversal Declaration of Human Rights andinternational human rights treaties are founded onfundamental values and principles of human dignityand freedom and require States to uphold universalstandards at all times, including the obligationto respect, protect and fulfil economic, socialand cultural rights (ESCR). The 2000 Millennium44 OHCHR REPORT 2012


OHCHR REPORT 2012 45© UNHCR/J. Ose


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTSDeclaration placed human rights commitments anddevelopment goals at the centre of the internationalagenda. This unified vision of human rights anddevelopment was reinforced at the 2005 WorldSummit, the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting onthe Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) andthe 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development(Rio +20 Summit).With the 2015 end-date of the MDGs fastapproaching, the Secretary-General launched anextensive global consultative process to preparethe post-2015 development agenda. A High-levelPanel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 agendawas appointed by the Secretary-General in June2012 and an Open Working Group on SustainableDevelopment Goals, composed of Member States,was established following the Rio +20 Summit. Inorder to support these two bodies and providesubstantive inputs to their work, the Secretary-General established a UN System Task Team onthe Post-2015 Development Agenda and taskedthe United Nations Development Group (UNDG)to carry out a wide range of thematic and countrylevelconsultations on key issues, lessons learnedand recommendations that should inform thedeliberations of Member States.OHCHR’s rolewell as the principles of equality, accountability andparticipation.As part of its effort to promote the full implementationof economic, social and cultural rights, the Officecontinues to provide dedicated support to theCommittee on Economic, Social and CulturalRights (CESCR), tasked to review the national-levelimplementation of the International Covenant onEconomic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) andits Optional Protocol, as well as to other treatymonitoring bodies and special procedures of theHuman Rights Council.The following key results were achieved by theOffice in 2012.National laws, policies and institutions (EA 1)OHCHR continued to provide technical assistanceto governments, civil society and other nationalstakeholders, at their request, in order to make thenecessary changes to national legislation and policiesto realize ESCR and integrate human rights standardsand principles in national development policies,plans and budget processes. OHCHR’s substantiveresearch, technical advice and practical learning toolshave helped raise awareness and build the capacitiesof national actors to align national policies andprogrammes with human rights standards.Undertaking legal analysis and applied research,developing practical and methodological tools andlearning packages, as well as providing substantiveguidance and technical advice lie at the core ofOHCHR’s work and mandate. OHCHR supportsMember States, human rights and developmentpractitioners at the international and national levelsas well as UN partners, including through capacitystrengtheningactivities and by sharing knowledgeand expertise on ESCR and a human rights-basedapproach to development.OHCHR endeavours to integrate all human rights,including the right to development, and theirgender dimensions, in international cooperationand national development policies and economicand social programmes. OHCHR leads UN systemwideefforts to mainstream human rights in theUN’s development policies and programmes.OHCHR also strives to ensure that the post-2015development vision will be a global, comprehensiveand balanced framework that universally appliesto all and is aligned with and grounded in all civil,cultural, economic, political and social rights, asIncreased integration of human rights standards andprinciples in national development plans, povertyreduction strategies, public budgets and laws andpolicies governing development cooperation, trade,finance, investment and business activitiesIn Ecuador, as a result of OHCHR’s technicalsupport, 120 public planning officials increasedtheir knowledge and skills to integrate a humanrights perspective in the formulation of publicpolicies. A set of national Guidelines to formulatesector specific public policies was revised and willserve as the main tool for the National Secretariatfor Development and Planning (SENPLADES) tointegrate human rights in development planning.The tool will strengthen the capacity of SENPLADESofficials to provide technical assistance to lineministries on sectoral public policies. In addition,effective support was provided to SENPLADES inthe application of OHCHR’s human rights indicatorsframework when developing structural indicators forall human rights, in line with key Universal PeriodicReview (UPR) recommendations.46 OHCHR REPORT 2012


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTSThe Mayor of Mexico City presents a publication on fair trialindicators developed with the support of OHCHR, May 2012.Important strides were undertaken to integratehuman rights within national poverty reductionstrategies. In Niger, OHCHR collaborated with theMinistry of Justice and the UN Country Team (UNCT)to include human rights and gender perspectivesin the National Economic and Social DevelopmentProgramme for 2013-2015. In Haiti, an advocacytool was developed with specific recommendationson how to integrate the protection of human rightsin return and relocation programmes for internallydisplaced persons, including with respect tovulnerability criteria for the selection of camps forreturn and relocation. To this end, OHCHR providedsubstantive capacity-building support to andpartnered with the Government and members of theProtection Cluster.In relation to human rights indicators, many MemberStates and human rights defenders, including inBolivia, Mexico, Paraguay, the Philippines andTogo, increasingly applied OHCHR’s conceptualand methodological framework in the developmentof indicators. In Paraguay, for instance, a total of71 indicators on the right to health, disaggregatedby age, sex, ethnic group, location, disability andpeople living with HIV, were developed under theleadership of the Executive Human Rights Network,the Ministry of Health and the Department ofStatistics, Census and Surveys, with the guidanceof OHCHR and other UN agencies. Indicatorsdeveloped in these countries will further contributeto the development of rights-based policies, helpassess the compliance of national policies withinternational human rights treaties and provideempirical information to human rights advocates.OHCHR’s new flagship publication entitled HumanRights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement andImplementation significantly contributed to thisprogress.© OHCHR/MexicoOHCHR extensively reached out to and engagedwith governments, businesses and private sectoractors, civil society and UNCTs on implementingthe Guiding Principles on Business and HumanRights. In Papua New Guinea, a multi-stakeholderHuman Rights Forum, chaired by the Departmentof Justice, established a technical working groupon business and human rights to explore waysof implementing the Guiding Principles. OHCHRalso engaged with relevant regional institutions,including the European Union, OECD, the Councilof Europe and the Pan-African Conference, on theimplementation of the Guiding Principles. OHCHRbriefed the Council of Europe Steering Committee onHuman Rights on the Guiding Principles and theirpossible application within the context of the Councilof Europe. This briefing informed a subsequent studyundertaken by the Council of Europe on CorporateSocial Responsibility in the Field of Human Rights(CDDH(2012)017). In January 2013, the Council ofEurope’s Committee of Ministers took note of the studyand committed to elaborating a declaration supportingthe Guiding Principles as well as a soft-law instrumenton implementation of the Guiding Principles.Increased compliance of national laws, policies andprogrammes with international norms and standardson economic, social and cultural rightsAs a result of a regional seminar organized byOHCHR in Bujumbura in April 2012, a total of35 representatives from national human rightsinstitutions (NHRIs) in the Central African regionincreased their knowledge and capacities on a widerange of topics related to ESCR. This importantinitiative enabled NHRIs to influence laws andpolicies in their respective countries and undertakeeffective monitoring of ESCR in their work as they dofor civil and political rights. Similarly, in June 2012,further to an OHCHR workshop, the knowledgeand capacity of NHRIs from Djibouti, Ethiopia andTanzania to monitor ESCR was strengthened.In the Central Asia region, OHCHR’s work on the rightto housing yielded tangible results. In Kazakhstan, theMinistry of Labour and Social Welfare developed anaction plan to implement the concluding observationsof the Committee on Economic, Social and CulturalRights (CESCR) while the Agency of Constructionand Utilities developed a plan to implement therecommendations made by the Special Rapporteur onadequate housing. In Kyrgyzstan, as a result of publichearings organized by OHCHR in the Parliament,which included government bodies, experts, civilsociety and international organizations, the draftHousing Code integrated many aspects of the right toadequate housing.OHCHR REPORT 2012 47


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS© EPA/Mak RemissaWith respect to the right to enjoy just and favourableconditions of work in Guatemala, OHCHR carriedout an assessment of the major obstacles andchallenges faced by the Labour Inspectorate atthe local level to protect the rights of agriculturalworkers. The assessment was shared with seniorgovernment officials. As a result, the Ministry ofLabour strengthened the capacity of the GeneralLabour Inspectorate by hiring 100 inspectors.Furthermore, to contribute to the increased numberand quality of rural inspections carried out bythe inspectors, OHCHR and the General LabourInspectorate developed a protocol to monitor thelabour rights of land workers which is expected tobe adopted in 2013.Increased protection by national judicial, quasijudicialand administrative mechanisms of redressagainst violations of economic, social and culturalrightsOHCHR promoted discussions on the availabilityand effectiveness of domestic legal remedies in casesof ESCR violations with a view to encouraging theratification of the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR.To this end, events were organized in the DominicanRepublic, Mexico, Panama, Republic of Moldova,Senegal, Spain and Uruguay with the participationof civil society organizations, national human rightsinstitutions, lawyers, judges and academic institutions.In October 2012, the Parliament of the Island ofJersey adopted the Debt Relief Law (DevelopingCountries), which bans “vulture funds” from usingits courts to sue the world’s poorest countries forhistoric debts. This was a result of the submissionCambodian people, who live in squatter areas in Phnom Penh,gather to celebrate Human Rights Day and call for the end of forcedevictions.made by the Independent Expert on foreign debtand human rights to lawmakers, which called on theIsland of Jersey to follow the example of the UnitedKingdom.Responsiveness of the internationalcommunity (EA 10)Increased integration of key human rights issuesin global, regional and national responses todevelopment, economic, food and climate crises andother challenges, including in the formulation of thepost-2015 development agendaIn the lead-up to the June 2012 Rio+20 Conference,OHCHR encouraged all UN Member States tosupport the full integration of human rights into theRio process. As a result of this effort and the activeparticipation of OHCHR in the conference, theRio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want,had a strong focus on reducing inequalities, fosteringinclusion and achieving justice in accordance withinternational human rights standards. The outcomedocument also emphasized the need to respect,protect and promote human rights and fundamentalfreedoms without discrimination.To ensure that human rights are further reflectedin the post-2015 debates within and outsidethe UN system, OHCHR produced a ThinkPiece on Human Rights and Post-2015 Agendaentitled Towards Freedom from Fear and Want.This substantively contributed to the work of theSecretary-General’s UN System Task Team on thePost-2015 Agenda which recommended in its June2012 report Realizing the Future We Want for Allthe identification of human rights as one of threefundamental principles for the post-2015 agenda(along with equality and sustainability).OHCHR also continued to actively support theUnited Nations Development Group (UNDG)-ledglobal thematic and national consultations on thepost-2015 agenda. Since mid-2012, OHCHR andUNDP have co-led the UNDG global thematicconsultations on governance and accountability andare scheduled to report in March 2013. In additionto global online consultations on governance andaccountability, OHCHR supported a number ofregional events organized by UN agencies in Africa,Latin America, the Middle East and South-EastAsia to ensure the prominence of a human rightsperspective. By way of example, the Declarationsadopted during the Manila and Dhaka regionalmeetings on the post-2015 development agenda,organized by the UN Millennium Campaign, strongly48 OHCHR REPORT 2012


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTSImpact of human rights mainstreaming work at country level“Human rights are an area relevantto all, where everyone can feelthey have their own interest andmandate. It has a very unifyingimpact.”UN Resident Coordinator, Republicof MoldovaThe Declaration on the Rightto Development, adopted bythe General Assembly in 1986,laid the foundation of the UN’shuman rights-based approachesto development and provided itskey elements, including: puttingpeople at the centre of development;ensuring free, active and meaningfulparticipation; securing nondiscrimination;fair distributionof development benefits; andrespecting self-determination andsovereignty over natural resources;all of which must take place withina process that advances other civil,political, economic, social andcultural rights.The UN system plays a key role insupporting programme countries,at their request, in developing theirnational capacities to integratehuman rights in national policiesand fulfil their treaty obligations.Strong national ownership andleadership are essential foundationsfor developing national capacityand achieving rights-baseddevelopment results. The humanrights-based approach adds valueto development efforts of allstakeholders by promoting the free,active and meaningful participationof beneficiaries; integrating theprinciples of accountability, nondiscriminationand equality; strivingfor the economic and politicalempowerment of rights-holders; andstrengthening coherence betweeninternational human rights standardsand economic and developmentpolicies and programmes.In Tanzania, the UNCT establisheda human rights working group,which is chaired by the ResidentCoordinator, and provides strategicanalysis and advisory services to theUNCT on a range of system-widepolicy issues from a human rightsperspective. In preparation for theUPR, 12 UN agencies providedsubstantive inputs to the UNCTcompilation report on a wide varietyof issues. The technical expertiseof the working group is stronglyvalued by national counterparts. Thegroup plays an important qualityassurance role with regards to themainstreaming of human rights innational programmes and policies,such as the National Human RightsAction Plan.By integrating human rightsinto development, countries canbetter address the root causes ofdevelopment challenges. Analyzingand understanding which groups havebeen excluded from developmentprogress, and why, is an importantstep that must be taken by countriesseeking to accelerate progress towardshuman rights and development goals.When a HRBA to development wasapplied in Botswana, it highlightedthe importance of addressingdiscrimination against people livingwith HIV and AIDS, refugees andpeople with disabilities and resultedin positive changes to the UNCT’sprogramming.In Ecuador, the Government decidedto apply a HRBA to its nationaldevelopment strategy and securedOHCHR’s assistance in developingplanning tools based on humanrights principles and standards.In the Republic of Moldova, withsupport from UNDP and UNWomen, local governments applieda HRBA in the implementationof their decentralized governancestrategies, which included a genderequality perspective. This resulted inbetter targeting of public resourcesto the most vulnerable groups andenhanced public participation indecision-making, leading to moresustainable results.These experiences of the UNsystem reaffirm the notion thatdevelopment, peace and securityand human rights are interlinkedand mutually reinforcing. In orderto further strengthen UN capacityand coordinate support to meetthe demands of Member States,OHCHR is leading the work of adedicated Inter-agency supportmechanism, called the UnitedNations Development Group HumanRights Mainstreaming Mechanism(UNDG-HRM). Eighteen agenciesare actively collaborating under theUNDG-HRM to strengthen coherentsupport to Member States throughthe work of UNCTs and to catalysemore effective and systematicengagement with UN human rightsmechanisms.Furthermore, the IndependentEvaluation of Delivering as One,commissioned by the Secretary-General at the request of theGeneral Assembly, indicated thatthis approach enhanced bothcountry ownership and effectiveattention to cross-cutting issues,such as human rights and genderequality. In a survey conductedunder the UNDG-HRM todetermine the support needs ofUNCTs in relation to human rightsmainstreaming, UNCTs respondedthat a HRBA in the Deliveringas One context “provides anexceptional framework for bringingtogether the different UN values andto take forward Inter-agency actionwhich brings together the differentUN mandates.”52 OHCHR REPORT 2012


