UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies and National Human Rights Institutions: Assessing Effectiveness and Modes of Influence

About the project

By taking into consideration two specific actors, namely UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies[1] and National Human Rights Institutions[2], Domenico Zipoli’s PhD project focuses on understanding the procedural and institutional dynamics that are at play within the multilayered system of international human rights protection in its “transmission belt” between the global and the local level. It is thus a comparative project concerned with process and institutions rather than substantive human rights norms, with a focus on non-state actors’ relevance in domestic human rights implementation.

The overarching goal of the research is directed, at this initial stage, towards effectiveness analysis of TB-NHRI engagement. What is the impact of treaties on state behavior, compared to other forms of ordering? What are the dynamics that allow some non-state actors to succeed in IL domestic implementation using particular normative frames, whereas others do not? More specific to the actual topic of research, does state behavior vary depending on treaty ratification, specific nature of the treaty in question and institutional set-up of the state’s NHRI (if indeed any is actually established)? Can NHRIs aid State Parties in their TB implementation? How (often) are claims based on TB decisions/comments sustained domestically through the medium of NHRI activity? Finally, if NHRIs are indeed successful in facilitating implementation, can a streamlined procedure for TB – NHRI interaction be reached?


[1] Hereinafter TBs.

[2] Hereinafter NHRIs.


Domenico Zipoli is a PhD candidate at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (Faculty of Law, University of Oslo). His project explores the relationship between UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies (TBs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). The purpose behind his research is to develop a model for increasing compliance of States’ obligations under international human rights law by means of standardized TB-NHRI interaction process, in light of the compliance gap which is hindering the effectiveness of the TB mechanism.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws from Exeter University (UK) and a Master of Laws in International Human Rights Law from Lund University (Sweden). He has worked for both NHRIs (Mongolian Human Rights Commission and Defensoria del Pueblo de Ecuador) and for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Treaty Division). He was recently research assistant for the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (NHRI Unit) and research trainee for the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. 


Malcolm Langford

Tom Pegram

Start Date: 18.01.2016

End Date: 14.11.2019

Published Apr. 4, 2016 3:07 PM - Last modified Sep. 12, 2018 1:46 PM