UN and Regional Advocacy

The United Nations and the world's regional human rights bodies work to protect, monitor, and advance human rights. Parties subject to international and regional human rights treaties are required to submit to international tribunals regular reports detailing their compliance.

The international human rights system depends on the active participation of civil society, including NGOs, nonprofits, the academic community, and activists. By providing credible examples of human rights violations, participants draw attention to systemic problems and help end human rights violations.

Using international justice mechanisms, The Advocates for Human Rights:

  • Monitors and reports abuses to the United Nations (through The Advocates' special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council) and regional human rights organizations;
  • Makes oral and written statements to charter-based bodies, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council;
  • Participates through shadow reporting in United Nations' review of a country's compliance with human rights treaties;
  • Participates in regional human rights mechanisms, such as the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
  • Contributes knowledge, practical application, training, technical assistance, and commentary to United Nations' agencies and other international bodies; and 
  • Collaborates with the world's civil society on death penalty abolition, conditions of detention, torture, rights of refugees, rights of non-citizens, LGBTI rights, minority rights, women's rights, and other issues.
  • Works on issues related to women's human rights and violence against women.

Accessing the international human rights systems may seem discouraging. To help, The Advocates for Human rights created Human Rights Tools for a Changing World. Our guide makes it easy for NGOs, nonprofits, and activists to become involved in international human rights advocacy. 

What Is a Shadow Report?
Shadow reports are a method for non-government organizations (NGOs) to supplement and/or present alternative information to reports governments are required to submit under treaties. NGOs play an essential role in providing reliable and independent information, which may be overlooked in a government's report. NGOs around the world use shadow reports to lobby various United Nations' bodies, including treaty-monitoring bodies, thematic groups, charter-based bodies, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

To read The Advocates' shadow reports to the UN and regional human rights bodies, click here.

What Is a Regional Mechanism?
Parts of the world, such as Africa, the Americas, and Europe, have created structures and systems to support and protect human rights and human rights defenders in the countries located in their respective regions. These stuctrures and systems call attention to a government's human rights abuses, as well as the degree to which it protects human rights. Asia and the Middle East lack such mechanisms.