APF Community Contact us
News : Article

APF dialogues support new NHRI leadership teams

Graphic: Pakistan NHRI leadership team with the APF delegation

The new leadership teams from the NHRIs of Sri Lanka and Pakistan recently took part in discussions with the APF on their goals and priorities.

In January 2016, the recently-appointed leadership teams of the national human rights institutions (NHRIs) of Sri Lanka and Pakistan took part in discussions with the APF to identify the goals and priorities for their respective institutions.

The APF High Level Dialogue, which runs for two or three days, is an opportunity for NHRI members and senior staff to discuss the unique role and mandate of NHRIs, the international standards that underpin them and the process for their international accreditation.

Discussions also address the responsibilities of NHRI members, as well as their individual and collective goals for the coming three years.

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, Dr Deepika Udagama took up the position of Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission in October 2015. She is supported by four Commission members: Mr Hamid Ghazali Hussain, Mr Saliya Pieris, Ms Ambika Satkunanathan and Mr Upananda Vidanapthirana. All have been appointed for three-year terms.

Operating in a more open environment following the change of government in January 2015, the APF High Level Dialogue focused on the concrete steps that the Chairperson and Commissioners intended to take in order to address pressing human rights issues in different parts of the country.

The APF pledged to the support the Commission's ongoing work, which was praised by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights during his visit to Sri Lanka in February 2016.


In Pakistan, legislation was passed by the Parliament in 2012 to establish the National Commission for Human Rights. However, the Chairperson and Commissioners were not appointed until 2015.

The Hon. Ali Nawaz Chohan was appointed as the Commission's inaugural Chairperson. The Commissioners are Mr Shafique Chaudhry, Ms Anus Haroon, Ms Fazila Aliani, Dr Yahya Ahmad, Mr Ishaq Masih and Ms Kishwer Shaheen Awan.

Given its very recent establishment, the APF High Level Dialogue focused on the practical issues necessary to begin the Commission's important work, such as strategic planning and the recruitment of suitably qualified staff.

The Commission's leadership team also spoke of the value in becoming a member of the APF and drawing on the expertise of other NHRIs in the region.

APF participants

The High Level Dialogues are facilitated by an APF delegation of past and present Commissioners from other NHRIs in the region and a representative of the APF secretariat.

In Pakistan, the APF delegation included Ms Pip Dargan, Deputy Director of the APF secretariat; Mr Chris Sidoti, formerly Australian Human Rights Commissioner and Foundation Secretary of the Australia's NHRI; and Ms Jeehan Mahmood, former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives.

In Sri Lanka, the APF was represented by Rosslyn Noonan, former Chief Commissioner of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission; Chris Sidoti; and Mr Ahmed Shahid, former Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives.

Date: 22 February 2016

Image credits

  1. Pakistan NHRI leadership team with the APF delegation - National Commission for Human Rights of Pakistan