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The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI. The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI is a not for profit organization. and regional umbrella body that brings together 44 National Human Rights Institutions NHRIs in Africa. NANHRI whose Secretariat is based in Nairobi Kenya is registered under Kenyan laws as an independent. legal entity It has been operational since 2007, The Network works towards the establishment and strengthening of the NHRIs in Africa It also facilitates. coordination and cooperation amongst NHRIs and links them with other key human rights actors at the. regional and international level It supports these institutions through capacity building to meet their. objective of protecting and promoting human rights at the national level. A continent with effective NHRIs contributing to an enhanced human rights culture and justice for every. To support through national regional and international co operation the establishment and strengthening. of NHRIs to more effectively undertake their mandate of human rights promotion protection monitoring. and advocacy,Values and Guiding Principles, To achieve its mission and vision NANHRI is committed to the following. Transparency Accountability Openness Cooperation Professionalism and Gender Equality. Website www nanhri org,E mail info nanhri org, Facebook Network of African National Human Rights Institutions. Twitter NANHRI40,Published by, The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions. 2nd Floor CVS Plaza,Lenana Road,P O Box 74359 00200.
Nairobi Kenya,Copyright 2016, Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI. ISBN 978 9966 1765 4 7,All rights reserved, This publication or parts of it may be reproduced if the author and source are quoted. A Mapping Survey of,The Complaint Handling,Systems of African. National Human Rights,Institutions,Acknowledgements. The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI would like to acknowledge the. Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law RWI for the financial and technical. contribution towards the development of this report The 5 year cooperation with RWI has significantly. contributed to the work of NANHRI in supporting African national human rights institutions ANHRIs to. effectively undertake their mandate to promote and protect human rights in Africa. We acknowledge the ANHRIs for their cooperation and dedication in providing information required to. develop this report As the key actors mandated to champion the promotion and protection of human. rights we appreciate your time and technical support in reviewing and validating the findings of the baseline. assessment, Finally NANHRI sincerely appreciates the dedicated work of the independent consultant who was.
commissioned to undertake the lengthy and arduous assignment Mr J M Aliro of the Human Rights Centre. Uganda The dedication passion and patience demonstrated in the course of undertaking the assignment is. commendable NANHRI remains grateful by his commitment to incorporate all the feedback received from. NHRIs and partners, National Human Rights Institutions NHRIs are considered as fundamental pillars of national human rights. protection systems They serve as key mechanisms that contribute to the domestication and application of. international human rights standards at national levels The Principles relating to the Status and Functioning. of National Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Human Rights known as the. Paris Principles provide that to be considered effective an NHRI should have complaints handling as. one of its core mandate A complaints mandate is important for an NHRI to exercise the role of protecting. human rights which is a fundamental responsibility of NHRIs In a bid to undertake the mandate of handling. complaints most NHRIs have within their structure and operations a complaints handling system which. is usually elaborated by documents such as Complaints Handling Manuals and or Complaints Rules of. Procedures, The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law RWI have within the context of the 2012 16 joint programme. cooperation conducted training workshops for staff of NHRIs dedicated to complaints handling as well as an. assessment of the electronic complaint handling system An assessment of these activities revealed a need. to undertake an in depth review of the complaints handling practices used by African NHRIs. It is against this backdrop that NANHRI and RWI commissioned a baseline and mapping survey to inter alia. assess the complaints handling systems in place in Africa identify the NHRIs with a complaint handling. mandate manuals and tools for complaints handling and examine the strengths and weaknesses of these. systems The survey was further conducted to develop appropriate recommendations that will inform. strategic interventions necessary to strengthen the capacities of ANHRIs to effectively handle complaints of. human rights violations, Though the findings reveal that most NHRIs have a clear mandate for complaints handling nearly half of. ANHRIs lack the power to investigate complaints and receive complaints from other parties besides the. victims of human rights violations Worse still there is no known and documented robust strategy for most. NHRIs to engage other bodies institutions or organizations whose jurisdiction is to implement and or. enforce the recommendations Lack of well documented procedures to systematically handle and address. complaints emerged as a common weakness as well as non automated systems to support expeditious. conclusion of cases of human rights violations These and other challenges require the concerted efforts of. different actors to support review of legislation and strengthen the capacity of NHRIs to institute effective. complaints handling and investigations and thereby contribute to the promotion of respect for the rule of. law the administration of justice and fight against impunity. TABLE OF CONTENTS,CHAPTER I 9,INTRODUCTION 9,1 1 Introduction 10. 1 2 Justification for the assessment 10,1 3 Objectives 10.