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTShuman rights advisers, deployed at the request ofResident Coordinators and UNCTs. To date, a total of27 UNCTs have requested human rights advisers – astrong indicator of country-level demand.The UNDG-HRM also helped to strengthen theengagement of UNCTs and national partners withthe UN’s human rights mechanisms. For instance,the UNDG-HRM facilitated the inputs of UNCTs tothe Annual Meeting of the UN Special Rapporteursin Geneva in June 2012, which highlighted thevaluable contributions UNCTs can and do maketo the work of special procedures, includingthrough supporting field visits of mandate-holdersand following up on their recommendations.Moreover, an e-discussion on engaging with theUPR process consolidated over 91 contributions,including 50 from UNCTs, which underscored themany opportunities provided by the UPR processto engage with national partners on human rights.OHCHR provided substantive support to a UNDG-HRM knowledge management initiative to collectcase studies and good practices on mainstreaminghuman rights in development practice. Over 30 casestudies were submitted by UNCTs and agencies anda number of these will be included in a publicationto be launched and distributed in 2013 to UNagencies and UNCTs.Following OHCHR’s mainstreaming efforts, humanrights were included as a cross-cutting issue in thenew UN-HABITAT organigramme and its operationalactivities. On the issue of gender mainstreaming,OHCHR was one of eight UN pilot agencies whichled the development of common standards ongender mainstreaming – the UN System-Wide ActionPlan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment ofWomen (SWAP). After the endorsement of the SWAPby the UN Chief Executive Board for Coordinationin April 2012, OHCHR assisted other UN agenciesto comply with these standards. The InternationalTelecommunication Union was the first agency tosolicit OHCHR’s assistance in this regard.At the Human Rights Council, a panel on mainstreaminghas become an annual event, mandated by the outcomeof the review of the Council (A/HRC/RES/16/21). Thefirst such panel took place at the 19th session of theCouncil on March 2012 with the theme “mainstreamingin the area of development as well as on cooperation inhuman rights mainstreaming at the national level.”At the country level, OHCHR continued to supportthe integration of human rights and recommendationsof UN human rights mechanisms in United NationsDevelopment Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs), UNjoint programmes, humanitarian activities, as well asTraining on human rights-based approach facilitated by OHCHR inKyiv, Ukraine, October 2012.in a number of UNCT thematic working groups andmechanisms, in over 36 countries in all regions. 1For example, the United Nations EconomicCommission for Africa (UNECA) approved anticorruptionprogrammes, including significant humanrights provisions. In Azerbaijan, human rights areincorporated in all main programmes of the UNCT.In Yemen, OHCHR has engaged with the UNCT tomainstream protection issues into its programmesand developed a project to strengthen the capacitiesof national actors to monitor and respond to humanrights violations as part of the preparations forthe 2013 Consolidated Appeals Project. In Togo,OHCHR has been leading the UN’s efforts tointegrate human rights into the UNDAF 2014-2018,the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy PaperII (2013-2017) and their respective implementationplans. In Kenya, the Office developed Terms ofReference for 19 UN agency human rights focalpoints, which was adopted by the UNCT. In Bolivia,OHCHR contributed to a joint project on the rightof indigenous peoples to consultation, funded bythe UN Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership, which hashelped to bring indigenous peoples’ issues to theforefront of the public agenda. In Myanmar, theOffice and the UNCT initiated and co-organized thefirst Human Rights Day celebration in Yangon since1998, which brought together Government ministersand opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Last butnot least, the Pacific Regional 2013-2017 Common1Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, BurkinaFaso, Cambodia, Chad, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya,Kosovo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique,Niger, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Senegal,Serbia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, the formerYugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Ukraine and Yemen, as wellas in the European Union and the Pacific region.© OHCHR/UkraineOHCHR REPORT 2012 53


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTSImage of one of the activities carried out by OHCHR in Paraguay under the awareness-raising campaign, “You’re a person, you have rights.”© OHCHR/ParaguayCountry Assessment and UNDAF documentsincluded significant human rights provisions whichdrew extensively from the recommendationsissued by the UPR and human rights treaty bodiesin relation to 14 countries in the region andemphasized the need to align governance withinternational human rights norms and standards.Challenges and lessons learnedIn 2012, OHCHR advocated with success ondevelopment issues in intergovernmental and Interagencyforums. OHCHR also breathed life into andhelped sustain the UNDG-HRM in its initial year,pending the receipt of donor contributions for theUNDG-HRM Multi-Partner Trust Fund. However,deeply entrenched resistance to human rightspositions remain in many intergovernmental andInter-agency forums. Gains such as those outlinedabove need to be vigorously and consistentlydefended in order to become sustainable. Highlightingthe instrumental importance and empiricallyverifiable results of a human rights-based approachis an important part of a successful strategy withoutselling short the more fundamental and intrinsicimportance of human rights.The affirmation of the centrality of human rightsto sustainable development at Rio+20 constitutesa welcome first step towards a more just andambitious post-2015 development agenda, anchoredin a clearer and stronger accountability framework.There is momentum and expectation within andoutside the UN on the central role that human rightsshould play in related deliberations. UN agenciesand civil society partners are already placinga high demand on OHCHR to provide humanrights expertise and strengthen advocacy on keyhuman rights issues. OHCHR will need to meet thechallenge of consolidating and building upon its2012 achievements in a climate of reduced budgetaryresources. OHCHR will focus on positioning theUNDG-HRM to the most strategic effect as part of itsresponse to these challenges.54 OHCHR REPORT 2012


POVERTY AND ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS“Freedom from fear and want” in the Post-2015 Development AgendaAs we approach 2015, the end-dateof the Millennium DevelopmentGoals (MDGs), an ambitious newglobal deal is needed which isgrounded in the principles of humanrights, equality and sustainability.Its ultimate objective should beto realize the international humanrights commitments of UnitedNations Member States and buildupon the important human rightsagreements outlined in the 2010MDGs Review Summit and 2012Rio+20 outcome documents.The United Nations Secretary-General’s Task Team on the Post-2015 Agenda, of which OHCHRis an active member, identifiedhuman rights as one of the threefundamental principles for thepost-2015 framework, along withequality and sustainability.The formulation and implementationof the MDGs have fallen shorton a number of important fronts.These include: an unbalanceddevelopment framework; poorspecification of the global goals,targets and indicators; inappropriateadaptation of global goals to thenational level; non-participatoryprocesses; weak accountability forboth process and outcomes; andthe failure to address discriminationand increasing inequalities. Neitherthe content nor the implementationof the MDGs have been explicitlyaligned with international humanrights standards and principles.In March 2010, the Secretary-General concluded that “shortfallshave occurred not because thegoals are unreachable, or becausetime is too short. We are off coursebecause of unmet commitments,inadequate resources and a lack offocus and accountability.”Human rights are solemn legalobligations of Member States,inalienable entitlements ofpeople everywhere, and mustbe a cornerstone for any newdevelopment framework. Humanrights demands are being voicedstrongly and consistently inpost-2015 consultations atglobal and national levels. Thepost-2015 development agendamust not repeat the MDG’sshortcomings and must: (1) bea global, comprehensive andbalanced agenda that applies to alluniversally; (2) give a true meaningto ‘freedom from fear and want’ andbe aligned with and grounded in allcivil, cultural, economic, politicaland social rights; (3) addresspervasive inequalities, collectboth quantitative and qualitativedata and dismantle discrimination;(4) be built on strong accountabilitymechanisms, which strengthenpolitical commitments andimprove incentives for fair delivery;(5) ensure people can participate indecisions that affect them, withoutfear of repression; and (6) ensurethat policies across differentsectors are coherent at the nationaland international levels with humanrights standards and principles asthe yardstick.OHCHR will continue its researchand advocacy efforts, in partnershipwith Member States, the UN andcivil society actors, to ensurethat these strategic prioritiesare prominently reflected withinconsultations and preparationsundertaken in relation to the post-2015 development agenda.OHCHR REPORT 2012 55


MigrationProtecting human rightsin the context of migrationBackgroundMigration is a policy issue that has steadily taken ongreater prominence on the global political agenda.In 2013, the UN’s General Assembly will holdthe second High-level Dialogue on InternationalMigration and Development, during which MemberStates will discuss measures to enhance the benefitsand reduce the costs of international migration.OHCHR’s message in 2012 was that migrationis more than a simple economic or politicalphenomenon. It is rather an increasingly complex,and at times precarious, movement of more than214 million people. At its heart, migration is abouthuman beings. And while many migrants are ableto live and work safely and in dignity in their hostcountries, millions are less fortunate.As the global financial crisis continued, measureswere taken that impacted on the rights of the mostvulnerable migrants, including austerity measures thatdiscriminated against migrant workers; xenophobicrhetoric that encouraged violence against irregularmigrants; and immigration enforcement laws thatallowed the police to profile migrants with impunity.An increasingly powerful message of xenophobiapermeated both fringe and mainstream politicalmovements in many countries and resulted in aclimate of exclusion of, heightened anxiety about,and rising violence against migrants, frequentlyfuelled by government policies and practices.The current debate on migration is perhaps morerelevant and urgent than at any time in the recentpast. As human mobility becomes more complex,and the journeys taken by many migrants moreperilous, it is imperative that national, regionaland international policy responses to migration arepremised on human rights principles. In the leadupto the 2013 High-level Dialogue on InternationalMigration and Development, OHCHR called onMember States and other stakeholders to holdprincipled, practical and creative discussions toensure the protection of the rights of all migrants,wherever they are and whatever their status.56 OHCHR REPORT 2012


A little girl looks on at a Roma camp, east of Paris, France.© EPA/Yoan Valat


MIGRATIONOHCHR’s roleOHCHR promotes the integration of human rightsnorms and standards in all aspects of migrationpolicy at the national, regional and internationallevels. While several UN and other internationalagencies have a mandate to work on migrationrelatedissues, many lack an explicit human rightsfocus to their activities. The Office advocates fora human rights-based approach to migration andthe need to ground migration policymaking in theinternational legal framework, calling on MemberStates to respect the internationally guaranteedhuman rights of all migrants, protect them againstabuse and fulfil the rights that are necessary formigrants to enjoy a safe and dignified life.To address this issue, OHCHR developed capacitystrengtheningtools, such as learning packages andinformation materials on key issues; conductedresearch and consultation with a wide variety ofstakeholders on migration and highlighted thecentral advocacy issues at the national, regional andinternational levels. Through its field presences,OHCHR also increasingly engaged in migrationrelatedhuman rights work through the promotionof the core international human rights instruments,including the International Convention on theProtection of the Rights of All Migrant Workersand Members of Their Families (ICRMW), as wellas training activities, advocacy, technical advice,monitoring and protection and other initiatives.In addition, OHCHR continued to support theCommittee on Migrant Workers, which overseesthe implementation of the ICRMW, and the SpecialRapporteur on the human rights of migrants.Distinct but complementary to its work on migration,OHCHR made progress in 2012 in advancinga human rights-based approach to trafficking,including through technical support and capacitystrengtheningand by supporting the SpecialRapporteur on trafficking in persons, especiallywomen and children.The following are some key results OHCHR achievedin relation to its work on migration in 2012.National laws, policies and institutions (EA 1)Increased compliance with international humanrights standards of national laws, policies andadministrative regulations relevant to migrationAt the international level, OHCHR actively promotedthe integration of human rights standards inmigration policies. In March 2012, OHCHR heldan expert meeting on the subject of HumanRights at International Borders: Exploring Gapsin Policy and Practice, which was attended byexperts from governments, international andregional organizations, civil society and academia.Irregular migrants adrift south of Malta are rescued by Armed Forces of Malta personnel.© EPA/Lino Arrigo Azzopardi58 OHCHR REPORT 2012


MIGRATIONIn a background paper prepared for the meeting,OHCHR identified borders as a site of significanthuman rights violations against migrants, includingarbitrary detention, which are perpetrated by Stateand non-State actors. Informal summary conclusionsof the meeting called on the Office to developPrinciples and Guidelines on the issue of humanrights at borders. OHCHR began drawing up thisGuidance in 2013.In May 2012, the High Commissioner publiclywelcomed the February 2012 decision of theEuropean Court of Human Rights in the case of HirsiJamaa and others v. Italy. The decision reaffirmedthe human rights of all migrants, particularly in thecontext of collective expulsions, thereby picking upon an argument put forward by OHCHR in a legalbrief it submitted to the Court in May 2011 as anintervening party.At the regional level, OHCHR provided technicalassistance to the European Agency for theManagement of Operational Cooperation atthe External Borders of Member States of theEuropean Union (FRONTEX) in developing humanrights training materials for border guards, whichcontributed to an increased awareness of guards onthe human rights-based approach to migration. TheOffice also supported the Special Rapporteur on thehuman rights of migrants in his engagement with theEuropean Union (EU) while carrying out a year-longstudy on the management of the external bordersof the EU and its impact on the human rights ofmigrants. In this context, the Special Rapporteurundertook a mission to the EU institutions inBrussels and country visits to Greece, Italy, Tunisiaand Turkey. The Special Rapporteur will present athematic report on this issue to the Human RightsCouncil’s 23rd session in 2013, which is intendedto provide practical guidance to EU institutions andMember States on integrating the human rights ofmigrants in their migration policies and practices.Also in Europe, OHCHR launched a study in2012 following a Judicial Colloquium organizedby the Regional Office for Europe in 2011 on theimplementation of article 3 of the Convention on theRights of the Child, focusing on the case of migrantchildren, including unaccompanied and separatedchildren. The launch of the study took the form of adiscussion during a plenary session of the Committeeon Civil Liberties of the European Parliament (LIBE);the parliamentary committee tasked with discussinghuman rights issues within the EU. The study willserve as a key advocacy tool and its disseminationin LIBE has already contributed to an increasedawareness and understanding of the notion of thebest interests of the child and its interpretation bynational courts.At the country level, OHCHR assisted governments,national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civilsociety to draft and revise relevant legislation in linewith international standards on the human rightsof migrants. For instance, while the developmentof a specific law on migrant domestic workerswas hindered by changes in the leadership of theLebanese Ministry of Labour, the Regional Office forthe Middle East contributed to the development of aCode of Conduct for recruiting agencies working withmigrant domestic workers in Lebanon. The supportprovided to the drafting of the Code of Conductrepresents another major step in the RegionalOffice’s efforts to enhance the level of complianceof policies and procedures with international humanrights standards. In addition, through a numberof awareness-raising activities, the knowledge ofrecruiting agencies regarding international humanrights standards and the provisions of the endorsedCode of Conduct was enhanced.In Guatemala, the Office continued to providetechnical assistance and advice to Congress throughvarious commissions to ensure the complianceof initiatives and legal reforms with internationalstandards. The Office worked closely with theCommission on Migrants, relevant authorities andcivil society on reforms to the Law on Migration. Theviews expressed by the Office were incorporated inthe draft, which correspond to the recommendationsissued by the Special Rapporteur on the humanrights of migrants and the Committee on theProtection of Migrant Workers and Members of TheirFamilies. The legislation now includes fundamentalhuman rights principles and moves away from anapproach based purely on national security andborder control.Through a variety of activities, the Office builtthe capacity of stakeholders at the national levelto implement a human rights-based approach tomigration, raise awareness about migrants’ rightsissues and foster partnerships. In Mexico, forinstance, OHCHR designed and implemented aproject on the Impact Evaluation of the HumanRights Training of Government Officials fromthe National Institute for Migration Institute.The Institute responded positively towardsrecommendations made by OHCHR regarding itshuman rights education policies and indicatorsfor measuring the impact of human rights trainingactivities. Consequently, the National Institute ofMigration and OHCHR co-published a Guide for CivilServants on the Human Rights of Migrants.OHCHR REPORT 2012 59


