More than 260 NHRI representatives from
around the globe met from 10 to 12 October in Marrakech, Morocco, to explore
the roles and contributions NHRIs can have in expanding civic space and
promoting and protecting human rights defenders, with a particular attention to
women human rights defenders.
The Conference was enriched by lively discussions
and debates which reflected the wide range of experience and perspectives from
NHRIs, human rights defenders, representatives of UN and regional human rights
mechanisms from all regions as well as partners from OHCHR and UNDP.
several areas such as:
the crucial elements of
an enabling environment;
how to monitor civic
space and threats to it;
how to protect human
how to specifically protect
women human rights defenders;
how to protect NHRIs
who are themselves human rights defenders; and
how to develop
effective communication on human rights and promotion of positive narratives.
Building on these discussions, and NHRI lessons and
practices identified, NHRIs adopted the Marrakech
Declaration, which sets out NHRIs’ commitments and way forward.
The Declaration identifies a number of activities
to guide NHRIs in strengthening their promotional and protection activities, as
well as reinforcing cooperation and partnerships. Among other commitments,
NHRIs resolved to:
- contribute to the establishment of national protection
systems for human rights defenders, which requires an enabling environment
- raise awareness and support States in the
implementation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders;
- advance positive narratives on the importance of
human rights and the legitimate role of human rights defenders, in particular
women human rights defenders;
- interact with human rights defenders and civil
society in a regular manner and support the development and strengthening of
national and regional defenders’ networks;
- set-up efficient and robust early warning
mechanisms and focal points within NHRIs; and
- interact with the international and regional human
rights systems in support of human rights defenders, and monitor follow-up and
implementation of recommendations.
The Declaration also encourages GANHRI, its
regional networks and all NHRIs to collaborate in mutual capacity building and
sharing of experiences and knowledge, including by the elaboration of regional
action plans to follow-up on this Declaration and the establishment of a
mechanism on human rights defenders within GANHRI.
Marrakech Declaration will guide NHRIs’ work. We look forward to working with
all our partners including human rights defenders implementing the Declaration,
at national, regional and global levels. ”
Participants expressed their gratitude to the CNDH
for the warmth of their hospitality and the excellent organisation of the
The International Conference also marked the 70th
anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 25th anniversary
of the endorsement of the Paris Principles and the establishment of the
international network of NHRIs, the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders.
The 14th NHRIs International Conference is
scheduled to take place in 2021 hosted by an European NHRI.
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