In its endeavours to promote and protect human rights, the IPU works with a range of international, regional and national partners.
In the framework of a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the IPU takes action to familiarize parliaments with United Nations human rights norms and mechanisms, in particular the treaty bodies monitoring the implementation of major human rights treaties. The IPU also encourages parliaments to get more involved in national reporting and follow-up to the recommendations of such bodies.
The IPU, in particular its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, works closely with the special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. These procedures examine, monitor, advise, review and publicly report on either human rights situations in specific countries or territories (under country mandates) or on major phenomena of human rights violations worldwide (under thematic mandates).
In addition to the United Nations human rights system, regional mechanisms to protect human rights have been set up in Africa, the Americas and Europe, which include the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. The IPU works closely with these bodies which often provide concrete protection in human rights cases and have developed a wealth of jurisprudence in interpreting the scope of human rights obligations.
Parliaments play a crucial role in the creation and the smooth running of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), often called human rights commissions, which, in accordance with the Paris Principles, are set up to operate independently from other State institutions in order to promote and protect human rights. At the same time, NHRIs can offer parliaments valuable expertise when it comes to assessing human rights compliance of draft legislation as well as the overall human rights situation in a country. In order to help ensure that parliaments and NHRIs make the best of their complementary mandates, the IPU has become increasingly active in promoting concerted action at the national level.
National and international non-governmental human rights organizations are often at the forefront in denouncing abuses and providing information to the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. Particularly worth mentioning is Amnesty International which through its country researchers and extensive local human rights network is in a privileged position not only to monitor the human rights situation in a country but also individual human rights cases. In this respect, Amnesty International is well placed to provide regular information on changes in the situation of the parliamentarian who is the subject of abuse which is of crucial importance to the Committee as it continues its examination of a case until a satisfactory settlement is reached.