MIGRATIONTrafficking in personsThe FRONTEX Trainers’ Manual on Anti-TraffickingTraining for Border Guards was finalized in 2012.OHCHR, through its Regional Office for Europe,contributed to its compilation by ensuring a humanrights-based approach was reflected in the manual.Through OHCHR’s trainings and awareness-raisingactivities, knowledge was increased among borderguards on applying a human rights-based approachto combat and prevent trafficking in persons.In Senegal, the Office contributed to therevitalization of the National Cell on the fightagainst trafficking in persons, especially women andchildren. The Cell began to hold regular meetings,developed a communication plan and organized anumber of workshops to raise awareness and trainstakeholders, including from the private sector,on the problem of trafficking and the concomitanthuman rights violations.To increase compliance with international human rightsstandards at the national level, OHCHR continuedto promote the application of the RecommendedPrinciples and Guidelines on Human Rights andHuman Trafficking through the organization ofregional and subregional launches of the OHCHRCommentary on the Recommended Principles andGuidelines which were developed in 2010. Forinstance, 55 participants from nine countries, includinglaw enforcement officials from various ministries,increased their knowledge on the application of theRecommended Principles and Guidelines during alaunch of the OHCHR’s Commentary in Yaoundé forCentral and West African countries. At the end of theevent, participants evaluated the Commentary as auseful tool for application in their daily work.Responsiveness of the internationalcommunity (EA 10)International community increasingly responsive tomigrants’ rightsThe Office continued its efforts to raise awarenessabout a human rights-based approach to migration atthe international level, including through advocacyundertaken by the High Commissioner at the HumanRights Council, during official missions and in otherrelevant fora.Advocacy efforts undertaken by OHCHR within thecontext of the Rio+20 negotiations process led to theinclusion of a strong reference to the human rights ofmigrants, regardless of their status, within the Rio+20Female sex workers participate in the 15th National Encounter of the Mexican Net of Sex Work, June 2012. Participants analysed issues suchas human rights and the laws to prevent, punish and eliminate human trafficking, as well as help that is available for victims of this crime.© EPA/Mario Guzman60 OHCHR REPORT 2012


MIGRATIONoutcome document. In addition, advocacy undertakenby OHCHR for the inclusion of the human rights ofmigrants within various thematic consultations relatedto the post-2015 development agenda, includingthe Inequalities and the Population Dynamicsconsultations, led to more holistic and norm-basedreferences to migration and human rights.OHCHR provided substantive technical assistance tovarious roundtables held at the sixth Global Forumon Migration and Development (GFMD) in Mauritiusin November 2012. In particular, OHCHR ensuredthe inclusion of a human rights focus in backgrounddocumentation and discussions held in the context ofroundtable session 3.1 (Improving Public Perceptionsof Migrants and Migration) and session 3.2 (MigrantProtection as Integral to Migration Management).OHCHR also held a side event on Public Perceptions,Migration and Human Rights and produced ashort brochure on the theme which was distributedto participants and contributed to their increasedunderstanding of the links between public perceptionsof migration, xenophobia and human rights.Human rights mainstreaming within theUnited Nations (EA 11)Increased integration of human rights standardsand principles related to migration into the work ofinternational and regional processes on migrationOHCHR continued its efforts at the international levelto ensure a human rights perspective in the globaldebate on migration. The Office remained an activemember of the Inter-Agency Global Migration Group(GMG) in 2012 and promoted and mainstreameda human rights approach to migration within theUnited Nations system.On 18 December 2012, the Secretary-General’sPolicy Committee held a discussion on InternationalMigration which was jointly led by OHCHR andthe Department of Economic and Social Affairs.Following this discussion, the Policy Committeeendorsed a set of key human rights-based messageson migration and decided that OHCHR would leadthe preparation in 2013 (in consultation with theGMG and other entities within the UN system) of aconcise analytical report on Migration and humanrights. The report will consider how attention tothe rights of migrants can be strengthened withinthe governance framework of migration at theinternational level and will aim to focus attention onthis issue within the upcoming High-level Dialogueon Migration and Development in 2013 and in thecontext of the post-2015 development agenda.© OSCE/Curtis BuddenOHCHR remained an active member of the GMGand played a central role in the GMG internalreview process in 2012. Through its input, OHCHRattempted to enhance and strengthen Inter-agencycoordination of migration and bolster the GMG’smandate to promote the wider application ofall relevant instruments and norms relating tomigration. As a result, the Inter-agency body paidmore attention to the human rights framework. Forinstance, one of the decisions made in the GMGPrincipals meeting in 2012 was that the GMG shouldconsider the establishment of a Working Group onMigration, Gender and Human Rights, with OHCHRserving as the co-Chair. OHCHR also provideddetailed input to and mainstreamed human rightswithin a set of draft outcomes and recommendationson migration which are being prepared by theUN system in preparation for the 2013 High-levelDialogue on Migration and Development.© UNHCR/J. OseSomali refugees board a bus that will take them to a transit centrein Dollo Ado, close to the Ethiopia-Somalia border.OHCHR REPORT 2012 61


MIGRATIONA Roma girl arriving at Bucharest airport, August 2012.© REUTERS/Bogdan CristelTrafficking in personsAs a member of the Inter-Agency Coordination Groupagainst Trafficking in Persons (ICAT), OHCHR wassuccessful in mainstreaming a human rights-basedapproach into the joint policy papers developed bythe ICAT. The first paper focused on the intersectionbetween international and national legal regimes tocombat trafficking and the rights-based approachwas presented as an essential component of the legalframework to combat trafficking in persons.Challenges and lessons learnedIn 2012, migration remained a contested issue in acrowded Inter-agency and intergovernmental field.While some important advances were made inensuring norm-based discussions on migration at keyinternational events, more work needs to be done toensure that the human rights framework is broadlyrecognized as the fundamental framework for acoherent, comprehensive and sustainable globaldiscussion of migration.At the intergovernmental level, there are fewprocesses (including the bilateral, regional andinternational levels) in which the human rightsframework on migration is given more than cursoryattention. To date, there is no comprehensive globalsystem or framework for debating and managingmigration and human rights at the internationallevel and there is little global consensus on howto address the complex dynamics of internationalmigration. As the complexity of human mobilityincreases and traditional distinctions betweenvoluntary and forced migration become less clear,it is essential to address the rights of all migrants,regardless of their legal status, in a holistic way.The ICRMW remains the least ratified instrument ofall the core international human rights instrumentsand States continue to be reluctant to recognizethat the protection of universal human rights normsapply equally to all migrants. The Global Forum onMigration and Development, as a voluntary, nonbindingand State-led process, has been traditionallyhesitant to undertake a normative discussion ofmigration and is not inclined to commit States toconcrete action with regard to human rights issues.At the Inter-agency level, challenges primarilyderive from a lack of robust coordination andcoherence on migration and human rights issues,coupled with some degree of competition betweenagencies for access to and space within the limitedinternational and regional institutional structures onmigration.62 OHCHR REPORT 2012


MIGRATIONHear our voices - children in immigration detentionAmin Senatorzade, a former childmigrant from Afghanistan, left hishomeland for Turkey and foundhimself detained in Turkey, Greece,and Norway. At 16, Afghan-bornGholam Hassanpour migrated aloneto Greece from Iran and was placedin detention. Mariane Quintao, aformer child migrant from Brazil,spent three weeks in detention inthe United States.According to the InternationalDetention Coalition (IDC), moregovernments are using detentionas a measure against irregularmigration. This results in thousandsof migrant children being imprisonedor held in detention centres, somefor long periods of time. In additionto the violation of their rights due toundue detention, many of them areheld without their parents present,leaving them particularly vulnerableto physical, sexual and psychologicalabuse.The IDC was able to provide sixchildren with a unique platform toshare their personal experiences indetention during a side event, “HearOur Voices - Children in ImmigrationDetention.” The event was heldduring the Committee on the Rightsof the Child’s annual Day of GeneralDiscussion (DGD) on the Rightsof All Children in the Context ofInternational Migration held at thePalais des Nations in Geneva in theFall.Six formerly detained childrenshared their stories by performing aplay called Always Behind My Back.The presentation was producedduring a one-week workshop duringwhich the group collaborated onart projects, shared their stories,and participated in creating thekey messages for the theatrepresentation.“The art was used to tell the oftenvery traumatic stories because itallows for a measure of emotionaldistance and limits re-traumatization,”said Glynis Clacherty, the IDC’s childparticipation facilitator and researcher.Clacherty explained that the storieswere recorded and used for creatingthe script in order to fully capture theirexperiences in detention.“I was on the boat with 70 people,”said 15-year-old Bashir Youseidei,who was detained for seven monthsin Australia, having migrated fromAfghanistan. “We didn’t haveany food and any water for sevendays. I was excited to arrive whenI got there (to Australia) to get aneducation. But, I got really sadwhen I saw the fence… It is alwaysbehind me, here - the memory.”Many of these children sharedsimilar stories. Marianne performedan original song during the eventabout her detention in the UnitedStates. “They wouldn’t talk to me.They wouldn’t answer me, theywould never say anything,” shesays. Gholam arrived in Greeceseven years ago from Iran withouthis parents. He was a victim ofabuse by the police who detainedhim. “The police took me andanother boy and four men and theybeat us very hard,” says Gholam.At 16, Rim Tekei Salomon spentsix months in an Israeli detentioncamp. “My parents left Eritreaduring the war in Sudan. I was bornin a refugee camp.”During the DGD, UN Human RightsSpecial Rapporteur on the humanrights of migrants, Francois Crepeausaid, “States often see migration asa problem and portray migrants aspotential law breakers or criminals,overlooking the fact that migrationof children in particular has multidimensionalroot causes, suchas the persecution of the child orthe child’s parents, post-conflictsituations, and trafficking, includingthe sale of the child by its ownparents.”The Committee also emphasizedthat article 37 of the Convention onthe Rights of the Child, which alsoapplies in migration situations andis legally binding for its 193 StatesParties, explicitly states that “nochild shall be deprived of his orher liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily”and the “arrest, detention orimprisonment of a child shall be inconformity with the law and shall beused only as a measure of last resortand for the shortest appropriateperiod of time.”The presentation was producedwith the support of the GlobalCampaign to End ImmigrationDetention of Children - a campaignthat was launched in March at the19th session of the United NationsHuman Rights Council in Geneva.OHCHR REPORT 2012 63


Violence andinsecurityProtecting human rightsin situations of violenceand insecurityBackground“The UN’s failure to adequately respond to events likethose that occurred in Sri Lanka should not happenagain. When confronted by similar situations, theUN must be able to meet a much higher standardin fulfilling its protection and humanitarianresponsibilities.” (Report of the UN Secretary-General’sInternal Review Panel on United Nations Actionin Sri Lanka, New York, November 2012, page 35,para. 88).“...With its multiplicity of mandates and areasof expertise, the UN possessed the capabilities tosimultaneously strive for humanitarian access whilealso robustly condemning the perpetrators of killingsof civilians. It should have been able to push furtherfor respect for international norms in the delivery ofassistance…” (op. cit, page 27, para. 75).Violence and insecurity are frequent occurrencesin today’s world. Insecurity emerges when agovernment, faced with conflict and violence(be it political, social, economic, or generatedby organized crime), cannot or will not ensurethe protection of its citizens, organizations andinstitutions against threats to their well-being and theprosperity of their communities. Such threats maycome from the State itself or from non-State actors.In several countries, organized crime, trafficking,civil unrest and terrorism have supplanted armedconflict as the main sources of violence andinsecurity. Natural disasters are an additional sourceof insecurity – especially as they may not onlygenerate, but often exacerbate pre-existing, violenceand human rights concerns.Like armed conflict, social and criminal violenceexposes populations to widespread human rightsviolations, including extrajudicial killings, torture andill-treatment, disappearances and arbitrary detention.64 OHCHR REPORT 2012


A close-up photo of weapons retrieved from rebels by the UN Mission in the Democratic Republicof the Congo in coordination with the UN Mine Action Service in Goma, North Kivu, October 2012.© UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYIt is crucial to ensure that strategies to promotecitizen security take into account how factors, suchas sex, disability, ethnic origin, national or socialorigin, property, birth, migratory status, family andmarital status and sexual orientation, influence theexperience of conflict and violence. Women andgirls continue to be particularly affected as conflictand insecurity exacerbate pre-existing patterns ofgender discrimination and put them at heightenedrisk of sexual, physical and psychological violence.Striking a balance between the response to existingthreats and the obligation to protect wholepopulations against violence and insecurity is noteasy. At times, States have resorted to repressiveresponses which engender further violations andfail to address the root causes of insecurity. Theinternational human rights law framework providesthe basis on which action should be undertaken,including in situations of conflict, violence andinsecurity. A rights-based approach is needed togive effect to the entitlement of each person to feelsecure and protected in their daily lives. Therefore,OHCHR cooperates with States to ensure that theycan fulfil their obligations to protect the rights oftheir populations and that measures to curb violence,insecurity and crime are designed and implementedwith the protection of human rights at their core.OHCHR’s roleIn 2012, on the basis of its global human rightsprotection mandate and expertise in the complexthematic area of violence and insecurity, OHCHRprioritized work on: pressing human rightsissues related to situations of international orinternal armed conflict; humanitarian crises,including those in the aftermath of both manmadeor natural disasters; situations where social,economic and criminal violence is prevalent;and societies struggling with terrorism. In 2012,OHCHR continued to advocate for and cooperatewith Member States and civil society to formulateresponses to situations of violence and insecuritythat are firmly rooted in human rights principles andstandards.OHCHR collaborates with governments, UN entitiesand civil society to ensure that legislation andpolicies to combat violence and insecurity are firmlygrounded on respect for human rights – as thisis the path to prevent, reduce and combat rightsviolations, guarantee non-repetition and ensure theavailability of remedies for the affected population.© OHCHR/MexicoLaunch of the National Mechanism for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico, November 2012.The core of OHCHR’s strategy to protect humanrights in situations of violence and insecurityincludes supporting the compliance of MemberStates with their human rights obligations, raisingpublic awareness and building capacity.Through its regular monitoring, undertaken fromheadquarters and in the field, OHCHR identifiesindicators of potential or emerging violence andinsecurity and promotes timely interventionsfrom OHCHR field presences and other parts ofthe UN human rights and humanitarian systems(see below under EA 10 and 11). In humanitariancrises, OHCHR attempts to ensure that all phasesof response - planning, preparedness, responseand recovery - address the human rights of affectedpopulations, particularly those in situations ofvulnerability. This may include victims of sexual andgender-based violence, internally displaced persons,women, children, refugees, migrants, the elderly,the urban and rural poor, persons with disabilities,persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons belonging tominorities and indigenous peoples. By promotingthe international human rights framework, OHCHRclarifies and underscores that: relevant protectionactivities do not take place in a legal void; affectedpopulations are rights-holders and not merelybeneficiaries of charitable action; and nationalauthorities have the primary responsibility as dutybearersto respect, protect and fulfil the humanrights of all persons under their jurisdiction. In acontext where pre-existing human rights violationsare exacerbated by situations of violence andinsecurity, OHCHR’s work in addressing their rootcauses ensures the efficacy and sustainability of allprotection efforts.66 OHCHR REPORT 2012


