Multistakeholder Pledge: National Human Rights Institutions

Multistakeholder Pledge: National Human Rights Institutions

Key outcomes

This National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) multi-stakeholder pledge aims to harness the collective, unique work of NHRIs in order to support comprehensive human rights protection of displaced and stateless persons globally.

At the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023, GANHRI made the following multi-stakeholder pledge on behalf of the 120 national NHRI members:

National Human Rights Institution members of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions will identify and implement national-level initiatives to achieve greater human rights protection for displaced and stateless persons, in line with NHRIs’ unique mandates and functions under the Paris Principles.

Background

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are uniquely situated human rights actors, as State institutions set out in law but with broad and independent mandates to promote and protect rights of all people in society, including displaced and stateless persons. The role and function of NHRIs, which operate in over 120 countries, makes them key partners in advocacy, monitoring, investigation, support, promotion, and sustainability of human rights interventions.

The critical role of NHRIs was particularly highlighted in 2023, which celebrated both the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th Anniversary of the Paris Principles, which sets out the minimum standards for NHRIs to be considered effective and credible.

Many NHRIs already engage in activities and initiatives that promote the human rights of displaced and stateless persons, often in conjunction with other partners. And just some of the good examples of NHRI work on displacement and statelessness can be found in these relevant guidance documents: Guidance on UNHCR’s engagement with National Human Rights Institutions and Protecting Internally Displaced Persons: A Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions on Internally Displaced Persons.

However, there are more existing practices – and much opportunity for new actions – toward increasing the human rights of displaced and stateless persons. This pledging process will allow identification and highlighting of existing and new pledges and activities that can achieve greater protection and solutions for displaced and stateless persons. The potential scope of the collective action of NHRIs globally is immense – and can be multiplied with and through their global membership in the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), in partnership with other stakeholders, including UNHCR, and by continuing to inspire and enhance the work of one another.

Global Refugee Forum Pledges and Implementation

The GRF 2023 pledge follow up process will allow identification and highlighting of existing and new pledges and activities that can achieve greater protection and solutions for forcibly displaced and stateless persons. 

As indicated, this pledge aims to harness the global nature of the challenges of displacement and statelessness while also ensuring concrete interventions are undertaken at the local level. Therefore, in this pledge, individual NHRIs will engage in a dual commitment.

Individual NHRI Pledges

In addition to the general global joint pledge, in order to focus on implementation, each GANHRI NHRI member will also work to identify at least one or more activities or initiatives to promote the human rights of displaced and/or stateless persons and their communities. This initial pledge implementation should take place by December 2024 ideally.

 

Based upon past successful work of NHRIs, the below are ideas for the individual NHRI pledges. This list is not exhaustive, however, and other relevant activities and initiatives are welcome.

  • Monitoring Activities: monitoring of detention facilities where displaced and stateless persons may be held; monitoring of border crossing areas or other locations with high numbers of displaced and stateless persons; conducting visits and interviews with displaced and stateless persons, including in places of deprivation of liberty; establishing a monitoring presence in areas where the physical security of displaced and stateless persons is at grave risk; monitoring the return of displaced persons to ensure that it is voluntary and occurs in safe conditions;
  • Capacity Development: participating in a capacity development opportunity to learn more about displacement and statelessness and how to incorporate this into the NHRI’s work plan; carrying out capacity development on rights of displaced and stateless persons, for various audiences, including affected persons, national authorities, civil society, and others;
  • Awareness Raising: enhancing awareness among displaced and stateless persons on their rights, including how to submit individual complaints to the NHRI; coordination with other entities to ensure access to rights; conducting advocacy and awareness raising on displacement and statelessness with the relevant national authorities and others; developing and disseminating information on displaced and stateless persons;
  • Referral Pathways: creating identification and referral pathways for displaced and stateless persons, including those with specific needs, between the NHRI and other entities of relevance, including UNHCR or national institutions;
  • Collaboration: signing an MoU with UNHCR and/or others collaborate on these initiatives; expanding coordination with I/NGOs and others, such as the UN Country Teams, Humanitarian Country Teams, or Protection Clusters, as relevant, to promote and protect the human rights of displaced and stateless persons;
  • Investigation: investigating and monitoring the realization of human rights at country level, including the situation of displaced and stateless persons; conducting inquiries into reports of serious violations of human rights, including individual complaints by displaced and stateless persons, and working to ensure effective responses;
  • Data: collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data on the situation of human rights of displaced and stateless persons; establishing collaboration agreements with relevant Government agencies, UNHCR, or others to collect and share data regarding displaced and stateless persons and their human rights situation;
  • Access to Justice/ Legal Aid: facilitating access to justice, including for displaced and stateless persons, through courts; developing and implementing legislative or policy advocacy to provide free and quality legal aid services to displaced and stateless persons;
  • Human rights reporting and advocacy: carrying out independent reports on the human rights situation of displaced and stateless persons; publishing annual, situational or thematic reports on displaced and stateless persons that include recommendations and protection assessments addressed to national authorities; including specific information about displaced and stateless persons in regular reporting; monitoring the progress made by States in the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees; monitoring and reporting on the Government’s implementation of national laws and policies regarding displacement and statelessness; monitoring and reporting on conditions to ensure that displaced and stateless persons enjoy the same rights as others in the country, that they do not face discrimination in seeking access to their rights, and that they receive the protection and assistance they require; including issues relating to the human rights of displaced and stateless persons in their own Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reporting or in other interventions before regional or international human rights mechanisms;
  • Developing guidance: developing guidance on how to concretely include displaced and stateless persons in their protection activities; conducting awareness raising on the guidance;
  • Law and policy promotion: advancing protection- and solutions-oriented legislation and policies related to displacement and the prevention and protection of statelessness; ensuring a legal reform of nationality laws to remove denial of nationality on discriminatory grounds; promoting the inclusion of the prohibition of arbitrary displacement into domestic legislation;
  • Direct Assistance: supporting displaced and stateless persons to secure personal documentation, including to birth registration or civil documentation, and advocating for measures to ensure access to such procedures; engaging in litigation processes on behalf of displaced or stateless persons as relevant;
  • Other Initiatives: following up on early warnings of displacement and requesting effectives measures of the authorities to protect against arbitrary displacement; establishing regional or local NHRI satellite offices in localities with significant numbers of displaced or stateless persons reside and are at risk; and
  • Information Sharing: networking with GANHRI, UNHCR, and NHRIs in other countries and relevant regional bodies to share information on displacement and statelessness with a view to developing best practices.

Pledge implementation

The global pledge was made by GANHRI on behalf of the member NHRIs. 

For the individual pledges, NHRIs are responsible for implementing, monitoring and reporting on their own pledges. Support is available to aid in this implementation. 

GANHRI and UNHCR – with the support of UNHCR’s field operation in the relevant country of the NHRI, where relevant – will provide coordination support, which will be likely to include information sharing and mutual learning opportunities, such as convening dialogue platforms around certain thematic, contextual or geographic focus areas. 

At the global level, UNHCR and GANHRI will also support with initiatives to increase capacity development and guidance for NHRIs globally.

Leadership

  • GANHRI

Contact details

If you have any questions, please contact: Kelleen Corrigan, UNHCR at [email protected], and/or Katharina Rose, GANHRI at [email protected]