how to deal with human rights?
15 Point Program for Implementing Human Rights in International Peace-keeping Operations
1. The political role of the international community.
The UN and its Member States should give early, consistent and vigorous attention to human rights concerns when designing and implementing peace settlements and should plan for a continued human rights program in the post-peace-keeping phase. The international community must be prepared to publicly condemn human rights violations during and after the settlement process and to ensure that recommendations for institutional reform are fully and promptly implemented. Human rights protection measures should be kept under review, strengthened as necessary and properly evaluated at the end of the operation.
2. No international `silent witnesses’.
All international field personnel, including those engaged in military, civilian and humanitarian operations, should report through explicit and proper channels any human rights violations they may witness or serious allegations they receive. The UN should take appropriate steps, including preventive measures, to address any violations reported.
3. Human rights chapters in peace agreements.
Peace agreements should include a detailed and comprehensive list of international human rights laws and standards to be guaranteed in the transitional and post-settlement phase, as well as providing for specific and effective oversight mechanisms. Peace settlements should require eventual ratification of any human rights treaties and adherence to any international systems of human rights protection to which the state concerned is not yet a party.
4. Effective and independent human rights verification.
A specialized international civilian human rights monitoring component should be part of all peace-keeping operations. These components should have adequate resources and staff with human rights expertise. Their mandates should include human rights verification, institution-building, legislative reform, education and training. Monitors should be trained and should operate under consistent guidelines and in conformity with international standards. Human rights components should be explicitly and structurally independent from the political considerations of the operation and on-going negotiations relating to the settlement and their decision-making mechanisms must not be constructed so as to permit parties to the conflict to obstruct investigations. Effective human rights mechanisms, such as advisers or independent jurists, should also be established in less comprehensive peace settlements and should have an oversight role in matters such as the release of prisoners and the guarantee of rights to freedom of speech and assembly.
5. Ensuring peace with justice.
Peace settlements should provide for impartial investigation of past abuses, processes aimed at establishing the truth and measures to ensure that any perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to justice. Individual responsibility for human rights violations, past and present, must be made explicit and sweeping pre-conviction amnesties should not be part of peace settlements.
6. On-site human rights monitoring.
Human rights monitors should be mandated out to carry out investigations and verify compliance with human rights obligations and to take corrective action in respect of violations. They should have broad access to all sectors of society and relevant institutions and the full protection of those who are in contact with them must be assured. Peace-building measures, such as institutional and legislative reform and education and training, must complement but never replace the verification role.
7. Frequent and public reporting.
To guarantee the effectiveness, security and credibility of international human rights personnel there must be frequent comprehensive public reports of their activities and findings which should be broadly disseminated nationally as well as internationally.
8. International civilian police monitors.
Civilian police monitors should monitor, supervise and train national police and security forces and verify their adherence to international human rights and criminal justice standards. Police monitors should cooperate fully with any human rights component or mechanisms and should themselves be trained in and fully respect international human rights and criminal justice standards at all times. There should be full public reporting of their activities.
9. Long-term measures for human rights protection.
Human rights components in peace-keeping operations should assist in the establishment of permanent, independent and effective national institutions for the long-term protection of human rights and the reinstitution of the rule of law, including an independent judiciary and fair criminal justice system. Other mechanisms, such as ombudsmen or national commissions, may be encouraged to reinforce respect for human rights. Such mechanisms must be impartial, independent, and competent with the necessary powers and resources to be effective. They should conform to international guidelines and must never be a substitute for a fair and independent judicial system. While national institutions are being constituted, consideration should be given to establishing an interim relationship with relevant international tribunals.
10. Human rights education and advisory assistance programs.
Public education and training on human rights standards and complaints procedures should be provided to all sectors, particularly the judiciary, lawyers and law enforcement officials. Other technical assistance programs should be provided, including drafting legislation in conformity with international standards and support for national human rights NGOs. Such programs should not be a substitute for human rights verification by a specialized monitoring component.
11. The protection of refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees.
Refugee repatriation programs should include an effective monitoring and protection aspect for as long as necessary. International refugee law and protection standards must be adhered to at all times, including the principles of non-refoulement, the right to seek asylum and repatriation only on a voluntary basis with international supervision.
12. The gender dimension.
Measures should be taken to guarantee consideration and respect for the particular needs of women in armed conflict situations. Peace-keeping personnel should receive information on local cultural traditions and should respect the inherent rights and dignity of women at all times. Human rights components should include experts in the area of violence against women, including rape and sexual abuse.
13. Adherence of international peace-keeping forces to human rights and humanitarian law standards.
The UN should declare its formal adherence to international humanitarian law and human rights and criminal justice standards, including in relation to the detention of prisoners and the use of force. The UN should ensure all troops participating in international peace-keeping operations are fully trained in those standards and understand their obligation to adhere to them. There should be specific mechanisms at the international level for monitoring, investigating and reporting on any violations of international norms by peace-keeping personnel and to ensure that personnel responsible for serious violations are brought to justice in accordance with international standards.
14. Prosecution of war crimes and attacks on international peace-keeping personnel.
The investigation and prosecution of violations of humanitarian and human rights law or attacks against international peace-keeping personnel should be undertaken by appropriate national authorities or under international jurisdiction. Any international mechanisms must conform to international fair trial standards and the creation of a permanent institution for the prosecution of international crimes should be encouraged.
15. Continued promotion and protection of human rights in the post-settlement phase.
Effective international human rights monitoring and assistance should be continued for as long as necessary, until it is clear that the government concerned is implementing international human rights guarantees effectively. The UN’s human rights bodies should develop a more effective and comprehensive role in the post-settlement phase. (addapted from amnesty international usa)
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