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYThroughout 2012, OHCHR used a variety of toolsand methodologies to assist Member States and otherstakeholders to comply with their human rightsobligations in relation to addressing violence andinsecurity. The High Commissioner, for example,highlighted particular situations of violence affectinggroups in vulnerable situations; stressed the needto adopt policies which are in line with humanrights standards; and welcomed the establishmentof mechanisms to protect human rights defendersand journalists. OHCHR continued the roll-out ofits Human Rights Case Database in field presences(Guinea-Bissau, Haiti and Tunisia) in order toharmonize methods to monitor and documenthuman rights violations. OHCHR also monitored,investigated and reported on cases, events andsituations and informed decision-makers; fostereddialogue between governments and civil society;advocated for the incorporation of human rightsin legislation, policies and practices, as well asprotocols of intervention; supported institutionbuilding,especially the creation and functioning ofmechanisms to protect human rights defenders andjournalists; and implemented technical cooperationprojects. Given that situations of violence andinsecurity, including those related to the activities oforganized criminal actors, have serious consequencesfor the enjoyment of human rights, OHCHR alsoundertook advocacy efforts to challenge perceptionsthat respect for human rights constitutes a distractionor an obstacle to the achievement of political stabilityand sustainable peace, countering crime or securinghumanitarian access and the delivery of assistance.National laws, policies and institutions (EA 1)State institutions (particularly the judiciary,the security sector and national human rightsinstitutions) increasingly comply with internationalhuman rights standards in the area of the preventionof and effective response to individual human rightsviolationsIn 2012, OHCHR contributed to improving thelevel of responsiveness and accountability ofState institutions vis-à-vis individual human rightsviolations in a number of countries. In Afghanistan,following persistent and targeted advocacy effortsundertaken by the United Nations AssistanceMission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the Governmentestablished the Civilian Casualties Tracking Teamin the Presidential Information CoordinationCentre in May. This is expected to strengthenoversight and accountability of the security forces,including in relation to individual cases of humanrights violations, and ensure better protection ofcommunities. In Iraq, human rights officers of theUnited Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)carried out some 20 visits to places of detention andworked closely with the Ministry of Human Rightsand the Ministry of Justice to address allegationsof rights violations of detainees. In the State ofPalestine, the Office cooperated with the relevantsecurity agencies falling under the PalestinianMinistry of the Interior and provided technicalassistance to ensure that codes of conduct arecompliant with human rights standards.In Guatemala, the Office continued to collaboratewith the Congress’ Working Group on Securityand Justice, which discusses the main initiativesregarding these issues, and provided advice,including on several proposals for constitutionalreform. The Office’s recommendations resulted inthe introduction of a number of changes to securitypolicies, although some gaps remain in terms oftheir compliance with international standards.For example, some of the recommendations oninitial drafts of the Covenant for Security, Justice andPeace, which outlines the Government’s strategyfor the reduction of violence and the generationof a culture of peace, were taken into account, forexample, the use of the military in law enforcementfunctions. The Office also advocated for the reviewof legislation and protocols on the use of the militaryin functions that should belong exclusively to civiliansecurity forces. As a result, Decree 40-2000 wasreformulated and a protocol was developed on theintervention of the armed forces that, despite theabsence of critical factors, such as a clear exclusionof the use of the armed forces in situations of socialprotest, includes some human rights aspects.Progress was also achieved regarding contributionsto the establishment of specific mechanismsor policies to protect human rights defendersand journalists. In Colombia, support providedby OHCHR to the National Working Groupon Guarantees to Human Rights Defenders, acoordination mechanism that includes NGOs and keyState institutions, resulted in an acknowledgementby the Ministries of Interior and Defence of theimportance of the Early Warning System of theOmbudsman’s Office and an asserted commitmentto its strengthening. OHCHR’s advocacy for astronger risk-assessment and response-capacity ledto prompter and more effective protection measuresfor human rights defenders at risk. In Guatemala, theUnit for the Analysis of Attacks against Human RightsDefenders, an important mechanism to analyseattack patterns against human rights defenders,was reactivated in August. In Mexico, the Law forthe Protection of Journalists and Human RightsOHCHR REPORT 2012 67


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYDefenders, which entered into force in June 2012,created a National Protection Mechanism whichwill include activists and journalists as permanentmembers. OHCHR was invited to participate inmeetings of the Mechanism without a vote. TheMexican Congress also approved a constitutionalamendment that authorizes federal authorities toinvestigate crimes against journalists. This respondsto a specific recommendation made by the UN andOAS Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expressionfollowing their joint visit in 2010.In Kenya, the Protection-Working Group on InternalDisplacement, which was established after the2008 post-election violence and includes OHCHRas a member, worked to ensure the adoptioninto law of the 2012 Prevention, Protection andAssistance to Internally Displaced Persons andAffected Communities Bill. The Bill provides for arights-based response to internal displacement andimposes an obligation on all relevant stakeholdersinvolved in providing protection and assistanceto internally displaced persons (IDPs) to act inaccordance with the Great Lakes Protocol andGuiding Principles on Internal Displacement.Involving State institutions in humanitarian responsein AsiaWith support from the Office, National DisasterManagement Offices and relevant ministries inFiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu enhanced theirknowledge of protection issues and have a strongerunderstanding of how to address such issues.OHCHR, as part of its humanitarian ProtectionCluster work, provided relevant technical assistanceand training tools to these institutions in cooperationwith the Global Protection Cluster and UNHCR.In addition, a dedicated framework for protectionwork was created within Fiji’s National DisasterManagement Office.Citizen security policies and legislation, as well asState entities dealing with citizen security issues,increasingly comply with international human rightsstandardsIn Mexico, the Federal Congress adopted the GeneralLaw on Victims which aims to protect the rights ofvictims of crimes and human rights violations, andtheir direct relatives, and mandates the establishmentof a National System for the Attention to Victims.The scope of the rights outlined in the Law includesaccess to truth, justice and reparation, as well asguarantees of non-repetition. OHCHR providedtechnical assistance during the process, facilitateddialogue between Members of Congress and victimsand actively advocated for its approval during thefinal stages of the debates.In Timor-Leste, the Vulnerable Persons Unit of theNational Police increased its capacity to investigatecomplaints as a result of technical advice providedby the Human Rights and Transitional Justice Section(HRTJS) of the United Nations Integrated Mission inTimor-Leste (UNMIT) and UNMIT police. In addition,the HRTJS monitored cases of corporal punishmentand gender-based violence committed by thesecurity forces and submitted written informationto the Prosecutor’s Office on the allegations.As a result, the Prosecutor’s Office investigatednumerous alleged violations by the security forces.Nevertheless, the number of pending cases at someProsecutor’s Offices remained high and resulted insignificant delays in the delivery of justice.In Ecuador, the cooperation framework betweenthe Ministry of the Interior and the UN system onthe activities regarding citizen security and use offorce could not be implemented due to changes inthe priorities of the Ministry of Interior. Technicalassistance was provided to the Ministry of Defence’sDirectorate of Human Rights and Humanitarian Lawfor the elaboration of a human rights curriculumfor soldiers and officers, which is expected to becompleted by the end of 2013.In Papua New Guinea, OHCHR partnered withthe Consultative Implementation and MonitoringCouncil and led a workshop for law enforcementand judicial officials and other stakeholders to reviewthe implementation of the recommendations madeby the Special Rapporteur on torture relating totorture prevention and the improvement of detentionconditions following his mission in 2010. Duringthe workshop, specific agency plans to implementthe recommendations were developed. In addition,the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary officiallylaunched a revised edition of the Guide for PoliceConduct and Behaviour, a handbook for police officersto remind them of their responsibilities and obligationsin the context of widespread concern regarding policemisconduct and abuse, in particular killings and torture.Improved impact of cases selected for individualadvocacy in the revival or creation of justice andaccountability mechanismsIn Iraq, UNAMI advocated with the Council ofRepresentatives’ Human Rights Committee and theLegislative Committee to address gaps in human68 OHCHR REPORT 2012


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYrights protection and law reform. In October, theGovernment held a conference on the protectionof civilians against violence which resulted in theadoption of recommendations related to improvedcoordination of financial, medical, social and otherforms of support for victims of violence, programmesaimed at addressing the phenomenon of terrorismand enhanced guidelines for security forces involvedin combating terrorism.In Haiti, regular collaboration between the Officeand the Inspection générale of the Haitian NationalPolice regarding alleged violations of human rightsby members of the police force increased thisinstitution’s awareness of how to effectively addresshuman rights violations. Despite work undertakenby the police to investigate these allegations, thejudicial system remains reluctant to conduct inquiriesand prosecute alleged perpetrators. The monitoringand analysis of and reporting on the human rightssituation in the context of deprivation of liberty ledto targeted advocacy activities and the preparationof lists of cases that were provided to relevantauthorities to ensure appropriate responses tocases of illegal detention. The development andconsolidation of the work of the comités de ladétention provisoire prolongée in 2012 resulted in theinvolvement of the authorities in the identificationand response to identified cases of illegal detention.Access to justice and basic services (EA 4)Increased number of successful prosecutions andpercentage of victims of sexual violence that receivereparations in accordance with internationalstandardsProviding justice and redress for victims of sexualviolence in the DRCIn 2012, the UNJHRO took steps to implement apilot project on access to justice, reparations andremedies for victims of sexual violence in SouthKivu. The project aims at encouraging governmentaction towards the provision of reparations tovictims, including through medical, psychosocial andeconomic assistance. As a preliminary result, 80 girlshave been assisted and placed in host families withfacilitated access to food, educational and medicalfacilities. The project will continue in 2013.la Justice. This represents an important step towardsstrengthening the engagement of the Government inthe working group and in its interaction with externalpartners. In addition, 18 specialized units for womenand children were established within police posts andspecialized cells in the offices of civilian and militaryprosecutors in Kinshasa, Matadi, Bandundu, Mbuji-Mayi, Kananga and Katanga. This was a direct resultof training organized for magistrates and judicialpolice officers by UNJHRO in coordination with theMinistry of Justice and Human Rights, UN Police andthe European Union Police Mission (EUPOL).In Sudan, police investigators increased theirknowledge on how to deal with sexual violencecases through trainings carried out by the HumanRights Section (HRS) of the African Union/UnitedNations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). As aresult of this training, a help desk was established asa mechanism of redress for women within the Familyand Child Protection Unit in a remote area in Darfur.In 2012, OHCHR worked towards improving accessto justice for victims of sexual violence in a numberof countries or regions, including Afghanistan,the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire,the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),El Salvador, Haiti, Kosovo, Mali, Nepal, Senegal,Sierra Leone, Sudan, as well as countries in theGreat Lakes and West Africa regions.As an example, in the DRC, the United NationsJoint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) providedsupport to magistrates in parquets and mobile courtswhich contributed to making progress in fightingimpunity on sexual violence. In some provinces,such as North Kivu, the provincial working groupon the fight against impunity for sexual violencetook steps to increase ownership of this issue by theGovernment, including by transitioning the hosting ofmeetings from the UN to the Division Provinciale de© IRIN/Kate HoltA victim of sexual violence at a hospital in Goma, DemocraticRepublic of the Congo.OHCHR REPORT 2012 69


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYSexual and gender-based violence – investigatingfemicide© REUTERS/Ricardo RojasIn El Salvador, a protocol on femicide investigation,developed with the support of the OHCHR RegionalOffice for Central America, was adopted by theProsecutor’s Office. This followed the adoption in2010 and coming into force in 2011 of a law toprevent violence against women, the Ley EspecialIntegral para una Vida Libre de Violencia (SpecialComprehensive Law for a Life Free of Violence), whichwas developed with OHCHR’s assistance. The Protocolis being used to train prosecutors and the RegionalOffice is monitoring its use by judicial operators.A woman takes part in a rally against femicide in Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic, July 2012.In Côte d’Ivoire, the national strategy on the fightagainst sexual and gender-based violence wasreviewed and the plan of action was adopted by theGovernment in July 2012 with the support of theUnited Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI).In Sierra Leone, the Sexual Offences Act wasadopted in August 2012 and, following OHCHR’sassistance, the Ministry of Social Welfare launched arelated National Action Plan and a National ReferralProtocol in October 2012.The Salvador Protocol informed the drafting of aregional protocol on femicide investigation which wassupported by OHCHR, UN Women, the Secretary-General’s Unite Campaign, the Spanish Federationof Human Rights Organizations and the UniversityCarlos III of Madrid, among others. OHCHR prepareda report documenting Latin American experienceswith various procedures and practices related tothe prosecution of cases of femicide. Based on thisdocument, an expert workshop was organized withinternational experts to define the basic structureand content of the regional document. The RegionalProtocol, to be validated in 2013, will assist instrengthening national capacities to investigate,prosecute, punish and redress femicide and couldserve as a model for the development of similarprotocols in other regions.In El Salvador, a protocol for the investigationof femicide 1 was developed with the support ofOHCHR and adopted by the Prosecutor’s Office.Shortly thereafter, a femicide case was prosecuted inSan Miguel with the participation of judicial officialswho were trained by OHCHR. The Salvador Protocolalso informed the drafting of a protocol on femicideinvestigations in the Central America region.© EPA/S. SabawoonAfghan women shout slogans during a march to condemn violenceagainst women in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 2012.In Kosovo, OHCHR worked in collaboration withUN Women to provide technical and financialsupport to the Agency for Gender Equality in draftingthe Kosovo Action Plan for the implementationof Security Council resolution 1325 (AP-1325).The Plan, which is expected to be formally endorsedin early 2013, addresses the status and rights ofsurvivors of sexual violence related to the conflict,including through ensuring access to justice andreparation.1Femicide refers to an extreme form of gender-based violence; theintentional killing of women for being women.70 OHCHR REPORT 2012