1 4 Methodology 10,1 5 NHRIs and complaints handling functions 12. CHAPTER II 14, MAPPING OF ANHRIs WITH OR WITHOUT A COMPLAINTS MANDATE AND. COMPLAINTS SYSTEM 14,2 1 Introduction 14, 2 2 The Complaints systems Strengths and Weaknesses 16. 2 2 1 ALGERIA Commission Nationale Consultative de. Promotion et de Protection des droits de l Homme 16. 2 2 2 BENIN Commission B ninoise des Droits de l Homme 17. 2 2 3 BURUNDI Commission Nationale Ind pendante des. Droits de l Homme 17, 2 2 4 CAMEROON National Commission of Human Rights. and Freedoms 18, 2 2 5 CHAD Commission Nationale des Droits de l Homme 18.
2 2 6 EGYPT National Council for Human Rights 19, 2 2 7 ETHIOPIA Ethiopian Human Rights Commission 19. 2 2 8 GHANA Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice 22. 2 2 9 KENYA Kenya National Commission on Human Rights 24. 2 2 10 MALAWI Malawi Human Rights Commission 25, 2 2 11 MAURITANIA Commission Nationale des Droits de l Homme 27. 2 2 12 MAURITIUS National Human Rights Commission 27. 2 2 13 MOROCCO Conseil National des Droits de l Homme 28. 2 2 14 MOZAMBIQUE Mozambique National Human Rights Commission. Commisao Nacional dos Direitos Humanos CNDH 29, 2 2 15 NIGERIA National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria 30. 2 2 16 RWANDA National Commission for Human Rights 31. 2 2 17 SENEGAL Comit S n galais des Droits de l Homme 32. 2 2 18 SIERRA LEONE Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone 33. 2 2 19 SOUTH AFRICA South African Human Rights Commission 33. 2 2 20 SOUTH SUDAN South Sudan Human Rights Commission 35. 2 2 21 SUDAN Advisory Council for Human Rights 35, 2 2 22 SWAZILAND Swaziland Commission on Human Rights and Public. Administration 36, 2 2 23 TANZANIA Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance 36.
2 2 24 TOGO Commission Nationale des Droits de l Homme 37. 2 2 25 UGANDA Uganda Human Rights Commission 38, 2 2 26 ZAMBIA Zambia Human Rights Commission ZHRC 38. 2 2 27 ZIMBABWE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission ZIMHRC 39. CHAPTER III 41, ASSESSMENT OF THE COMPLAINTS HANDLING MANDATE MANUALS AND RULES OF PROCEDURE. OF ANHRIs 41,3 1 Introduction 41, 3 2 Overall assessment of ANHRIs complaints system 42. 3 2 1 Mandate to receive and investigate alleged human rights violations 42. 3 2 2 Complaints handling manuals and rules of procedure 44. 3 2 3 Procedures for complaints handling 46,3 2 4 Case flow designs 46. 3 2 5 Identification of human rights violations 48. 3 2 6 Procedure for investigating human rights violations 48. 3 2 7 Quasi judicial competence 48,3 2 8 Time lines for handling complaints 49.
