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The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding$
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Philip Alston and Sarah Knuckey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190239480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190239480.001.0001

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International Norms in Human Rights Fact-Finding

International Norms in Human Rights Fact-Finding

Chapter:
(p.501) 24. International Norms in Human Rights Fact-Finding
Source:
The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding
Author(s):

Diane Orentlicher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190239480.003.0024

This chapter focuses on whether fact-finding by NGOs should be governed by uniform methodological standards. It first considers the utility of standards governing human rights fact-finding undertaken by national commissions of inquiry. The notion of uniform NGO standards is especially problematic when it comes to methodologies for establishing facts rather than standards in the form of guiding principles along the lines “fact-finding missions deployed by NGOs should be impartial and independent.” Even if it were feasible to create standardized fact-finding methodologies, such an effort would almost surely privilege the perspectives and priorities of well-resourced NGOs in the Global North, while efforts to ensure compliance would pose heightened risks to NGOs operating in an increasingly closed space. At the same time, human rights NGOs can benefit from ready access to voluntary guidelines for human rights fact-finding and information about both good and bad practices, as well as from a platform for global debate and discussion about methodological issues.

Keywords:   international norms, uniform methodological standards, national commissions, NGO fact-finding, NCOI

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