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYParticipation (EA 5)Increased participation of rights-holders, especiallythose groups most at risk, in elections, and the designand implementation of policies and legislationconcerning violence and insecurity and theirincreased use of national protection systemsIn Afghanistan, activism undertaken by civil societyorganizations included demands for action to betaken to ensure accountability, end corruptionand address other human rights violations. As partof the preparations for the Tokyo Conference onAfghanistan in July, UNAMA supported Afghancivil society initiatives to coordinate joint advocacyand release a statement prior to the conference.The statement urged the Government and theinternational community to support human rights asa basis for Afghanistan’s sustainable developmentand develop a national strategy in support of humanrights and the promotion and protection of women’srights.In Togo, the media increased its engagement inhuman rights promotion prior to the legislativeand local elections. OHCHR supported this resultthrough awareness-raising workshops and theestablishment of a partnership with Togo’s mainradio and TV stations, print and online media to rollout an extensive education campaign on democraticprinciples and human rights, including in relationto the active participation of women in politicalprocesses. The workshops increased the number ofindividual journalists with an expressed interest inwriting about human rights issues and resulted inwider dissemination of information on human rightsissues in local languages, both within and outsideof Lomé. Consistent monitoring of the human rightssituation in Togo by OHCHR also helped rightsholdersto exercise their rights and get better accessto justice.In Timor-Leste, women, children, community leadersand selected government officials increased theirknowledge about the formal justice system and filedcomplaints about alleged violations of the rightsof women, children and persons with disabilities.HRTJS assisted the victims and families with filingcomplaints and, in particular, raised three casesinvolving the right to health for vulnerable groupswith the Ministry of Health and the Civil ServiceCommission. As a result, disciplinary mechanismsrelated to the conduct of health service professionalswere activated for the first time.Reducing tension and building trust between indigenous communities and the authorities in ColombiaA crisis developed in Caucadepartment after indigenouscommunities denounced theintensification of the armed conflictand its negative impact on theirrights and daily lives. Demandingthat the State and guerrilla groupsrespect their territorial authority,some communities undertook massdirect action to remove armedactors from their territories. Barrierswere removed from police andmilitary installations, soldiers werephysically carried to other locationsand members of FARC-EP werearrested and tried under traditionaljustice mechanisms. Initially, theGovernment criticized these actionsand a risk of violent suppressionwas evident.OHCHR, the Special Rapporteur onthe rights of indigenous peoples,the UN Resident Coordinator, thePrincipal of the Jesuit Order inColombia and others joined forces tocontribute to establishing a climateof calm and dialogue. The Officeclosely monitored the situationand, among other interventions,published an op-ed explaining theposition of indigenous communities,recalling the impact of the conflicton their human rights. After severalweeks of discussions, the Presidenttravelled to Cauca to meet withindigenous authorities from theregion, where he apologized for thehuman rights violations they hadsuffered during the conflict. He alsoestablished, under the leadershipof the Minister of Interior, a highlevelprocess with the indigenousauthorities to transform the lives ofsome of those most impacted by theconflict.Over several months, indigenousauthorities met with Ministers,Vice-Ministers and officialsto discuss recognition of andrespect for autonomy, property,territorial control and selfgovernment,in addition to priorconsultation, health, educationand communication-related issues.These rights are recognized underinternational and domestic lawand have been elaborated uponthrough Constitutional Courtjurisprudence. Nevertheless, muchneeds to be done to ensure thepractical realization of these rights.Nonetheless, the process, which hasbeen accompanied and monitoredby OHCHR, helped build the trustof groups that have long beenmarginalized. It also contributed tothe understanding of governmentofficials about needed changes andof indigenous authorities about thepossibilities for collaboration thatseemed unlikely before the massactions.OHCHR REPORT 2012 71


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYResponsiveness of the internationalcommunity (EA 10)In the context of violence and insecurity, theinternational community, in particular the SecurityCouncil, General Assembly, Human Rights Counciland donors, increasingly responds in a timely andeffective manner to chronic and urgent human rightssituations and issuesOne of the OHCHR’s key objectives is to promptinformed, rapid and strategic responses by theinternational community to chronic human rightscrises. To achieve this goal, OHCHR carries outtargeted and timely interventions, including throughthe High Commissioners’ briefings and reports tothe General Assembly, Human Rights Council andSecurity Council.On the issue of Syria, for example, OHCHRgathered first-hand information on internationalhuman rights and humanitarian law violations.This information provided the basis for theHigh Commissioner’s public statements, includingher briefings to the Security Council and theGeneral Assembly. OHCHR also prepared tworeports pursuant to Human Rights Councilresolution S-18/1 on the situation of human rightsin Syria, which were submitted at the Council’s 20thand 21st sessions. Between May and August 2012,when the UN Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) was inoperation, OHCHR deployed six officers to monitorthe human rights situation. The team providedcredible fact-finding analysis and reporting andengaged in advocacy and dialogue with theGovernment, anti-Government armed groups,minority groups and other relevant actors.The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rightsbriefed the Security Council on the human rightsaspect of the crisis in Mali and, in response toa Human Rights Council resolution, the Officedispatched an information gathering team toBamako and neighbouring countries in November.The findings were published in a report to theCouncil and fed into the Secretary-General’s reportto the Security Council. The High Commissioner alsobriefed the Human Rights Council on several othercountry situations, for instance on Eritrea.Human rights concerns were integrated into variousresolutions, decisions and statements on theDemocratic Republic of the Congo, such as SecurityCouncil resolutions 2053 (2012) and 2076 (2012)which, inter alia, strongly condemned human rightsviolations committed by M23 rebels and called foraccountability. This result was achieved due to© UN Photo/Jean-Marc FerréThe Chairman of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syriabriefs journalists on the margins of the Human Rights Council’s21st session in Geneva, Switzerland, September 2012.constant public reporting efforts undertaken by theUNJHRO and its inputs to briefing notes, backgroundnotes, press releases and other documents aimedat informing discussions and decisions taken byOHCHR and the Department of PeacekeepingOperations (DPKO).Treaty bodies were also concerned with the issueof prevailing violence and its effects on groups invulnerable situations. In July 2012, the Committeeon the Elimination of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) adopted a statement on the need for agender perspective in the text of the Arms TradeTreaty. The Committee recalled that the arms tradehas specific gender dimensions and direct links todiscrimination and gender-based violence againstwomen with far-reaching implications for efforts toconsolidate peace, security and gender equality andsecure development. Throughout the year, CEDAWheld a series of regional consultations on thedrafting of a new general recommendation on thehuman rights of women in conflict and post-conflictsituations. In November, the Committee againstTorture adopted its General Comment No. 3 on theimplementation of article 14 by States Parties, whichclarifies the content and scope of their obligationswith regard to redress for victims of torture.During 2012, OHCHR contributed to theestablishment of four commissions of inquiryand one fact-finding mission mandated by theHuman Rights Council, namely the secondCommission of Inquiry on Libya, the second andthird Commissions of Inquiry on Syria and theFact-Finding Mission to investigate the effects ofthe Israeli settlement activities on the rights ofPalestinian people. A customized version of theOHCHR Human Rights Case Database played72 OHCHR REPORT 2012


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYa pivotal role in supporting the investigationsconducted by the commissions of inquiry.In Somalia, OHCHR was active in securing theinternational community’s engagement in the areaof freedom of expression and related rights. As aresult, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General issued various statements urging theFederal Government to fully investigate attacksagainst journalists and ensure the prosecution ofperpetrators. Similar statements were also issued byseveral Member States.In South America, OHCHR and the Human RightsPublic Policies Institute of the Southern CommonMarket (MERCOSUR) presented a joint report onpolicies for citizen security and the prevention ofinstitutional violence at the MERCOSUR Meeting ofMinisters of Justice and Security and also prepareda report on data production and managementregarding citizen security information. It isanticipated that these reports will have an impacton the work of MERCOSUR in 2013. Together withthe Secretariat of the Central American IntegrationSystem (SICA), the Office organized a panel oninstitution-building within SICA’s XXXIX Meeting ofHeads of States and Governments which had citizensecurity as its theme. Strong human rights elementswere included in the Summit’s final statement andthe plan of action included a request to OHCHR tocollaborate with SICA and develop joint initiativesaimed at strengthening the human rights dimensionof SICA’s security strategy.Human rights mainstreaming within theUnited Nations (EA 11)In the context of violence and insecurity, increasedintegration of human rights standards and principlesinto the UN system for humanitarian action,peacekeeping, peacebuilding and security policiesand programmesOHCHR continued to work on the integrationof human rights in UN special political andpeacekeeping missions through implementation ofthe 2011 OHCHR/DPKO/Department of PoliticalAffairs (DPA)/Department of Field Support (DFS)joint policy. This work focused on the 15 existingmissions (Afghanistan, Burundi, Central AfricanRepublic, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti,Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, SouthSudan, Sudan-Darfur and Timor-Leste) and theplanning for and initial deployment of staff to theemerging missions in Mali and Syria. Furthermore,as UN peacekeeping mandates increasingly placehuman rights at the centre of UN action, OHCHRwas instrumental in supporting the development of aUN Policy on Human Rights Screening which seeksto ensure that the UN neither selects nor deploys forservice in its Secretariat (headquarters and field) anyindividual who has been involved in violations ofinternational human rights or humanitarian law.Following briefings conducted by the Human RightsSection of the United Nations Support Mission inLibya (UNSMIL) relevant sections increased theirHuman Rights Due Diligence PolicyIssued by the UN Secretary-General in July 2011, the landmarkHuman Rights Due Diligence Policystarted showing its impact on UNoperations during 2012.The Human Rights Due DiligencePolicy sets out principles andmeasures to ensure that anysupport provided by UN entities tonational or regional security forcesis consistent with internationalhumanitarian, human rights andrefugee law. Consistent with theseobligations, UN support cannotbe provided where there is a realrisk that those forces will commitgrave violations of internationalhumanitarian, human rightsor refugee law and where theauthorities fail to take necessarycorrective or mitigating measures.Throughout 2012, OHCHR ledrelevant promotion and advocacyefforts with UN entities and innumerous countries where thePolicy applies. In addition to itsimplementation in specific casesin Côte d’Ivoire, DRC and SouthSudan, the Policy promptedimportant debates and reflectionsabout the UN’s approach andmethodology when supportingsecurity forces around the world.The next challenge is to ensure itbecomes entrenched in the waythe UN develops and deliversinstitutional support to the securitysector, especially outside missionsettings.Member States and other externalpartners in civil society are alsoquickly grasping the potential of thePolicy for advocacy and strategicpurposes.Today, it is increasingly evident thatthe Human Rights Due DiligencePolicy is a useful tool that canstrengthen the overall action of theUN system in the field, including byinfluencing the behaviour of nationaland regional security forces andtherefore, hopefully, reducing thecycle of violence.OHCHR REPORT 2012 73


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITY© UN Photo/Rick BajornasSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon inaugurates the United Nations Operations and Crisis Centre, February 2013.of the process and methodology of producing thebi-annual IASC Early Warning – Early Action reports,as well as mainstreaming human rights in theearly warning analysis and preparedness activitiesrecommended in these reports.OHCHR maintained a protection leadership rolein a number of challenging contexts, includingin relation to Haiti’s transition to recovery duringwhich the Human Rights Section continued itscollaboration with the remaining Clusters to promotethe integration of protection and human rightsstandards and principles into their programmingand activities. OHCHR also leads the ProtectionCluster in the State of Palestine and more recentlyin Mauritania. In the State of Palestine, OHCHRcontinued to promote joint advocacy within theProtection Cluster by coordinating the issuing ofregularly updated factsheets on violations within theAccess Restricted Areas in Gaza. Furthermore, duringthe escalation of hostilities in Gaza in November2012, OHCHR acted as a focal point for the gatheringof data on killings and injuries of civilians, strivingto ensure the availability of common data withinthe Humanitarian Country Team. This data wasused as official UN information by all agencies.In Timor-Leste, the HRTJS ensured the integrationof women and children’s concerns into Inter-agencyand Government contingency planning beforehanding over leadership of the Protection Clusterto UNICEF in October 2012. As a member of fieldProtection Clusters and Humanitarian CountryTeams, OHCHR promoted a human rights-basedapproach and ensured the integratation of humanrights considerations in a number of other countries,such as Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire,the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, SouthSudan, Sri Lanka and Uganda. OHCHR’s RegionalOffices in Central Asia, South-East Asia, CentralAmerica, Southern Africa, West Africa and thePacific are also engaged in regional humanitarianmechanisms and/or Protection Clusters in countriesunder their purview.Finally, at the global level, the Office maintainedstrategic engagement in key policy and decisionmakinghumanitarian mechanisms and processes,especially under the auspices of the IASC, inparticular its Working Group and Principals, andthe Global Protection Cluster Working Group(GPCWG), with a view to mainstreaming humanrights standards and approaches to ensure thathuman rights considerations are at the centre ofhumanitarian efforts. The Office also continued toprovide the IASC with support in strengthening itsexpertise and capacities.Challenges and lessons learnedAs the recent Secretary-General’s Internal ReviewPanel (IRP) on United Nations Action in Sri Lankaclearly demonstrated, when UN action, includinghumanitarian action, fails to fully take intoconsideration human rights concerns, its responsecannot adequately ensure the protection needsOHCHR REPORT 2012 75


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYof the affected people. A significant challenge forOHCHR will be to engage with the UN and thebroader humanitarian community to ensure thathuman rights and humanitarian responses areseen as co-existing and mutually reinforcing andthat the protection of human rights is placed atthe centre of humanitarian action. In this regard,at the IASC Principals meeting in December 2012,the High Commissioner suggested the need for theIASC to discuss the implications of the findings andconclusions of the IRP report on the protection ofhuman rights in humanitarian action. This suggestionwas endorsed with a first discussion planned for thePrincipals meeting in May 2013. This discussion willprovide the Office with an important opportunity tofulfil its leading role in ensuring that human rightsare more effectively mainstreamed throughout thework of the UN.As violence and insecurity continue to prevailin many democratic countries, which inhibitsdevelopment and the capacity of individuals tolead dignified lives, a global shift is requiredto address these issues, particularly in relationto drug trafficking and transnational organizedcrime. To this end, building a global consensusamong international actors, including through thedevelopment of a comprehensive approach, iscritical. OHCHR should be at the forefront, alongwith other leading UN agencies, in promoting theseefforts.During 2012, OHCHR faced rapidly changingchallenges, both in terms of their nature andmagnitude, and sometimes on a daily basis.The Office provided secretariat support to theCommission of Inquiry on Syria; deployedassessment teams to neighbouring countries andresponded to unfolding human rights emergencysituations in South Sudan. Thanks to an improvedemergency preparedness and response strategy,OHCHR is now better equipped to rapidly respondwhen such changes take place. Nevertheless, thereis a need for increased planning and enhanced rapiddeployment capabilities in order to fully engageand respond to human rights crises, such as thosein Syria and Mali, when mandated by the HumanRights Council or Security Council. In 2012, OHCHRreached the maximum of its staffing capacity torespond to requests for rapid and surge deployment.In light of the situations in Libya, Mali, Palestine,Sudan and Syria, the numbers of requests forrapid operational human rights deployments haveincreased to a point where they cannot be effectivelyaddressed without negatively impacting on OHCHR’Score programme delivery. As a result, a stand-bydeployment capacity is warranted.© OHCHR/PalestineOHCHR staff monitoring the human rights situation in Gaza afterthe escalation of hostilities between the State of Israel, the de factoauthorities in Gaza and Palestinian armed groups, November 2012.OHCHR has carried out lessons learned exercisesin relation to its Protection Cluster leadership role,most notably in Haiti following the earthquake inJanuary 2010. These exercises resulted in importantrecommendations that reinforced and reiteratedits overarching message and identified gaps andneeds in OHCHR’s humanitarian engagementstrategy. OHCHR is, moreover, looking closely atthe findings and recommendations of the IRP witha view to addressing the gaps and adjusting its rolesand capacities, in close collaboration with relevantUN and other partners. While further progress inimplementing the Office’s strategy on engagementin humanitarian action continues to strengthen itscapacity to respond adequately and effectively tofuture crises, OHCHR needs to more effectivelyutilize and engage with the various UN Funds (i.e.,Peacebuilding and Central Emergency ResponseFunds) and humanitarian planning and appealsprocesses (i.e., Consolidated Appeals Process andFlash Appeals). This will help ensure the integrationof human rights information and approaches ina manner that can inform humanitarian analyses,identification of needs, prioritization and responsestrategies.76 OHCHR REPORT 2012


