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3. Your opportunities to engage

3.7 Meetings with States – Why are they useful?

You can engage with the Human Rights Council in different ways - including delivering an oral statement, planning a side event, meeting with States, negotiating resolutions, and pushing for government statements. This section focuses on meetings with States.

Meetings with States

When in Geneva, you have an opportunity to meet with governments to draw attention to your advocacy objective/purpose, and to build relationships with them so that you can lobby them to take action.

In the video below, John Fisher of Human Rights Watch gives an insight into how accesible diplomats and Government representatives are at the Human Rights Council.

Transcript of the video


Reflection Questions

Reflection question thought bubble

Q1 – How could this be useful / advantageous to you?

  • Allows you to build relationships for later, including gathering support for other actions within the Council

  • Even seeing you approach diplomats – this puts pressure on your government to do something about an issue

  • If you are meeting with your own government, it is an opportunity to raise awareness about your advocacy objective, convince the government representative with your arguments, and that they should convey these messages to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and any relevant government officials. These meetings can also be an opportunity to get relevant contacts within your Ministry of Foreign Affairs or other departments, to follow up from home

  • If you are meeting with foreign governments, it is an opportunity to raise awareness about your advocacy objective, convince the government representative with your arguments, so they can convey the message to their capitals. If the ‘capital’ gives the go ahead, such diplomats in Geneva can:

    • raise the issue with officials from your country (if your ask is bilateral outreach to the State concerned)
    • initiate Council action (if your ask is, for example a joint statement, resolution, special session)

Q2 – Could it be harmful / disadvantageous?


Q3 – Consider how this supports / complements your existing advocacy strategies


Go to the next section for tips on how to get the most out of a meeting with State representatives.

Learn more

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