“Early warning, conflict
prevention and re-establishment of peaceful societies:
The role of National Human Rights Institutions”
Geneva, March 8, 2017
ANNUAL CONFERENCE UNDERLINES THE CRUCIAL ROLE OF NHRIS FOR THE PROTECTION AND
PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN SITUATION OF VIOLENCE AND CONFLICT
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.
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).
featured discussions on early
indications of a potential or emerging crisis, namely:
and political violence
contributing to a climate of violence
also featured inspiring solutions in regards with the strengthening of human
warning mechanisms and human rights defenders
and preserving the independence of NHRIs
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”.
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.”
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 “.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.