This section provides information on how you can request early warnings or urgent actions.
It follows from the last section on Early warnings and urgent actions – Why are they useful?
Early warning and urgent action procedures can be invoked to prevent further deterioration of a critical human rights situation, or prevent the occurrence of a human rights violation.
Human rights defenders can request certain Treaty Bodies to commence action under early warning and urgent action procedures.
A general criteria for admissibility across all Treaty Bodies that have the mandate for early warning and urgent action procedures is that the State concerned must have ratified the relevant Treaty.
Each Treaty Body has slightly different procedures and working methodologies for early warnings and urgent actions (including who can make a request, admissibility criteria, what information to submit, where to submit) and you should consult the individual Treaty Body web pages and the guidelines produced by that particular Treaty Body (see below) before you engage.
CERD (early warnings and urgent actions): Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
CED (urgent actions only): Committee on Enforced Disappearances
CPRD (keep in mind that this Treaty Body has not yet used these procedures): Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
⚠ Remember! CCPR and CAT: (special reviews) Human rights defenders can suggest and advocate for the CAT and CCPR to undertake such ad hoc, special or urgent reviews. These can be used in cases of mass, significant and widespread violations, such as torture, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and summary executions.
CERD: Sample criteria of admissibility and format of submission
The following is indicative only, and is non-exhaustive. Please consult the full guidance provided before you make your submission to CERD.
For early warning procedures: the petition should report situations such as the presence of a significant and persistent pattern of racial discrimination; the presence of a pattern of escalating racial hatred and violence, or racist propaganda or appeals to racial intolerance; the adoption of new discriminatory legislation; segregation policies or de facto exclusion of members of a group from political, economic, social and cultural life; the lack of an adequate legislative framework defining and criminalizing all forms of racial discrimination or lack of effective mechanisms; policies or practice of impunity regarding violence targeting members of a group; significant flows of refugees or displaced persons; encroachment on the traditional lands of indigenous peoples or forced removal of these peoples from their lands; or polluting/hazardous activities that reflect a pattern of racial discrimination with substantial harm to specific groups.
For urgent action procedures: the petition should describe, for example, the presence of a serious , massive or persistent pattern of racial discrimination, or a situation that is serious where there is a risk of further racial discrimination.
You do not need to exhaust all domestic remedies before requesting an urgent action by CERD.
Format: There is no fixed or model format for submission to the CERD, however the Revised CERD Guidelines can be used as a reference.
CED: Sample criteria of admissibility and format of submission
The following is indicative only, and is non-exhaustive. Please consult the full guidance provided before you make your submission to CED.
Admissibility criteria: For urgent action procedures under the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances:
Information to submit: For urgent action procedures under the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the petition must contain at a minimum:
CED will respond to requests submitted by the relatives of a disappeared person or their legal or other representatives. The person submitting the request may also, in particularly serious cases, request the Committee to call on the State to adopt interim measures to prevent irreparable harm to the disappeared person, or to witnesses, relatives, investigators, or defence counsel.
Individuals or NGOs can submit a written request for an early warning or urgent action, along with supporting information. Information can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as:
Once you make your submission, the Treaty Bodies have different procedures for processing your request, which are laid out in the respective guidelines mentioned above.
The measures taken by the CERD may include:
CRPD Working Methods (Page 5)