Statement of the national human rights councils and ombudsmen

The Open Working Group has produced a bold and comprehensive set of goals and targets that, if realized, will greatly enhance the protection and fulfillment of human rights and lay strong foundations for a life in freedom and dignity for current and future generations.The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (ICC) fully supports these goals and the compelling vision for their realization put forward by the UN Secretary General in his synthesis report. As National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) established by Member States to protect and promote human rights we encourage Member States to adopt a follow-up and review mechanism that ensures accountability for the commitments made.

In this endeavour, we encourage Member States to draw on the modalities and experiences of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council. The UPR has demonstrated the value and feasibility of a follow-up and review mechanism, which applies universally to all Member States; is based on transparent information and open dialogue; is participatory and accessible to all stakeholders; and is based on commonly agreed measures of progress. The UPR is based on national reports prepared by Member States as well as compilations from the UN mechanisms and other stakeholders, including NHRIs and civil society. We strongly recommend including this feature in the Post-2015 accountability mechanism. Given the wealth of information in the UN human rights system, we also recommend that there be a systematic flow of information between the Post-2015 accountability framework and existing human rights mechanisms, including the UPR,UN treaty bodies and Special Procedures.

The ongoing work to develop indicators is indispensable in ensuring that follow-up and review is based on data, which is disaggregated. The grounds for disaggregation should be in line with internationally prohibited grounds of discrimination as referenced in the Rio+20 Outcome Document, paragraph 9. Moreover, we strongly welcome the inclusion of indicators, which measure implementation of existing human rights commitments such as treaty ratification and implementation of UPR and treaty body recommendations. We strongly support the proposal to include an indicator on the establishment of NHRIs in accordance with the UN Paris Principles. We wish to note that data for this indicator is readily available in the Secretary-General’s reports on NHRIs to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, based on the accreditation procedures of the ICC and we offer our collaboration in this regard.

At the national level, we call for a robust country-led, national component for accountability. To guide states and national stakeholders, we call on Member States to define, as part of the follow-up and review mechanism, the broad parameters for national adaptation and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. These should build on existing national mechanisms and action plans, and could include provisions for development of national baseline assessments and action plans based on contextual needs and developed through locally owned, participatory and transparent processes, taking into account states’ existing human rights commitments.

Moreover, recalling that the sustainable development goals have to be realized in an unfavorable global socio-economic context, we strongly echo the concerns of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt in their recent reports to the Human Rights Council about the adverse effects of austerity measures and high debt burdens on economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development, as well as the need for human rights impact assessments. In this context, they have encouraged creditor countries to ensure that the policies and decisions of international financial institutions of which they are members are consistent with the human rights obligations of States.

The post-2015 development agenda provides the opportunity to build the foundations of a new beginning. In order to do justice to our common aspirations, we must now put in place a robust mechanism to review progress and ensure accountability towards the sustainable development goals. The NHRIs are ready to contribute to these aspirations.

Issued in Geneva, May 18, 2015.

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