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04 June, 2009

Guidelines for human rights fact-finding

Saji Thomas ( writes:

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, in conjunction with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, finalized a set of human rights fact-finding guidelines during a conference at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, on June 1, 2009.

The guidelines are the result of several years’ work and wide consultation. They arose out of concern that, despite there being no agreed international standards for human rights fact-finding reporting, such reports are frequently referred to by courts and tribunals as evidence of the facts alleged in them, as well as by governments, NGOs and other interested people.

The guidelines aim to fill this gap by setting an agreed international standard of good practice in the conduct of fact-finding visits and in the compilation of reports.

Although primarily intended for use by NGOs, the guidelines can provide direction to all those engaged in human rights fact-finding and reporting with a view to improving accuracy, objectivity, transparency and credibility.

As the Preamble to the Guidelines states: “If a report has been compiled in accordance with these guidelines it indicates that the allegations, observations and conclusions in it can be reasonably relied upon, thus enhancing the efficacy and credibility of the report. This will enhance fact finding as a step in a constructive process to improve the general climate of human rights compliance and to protect the victims of human rights violations.”

The Guidelines can be downloaded from:

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