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Faith and Human Rights
Every human being is created in the image of God. The God-given human dignity of every person regardless of creed, colour, ethnicity, gender, age, caste or social status is the faith foundation on which churches' support for human rights is based.
International human rights principles and processes provide a normative framework and system for accountability to these legal expressions of the elements of human dignity.
UN human rights accountability mechanisms with which we work
Universal Periodic Review
The most recent innovation with regard to global human rights accountability is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council [external site]. UPR is a mechanism for reviewing the fulfillment by every UN member state of its human rights obligations and commitments. The UPR mechanism started to function in 2008, which also marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), amongst "other relevant stakeholders" can participate in the UPR process in various ways, including by submitting information in writing.
Human Rights Treaty Bodies are the independent expert committees established to monitor compliance with the major UN human rights treaties [external site]. States that have ratified one of these human rights treaties are obliged to report periodically to the Treaty Body connected to that treaty. NGOs can submit written information to each of the Treaty Bodies, and can participate in or at least attend the Treaty Body sessions.
Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council
"Special Procedures" is the general name given to the system of investigatory or advisory mechanisms established by the Commission on Human Rights - and now assumed by the Human Rights Council [external site]. Special Procedures' mandates usually call on individual experts to examine, monitor, advise and publicly report on human rights situations in specific countries or territories (known as country mandates), or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide (known as thematic mandates). Special Procedure mandate-holders often carry out country visits to investigate the situation of human rights at the national level. NGOs can submit information to Special Procedure mandate-holders through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or directly in the context of country visits that mandate-holders may be carrying out.
To find out more…
…about the UN human rights accountability processes
- Visit the country pages of the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
…about regional human rights mechanisms
See FORUM-ASIA's training manual designed to facilitate civil society engagement with the newly established ASEAN Human Rights mechanisms, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC).
See also the Appendices for the training modules:
- Appendices for Module 1
- Appendices for Module 2
- Appendices for Module 3
- Appendices for Module 4
- Appendices for Module 5
- Appendices for Module 6
Human Rights Organizations
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- International Service for Human Rights
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- FoodFirst Information and Action Network
- Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
- International Dalit Solidarity Network
International/Regional Church and Ecumenical Organizations
- World Council of Churches
- The Lutheran World Federation
- World Alliance of Reformed Churches
- World Student Christian Federation
- Young Women's Christian Association
- Young Men's Christian Association
- All Africa Conference of Churches
- Christian Conference of Asia
- Conference of European Churches
- Latin American Council of Churches
Key Project Partners and Supporters
- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
- ACT Alliance
- Church of Sweden
- Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (ICCO)
- Brot für die Welt
- Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission
- Norwegian Church Aid
This website is managed by the
Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA)
on behalf of the
ACT Alliance Rights and Development Group
in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC)
and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
This website has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this website are the sole responsiblity of the project partners, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.