The international human rights monitoring system allows advocates to present information about human rights violations directly to the international monitors. But international advocacy can go far beyond the submission to the UN. Advocates and activists should look for ways to make the international monitoring process dynamic - using it as a springboard for other advocacy activities Reports to the international mechanisms should be just one part of a larger advocacy strategy.
Consider integrating a human rights approach into local or state advocacy. For example, the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) has effectively worked with local activists on ensuring dignity in schools. Organizing local activists around the right to be free from racial discrimination under ICERD, NESRI and its partners have improved school discipline policies that have a disparate impact on minority students and have created a Dignity in Schools campaign.
Each monitoring mechanism issues concluding observations indicating what the reporting government needs to do to bring itself into compliance with its treaty obligations. There may be a specific follow-up process that includes NGO consultations with the government. Advocates can use the concluding observations to push for change at the local and state levels. Reporting on the government's progress one year out from the initial report can keep the momentum alive. For example, the ACLU and Rights Working Group issued The Persistance of Racial and Ethnic Profiling in the United States: A Follow-Up Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination one year after the U.S. appeared before the Committee. This report is the centerpiece of their Face the Truth campaign.
Advocates and activists should consider media opportunities when participating in the international monitoring mechanisms. Local news outlets may be interested in covering a hometown angle on an international issue.
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