An international NGO in consultative status with the United Nations
HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING

    IHRAAM is involved in three monitoring areas:

    (1) state adherence to international treaties;
    (2) human rights monitoring on the ground and
    (3) training of human rights monitors for NGOs.  

    With respect to monitoring state adherence to international treaties, IHRAAM undertakes Alternative of Shadow Reporting
    This division has been established to further its human rights based approach addressing the human rights issues facing vulnerable and marginalized individuals,
    minorities and unrepresented peoples and nations.   

WHAT IS ALTERNATIVE OR SHADOW REPORTING?    
     
    All 192 UN Member States of the United Nations are required to report every four years on human rights issues through a mandatory review process
    established by UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 in 2006.

    The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) represents a significant innovation in state human rights reporting requirements in relation to the international
    treaties to which they are parties. It is run out of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR).  The terms of the UPR mandate require the
    Human Rights Council to:

    “undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfillment of each State of its human rights obligations
    and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States”.

    The UPR provides an opportunity for all states to declare actions that have been taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill
    their human rights obligations. It seeks to encourage states to overcome the challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. It also provides an opportunity to
    share the best human rights practices around the globe. No other such mechanism exists anywhere in the world.


WHY PRODUCE ALTERNATIVE REPORTS?           

    Resolution 60/251, which concurrently created the Human Rights Council itself,  specifically acknowledges
    in its preamble that “non-governmental organizations play an important role at the national, regional and
    international level in the promotion and protection of human rights.”

    NGOs accredited with the United Nations, such as IHRAAM, make an important contribution to the UPR
    through providing alternative reports which highlight the failures and shortcomings of reports submitted
    to the UPR by Nation states.  Alternative Reporting, also referred to as Shadow Reporting, is a tool designed
    to help committees of United Nations Treaty Bodies to better understand the situation in a country.

    When a State party submits a report the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), the
    relevant committee prepares List of Issues.  Alternative reporting can result in more targeted treaty monitoring
    body recommendations due to their increased awareness of violations of economic, social and cultural rights of citizens.
    It facilitates the access of the international treaty monitoring bodies  to credible data and information from
    reliable sources which may supplement, address lacunae in, or even contradict findings in the state reports
    that have been submitted for their review.  

    This enables the international treaty monitoring body to raise and address issues which may otherwise have been ignored.  

Recommendations for Effective Action

The primary goal of engaging in human rights monitoring and Alternative Reporting is to provide feasible and concrete recommendations for realizing effective action towards
improving the economic, social and cultural realities facing citizens. The intention in Alternative Reporting is to be as specific as possible in identifying challenges and proposing
remedies to governments.

Alternative Reporting facilitates the monitoring of the implementation of committee recommendations. An emphasis is on focusing on violations or the implementation gap that
commonly occurs when recommendations are implemented through separate and distinct channels.

Alternative Reporting recommendations are designed to be as specific as possible with measures based on responding to the sectors of the population that are most at risk.

Focused action plans are offered for economic, social and cultural development, employment creation, housing, education, nutrition and health initiatives, respecting and
promoting culture, reinforcing measures to ensure compliance by public authorities with respect to legal standards and good practice (strengthening and training the judiciary,
police, local administration, military authorities, etc.) and the establishment of a permanent monitoring function with the participation of those most directly concerned.

IHRAAM’s Role in Alternative Reporting

The emphasis of IHRAAM’s Alternative Reporting is aligned with its overall goal of addressing the human rights and needs of vulnerable and marginalized minorities and
unrepresented peoples and nations.    

IHRAAM presents alternative reports to the relevant committees and seeks to engage in subsequent dialogue with government representatives.

IHRAAM is well positioned to solicit and manage gathering data and various types of technical and non technical information from a variety of regional, national and international
NGOs as well as through academics, the World Bank, UNICEF and the UNDP. Additionally, IHRAAM has the capacity to create and present alternative reports as part of the UPR.

IHRAAM’s data gathering and report creation is focused on addressing treaties that apply to individuals, minorities, and unrepresented peoples and nations.


IHRAAM Alternative Reporting and YOU/Your Organization

You or your organization may routinely collect data, process information or produce reports which may then be published in one venue or another, but does this information truly
receive the attention of policy makers that it should?

Invaluable statistics and studies are compiled by numerous non-state actors which should be brought to bear on state understandings and decision making.  

With the help of YOU or YOUR ORGANIZATION, IHRAAM compiles such information pertinent to the various articles of UN Human Rights Treaties, and submits reports to the
Huam Rights Council in relation to its review of state reports.

By this means, IHRAAM seeks not only to facilitate state awareness of information related to human rights issues and situations, but to engage states, via the pressures that the
international treaty monitoring bodies are able to bring to bear on state practice.  

Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR)

IHRAAM seeks to provide alternative reports for a number of sessions involving the Americas, the UK and India in the coming years.  With respect to the UPR of the Human
Rights Council, IHRAAM is interested in partnering with individuals and organizations to submit alternative reports for the following countries and sessions.


Year                Session                          Country

2013                16th Session                Canada and Cuba
2013                17th Session                Mexico and Belize
2014                18th Session                Chile, Dominican Republic,
2014                20th Session                El Salvador
2015                22nd Session               Panama, United States of America

Sources of Data for Alternative Reports include States reports, national NGO partners, academics, World Bank, UNICEF and UNDP reports along as well as regional
development organization.


Treaty-based bodies

UN treaties lie at the heart of activities to protect human rights. The treaties impose legally binding standards for States Parties. Entities known as “treaty bodies” are the
monitoring mechanisms of the treaties. Human rights treaty bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor the implementation of the core international
human rights treaties. There are nine human rights treaty bodies and a Sub-committee on the Prevention of torture (SPT).

The following treaties correspond to the nine treaty bodies listed below:


•        The
Human Rights Committee (CCPR) monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and its optional protocols;

•        The
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(1966);

•        The
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (1965);

•        The
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)  monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
discrimination against Women (1979) and its optional protocol (1999);

•        The
Committee against Torture (CAT) monitors implementation on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or  Degrading Treatment (1984);

•        The
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)  monitors implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989) and its optional protocols (2000);

•        The
Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW)  monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and
Members of Their Families (1990);

•        The
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(2006); and

•        The
Committee on Enforced Disappearance (CED) monitors implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced
Disappearance (2006).


Source: United Nations,
Office of the High Commissioner




Additional Resources

Association for the Prevention of Torture (2004). The APT Guidelines for National NGOs on Alternative Reporting to UN Treaty Bodies, including the Committee against
Torture. Geneva: Association for the Prevention of Torture.
http://www.apt.ch/index.php?option=com_docman&task

Child Rights International Network (2011). List of Alternative Reports Submitted to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/crc.
25/Annex-VI-CRIN_hidden.asp

New Tactics in Human Rights (2009). Using Shadow Reports for Advocacy. New Tactics: http://www.newtactics.org

Organisation mondiale contre la torture: SOS Torture Network (undated). Using United Nations Treaty Bodies to bring about change: Submitting alternative reports.  
http://www.omct.org/escr/about/submitting-alternative-reports/

OHCHR Technical guidelines for the submission of stakeholders: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TechnicalGuide.aspx
" I cannot imagine how difficult and futile (Human
Rights Council monitoring of state reports under the
ICCPR) would be if we did not have the active
cooperation of NGOs like yours.  We can only hope
that the International Human Rights Association of
American Minorities will continue to work with the
Human Rights Committee in the protection of Human
Rights worldwide."
 
Francisco Jose Aguilar-Urbina
Chairman, Human Rights Committee,
United Nations