VIOLENCE AND INSECURITYStaff deploymentThroughout 2012, OHCHR usedits contingency fund to deploy staffto countries or regions to respondto deteriorating human rightssituations, including in the followingsituations:OOOOTwo staff members weredeployed for two weeks to SouthSudan to carry out investigationsinto alleged human rights abusescommitted in the course of theinter-communal violence inAugust and December 2012in Jonglei State. The outcomereport informed the UnitedNations Mission in South Sudan’s(UNMISS) strategy on protectionof civilians and contributed to thehuman rights report prepared byUNMISS and OHCHR.During the operation of theUN mission in Syria, OHCHRdeployed six human rightsofficers to monitor the humanOOOOrights situation in the country.The team provided credible factfindinganalysis and reportingand engaged in advocacy anddialogue with the Governmentand anti-Government armedgroups on human rightsviolations.Two human rights officers weredeployed for one month toLebanon and Jordan to interviewSyrian refugees on human rightsviolations committed in Syria andprepare the High Commissioner’sreport to the Human RightsCouncil.One staff member was deployedto Mali in August for two monthsto report on the human rightssituation, assist the UnitedNations Country Team andstrengthen civil society actors,primarily in monitoring andfact-finding. The presence ofOOOOthe human rights officer wasextended until the end of January2013. Another human rightsofficer was deployed to Bamakoin November to assist DPKO intheir military planning exercisewith the aim of ensuring thatany military response to the Malicrisis would take human rightsinto account.At the request of the HumanRights Council, an informationgathering team was dispatchedin November to Mali andneighbouring countries (Niger,Mauritania and Burkina Faso)to assess the human rightssituation.Two human rights officers weredeployed to the Maldives to lookinto the future strategy on UNengagement in human rights, therule of law and judicial reform inthe country.OHCHR REPORT 2012 77


Human rightsmechanismsStrengthening humanrights mechanisms and theprogressive developmentof international humanrights lawBackgroundOHCHR serves as the secretariat for the UnitedNations’ human rights mechanisms which includethe Human Rights Council, the Universal PeriodicReview (UPR), special procedures and the treatybodies.The past five years have seen significant reformsof the international bodies and mechanisms thatcomprise the UN human rights system. Thesechanges have resulted in the overall strengtheningof the legal framework for the protection of humanrights and the improved coherence and consistencyof the system. The proliferation of mechanismsand the increased frequency of Council and treatybody sessions have, however, also added to theworkload of OHCHR. Additional responsibilitiesdelegated to the Office have not been matchedby an equivalent increase in resources, generatingacute management challenges for the Office.OHCHR’s roleOHCHR’s mandate includes support for the UNhuman rights bodies and mechanisms. The Officefulfils this mandate by providing substantivesupport to the Human Rights Council, its subsidiarymechanisms including the UPR, treaty bodysessions and the special procedures mandateholders,including by accompanying them onmission and providing technical input intorelevant documents and reports. The Office is alsocommitted to creating stronger linkages between itswork at headquarters and in the field and the work78 OHCHR REPORT 2012


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech during the 21st sessionof the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland, September 2012.© EPA/Salvatore Di Nolfi


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSof the human rights mechanisms. Similarly, stepscontinue to be taken to engage with governments,national human rights institutions (NHRIs), regionalorganizations and civil society to raise awarenessabout the mechanisms and ensure follow-up to therecommendations they issue.Ratification (EA 2)Increased ratification of international humanrights instruments and review of reservations, witha focus on the Conventions on Migrant Workers,Rights of Persons with Disabilities and EnforcedDisappearance and the Optional Protocols to theCRC, CRPD, CAT and ICESCR, and the second OP tothe ICCPRAdvocacy for the ratification of human rightstreaties and withdrawal of reservations is an officewideeffort. In 2012, a total of 70 new ratificationsand accessions were recorded (as opposed to 54in 2011). This number includes the ratificationof treaties, optional protocols and acceptanceof articles relating to individual communicationprocedures. Public statements made by theHigh Commissioner and the publication of articlespromoting recommendations by the mechanisms, aswell as bilateral meetings held with governments,resulted, inter alia, in Bolivia’s ratification andBurkina Faso’s signature of the Optional Protocol tothe International Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural Rights (OP-ICESCR).OHCHR advocacy efforts encouraged Mauritaniato ratify the Optional Protocol to the Conventionagainst Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman orDegrading Treatment or Punishment (OP-CAT)as well as the International Convention forthe Protection of All Persons from EnforcedDisappearance (ICPPED) and the Convention onthe Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).Furthermore, the Government removed its generalreservation to the Convention on the Eliminationof All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW) and replaced it with a specific reservationon article 15(2) and article 16. Colombia depositedthe instrument of ratification for the ICPPED inJuly, becoming the 34th State Party to this treaty.Advocacy and technical support from OHCHRpaved the way for Cambodia’s ratification of theCRPD in December.A number of coordinated advocacy activitiesundertaken by OHCHR, the UN Information Centreand several national partners mobilized critical© UN Photo/Jean-Marc FerréThe former Deputy High Commissioner speaks at a 30th anniversaryevent for the Committee on the Elimination of Discriminationagainst Women (CEDAW), held during the 53rd CEDAW plenarysession in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2012.support in Russia for the ratification of CRPD whichwas signed into federal law in May.OHCHR support for greater engagement betweenthe treaty bodies and other UN human rightsmechanisms provided new opportunities forspecial procedures to promote the ratificationof international instruments during their fieldvisits, as well as during their ongoing dialoguewith international and regional organizations.The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children,child prostitution and child pornographycontributed to the two-year global campaignlaunched by the Secretary-General for the universalratification of the first two Optional Protocols tothe Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by2012. The campaign also included the involvementof the Special Representatives on violence againstchildren and for children and armed conflict, theCommittee on the Rights of the Child, OHCHR andUNICEF. During the campaign, 24 States ratifiedthe Optional Protocol on the sale of children, childprostitution and child pornography (OP-SC), whichhad 162 States Parties as of the end of 2012.The Special Rapporteur on violence againstwomen encouraged the signature and ratificationof the Council of Europe Convention on domesticviolence (Istanbul Convention), through herparticipation at meetings in Brussels with theEuropean Parliament as well as during her visitsto Italy (January 2012), Bosnia and Herzegovina(November 2012) and Croatia (November 2012).Italy signed the Council of Europe Convention ondomestic violence in September 2012.80 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSState engagement with human rightsmechanisms (EA 6)Increased compliance of States with their obligationsunder the human rights mechanisms and bodies,especially in terms of reporting and putting in placeefficient mechanisms to ensure follow-up of theirrecommendationsOHCHR continued to promote the engagement ofMember States with the mechanisms and for theimplementation of recommendations at the nationallevel.Human Rights CouncilThe Human Rights Council extended the mandateof the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and held itsfourth consecutive special session in relation to thesituation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopting aresolution on “the deteriorating situation of humanrights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recentkillings in El-Houleh” at its 19th Special Sessionon 1 June 2012. It also established a Fact-Findingmission to investigate the implications of Israelisettlements on the human rights of the Palestinianpeople. It adopted resolutions on country situations,such as Mali, and requested OHCHR to provide orstrengthen technical assistance to countries, suchas the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan,Sri Lanka, Sudan and Yemen and to submit a report.Three new special procedures mandates wereestablished, including an Independent Expert onthe issue of human rights obligations related to theenjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainableenvironment and two new country mandates toaddress the situation in Belarus and in Eritrea.The Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth,justice, reparation and guarantees on non-recurrenceand the Independent Expert on the promotion of ademocratic and equitable international order, bothestablished in September 2011, were appointed atthe 19th session of the Council. Furthermore, theCouncil established two new intergovernmentalworking groups, on the right to peace and on therights of peasants and other rural workers, whichwere mandated to elaborate instruments.The Office provided substantive support to theHuman Rights Council, its Advisory Committee andother subsidiary mechanisms. In addition to the10 weeks of meetings comprising the three regularsessions of the Council, OHCHR supported thespecial session on the deteriorating human rightssituation in the Syrian Arab Republic (1 June 2012);two weeks of meetings of the Human Rights CouncilAdvisory Committee and four weeks of meetingsof the Complaints Procedure. Seventeen paneldiscussions were held on topics such as the reprisalsagainst individuals and groups who cooperate withthe United Nations and its mechanisms; freedomof expression on the internet and human rights;sexual orientation and gender identity to humanrights mainstreaming and development cooperation;women human rights defenders; human rightsthrough sport and the Olympic ideal; minorityrights; HIV/AIDS and human rights; participation inpolitical and public life by persons with disabilities;children and the administration of justice; combattingxenophobia, discrimination and intolerance; andaccess to justice by indigenous peoples.Universal Periodic ReviewDuring 2012, the Human Rights Council completedthe first cycle of the UPR at its 19th sessionin March, with 100 per cent participation andreporting by all 192 Member States. The secondcycle of UPR began in 2012 and to date, all butone Member State have submitted information andparticipated in the sessions of the Working Group.The Human Rights Council holds an interactive debate on the rightsof persons with disabilities, March 2012.© UN Photo/Violaine MartinDrawing on the resources of the Voluntary Fundfor Participation in the Universal Periodic ReviewMechanism, OHCHR convened interregional,regional and national workshops to advise Stateson the preparation of their national reports andstakeholders on their input to the review. OHCHRalso provided assistance in follow-up to UPRrecommendations through the Universal PeriodicReview Voluntary Fund for Financial and TechnicalOHCHR REPORT 2012 81


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSSupport to the UPR and country-level resultsThe Universal Periodic Review(UPR) is a mechanism to fosternational and international dialogueand cooperation to develop andstrengthen national systems topromote and protect human rights.OHCHR pursued efforts to promoteand support the implementation ofthe recommendations issued by thehuman rights mechanisms. In 2012,the Office indexed the more than20,000 recommendations emanatingfrom the first cycle of the UPR intothe Universal Human Rights Index,a public tool which will integrate thehuman rights recommendations fromall human rights mechanisms (treatybodies, special procedures and UPR)and will be fully operational by mid-2013.As a priority, the Office sought tostrengthen strategic partnershipswith stakeholders to provide moreeffective support to UPR follow-upat the country level. In cooperationwith the rest of the UN system,in particular UNDP, as well asregional human rights mechanisms,including the Council of Europe,the Inter-American Commission onHuman Rights and the Organizationfor Security and Co-operation inEurope, OHCHR explored ways ofexchanging information, experiencesand good practices, promoting andsupporting the implementation ofthe UPR processes and outcomes atregional and country levels and jointactivities to support UPR follow-up.Through the management of theUPR Trust Fund for Financial andTechnical Assistance, the Officesupported UPR follow-up activitiesin six additional countries, bringingto 20 the number of countriesbenefiting from this Fund. Thefollowing activities were implementedby or through OHCHR fieldpresences and/or in close cooperationwith UNCTs, national authorities,national human rights institutions,civil society actors, as well as otherUN agencies and regional humanrights institutions or mechanisms,to encourage, foster and strengthenUPR follow-up at all levels.In Ecuador, the Human RightsAdviser (HRA) supported theMinistry of Justice to develop andimplement a system of human rightsindicators to help national authoritiesassess, analyse and follow-up onthe implementation of the country’shuman rights obligations. A pilotphase of this project led to thedevelopment of indicators on therights to work and integrity.In November, at the request ofthe Government of Barbadosand the Resident Coordinator’sOffice, OHCHR posted a nationalHRA in the UNCT to support theGovernment in implementing itsUPR recommendations, includingthrough the identification ofpriorities, development of a nationalhuman rights plan of actionand establishment of a nationalpermanent mechanism to report tothe UN human rights mechanisms.In April and May, with the supportof UN Women, the Office supportedthe convening by the Ministry ofHuman Rights in Pakistan of fourregional consultations betweenthe Government and civil societyactors to assess progress achievedin the implementation of UPRrecommendations emanating fromthe first cycle, subsequent humanrights developments and to prepareAssistance. For more details, please see the boxabove.OHCHR organized or co-organized, with RegionalOffices of the UNDP, the CommonwealthSecretariat and the Organisation internationalede la Francophonie (OIF), regional, subregionalor interregional meetings involving MemberStates, NHRIs and civil society actors to shareinformation, experiences and good practices andpromote continued engagement in the UPR processthroughout the second cycle.Special ProceduresWith the support of OHCHR, special proceduresundertook 80 country visits to 55 States; actedon individual cases and concerns of a broader,structural nature by sending 605 communicationsto 127 States in which alleged violations werebrought to their attention; submitted 129 reportsto the Human Rights Council and 32 reports tothe General Assembly. They convened expertconsultations, developed international human rightsstandards, engaged in advocacy, raised publicawareness with a total of 334 news releases andpublic statements and provided advice and supportfor technical cooperation.The Deputy High Commissioner’s advocacyefforts during her visit to Chad in April 2012resulted in the Government issuing a standinginvitation to special procedures mandate-holders.Similarly, following OHCHR advocacy, Pakistanreceived the first visit of two special proceduresmandate-holders during 2012 after more than10 years. During missions, the special proceduresassessed the general human rights situationin the country from the perspective of their82 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSthe national report for the secondcycle.In Jamaica, at the request of theResident Coordinator’s Officeand in consultation with theGovernment, the Office conducteda mission in November to assesstechnical assistance needs tosupport the implementationof UPR recommendationson reporting to human rightsmechanisms (especially theOptional Protocols to theConvention on the Rights of theChild); the establishment of aninter-institutional mechanism tofollow up on recommendationsfrom all UN human rightsmechanisms; and the creation ofan independent national humanrights institution compliant withthe Paris Principles.In December, at the request ofBahrain, the Office conducted anassessment of technical cooperationneeds to implement UPR and otherhuman rights recommendations,including in the areas of legal andjudicial reform, institution buildingand national participation.In cooperation with the Governmentof Paraguay, the Office approveda project, to be implemented in2013 by its HRA in the ResidentCoordinator’s Office, to developa mechanism to strengthen thenational capacities of the Ministry ofForeign Affairs and the Government’sHuman Rights Network responsiblefor implementing the country’s UPRand other human rights obligationsand to follow-up and monitorprogress.In Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Tongaand Vanuatu, the OHCHR RegionalOffice for the Pacific providedtechnical support, including throughthe placement of HRAs in relevantministries, to support the effortsof these countries to implementtheir UPR and other human rightsobligations and commitments,including with regard to theprevention of violence againstwomen, the prevention of tortureand the establishment of nationalhuman rights institutions.In April, through its RegionalOffice for Central Asia, the Officejointly organized with UNDP inKyrgyzstan, a regional seminaraimed at sharing experiences andstrengthening national and regionalcooperation in the implementation ofrecommendations from human rightsmechanisms, including the UPR. Theseminar involved representatives fromthe governments, national humanrights institutions and civil societyfrom Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, KyrgyzRepublic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistanand Uzbekistan, and followed similarinitiatives undertaken by the Office forthe countries of the Caucasus regionin 2011.In Cairo, in November, theOffice cooperated with UNDP inthe convening of a governanceweek for the Arab region, whichincluded a two-day componenton the Universal PeriodicReview. Representatives fromthe governments, civil society,national human rights institutionsand the media from 17 countriesof the region reviewed theirengagement and progressachieved in the implementationof UPR recommendations andexplored avenues for strengtheningcollaborations at the national level.respective mandates and took into considerationthe specific institutional, legal, judicial, policy andadministrative frameworks and de facto conditions.They met with national and local authorities, civilsociety organizations (CSOs), victims of humanrights violations, the United Nations and otherintergovernmental agencies as well as the mediaduring a press conference at the end of the mission.Following their visits, mandate-holders submittedreports to the Human Rights Council containingtheir findings and recommendations.Subsequent to the visit of the Special Rapporteuron the sale of children, child prostitution and childpornography in November, the Government ofHonduras decided to review all legislation relatingto child protection in order to harmonize it withinternational standards and improve child protection.Following a visit by the same mandate-holder, theGovernment of Guatemala committed to carry outa global assessment of all existing child protectionlaws, policies, strategies and programmes.Interventions by special procedures withgovernments through direct communications onspecific allegations of human rights violationsled to significant results. Relevant authoritiestook action in relation to individuals or groups ofindividuals or with respect to domestic legislation,policies, programmes or other measures affectingindividuals or groups.Ms. Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, sentencedto death for alleged adultery and participationin the murder of her husband, was the subjectof several urgent appeals in 2010. In July 2012,the Government of Iran informed the SpecialRapporteurs on Iran, on extrajudicial, summaryor arbitrary executions, on torture, and onviolence against women that the execution ofOHCHR REPORT 2012 83


