General Guidelines for submitting a Statement to the HRC
NGOs can submit written or oral statements to the Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council: Submitting a NGO Oral Statement
There are two allocated places at the HRC for NGOs to make statements. The list of NGOs making a statement will be posted on the Board at the HRC and NGOs will take their place at those seats after the NGO before them vacates it and the NGO will in turn vacate that seat once the statement has been made.
It may sometimes take 8-10 hrs before a statement can be made and it is therefore good for the NGO to have one or more representatives in the Council Chamber so as to be ready when the NGO’s name is being called.
Time given to individual NGOs: two (2) minutes
Time given to statements co-sponsored by many NGOs: three (3) minutes
Co-sponsoring NGOs will need to confirm their co-sponsorship by email or in loco by 8 a.m. of the day that the statement is to be delivered.
The below copy/pasted text is from OHCHR related to NGO Participation in the Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council: Submitting a NGO Written Statement
NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC (General, Special or Roster status) may submit written statements to the Human Rights Council (HRC).
NGOs in general consultative status are allowed 2,000 words while NGOs in special consultative status and on the roster are allowed 1,500 words.
The written statement is formatted and issued, unedited, in the language(s) received from the submitting NGO. English, Spanish and French versions can be published at this time. In order for your statement to be published before the session, the deadline for submission is exactly two weeks prior to the start of a session. See the deadline on the web site. All submissions are final. Please fill out the website FORM and CHECKLIST to submit your statement and send it to the address indicated below. Your information goes after each arrow.
1. Please indicate the contact information for the representative submitting this statement (i.e. name, mobile, email) here:
2. Indicate the Agenda item number (1-10) of statement, including the segment *: (Interactive Dialogue, ID; General Debate, GD; or Panel): Item #______ Segment: _______
3.a) If this is an individual statement, indicate your organization’s name as in the ECOSOC NGO database and indicate its consultative status in brackets (i.e. General, Special, or Roster). or,
3.b) If this is a joint statement, list the main sponsor first, and then the co-sponsoring ECOSOC NGOs as they appear in the ECOSOC database and status (in brackets): Group all General NGOs first, group the Special second and group the Roster third.
4. Indicate here any non-ECOSOC NGO(s) supporting this statement (they will appear as a footnote to the statement title):
5. Indicate the exact TITLE for this statement here:
Please make sure that…
□ This statement is in MS WORD document format (Font Times New Roman 10; no bold; no underline; no italics).
□ Check word count: (Go to Tools, Word count, # of words) Indicate the length of text (excluding footnotes/endnotes) here: -NGOs in general consultative status are allowed 2,000 words -NGOs in special consultative status and on the roster are allowed 1,500 words
□ Please use the Spell/grammar check on your text. (Go to Tools, Spelling & Grammar)
□ If in doubt about Member States’ names and correct UN terminology when referring to certain territories, use UNTERM database: http://unterm.un.org/
□ Different language versions of one statement should be sent in the same email, but using a separate form for each.
□ Email this document to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What to do if…
a NGO wants to work more closely with the mandate of (e.g.) the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque?
In this case, the Special Rapporteur (SR) has been mandated by Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolutions 16/2 of 2011 and 21/2 of 2012 to prepare a report to the HRC Session in September (2013) on Sustainability and non-retrogression in the realisation of the rights to water and sanitation.
To have as wide a consultation with all stakeholders as possible, the Special Rapporteur (SR) or Independent Expert (IE) calls for a public consultation in Geneva. Sometimes such consultations will take place at different locations worldwide. Such a consultation will focus on the report to the HRC, not on other issues. By focussing on specific issues the HRC gets more in-depth knowledge as most of the general issues are already known.
It might be of interest to know that each Special Procedures mandate holder is elected for 3 years and that they need, in their first year, to present an overall report on what they will be focussing on during those three years and how they see this being executed. The first report therefore is a general overview. In the subsequent years issue specific themes will be chosen, as is the case here. When re-elected this will continue. This will allow the member states of the HRC to get an overall understanding of the problems.
By knowing what a SR or IE will be reporting on, will allow NGOs to make statements that are relevant to the specific reports and thereby add to greater understanding. NGOs are in consultative status because civil society can contribute to such consultations.
In the last years the mandate holders have held on-line surveys to which all stakeholders are invited to participate. This is especially relevant for those NGOs who can not be present in Geneva or for NGOs who have expertise but which might not necessarily be accredited with the UN. The replies by such stakeholders need to refer to human rights violations, to best practices or to areas that are seen as still not being addressed, as such a consultation is done within the context of the Human Rights Council.
There is always a clear date by when the on-line consultation will be closed, in this case it was February 28 and based on the responses received, a public, on site, consultation was organised in March. While replies to all questions is sought, even to get a reply to a few questions is valuable. So, if there are points, related to human rights abuses, or where states are not following up on their commitments as per ratification of human rights instruments, then such information has to be included. This is best done by not naming or shaming countries, but by using a more generalised terminology, e.g. …some states or… some of states in Europe. However, when mentioning best practice, then it is good to mention a specific state and the action taken by that state.
Why On-line Surveys are important for Preparing Statements
The link above is important, as from the comments submitted, NGOs can gather what the concerns are. This will allow a NGO to address these in more detail through a possible statement. There might also be concerns that have been identified but hat might not have been mentioned and it would be the NGO’s role to point this out to the HRC and backing up such a statement by the mention of Declarations, Conventions or Covenants (= human rights mechanisms).
Each report of a mandate holder will link to relevant documentations and reports by a SR will normally refer to such Declarations, which means that NGOs do not need to repeat the work which has already been done but can research into other HR mechanisms, e.g. the Geneva Convention, if such a HR instrument has not yet been mentioned as per the mandate (assuming that there are mentions to water)
Having done the necessary research and having the relevant information will allow a NGO ample time to prepare a statement that will be relevant to the Report the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque, and the member states of the HRC in September. Remember that statements need to be registered one month in advance, and with most information already on line, this leaves a NGO with basically leaves 4 months to work on this.
Research will therefore be required to see what the questions were and the contributions by the various stakeholders. In this case Amnesty International’s submission is relevant, as such a major international NGO has the information and the staff tallowing them to prepare an in-depth report related which might serve as an indicator of issue and to which specific NGOs can add more detailed information or comments.
For access to the page of all thematic mandates
and links to specific mandate holders and theme of their report to the next HRC and a link to relevant Declarations, Treaties, Conventions and Covenants can be found here
Useful tool on…
UN Multilateral Conventions on Environmental Law, Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and Law of the Sea
This is a very useful tool and website for those working in more depth with the UN and when needing to research a binding framework when writing a statement or preparing an oral statement.
This legal search engine provides an easier, quicker and more systematic access to international law in several languages. It facilitates the work of the professionals by simplifying their searches and providing them with more systematic results. It also enables the general public to access easily the international obligations contracted by any country.