GANHRI Annual Conference

“Early warning, conflict prevention and re-establishment of peaceful societies:
The role of National Human Rights Institutions”

Geneva, March 8, 2017





Geneva, 8 March 2017 – More than 220 NHRI representatives from all regions, United Nations independent experts from the Special Procedures and the treaty bodies, partners from the UN including OHCHR and UNDP, from member states, civil society, and academia came together in a conference to discuss challenges to the protection and promotion of human rights worldwide resulting from situations of tension, instability, violence and conflict, both at the domestic and international levels. The conference focused in particular on the role that NHRIs play in early warning, conflict prevention and re-establishment of peaceful societies by applying their mandates under the UN Paris Principles.

The conference was hosted by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) – in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

It featured discussions on early indications of a potential or emerging crisis, namely:

§  Election-related and political violence

§  Factors contributing to a climate of violence


It also featured inspiring solutions in regards with the strengthening of human rights actors:

§  Early warning mechanisms and human rights defenders

§  Protecting and preserving the independence of NHRIs 


GANHRI Chairperson Prof Beate Rudolf, addressing the high level opening of the Conference, underlined that “The reduction of democratic space and restriction of human rights often precede violence and armed conflict. While the latter are not necessarily a consequence of the former, the former can be indicators of a process culminating in violence and armed conflict. It is here at the beginning that NHRIs have a crucial role in early warning and conflict prevention. Similarly, NHRIs are an important component in the re-establishment of peaceful societies fulfilling a crucial monitoring role”.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in his opening remarks stressed the crucial role of NHRIs in a time of rising violence around the world, noting that “As all of us are aware, in times of tensions and rising social crises, NHRIs can have an enormous impact – above all, in preventing conflicts from escalating and breaking societies apart.”

UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS, Rastislav Vrbensky, also speaking at the high level opening of the Conference, reminded that with regard to the role of NHRIs in conflict and post-conflict situations, the Kyiv Declaration called for a “stronger role of NHRIs in preventing conflict, and ensuring respect for human rights and their protection in conflict-affected and fragile settings “.

Human Rights Council President H.E. Joaquín Maza Martelli emphasized that “GANHRI plays a valuable role in supporting NHRIs in their indispensable work” and commended GANHRI for proving a platform for continued cooperation, capacity building and sharing of experiences among NHRIs.

The Conference which was held on International Women’s Day also reaffirmed that the work of NHRIs is critical in addressing the still pervasive discrimination against women and girls in all societies.

The Conference concluded with the adoption of a Closing Statement that you can find at the bottom of this page in which NHRIs stressed that “that whether resulting from armed conflict, civil unrest, or other situations of conflict, occupation, the erosion of peace and security in societies is generally preceded by clearly identifiable patterns of human rights abuses and discrimination.” Calling for a strengthened respect for the rule of law and human rights norms and principles as an effective framework to prevent, reduce and combat violence and insecurity.



High Level Opening Speeches and concept note of the Annual Conference can also be found at the bottom of the page​

Prior to the Annual Conference, GANHRI held its Bureau Meeting and the meeting of its General Assembly at which its members adopted by consensus a new Strategic Plan for the period 2017 to 2019, a new amended Statute and a set of procedures to strengthen the work of the Sub Committee on Accreditation.


On 9 March, GANHRI also held a very well attended joint UNICEF-OHCHR-GANHRI Event to discuss the role of NHRIs in the promotion and protection of children’s rights. Contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda were addressed with a specific look at the various ways NHRIs can support the implementation of the SDGs, and in particular Goal 16 by facilitating access to complaint mechanisms for children.

expand Title : Concept Note ‎(4)
expand Title : GANHRI 2017 Closing statement  ‎(4)
expand Title : High Level Opening Speeches ‎(3)

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