3 2 9 Referrals and follow up of complaints 50,3 2 10 Witness protection 51. 3 2 11 Enforcement of decisions orders recommendations remedies 51. 3 2 12 Mediations and conciliations 52, 3 2 13 Knowledge and skills for complaints handling 52. 3 2 14 Electronic complaints management systems 52. 3 2 15 Addressing systemic violations of human rights 53. 3 2 16 Dealing with vulnerable persons 54, Chapter IV Strengths Gaps Lessons and Recommendations 55. 4 1 SWOT analysis of ANHRIs complaints systems 56,4 2 Best practices from the survey 57. 4 3 General observations and recommendations 58,Annexes 60.
Annex I Matrix Mapping of ANHRIs Complaints Systems 60. Annex II Survey Questions 67,Annex III Terms of Reference 71. Annex IV Bibliography 74,ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS. ADR Alternative Dispute Resolution,ANHRI African National Human Rights Institutions. CNDH Conseil National des Droits de l Homme National Council for Human Rights. CSOs Civil Society Organisations,EHRC Ethiopia Human Rights Commission. MHRC Malawi Human Rights Commission, NANHRI Network of African National Human Rights Institutions.
NGOs Non Governmental Organisations,NHRIs National Human Rights Institutions. RWI Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. SAHRC South Africa Human Rights Commission,UHRC Uganda Human Rights Commission. UNDP United Nations Development Program,ZHRC Zambia Human Rights Commission. ZIMHRC Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. INTRODUCTION,1 1 Introduction, This report is prepared on commission by Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI.
and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law RWI to conduct an assessment. of current complaints handling systems used at Africa National Human Rights Institutions ANHRIs The. assessment was to provide NANHRI with a baseline assessment of Complaint Handling Systems of NHRIs in. Africa identify ANHRIs with a complaint handling mandate complaints manuals and tools and identify the. strengths and weaknesses of the complaints systems at the ANHRIs. The assessment involved a survey of 44 ANHRIs that are members of NANHRI It therefore required. interactions with Anglophone and Francophone speaking NHRIs in the African region The study reviewed. information that was made available and that were accessible on the complaints handling processes of. some of the 44 ANHRIs in the African continent that are members of NANHRI. This report is therefore an outcome of a mapping and assessment of the complaints handling processes used. by ANHRIs whose laws manuals and rules of procedures were made available or were obtainable by other. means As required by the terms of reference the report includes a section on the mapping and assessment. of the ANHRIs and a section on analysis of the complaints mandate of each of the ANHRIs Finally the report. points out gaps in the complaints system and proposes interventions in form of recommendations. A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. 1 2 Justification for the assessment, Complaints handling is a core function of ANHRIs It is an important function that gives NHRIs the mandate. with which to act against human rights violations and provide victims an opportunity to pursue redress. NHRIs with a complaints handling mandate should therefore have in place effective complaints procedures. failure of which they may lose credibility with the public for failure to satisfactorily provide redress. Over the past years the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions NANHRI and RWI have. implemented a programme that had the objective of enhancing the capacities of ANHRIs to handle. complaints This was achieved through generalized workshops that included a session on complaints. handling trainings purely dedicated to complaints handling as well as an assessment of the electronic. complaint handling system, This assessment report is a result of the identified need by NANHRI and RWI to conduct a mapping and. baseline assessment of current complaint handling practices used by African NHRIs The assessment. and mapping was aimed at providing a better understanding of the African Regional complaints systems. for the handling of complaints of human rights violations With a better understanding appropriate. recommendations will be made as to what strategic interventions are necessary to further strengthen the. capacities of ANHRIs to effectively handle complaints about human rights violations. 1 3 Objectives, The survey was commissioned for the purpose of collecting information that would provide NANHRI with a. baseline assessment of Complaint Handling Systems in place in Africa identifying the NHRIs with a complaint. handling mandate manuals and tools for complaints handling and the strengths and weaknesses of these. systems In particular the terms of reference required a brief description of the ANHRIs with a complaints. handling mandate,1 4 Methodology, Many complaints resolution systems in NHRIs fail to function efficiently and effectively because of failure. or inability to find effective solutions to the following problems that often occur in the complaints process. a The slow progress in resolving complaints, b Respondents refusal or neglect to comply with the process especially in responding to.
