Advocacy with regional and international mechanisms

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International mechanisms

Regional and international mechanisms play an important role in wider response mechanisms for WHRDs. Organizations systematically submit urgent appeals to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of HRDs and, depending on the nature of the violation, they may involve different mechanisms, such as: the Special Rapporteur on Torture; the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women; the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression; the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and; Special Rapporteurs working on specific countries. Increasingly, organizations encourage collaboration among Special Procedures in issuing a joint communication to a member state. Such joint interventions can bring increased pressure to bear on responsible authorities.

Organizations working with the UN Special Rapporteur endeavour to keep in close contact with the mandate and to update the UN Special Rapporteur frequently on developments in the case. In addition to this, organizations submit cases to UN treaty bodies, such as the Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture.

Regional mechanisms

In terms of regional mechanisms, organizations also send urgent appeals to regional human rights mechanisms such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, the European Union (EU) institutions or the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR).

African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Organizations also send urgent appeals to the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, a separate mandate established by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

European Union
The European Union (EU) Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders was adopted in June 2004. The Guidelines suggest practical means for EU institutions and embassies to support and assit defenders. Among the measures suggested by the Guidelines are providing visible recognition to defenders through the use of appropriate publicity, visits or invitations, attending and observing trials of defenders, making public statements when defenders are at immediate or serious risk, and making diplomatic demarches.

Inter-American Commission of Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) is one of the bodies that comprise the Inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights, along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Both are independent organs of the Organization of American States (OAS). The IACHR is a permanent body, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., United States, and it meets in regular and special sessions several times a year to examine allegations of human rights violations in the hemisphere.

Citizens of any OAS member country can present petitions for the IACHR to review allegations of impunity in specific human rights legal cases, as well as request that the IACHR issue request that a state adopt protective measures (known as precautionary measures) to prevent irreparable harm to persons in urgent cases of potential human rights violations. Once precautionary measures are adopted, the state must contact the beneficiaries (defenders or other people whose human rights have been violated and considered in need of measures) and agree upon the kind of protective actions to be put in place. These measures can benefit individuals or groups and can range from providing bullet-proof vests to political measures, such as public statements from authorities recognizing the work of defenders in the country. The Office of the Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders was created in 2011, to give greater visibility to the important role of human rights defenders and justice operators.

To learn more about advocacy with regional and international mechanisms, please see the Urgent Responses Mapping, pages 4-5.

List of Organizations

The following is a list of organizations sorted by region that conducts advocacy activities with regional and international mechanisms.




Latin America