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National implementation of human rights: Global survey of State implementation systems and processes

Project overview

The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, the University of Bristol, the Universal Rights Group, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP conducted a global survey over the course of 2020 to 2023 to understand the systems and processes that States have put in place to implement, report and follow-up on their international human rights commitments.

There is a significant burden on States to report to all relevant human rights bodies and to follow-up and implement their many decisions and recommendations. Some countries have, therefore, created national mechanisms for reporting, follow-up and implementation (NMIRFs) to centralise and coordinate these processes, and to translate international norms and recommendations into domestic reality.

The global survey focused on decisions and recommendations emanating from three UN mechanisms: the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Treaty Bodies and the Special Procedures.

The implementation of human rights is a priority Rule of Law issue. Better national implementation of human rights will improve the lives of individuals and groups around the world, and will support the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

UK case study

A case study, 'The implementation of human rights recommendations in the United Kingdom', was published in June 2023.

The UK has been a member state of the UN since 1945. The UK also offers an interesting national case study given the complexity of its constitutional arrangements and the challenges presented for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by operating as sub-state actors within an international system focused on state parties.

The case study aims to contribute to the conversations about how best to translate international human rights norms into domestic reality. It presents a summary of data collected over the course of 2020 to 2023 as part of the wider global survey and offers an insight into the framework in the UK.

(Lead author: Lucy Moxham)

Project team

Murray Hunt  and Lucy Moxham  at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

Leading experts Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group  and Professor Rachel Murray, Director of the Human Rights Implementation Centre (HRIC) at the University of Bristol.

We are also grateful to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP for providing pro bono research support for this project.

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