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APF people profile: Pip Dargan, Principal Adviser

Graphic: Pip Dargan

Each month, we profile a committed staff member from the APF network. This month, we meet Pip Dargan, APF Principal Adviser.

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Name and job title:

Pip Dargan, APF Principal Adviser, Capacity Assessments and International Engagement. 

Could you tell us a bit about your role?

I have been privileged to serve the APF since its establishment in 1996 in various capacities, including Deputy Director, and now as Principal Adviser, Capacity Assessments and International Engagement.  

This role facilitates advice and support to NHRIs to undertake self-assessments of their capacities and recommendations to support the sustainable strengthening of the institution. These are called Capacity Assessments.  

My role works closely with the leadership of APF member institutions, and recognised experts in the practice of NHRIs, to deliver services such as Capacity Assessment Reviews, High Level Dialogues, Thematic Interactive Dialogues, Introduction to APF Dialogues and the Leadership Solidarity Outreach program that was specifically developed to maintain close contact with members during the pandemic. 

What do you love about your job?

I enjoy working with committed a APF secretariat team (including former staff). 

I have met extraordinarily dedicated people who are Chairpersons, commissioners, senior or junior staff who combine their personal qualities and institutional mandate to work towards a more just and equitable world.

Pip Dargan, APF Principal Adviser, Capacity Assessments and International Engagement

I am privileged to have travelled to the NHRIs of Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Fiji, and many other NHRIs to see first-hand, as our members, how they work with community, partners, and government to promote and protect human rights, especially for the most vulnerable. 

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

With the pandemic, the lack of person to person contact with our membership can be challenging. Like so many others we mainly connect with people on virtual platforms, but I do miss the in-person engagement with NHRI staff and commissioners. 

Why did you decide to work in human rights?

I grew up in a family of 7 children and in a context of domestic violence.  From that time in my life, I gained a consciousness of how violence against women and children in the home not only impacted on family but on the broader society as well. I witnessed the intelligence, courage, and strength of women in my family. I understood the importance of education and economic independence for girls and women, and for myself. This environment sparked my desire to be a change-maker; to do things differently.   

Along the way I have been incredibly lucky to have met people, who supported my journey towards a career working in, and with, national human rights institutions. When I was young, all the girls my age had posters of pop stars in their bedroom. The poster in my room was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was meant to be. 

What is your proudest achievement?

I’m proud to have been at the APF from its establishment in 1996 in Darwin, Australia and that its founding document, the Larrakia Declaration, is named in honour of the First Nation people of that land. I’m proud to have contributed to the development of the APF secretariat as well as lay the foundations for ground-breaking programmes designed to support APF membership including internally displaced persons, gender equality for women and girls and SOGISC.  

I am particularly proud my of advocacy role, in partnership with NHRIs around the globe, and NGO allies, in succeeding to secure formal recognition of independent participation rights for A-status NHRIs at the newly established UN Human Rights Council in 2007. It was a tough campaign and to obtain success at the 11th hour was an unbelievable feeling. I was delighted to be asked to lead the campaign, together with APF members and NHRIs around the world, that sought formal recognition of A-status NHRIs at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The people I worked with in these campaigns were hard-working, committed, and fun! 

What is your favourite book?

That’s a tough question! Two of my favourite books are Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and Khalid Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. Both have themes of endurance, courage, humour, love and friendship. 

Date: 30 November 2021

Image credits

  1. Pip Dargan - APF