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Tips On Engaging With These Mechanisms

Navigating the UN system can be complex. Here are a few tips on how to make it easier.

Get informed

  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of the different human rights mechanisms and processes and how they operate using the information provided in the present toolkit as well as other resources that are referenced and that provide specialized information and capacity-building.
    • The International Service for Human Rights has developed an online academy covering the different mechanisms, available in English, French and Spanish
    • The European Youth Forum has developed a toolkit on promoting youth rights that includes a section on the UN and addressed the Special Procedures, the Universal Periodic Review and the treaty bodies, available in English at: tools.youthforum.org/youth-rights-info-tool/
  • Find out what is happening, on what topic, and when. Keep an eye on:
    • Which treaties your country has ratified, and when treaty bodies are reviewing your country
    • When Special Procedures are visiting your country
    • When your country is being reviewed at the Universal Periodic review
    • Human Rights Council sessions and what’s on the agenda


Get involved and participate

  • Sometimes it’s better to work together with partners to engage with different human rights processes and mechanisms. For example, civil society organizations can make joint submissions to treaty bodies, Special Procedures, and the UPR. This can enrichen the submission while dividing the workload.
  • Prepare submissions in response to calls for inputs from the UN Human Rights Office, Special Procedures, and Treaty Bodies, both about your country and about thematic issues.
    • Preparing submissions for thematic processes can contribute to change at global and national levels. By contributing to global policy developments on youth rights, you can feed into guidance that you can then take back to your government on how to improve the human rights situation of young people in your country, your region and around the world
  • Plan your advocacy with Member States, Special Procedures mandates, and other civil society members to raise awareness of your human rights concerns and recommendations. This can be done through briefing meetings and sharing your concerns and recommendations in writing. It can be handy to have a short one-page document highlighting your priority issues and recommendations to share. While this is often done in person in Geneva, you can also get in touch with States and explore possibilities for online or remote briefings. Details of State’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva can be found via the Blue Book, available at: https://www.ungeneva.org/blue-book (Note: the Blue Book is only available in French).

Keep in mind that human rights mechanisms and processes are complementary. If you work with all or several of the human rights mechanisms and processes, you will find they reinforce and complement the work of each other and contribute to strengthening the protection of human rights around the world. Don’t hesitate to take recommendations from one mechanism or process to another.

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