requests for information, c Delays in the process due to procedural technicalities. d Staff shortages, e Parties getting frustrated because they cannot easily have access to decision makers at. Objectives,f Complaints processes being overly litigious. g Applying systems that are too complex for ordinary persons which hinder accessibility. h Big case backlog due to lengthy processes,i Poor management of the complaints systems. j Failure to deal with systemic issues effectively. k Insufficient funds for complaints handling especially for the investigation stage. A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. The above issues are important to bear in mind when assessing the effectiveness of a NHRI s complaints. system Other than these there are equally important competing principles and issues that a complaints. system must address in order for it to be considered effective These issues are complex but the key. important questions that must be taken into account when undertaking the assessment is to determine. whether the system has the capacity that can effectively promote the following. a Speedy resolution of complaints but to the satisfaction of the parties. b Simplicity and fairness of the process, c Flexibility Different types of complaints are brought to NHRIs notably large and small.
cases complex issues straightforward cases individual cases and cases with systemic. implications cases that merely turn on credibility and those that require extensive. investigation A complaints management system should be flexible enough to. appropriately deal with all manner of cases, d The Right to be heard this calls for the building of a human element. in the system that allows parties to interact with officials of the NHRI. e Use of both administrative and judicial types of decision making processes to as. appropriate resolve complaints, f Admissibility and or assessment of complaints This calls for the system to cater for the. proper handling of the various stages and turning points at which decisions are made. about admissibility Issues regarding admissibility are many and must be addressed by. the system Examples include informal barriers to accessibility e g ignorance of one s. rights and of the complaints system language barriers etc informal filtering and triaging. at point of contact with the system determination of jurisdictional criteria determining. admissibility based on policy etc, All the issues listed above are important and must form the broad concerns to be looked at when reviewing. human rights complaints system for NHRIs, The mapping and assessment methodology broadly involved the use of both quantitative and qualitative. approaches Different evaluation questions were posed and answered using different sources of information. Both primary and secondary data sources were used to gather data and information for the assessment. With a view to obtain a better understanding of the status of complaints systems at ANHRIs and to gather. information for the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the system a set of questionnaires was. administered by email to elicit the critical information from the NHRIs. Documents were also reviewed to collect information that would supplement findings from the survey. instrument among the beneficiaries and interview results A comprehensive desktop study review. Methodology, was done and research was conducted in which a mapping and identification of NHRIs with complaints.
mandates was done The desk review also analyzed the NHRI operational complaints manuals laws and. rules of procedure with the intention of identifying the legal organizational and institutional strengths and. weaknesses of the NHRIs with regard to complaints handling. The study method adopted was to apply secondary and primary research to gather the required information. This principally involved reviewing literature on NHRIs particularly their legal framework reports of their. activities and other available information on each of them However the study was limited by the fact that. not all the NHRIs completed the questionnaires In addition some of the NHRIs either did not have websites. A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. or their websites were not functional or had limited available information Given limited information on. some of the NHRIs it was not possible to have an in depth report on all ANHRIs. 1 5 NHRIs and complaints handling functions, National Human Rights Institutions NHRIs are now regarded as one of the fundamental pillars of. national human rights protection systems They are considered as key mechanisms that contribute to the. domestication and application of international human rights standards at national levels The Principles. relating to the Status and Functioning of National Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human. Rights Human Rights known as the Paris Principles adopted by the United nations General Assembly in. 1993 established the broad normative standards for the status structure mandate composition power. and methods of operation of these institutions, NHRIs are state bodies with a constitutional and or statutory mandate to promote and protect human rights. The key principles that define the nature and roles of NHRIs are provided in the Paris Principles The Paris. Principles require that NHRIs should be established by