UN to increase enhanced assistance to the national human rights institutions

The UN’s Framework for COVID-19 Response has a clear entry point for the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), particularly in monitoring the risks of human rights violations, acting as a bridge between excluded populations and the state, and giving rights-based guidance to governments— addressed the delegates at the Tripartite Review Meeting of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) endured on June 24-25.

The UN Secretary-General’s The Highest Aspiration: A Call to Action on Human Rights urges greater collaboration— highlights the significance of NHRIs as contributors to the implementation of the SDGs and calls for improved support to NHRIs from the UN system.

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“In these challenging times, we need to reinforce, support, and work in partnership with NHRIs to address COVID-19. We also need to support member states to ‘recover back better’ – to use inclusive approaches in their recovery towards achieving the SDGs and securing the social contract,” stated Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Crisis Bureau in her opening remarks at the high-level session of the Annual Review Meeting.

Representatives of NHRIs, their regional networks, as well as UN agencies and other international allies considered the urgency of human rights issues in the current context and how best to build the capacity of NHRIs to support and protect human rights.

“The UN Secretary-General has acknowledged the critical role of NRHIs in his Call to Action, launched this February, highlighting their important role in the implementation of 2030 Agenda, multilateralism and in addressing deprivation and discrimination,” said Ilze Brands-Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General of OHCHR.

The newly revised voluntary common reporting guidelines for voluntary national reviews (VNRs) at the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) emphasizes the important role of NHRIs to meaningfully and effectively engage stakeholders in the VNR process and the 2030 Agenda implementation.

“We need to expand our efforts on anti-discrimination. Human rights know no discrimination, but this promise has not yet materialized in practice. Leaving no one behind is our banner; let’s not forget this dream,” stated Carlos Alfonso Negret Mosquera, Chairperson of GANHRI.

UNDP has worked in over 100 countries supporting NHRIs, i.e. the NHRIs of Mali and The Gambia. In 2020, the ongoing efforts in Mali contributed to the release of 1,300 people from overcrowded prisons in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The NHRIs of Egypt, Ghana, Madagascar, and Mauritania received support in 2019 to navigate the internationally recognized accreditation process for NHRIs— a process that is based on the Paris Principles.

The Tri-Partite Partnership since its inception has leveraged the respective mandates, expertise, and operations of its partners – and their regional networks – to jointly support national human rights institutions (NHRIs) around the world.

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Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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