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APF opens sub-regional office with seminar on NHRIs

Graphic: Oening of the APF office

The office in Doha, Qatar, officially opened on 11 April 2016 with a two-day seminar involving representatives from NHRIs, governments and NGOs.

The APF subregional office in Doha, Qatar officially opened its doors on 11 April 2016.

In partnership with the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar and the Arab Network for National Human Rights Institutions, the APF held a media conference to announce the new office and highlight the vital role that national human rights institutions (NHRIs) can play, independently and collaboratively, to advance human rights.

Following the official opening, the joint partners hosted a two day seminar on 'Establishing NHRIs in line with the Paris Principles and the role of NHRIs and the International Human Rights System'.

The seminar focused on the role of NHRIs to promote and protect human rights at the national level, through research, monitoring, education, receiving complaints and providing advice. It also sought to encourage governments in the region that have not yet established a NHRI to consider doing so.

Government representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia attended the seminar, along with representatives from UNDP, OHCHR, human rights NGOs and 14 NHRIs from the West Asia and North Africa.

In addition to learning about the APF, participating NHRIs shared their experiences in addressing different human rights issues and how regional bodies could support them in their roles.

"There were two important things we wanted to achieve through this seminar," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"We wanted to provide an opportunity for NHRIs in the region to meet, network and establish relationships, and we also wanted to begin a dialogue with governments on the vital role that NHRIs play in promoting and protecting human rights," he said.

"The new subregional office will, over time, offer the full range of APF services in the West Asian region, with more opportunities for events like this and other training programs to take place."

Date: 18 April 2016