Questionnaire to National Human Rights Institutions

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					          Questionnaire to National Human Rights Institutions

  The inspiration for the following questionnaire derives from the Conclusions of the Sixth
  International Conference for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in April 2002.

  It was recommended that in order to ensure respect for fundamental principles of impartiality
  and independence, NHRIs should develop and adopt written and binding rules of procedure.
  It was suggested that a database of such procedures and rules would be a very useful resource
  for NHRIs seeking to establish or develop their complaint handling function, rules and
  procedures.

  The purpose of the questionnaire is to get an overview of the case handling mandates,
  procedures, tools and methods of NHRIs for comparative purposes. On the basis of the replies
  and material provided, an electronic databank of enabling acts, rules and internal procedures on
  case handling as well as an analysis of current procedures and practices will be compiled and
  made available via the www.nhri.net site. These results will create the point of departure for
  debate and networking among the NHRIs on best practices.

  We are aware that some of the data may not be available. We would however appreciate if the
  respective institutions make an effort to fill in the questionnaire to the best of their abilities
  specifying where appropriate the procedures, tools and methods used in the institution’s case
  handling, and return the questionnaire to the Danish Institute for Human Rights in any case.

     You can fill in your answers in this form. Please submit a copy of the enabling act and
   other relevant legal instruments as well as the rules, internal procedures and manual
  for case handling in your institution to be included in the databank and to be used in analysing
       the NHRI case handling mandates. If possible e-mail, alternatively send or fax them to:

                               The Danish Institute for Human Rights,
                             Wilders Plads 8 H, DK-1403 Copenhagen K.
                              Att. Anne-Marie Garrido, Project Manager
                                        Fax +45 32 69 88 00
                                        Tel: +45 32 69 88 88
                                    E-mail: amg@humanrights.dk

  Should you prefer to answer the questions in a telephone interview, please do not hesitate to
  contact the Danish Institute for Human Rights.


National Human Rights Institution


   Name of institution

   Country


  Practice

      How many cases does your institution receive per year?



      How many cases does your institution decide per year?




      Which specific human rights violations do the majority of your cases concern?



                                                    1
       (please mark correct answer with x)

                Serious violations of civil and political rights, including torture,
                disappearances, arbitrary executions etc;
                Violations of liberty and security of the person, fair trial etc;
                Violations of civil and political rights such as freedom of assembly,
                freedom of association, freedom of expression;


        Discrimination:

          (please mark correct answer with x)

                Violations of economic, social and cultural rights:
                Violations related to discrimination based on gender;
                Violations related to discrimination based on race;
                Violations related to discrimination based on religion;
                Claims related to employment and labour;
                Claims related to housing.
                Other (please specify):




1. Case Handling Procedures

   I. Receipt, screening and admissibility

   Does your institution refuse to admit cases on the following grounds:
   (please mark correct answer with x)

        Time-barred / prescription;

        If so, does your institution have discretion to waive the prescription rule?

         YES        NO

        Barred because of subject matter of the claim;
        Barred because the person or institution claimed against is not a public
        authority;
        Barred because the claim relates to an area excluded from the mandate of the
        institution;

        Barred because the claim is pending before the courts;
        Barred because the claim is pending before another institution;
        Barred because the claim is considered vexatious, frivolous or manifestly
        unfounded.

               Is there a procedure for screening cases and what is the time frame?

         YES        NO        (please mark correct answer with x)

        Timeframe:




        If yes, is the procedure in writing?



                                                     2
       YES            NO        (please mark correct answer with x)

               If yes, can we please receive a copy (attach it to the mail)
               If no, please describe briefly




          If you consider that a complaint falls more properly within the mandate of another institution,
               do you:

                    Simply declare it inadmissible;
                    Advise the complainant as to the institution where the complaint should be filed;
                    Send the complaint to the correct institution yourself and,
                    Inform the complainant of the referral;
                    Follow up with the other institution.


          Does your institution collaborate actively with other complaint handling institutions to resolve
           issues of referrals and overlaps in mandate?

             YES           NO        (please mark correct answer with x)

             If yes, please describe briefly:




          Are there written principles for the referral of cases?

