Advocating through the European Human Rights System

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Advocacy work can be challenging, but using the international human rights system can be a powerful tool. Regional Advocacy Network, represented by Valbona Karakaci, shared experience in the webinar “Advocating through the European Human Rights Systems,” hosted by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, on August 23rd, 2023 and co-moderated by Bernd Steimann and Archita Faustmann.

The webinar discussed expanding and increasing advocacy engagement using regional human rights mechanisms mobilized through institutions such as the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU), and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE). The newly published guidance paper (EU MANUAL) on “Advocating through the European Human Rights System – How to use selected European human rights mechanisms for effective advocacy – guidance and Helvetas experience” was presented and discussed.  This manual follows the “Advocating Through the UN Human Rights System , by completing the whole frame on the use of International Frame Work for Advocating on Human Rights Systems.

Advocacy is about people, so finding the right interlocutors is key to advocacy efforts. In the Western Balkans, the partisan behavior of local government leaders often prevents them from speaking with a unified voice. This results in situations where local elected representatives cannot find consensus inside the local government associations and consolidate their position vis-à-vis the central government. Helvetas Albania understands the importance of knowing the system’s processes such as Monitoring of the Chart for Local Autonomy and institutions such as the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to find entry points for decision-making. In this regard, Helvetas Albania in collaboration with CoE in the past has supported the efforts of local officials to build a platform of pluralist dialogue involving all representative bodies of local communities to protect their interests. Also, it has provided technical support by strengthening “technical’ solutions through international frameworks and mechanisms by trying to apply the principles of “thinking politically but not acting politically”.

Interested to learn more about our experience? Hear the webinar

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