law The law should guarantee their independence. and autonomy and they should have pluralistic membership composed through fair and transparent. appointment procedures NHRIs can be human rights commissions ombudsmen consultative and advisory. bodies or hybrid institutions combining human rights and anti corruption mandate They can also be quasi. judicial institutions with jurisdiction to adjudicate over human rights matters The mandate of NHRIs usually. involve complaints handling and investigation monitoring and reporting on human rights civic education. research and reporting and advising government on human rights issues They also monitor government. compliance with national and international human rights standards. NHRIs because of the nature of their mandates are ideally placed to contribute to an integrated strategy. to promote and protect human rights They can contribute towards development of policy and legislation. lobby government to ratify relevant regional and international human rights instruments and advocate. for legal reforms particularly for laws that criminalize and adequately punish violations of human rights. They can also monitor the implementation of legislative and policy framework that impact on human rights. related issues and state compliance with international conventions and laws They can investigate human. rights violations train relevant stakeholders on strategies for protecting human rights and create the much. needed awareness They are better placed to undertake collaborative actions with international and national. bodies including the civil society,NHRIs and complaints handling functions. The Paris Principles provide that to be considered effective a NHRI should have complaints handling as one. of its core mandate A complaints mandate is important for a NHRI to exercise the role of protecting human. rights which is a fundamental responsibility of NHRIs The human rights protection mandate of NHRIs. extends to the promotion of respect for the rule of law the administration of justice and fighting impunity. Handling complaints and investigating human rights violations is therefore central because NHRIs ensure. that the administration of justice conforms to human rights standards and also provide effective remedies. particularly to minorities and to the most vulnerable in society While there are differences in how NHRIs. approach their protection responsibilities some typical roles and responsibilities include investigations. alternative dispute resolution seeking redress or remedies on behalf of victims through the courts or. 1 General Observations as updated May 2013 International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human. Rights ICC General Observations of the Sub Committee on Accreditation. A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. specialized tribunals including by addressing courts as amicus curiae where legally warranted receiving. and hearing individual complaints for NHRIs with quasi jurisdictional powers conducting public inquiries. into systemic human rights violations and monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in the. In a bid to implement the mandate of handling complaints most NHRIs have within their structure and. operations a complaints handling system Despite the complaints handling mandate being largely cross. cutting among African NHRIs the actual application and management of complaints handling may vary from. NHRI to NHRI This can be explained by the fact that national dynamics and contexts are heterogeneous and. there is therefore really no single standardized way of handling complaints Nevertheless there are some. key features of the complaints handling cycle that are core to the process and therefore should largely be. applied by all NHRIs engaged in complaints handling These features are usually elaborated by NHRIs in key. documents known mostly as Complaints Handling Manuals and or Complaints Rules of Procedures. NHRIs and complaints handling functions, A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. CHAPTER II,ANHRIs WITH OR WITHOUT A,COMPLAINTS SYSTEM.
2 1 Introduction, In order to map out which of the ANHRIs have or do not have the mandate to handle complaints a review. of the constitutive laws of ANHRIs was undertaken A review of the available complaints manuals or rules. of procedures was also carried out to enable an understanding of the complaints system each of the ANHRI. apply to manage and resolve complaints of human rights violations However only 23 ANHRIs out of the 44. made available information that was requested The Table below show which NHRIs supplied information. and which did not, A Mapping Survey of the Complaint Handling Systems of African National Human Rights Institutions. Table I ANHRIs which did or did not provide information for the assessment. Countries whose NHRIs Countries whose NHRIs did,provided information not provide information. Algeria Benin,Burundi Burkina Faso,Cameroon Cape Verde. Egypt Chad,Ethiopia Rep of Congo Brazzaville,Ghana Cote D ivoire.
Kenya Comoros,Malawi Democratic Republic of Congo,Mauritius Djibouti. Morocco Gabon,Mozambique Guinea Bissau,Nigeria Guinea Conakry. Rwanda Libya,Senegal Liberia,Sierra Leone Madagascar. South Africa Mali,South Sudan Mauritania,ANHRIs With or Without A Complaints System.

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