             YES           NO      (please mark correct answer with x)

                     If yes, would you be willing to make them available to others
                      electronically?
                     If yes, can we please receive a copy (attach it to the mail)
                     If no, please describe briefly:




II. Investigation

          Does your institution have a direct mandate to conduct investigations?

       o     Does the mandate give you powers to compel:

                    Appearance of witnesses;
                    Production of documents.
                    Access to premises.

          Do you accept anonymous complaints?

             YES           NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


          Do you agree to process complaints where the identity of the complainant remains concealed
           from the party complained against?

             YES           NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


          How do you provide the parties with the right to be heard?




                                                      3
                 By making written replies to written submissions;
                 Through oral hearings;

          Please provide rules on time limits for submissions and replies.




III. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

    Do you have a mandate to conduct:

         Arbitration (*)
                 How often do you apply arbitration? (estimate/percentage)
                    Who conducts the arbitration?
         Conciliation (*)
                    How often do you apply conciliation? (estimate/percentage)
                    Who conducts the conciliation?
         Mediation (*)
                How often do you apply mediation? (estimate/percentage)
                    Who conducts the mediation?

    What are the criteria for applying ADR?




                     For which types of cases is ADR applied?




                     Are the parties required to consent in order to apply ADR?




IV. Findings

    Do you apply a standard format for your decisions?

           YES           NO        (please mark correct answer with x)

         If yes, can we please receive a copy? (attach it to the mail)
         If no, can we please receive a sample anonymized decision? (attach it to the mail)

    Who reaches the decision?




    How do you ensure impartiality in decision-making?




    Is there any overlap between the person screening the case for admissibility; the person
     investigating the case; and the person reaching the decision?

              YES          NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


         Is there a formal possibility to appeal the decision?



                                                      4
               YES       NO        (please mark correct answer with x)

            If yes, where to?



           Where applicable – are there time frames for:
              (please mark correct answer with x)

              Reaching a decision
              Informing the client of the decision
              Appealing the decision?
              Other timeframes? Please specify




   Are your decisions legally binding – please specify how?




   Do you have a mandate to enforce implementation of your decisions – please specify which?



          Is there a deadline for implementation of your decisions?

               YES       NO        (please mark correct answer with x)

          What do you generally do to ensure implementation of your decisions?




V. Centralization / decentralization of powers relating to investigation and decisions

   Does your institution have regional offices?

               YES       NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


   If yes, is competence for the following delegated to the regional offices:

          Powers to compel evidence

               YES       NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


          Powers to decide cases

               YES       NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


VI. Publicity

   Are names of complainants and parties complained against made public?

               YES       NO        (please mark correct answer with x)


   Are oral hearings (if held) normally public?




                                                     5
                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

      Are decisions of the institution made public:

                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

       If yes, is it (please mark correct answer with x)

                In anonymized form.
                Including names of the parties.


2. Case Handling Tools and Methods

   Case management system

   Does your institution have a complaint-handling manual?

                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

      Would you be willing to make it electronically available to others?

                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

                    If so, can you provide us with a copy? (Please attach it to the mail)

                    Do you have a case management system?

                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

                     o    Name/details?



                     o    Is it electronic?

                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

                     o    What do you use it for:

                    Clarification of jurisprudence / practice
                    Registration and tracking cases
                    Statistics and/or reporting
                    Managing case loads
                    To monitor progress of cases
                    Managing deadlines – reminders
                    Other (please specify):




                     o    Who uses the case management system?




   Documentation

              Do you use the cases for documentation purposes?

                    YES         NO            (please mark correct answer with x)

           o     How?




                                                            6
(*) Definitions

Mediation: “A generally voluntary process where a third party takes responsibility for the process
whereby parties in dispute are brought together, controlling that process in order to make it run
smoothly and fairly, but where the external mediator does not intervene in the substance of the
negotiations or the solution to be arrived at”.

Conciliation: “A process (often mandatory) where a third party goes further, examining the positions
of the parties and trying to identify middle ground between them, proposing a solution and trying to
bring the parties to accept it.”

Arbitration: “A third party imposing a solution that is binding on the parties, who of their own
volition grant to the arbitrator the power to arrive at such a solution.”

Source: “The Sixth International Conference for National Human Rights Institutions Copenhagen
and Lund 10 – 13 April 2002”, pp. 21f.




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