Human rights in times of conflict: the role of NHRIs
Graphic: A Palestinian man inspects a damaged house, in Gaza city, 2022.
NHRIs can play a crucial role in supporting access to justice during times of armed conflict and in crisis situations.
How can national human rights institutions (NHRIs) support access to justice during times of armed conflict?
This was the topic of a presentation by the APF’s Legal and Policy Manager, Phillip Wardle, at the 3rd LAWASIA Human Rights Conference, held virtually on 20 August.
LAWASIA is a regional association of lawyers, judges, jurists and legal organisations, which advocates for the interests and concerns of the Asia Pacific legal profession. The annual conference provides an opportunity for lawyers and associated professionals to exchange insights and expertise on a range of human rights topics, with this year’s theme focusing on ‘Human Rights in Times of War and Conflict’.
NHRIs can play a crucial role in supporting access to justice during times of armed conflict and in crisis situations. With their unique mandate to protect and promote human rights at the national level, NHRIs monitor and document human rights violations, visiting places of detention, and advocating publicly for the respect for human rights standards.
Many APF member institutions have been active in supporting access to justice during times of conflict. During his presentation, Mr Wardle highlighted the work of the Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine (ICHR), which is mandated to protect and promote human rights within an ongoing context of occupation.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has also been active in documenting violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during times of ongoing conflict, with AIHRC reports relied on as crucial evidence in international inquiries.
Also presenting at the session were Usha Kulasegaran, Head of the International Criminal Court Working Group and co-chair of the Malaysian Bar Human Rights Committee, and Gustaaf Reerink, Foreign Counsel at ABNR Counsellors in Jakarta Indonesia.
Further information about the conference can be found here.
Date: 2 September 2022
- A Palestinian man inspects a damaged house, in Gaza city, 2022. - Anas-Mohammed on Shutterstock