Strengthening Human Rights through Constitutional Reform

In the past decade, some countries have revised or replaced their constitutions. Supporters of human rights have used these opportunities to promote domestication of international human rights commitments.  As a result of these domestic and international efforts, many constitutional reform processes have lead to greater incorporation of human rights law and principles into national law and practice.

This year IHRC will design and draft a major report in collaboration with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) that will review and assess the incorporation of women’s human rights into new constitutions enacted between 2003 and 2013.  The report will provide a textual review of constitutional language and analyze legislation and policy implementing relevant constitutional changes to determine whether these principles have, in fact, become part of national law. The report will then identify model countries in which women’s human rights principles were most effectively mainstreamed and conduct an in-depth review of the conditions and factors that contributed to more effective human rights protections.

In addition to drafting the report, IHRC will then present the report’s initial findings at a high level meeting at UN headquarters of UN agencies and other stakeholders. IHRC may also conduct more in-depth fact-finding and engagement with in-country stakeholders in one of the selected model countries.