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Better human rights monitoring for greater impact

Graphic: Participants in discussion at the workshop

Staff from 16 APF members have developed new skills and strategies to support their work to monitor and report on critical human rights issues.

Effective monitoring is the one of the powerful tools that national human rights institutions (NHRIs) can use to help improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Whether it is reviewing the situation of vulnerable groups or examining the conditions and policies of prisons and other places of detention, NHRIs can use the data they collect to identify human rights violations, provide redress for people and prevent future violations.

The reports and recommendations that NHRIs produce can also help their State to better meet its international human rights commitments.

UN High Commissioner in discussion with the GANHRI Chair at the 2017 GANHRI Annual Meeting

Human rights monitoring is especially important during times of national crisis or conflict.

In March 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged NHRIs to "continue to monitor, document, issue public statements and release reports on human rights violations", which he said was essential "to restore justice, to ensure effective remedies and to combat impunity".

Representatives from 16 APF member institutions recently completed a blended learning course to help strengthen their NHRI's capacity to monitor and report on the human rights situations in their countries.

Through four weeks of online learning and a face-to-face workshop in Bangkok (9-11 October 2017), participants explored different approaches to monitoring and formulating recommendations, including methods to select and prioritise human rights issues.

"We also looked at ways that NHRIs can use their reporting to the UN human rights system to highlight serous issues and propose practical recommendations that can be made to their State," said APF Regional Training Manager Kate Turner-Mann.

"Given that there are no binding regional human rights mechanisms in the Asia Pacific, it is vital that NHRIs use their national and international reporting to achieve the greatest impact," she said.

The NHRIs of Jordan, Philippines, Malaysia, Qatar, Nepal, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mongolia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Korea, Australia and Oman all took part in the training program.

It was the final course of four delivered in partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), which was funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) as part of the EU NHRI Project.

Participants who have completed the course will have the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to EUR 15,000 to implement a project that draws on the skills and strategies they developed through the course.

Date: 17 October 2017

Image credits

  1. Participants in discussion at the workshop - APF/Kate Turner-Mann
  2. UN High Commissioner in discussion with the GANHRI Chair at the 2017 GANHRI Annual Meeting - GANHRI