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2. Preparing for Geneva

2.2 Preparing for Geneva – Planning

When you meet NGO staff, diplomats, UN experts etc, it will be extremely useful to have relevant documents and resources to pass on to them.

You should have some documents to pass to people, whilst they may also ask for digital copies.

Below is a list of useful supporting documents you may wish to prepare.

The list is not extensive; be creative!

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What should you bring to Geneva?

  • Briefing papers – Short, clear, accessible document, with facts that are sourced. (For example, see a briefing paper submitted by ISHR for Burkina Faso’s UPR in 2017).

  • Statistics – Key statistics surrounding your area of work.

  • Emblematic cases of human rights violations in your area – Factual stories that symbolise or reflect the wider issue you are working on are useful at showing people the concrete and real impacts of human rights violations. For example, see these emblematic cases prepared by ISHR on human rights violations by mining and resource companies around the world.

  • A list of clear ‘asks’ or ‘demands’ relevant for each kind of actor – These will vary depending on who you are targeting; see the ‘Advocacy Targets in Geneva’ document in the readings for Week 3 of the Moodle for a list of actors you are likely to engage with (your State, Treaty Body members etc.)

  • A short summary document in English (the most used language in human rights circles in Geneva) – ISHR encourages all HRDAP participants to arrive with one short (1-2 page), universal document in English which can be distributed to all contacts to show the issues you work on and what needs to be done.

  • Business cards - Contact details to create a two way conversation.

Taking advantage of being in Geneva for other meetings:

NGOs in Geneva

Geneva is a hub of international human rights NGOs, filled with staff that have backgrounds in law, policy-making, advocacy, grassroots change, international relations, diplomacy and media.

They are interested in meeting human rights defenders, understanding local issues, demands and processes, building relationships and exploring avenues for collaboration.

They will be valuable allies that can help in international collation-building, facilitating information and contacts, and keeping you in touch with Geneva once you return home.

Diplomats and Mission Staff

Almost all UN member States have delegations (‘missions’) in Geneva. Mission staff play key roles in drafting, editing and voting on key resolutions and statements at the Human Rights Council and can be lobbied to channel your areas of concern into their decisions and discussions.

They can also be engaged to formulate UPR recommendations and follow-up on UPRs, Treaty Body recommendations and Special Procedure communications.

They can influence diplomats from other States and also influence their colleagues in capital or maybe even in the Embassy of their State in your country.

Learn more

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