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSwho had been arrested and detained since21 July 2007. The Working Group considered thedetention of Mr. Ramírez as arbitrary and calledon the Government of Mexico to release him andprovide him with appropriate damages. In October2012, the Supreme Court ordered the releaseof Mr. Ramírez. The Working Group receivedinformation that its Opinion had been used in thesubmissions made to the Supreme Court on behalfof Mr. Ramírez.The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons speaks duringa press briefing in Makati’s financial district, south of Manila,Philippines, November 2012.Ms. Ashtiani was halted. Mr. Yousef Nadarkhani,a pastor imprisoned in Iran since October 2009and sentenced to death for apostasy in October2010, was released on 8 September 2012 after acourt hearing which led to the withdrawal of hisconviction. Mr. Nadarkhani was the subject of twojoint urgent appeals on 30 December 2010 and26 July 2011.In response to a joint communication sent in Januaryby three mandate-holders (the right to freedom ofopinion and expression, on the situation of humanrights defenders and on the rights to peacefulassembly and association) to Chile on the draft lawon Strengthening the Preservation of Public Order(Proyecto de Ley que Fortalece el Resguardo delOrden Público), the Government of Chile provideddetails about positive changes in the draft legislation.The concerns expressed by the mandate-holders,pertaining to alleged restrictions to the rights tofreedom of expression and peaceful assembly, weretaken into account by the Government.Following an urgent appeal sent to the Governmentof Mauritania on 3 January 2012 in which theSpecial Rapporteur on the independence ofjudges and lawyers expressed concern regardingthe disciplinary procedure initiated against fivemagistrates and requested the Government toreinstate them in their position, two of the fivemagistrates who were the subject of an appeal werereportedly reinstated in their functions and twoothers who had been downgraded were promoted.On 30 August 2012, the Working Group onArbitrary Detention adopted Opinion No. 33/2012(Mexico) concerning Mr. Hugo Sánchez Ramírez© EPA/Dennis M. SabanganThe Special Rapporteurs on racism, freedom ofpeaceful assembly and association, health, humanrights defenders, independence of judges andlawyers and torture along with the Working Groupon Arbitrary Detention sent a joint urgent appealto Sudan on 8 June 2012 that resulted in thedecision from the Attorney General’s ProsecutionOffice to release a human rights defender whowas a member of an organization that providedhumanitarian assistance to the ethnic group towhich he belonged.An urgent appeal was sent on 5 June 2012 tothe Government of the United States of Americaregarding the case of Mr. Abdul Hamin Awkal, aLebanese national alleged to be mentally ill, andreportedly scheduled for imminent execution on6 June 2012 in Ohio. Media reports indicate thatMr. Awkal was not executed on 6 June, after theGovernor of Ohio granted a last-minute reprieveon the evening of 5 June 2012. The reprieve wasgranted for two weeks to examine the Mr. Awkal’sstate of mental health. In the late summer of2012, the Governor of Ohio commuted his deathsentence.A number of news releases and public statementsissued by the special procedures, includingstatements issued jointly with other specialprocedures and/or mandate-holders from othermechanisms, contributed to effectively addressingthe concerns and permitted subsequent action to betaken at the national level.On 12 October 2012, the Special Rapporteurs onthe rights of indigenous peoples; the situation ofhuman rights defenders; extrajudicial, summary orarbitrary executions; and the rights to freedom ofpeaceful assembly and association, sent a letter tothe Government of Guatemala and issued a pressrelease urging it to clarify the violent events thatoccurred on 4 October 2012 in the Cumbre deAlaska, municipality of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán,Sololá. During these events, six indigenous peopleswere killed and 33 indigenous peoples and13 members of the military were injured. In part as84 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSa result of this intervention, the Prosecutor’s Officeis investigating the acts which have led to the arrestof several members of the Guatemalan military.In a public statement on the International Day ofthe World’s Indigenous Peoples, the President ofColombia referred positively to the press releaseissued by the Special Rapporteur on the rightsof indigenous peoples regarding the situation inCauca, Colombia. The President agreed that thesituation was serious and accepted the call fordialogue made by the Special Rapporteur.The Special Rapporteur on the right to adequatehousing and the Special Rapporteur on extremepoverty welcomed the decision of the ConstitutionalCourt of Hungary that struck down new legislationthat both experts had indicated in an urgent appeal(followed by a February 2012 public statement),would criminalize homelessness.In the United States of America, members of bothchambers in the California State Assembly andSenate repeatedly referred to the country missionreport of the Special Rapporteur on the right towater and sanitation (who had visited the countryin 2011) when debating the adoption of Bill 685.The legislation was subsequently adopted andestablished the right of everyone in the State ofCalifornia to safe, clean, affordable and accessiblewater, adequate for human needs.The State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, revised its PenalCode and adopted a legislative reform stipulatingthat disappearance was a specific offense anda continuous crime in line with one of therecommendations made by the Working Group onenforced and involuntary disappearances followingits official visit to Mexico in March 2011.Treaty bodiesOHCHR continued to support the work of the10 human rights treaty bodies, which met for acombined total of 74 weeks. The treaty bodieswith a State Party reporting procedure receiveda total of 107 State Party reports, including17 common core documents (CCDs). The treatybodies adopted concluding observations onapproximately 130 State Parties. In addition, theCommittee against Torture (CAT), the Committee onthe Elimination of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW), the Committee on the Elimination ofRacial Discrimination (CERD) and the Human RightsCommittee examined and adopted final decisionson 140 communications and issued around50 requests for interim measures of protection foralleged victims at risk of irreparable harm.Support from OHCHR included the provisionof technical advice, trainings and workshopson the Common Core Document, treaty specificguidelines and treaty body reporting, individualcommunications and follow-up to recommendationsfrom human rights mechanisms in: Angola,Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Ecuador, the formerYugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia (regionalworkshop), Kyrgyzstan (regional workshop),Morocco (regional workshop), Seychelles,Swaziland, Tunisia and Vietnam. Participantsincluded government officials, representatives ofNHRIs, civil society organizations and colleaguesfrom United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs).As a result, reporting by States Parties increased,particularly evident in the submission of initialand overdue reports. Burkina Faso submittedits initial reports to CAT and the Committee onMigrant Workers (CMW) and its 12th report toCERD; Cameroon submitted overdue reports toCEDAW and CERD; Congo reported to CESCRand CAT; Equatorial Guinea presented its overduereport under CEDAW; Kyrgyzstan submitted fouroverdue reports to CERD, CAT, CESCR and theHuman Rights Committee; Sierra Leone its initialreport to the Human Rights Committee; Tunisiato CESCR; and Uganda its initial reports to CESCRand CRPD. Burkina Faso and Niger submittedtheir first CCD and DRC and Serbia submitted theirrevised CCDs. Further to OHCHR’s technical advice,national action plans for the implementation ofthe recommendations from UPR and treaty bodieswere adopted in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Maliand Senegal. In Russia, in taking steps to implementthe CRC and relevant recommendations from theCRC, a national strategy for action in the interest ofchildren for 2012-2017 was adopted. In Kazakhstan,an action plan for implementation of the concludingobservations of CESCR was adopted and theAgency for Construction and Utilities developed aplan to implement recommendations of the SpecialRapporteur on adequate housing.OHCHR conducted or facilitated several otherinitiatives to ensure follow-up to therecommendations from the UN human rightsmechanisms, including the establishment ofwebsites, search portals to inform about relevantinternational human rights and enable Stateinstitutions and civil society organizations to findand use recommendations emanating from UNhuman rights mechanisms (namely in Afghanistan,OHCHR REPORT 2012 85


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSColombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Mexicoand Paraguay). These initiatives not only increasedtransparency in the processes but also ensured agreater sense of understanding and ownership by allparties involved.OHCHR also assisted States in establishing efficientnational mechanisms aimed at reporting and/orfollow-up to recommendations issued by the treatybodies and UPR (namely in Burundi, Chad, CostaRica, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,Niger, Panama and Tunisia).Civil society engagement with human rightsmechanisms (EA 7)Increased number and diversity of rights-holdersand of national human rights institutions and civilsociety actors acting on their behalf making use ofUN and regional human rights mechanisms andbodiesEngagement of civil society and other stakeholderswith the UN human rights mechanisms is wellestablished. OHCHR continued to develop publicinformation tools to help strengthen the interactionof stakeholders with the special procedures,treaty bodies and UPR. These tools aim at raisingawareness of the recommendations issued from themechanisms and assisting governments, civil societyorganizations, national human rights institutions andUnited Nations partners with their implementation.Through its minority and indigenous fellowshipprogramme, OHCHR continued to strengthen thecapacity of these groups to invoke human rightsstandards. Twenty-three indigenous representativesand nine minority rights defenders deepened theirunderstanding of the United Nations human rightssystem, instruments and mechanisms.The second Fellowship Programme for Peopleof African Descent took place from 23 April to11 May 2012 in Geneva, with the participation offive fellows. Access to information and exchangeswith UN human rights staff and experts, as wellas training and participation in key human rightsmechanisms and bodies, enabled them to gainskills to better support their communities. As the2012 session coincided with the 11th session ofthe UN Working Group of Experts on People ofAfrican Descent, fellows attended and observedthe Working Group’s session and gained a soundunderstanding of its mandate and work.At the 21st session of the Human Rights Council,NGOs intervened by video message during theadoption of UPR outcomes which enhanced theparticipation of national civil society actors andimproved accessibility for persons with disabilities.The Practical Guide for Civil Society was madeavailable on the website and during sessions ofthe UPR Working Group to clarify processes andprocedures.Civil society participation in the Human RightsCouncil remained strong in 2012 with an increasein the organization of side events. The Council’sregular sessions (excluding special sessions andUPR) were attended by 572 organizations with 401written statements submitted, 1,195 oral statementsdelivered and 280 side events held; comparedwith 543 organizations attending with 236 writtenstatements submitted, 1,000 oral statements deliveredand 260 side events held in 2011.Each year, treaty bodies receive over 1,000 writtensubmissions from civil society, NHRIs and UNentities while special procedures receive over10,000 written submissions.OHCHR-Mexico published a compilation of themission report and general comments adopted bythe Working Group on enforced or involuntarydisappearances as well as international and inter-American instruments on the issue. The publicationInforme de Misión a México – Grupo de Trabajode la ONU sobre las Desapariciones Forzadas oInvoluntarias was launched on 14 March 2012 at apublic event in Mexico City. A panel of Governmentofficials, Parliamentarians, CSOs and a member ofthe Working Group discussed the findings of thereport. The event received wide media coverage andwas followed by several media requests.Over 400 people participated in the Forum onMinority Issues on 27 and 28 November 2012.The Forum discussed the issue of Implementingthe Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belongingto National or Ethnic, Religious and LinguisticMinorities: Identifying positive practices andopportunities. Participants included Member States,representatives of minority groups from all regionsand non-governmental organizations. A “MinorityForum Hangout” was also organized online throughGoogle+.The first annual Forum on Business and Human Rights(4-5 December 2012 in Geneva) brought togetherapproximately 1,000 participants from 85 countries,including 50 State delegations, 150 companies and86 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS180 civil society organizations, as well as othergroups, with equal participation of women and men.Participants included directly affected stakeholders andtheir representatives, including many representativesof indigenous peoples. From the business sector,a number of major multinational corporationsparticipated from the industries of mining, oil andenergy, technology, chemicals, banking and finance,electronics and textiles. In addition, participantsincluded 15 representatives from UN specializedagencies, 17 representatives from intergovernmentalorganizations and 19 representatives from NHRIs, aswell as other key organizations taking a leading roleon standards related to business and human rights.In South Caucasus, Baku and Tbilissi, OHCHRorganized workshops for NGOs and human rightsdefenders on the submission of communicationsto UN human rights protection mechanisms andtranslated the model questionnaires and complaintsto the special procedures and treaty bodies into theGeorgian language. As a result, five Georgian NGOssubmitted 10 communications to special proceduresduring 2012.Similarly, training activities by OHCHR presencesin Latin America for indigenous peoples, Afrodescendantsand CSOs in Belize, Costa Rica,Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panamaresulted in increased participation of these groupsin UN fora and with UN mechanisms, includingthrough the submission of reports. In Belize,the indigenous peoples’ organizations and Afrodescendantcoalition presented a shadow report toCERD. In Panama, the CONAMUIP (CoordinadoraNacional Mujeres Indigenas de Panama) attendedand presented a report to the 11th session of thePermanent Forum on Indigenous issues in NewYork. In Ecuador, a number of CSOs interacted forthe first time with UN mechanisms such as UPR,CERD and CESCR.A similar trend was seen in Africa where OHCHRfield presences helped increase interactionbetween civil society actors and UN human rightsmechanisms and bodies. In Guinea, a coalition ofNGOs working for child rights submitted a timelyreport to the CRC.© OHCHRTwo members of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visit the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiagode Chile, Chile.OHCHR REPORT 2012 87


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSInternational and regional law andinstitutions (EA 8)Advances in the progressive development ofinternational and regional human rights law inselected areas of focusThe adoption of the Association of Southeast AsianNations (ASEAN) Human Rights Declaration followedseveral interventions by the High Commissioner,meetings with ASEAN human rights mechanismsand technical comments made by OHCHR.The Declaration contains important human rightscommitments as well as caveats that fall short ofinternational human rights standards. Similarly,OHCHR continued to coordinate relevant humanrights activities with the League of Arab States(LAS) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(UN-OIC). Regular meetings on UN-LAS and UN-OIC cooperation continue to take place within aframework of engagement on technical assistancewith these institutions. Notably, a framework ofcooperation aimed at the review of the Arab systemto bring it in conformity with international standardsis under development between OHCHR and LAS tobe implemented in January 2013.The first high-level meeting between judges of theEuropean Court of Human Rights and membersof the Human Rights Committee took place inStrasbourg on 29 June 2012 as part of ongoingefforts to strengthen cooperation between thetreaty bodies and the European Court and theirrespective secretariats. Participants enhanced theirknowledge about respective practices in relationto interim measures of protection, prohibition ofdiscrimination as an independent right, recent caselaw on freedom of religion, disappearances andinvestigative obligations.The annual meeting of Chairpersons of treatybodies was organized outside Geneva forthe second time with the 24th meetingheld in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in June 2012(the 22nd meeting was held in Brussels, Belgiumin 2010). These meetings strengthened synergiesbetween international and regional human rightsmechanisms, such as the African Commissionon Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), theCommittee of Experts on the Rights and Welfareof the Child, the African Peer Review Mechanism,the African Court on Human and Peoples’Rights, the East African Court of Justice and theEconomic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) Court of Justice, as well as UnitedNations agencies, NHRIs and CSOs from Africa.The Chairpersons adopted joint recommendationson strengthening cooperation between each treatybody and the African human rights mechanismsand stakeholders.Regional consultations on special proceduresmechanisms between OHCHR and ACHPR inAddis Ababa held in January 2012 resulted in theadoption of a road map for future cooperation.In this context, an agreement was reached tocreate a Working Group.OHCHR supports the progressive development ofinternational human rights law, notably throughstudies, consultations and supporting human rightsmechanisms. Throughout 2012, these mechanismsprovided detailed and expert clarity that enhancedthe understanding of treaty provisions.OHCHR organized a seminar in Rabat, Morocco,for representatives of the UN human rightsmechanisms, civil society and national institutionsin October. The participants adopted the RabatPlan of Action which contains recommendations tobetter guide all stakeholders in implementing theinternational prohibition of incitement to national,racial or religious hatred. This event was theculmination of a two-year initiative and series ofexpert workshops in various regions of the world.The elaboration and/or adoption of the followinggeneral comments by treaty bodies enhanced theunderstanding of treaty provisions:uuCEDAW held four regional consultations, withthe support of OHCHR and UN Women, toelaborate a general recommendation on womenin conflict and post-conflict situations.uuThe Working Group on enforced disappearancesadopted two general comments on womenaffected by enforced disappearances andchildren and enforced disappearances during its98th session in November 2012.uuCAT adopted its General Comment No. 3 on theimplementation of article 14 by States Parties on19 November 2012.uuThe CMW drafted its General Comment No. 2on the rights of migrant workers in an irregularsituation and members of their families. Thedraft was published through the CWM’s websiteto invite relevant stakeholders to submit theircomments and observations by January 2013.uuCERD held a day of general discussionfocusing on the theme of Racist Hate Speechon 28 August 2012. The discussion aimed atenhancing the understanding of the causes andconsequences of racist hate speech and willassist the Committee on possibly preparing ageneral recommendation.88 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS© OHCHRThe Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty during a visit to the Otjivero community, Namibia, October 2012.uuThe CRC held a day of general discussion on thetheme of the rights of all children in the contextof international migration on 28 September2012.uuThe Human Rights Committee held a day ofgeneral discussion on 25 October 2012 inpreparation for a new general comment onarticle 9 of the International Covenant on Civiland Political Rights on the right to liberty andsecurity of persons.The Special Rapporteur on the right to foodpresented Guiding Principles on human rightsimpact assessments of trade and investmentagreements to the Human Rights Council in March2012, the Independent Expert on foreign debtpresented Guidelines on foreign debt and humanrights to the Council in June 2012 (endorsed byresolution 20/10) and the Special Rapporteur onextreme poverty presented draft Guiding Principleson extreme poverty and human rights to theCouncil in September 2012 (adopted by resolution21/11).Following the adoption of Human Rights Councilresolution 20/16 in July 2012, the Working Groupon arbitrary detention initiated preparations of thedraft basic principles and guidelines on remediesand procedures related to the right of anyonedeprived of her/his liberty by arrest or detentionto bring proceedings before court, in order toensure that the court may decide without delayon the lawfulness of her/his detention and orderher/his release if the detention is not lawful. Thereport consisting of the draft basic principles andguidelines will be presented to the Council in 2015after consultations with States and civil societyorganizations have been undertaken.In his first thematic report presented to the HumanRights Council in June 2012 (A/HRC/20/27), theSpecial Rapporteur on the rights to freedom ofpeaceful assembly and of association identified,at the request of the Council, good practices thatpromote and protect these rights. Such practices/standards contribute to raising the level ofprotection afforded by international norms andstandards.OHCHR REPORT 2012 89


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSThe Kampala ConventionThe Special Rapporteur onthe human rights of internallydisplaced persons has beenactively engaged in both thepromotion and development ofthe African Union Convention forthe Protection and Assistance ofInternally Displaced Persons inAfrica (Kampala Convention) sincethe process initiated in 2004.In this context, over the pastyear the mandate has engagedwith regional bodies such as AUand the African ParliamentaryUnion and with parliamentariansfrom various AU Member States,corresponded with 20 Statesurging them to sign and depositthe instrument of ratification andhas actively encouraged Africanstates to become States partiesduring country visits and hasparticipated in the Friends ofKampala group which seeks tocoordinate actions to promote andfacilitate the implementation of theKampala Convention. His effortshelp lead to the adoption of thishistoric convention, the first everbinding regional instrument oninternal displacement, which cameinto force on 6 December 2012,providing specific human rightsprotection to the over 10 millioninternally displaced persons inAfrica (2011).The Kampala Convention containshuman rights standards to addresschallenges related to current andfuture internal displacement causedby conflict, natural disasters andother effects of climate change,development, and mega trendssuch as population growth andrapid urbanisation. It furthersets out the obligations of theState parties, the African Union,international organizations andmembers of armed groups toprevent displacement, protect andassist people once displacementhas occurred, and to find lastingsolutions to displacement. TheSpecial Rapporteur, in coordinationwith other key stakeholders, willnow focus on promoting ratificationby other AU Member States andbuilding capacities to implementthis landmark Convention,including through the developmentof national laws and policies.The Special Rapporteur on trafficking conveneda two-day Expert Group Meeting in HumanTrafficking and Global Supply Chains from 12 to13 November 2012 in Ankara, Turkey. The expertconsultations contributed to the elaboration ofa draft set of benchmarks and indicators forbusinesses to complement existing voluntaryinitiatives and the UN Guiding Principles onBusiness and Human Rights.Coherence among human rightsmechanisms (EA 9)Enhanced coherence and consistency in the systemof human rights mechanismsIn 2012, OHCHR took a number of steps toenhance coherence and consistency in thehuman rights mechanism system and establishcloser partnerships and coordination betweenthe mechanisms. This resulted in numerous jointinitiatives and increased attention paid to thehuman rights dimensions of issues discussed inUnited Nations bodies and agencies.On 23 February 2012, the General Assemblyadopted resolution 66/254 which requested thePresident of the General Assembly to launchan open-ended intergovernmental process toconduct open, transparent and inclusivenegotiations on how to strengthen and enhancethe effective functioning of the human rightstreaty body system and appoint two co-facilitatorsto assist in this process. It decided that theopen-ended intergovernmental process shouldtake into consideration the relevant proposalson strengthening and enhancing the effectivefunctioning of the human rights treaty bodysystem, including those contained in the reports ofthe Secretary-General and the High Commissioner.OHCHR works to ensure that the recommendationsof human rights mechanisms form an integral partof OHCHR’s planning and programming and areaccessible in a comprehensive way to externalpartners. To this end, the launch of the upgradedUniversal Human Rights Index in March enhancedthe access, including for persons with disabilities,to individual recommendations and full documentsfrom the treaty bodies, the special proceduresand the UPR. The upgraded version of the Indexallows for the possibility to align recommendationscoming from the three pillars of the UN humanrights system and to cluster them by thematicissues and groups of persons affected.In October 2012, the Special Rapporteur on theright to food and the Special Rapporteur onextreme poverty released a joint proposal to90 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSestablish a Global Fund for Social Protection. Thisproposal attracted considerable interest from arange of partners, including the ILO. Notably, theproposal was presented to the 39th session of theCommittee on World Food Security in Rome inOctober 2012, leading the Committee to endorsespecific recommendations which highlighted “therole of international cooperation in reinforcingnational actions to implement sustainable socialprotection programmes and systems” and stressedthat “social protection programmes for foodsecurity and nutrition should be guided by humanrights norms and standards.”Challenges and lessons learnedSupport to the expanding work of the HumanRights Council and its features, including thespecial procedures and the UPR mechanisms, andto the expanding work of the treaty monitoringbodies, offered opportunities for OHCHR and itsfield presences to better articulate and coordinateits approach to countries in relation to theratification of international instruments, monitoringand implementation of human rights standards.It also resulted in an increased number ofThe treaty bodies strengthening processIn June, the High Commissionerfor Human Rights publishedher report on Strengtheningthe Human Rights Treaty BodySystem (A/66/860). It presenteda vision for an efficient, effectiveand timely treaty body system,building on the strengths of thesystem while also addressingits challenges, in particularinsufficient resources.The report is the result of a twoand-a-half-yearconsultative processwhich was launched by the HighCommissioner in November 2009,based on the mandate given to herby General Assembly resolution48/141. The consultative processensured the active participationof a wide range of stakeholders,including Member States, treatybody members, United Nationsagencies, NHRIs and CSOs throughsome 20 consultations conductedbetween November 2009 and April2012, as well as approximately60 written submissions provided bythe same stakeholders.One of the key proposals is todevelop a comprehensive reportingcalendar that would operate on thebasis of universal compliance withthe reporting obligations of StatesParties. Other recommendationsinclude a simplified reportingprocess; strengthened proceduresfor communications, inquiries andThe High Commissioner for Human Rights speaks at the treaty body strengtheningconsultations for States party to international human rights treaties held in New York,April 2012.visits; strengthened independenceand expertise of treaty bodymembers; strengthened capacityfor implementation; and enhancedvisibility and accessibility of thetreaty bodies.Throughout the process, a numberof achievements were reached,such as reduced time for StateParty reviews from three to twomeetings, thereby contributingto the reduction of backlogs; andChairpersons spearheading theadoption of more cost effectiveand harmonized working methods.Following a recommendation inthe High Commissioner’s report,the Chairpersons endorsed theAddis Ababa Guidelines on theindependence and impartialityof members of treaty bodiesduring their annual meetingin June. To date, these havebeen adopted by CEDAW, CRC,CRPD, the Committee onEnforced Disappearances and theSubcommittee on Prevention ofTorture.© UN Photo/P. FilgueirasThe General Assembly establishedan open-ended intergovernmentalprocess on treaty bodystrengthening in February 2012(GA 66/254) which it extendedto its 67th session (66/295). InJuly 2012, the co-facilitators ofthe process organized informalmeetings structured around fourmain themes: the master calendar;working methods (including theindependence of treaty bodies);the reporting process and thecapacity to implement. Thefinancial aspect was a crosscuttingissue discussed under thefour segments.OHCHR REPORT 2012 91


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMSThe first annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, held in Geneva, Switzerland, December 2012.© UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferrératifications of international instruments andpermitted the development of legal human rightsstandards and for the mobilization of partnershipsto ensure compliance with international law.At the same time, the growing workload coupledwith significant budget constraints, particularlyin the form of unfunded new mandates from theHuman Rights Council, have placed significantstrains on OHCHR to effectively support the workof the human right mechanisms.Unfortunately, the calls made during the review ofthe Human Rights Council for a more rationalizedprogramme of work have not materialized. Inspite of the determination of OHCHR to addressmultiple human rights issues and challenges andthe commendable commitment of the Councilto address protracted and emerging crises, ithas become increasingly difficult to supportthe increasing number of new mandates whichinclude the preparation of reports, holding ofpanel discussions and assisting intergovernmentalworking groups, apart from support to newspecial procedures and fact-finding missions andcommissions of inquiry.The human rights treaty body system has doubledin size at all levels in less than 10 years, includingin relation to the ratification of international humanrights treaties, the establishment of new treatybodies, a doubling of the number of complaintsprocedures (petitions), the increased reporting andsubmission of individual complaints and a doublingof the number of treaty body experts and annualsessions (equivalent to a total of 74 weeks peryear). The resourcing of the work of treaty bodieshas not followed this trend. Today, the system isin crisis and backlogs of State Party reports andindividual complaints is paralyzing many treatybodies with an average of three to four yearsbefore a State report or an individual complaintcan be considered. The system has only avoidedcollapse because of an excessively high rate of noncompliancewith timely reporting (84 per cent) onthe part of States Parties.The responsibility for the implementation ofthe proposals made in the High Commissioner’sreport on treaty body strengthening remains withthe different stakeholders within their respectivespheres of competence. The adoption of a keyproposal of the High Commissioner’s report, namelythe Comprehensive Reporting Calendar, wouldbring an end to the unequal treatment of StatesParties resulting from different levels of reportingcompliance with treaty obligations. This wouldbe the most sustainable way to solve the current92 OHCHR REPORT 2012


HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMScrisis while remaining true to the treaties.The regularity and predictability of such a calendarwould further allow States Parties to allocatetheir domestic reporting resources with greaterefficiency. On 23 February 2012, based on GeneralAssembly resolution 66/254, an open-endedintergovernmental process on the strengthening ofthe human rights treaty body system was launchedunder the auspices of the President of the GeneralAssembly who appointed two co-facilitators.Global budget reductions will impact and limitOHCHR’s ability to provide overall support tothe UN human rights mechanisms, including thespecial procedures system. The ability of the treatybodies to examine reports could also decrease dueto cuts in staffing and meeting time. The capacityof OHCHR field presences to support and workwith national actors through the human rightsmechanisms could also decrease, resulting in fewerreports to the human rights treaty bodies.OHCHR REPORT 2012 93

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