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NHRIs develop plans for monitoring economic and social rights

Graphic: Woman sells goods on the street at night, Kathmandu

The right to housing, the right to fair work and the right to education are some of the issues that NHRIs from South Asia will seek to monitor.

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) have a critical role to monitor and support national development policies so they are based on human rights principles and deliver genuine human rights outcomes, especially for vulnerable and marginalised people.

This role – set out in the Merida Declaration, adopted in 2015 by NHRIs from all regions of the world – was a focus of discussions at a workshop on monitoring economic, social and cultural rights.

Eighteen participants from the NHRIs of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka attended the workshop, held from 12-15 November 2018 in Kathmandu, which was led by the APF and the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR).

They examined the 'big picture' links between the Sustainable Development Goalsand realising human rights at the community level, with a focus on overcoming gender-related inequality and discrimination.

They also discussed the specific skills that NHRIs need to build within their NHRIs to effectively monitor national development plans and, more broadly, how different groups of people enjoy economic, social and cultural rights.

The workshop, which was hosted by the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, followed six weeks of online discussion and activities on the new APFlearning community.

This monitoring work by NHRIs is about ensuring that all people, especially the poor and the vulnerable, can live with dignity.

Asia Pacific Forum Logo Kate Turner-Mann, APF Regional Training Manager

Graphic: Discussions at the APF-CESR course, Kathmandu

"NHRIs can monitor how policies on access to health services, education, adequate housing and sanitation, to name a few, impact on different communities in different ways," said APF Regional Training Manager Kate Turner-Mann.

"However, this can be complex work as it involves identifying and examining the multiple factors that contribute to a particular issue," she said.

Mihir Mankad and Kate Donald from CESR explained how NHRIs can use the OPERA framework to help them clearly define the human rights issue they want to examine and the approaches that will help them address those challenges.

The OPERA framework, developed by CESR, combines quantitative and qualitative evidence – including statistics, policy and budget analysis and personal stories – to visualise the scope and scale of human rights issues and identify areas for reform.

Participants worked with others from their respective NHRIs to develop monitoring projects on human rights issues that would have a positive impact in their home countries, including the right to housing, the right to fair work and the right to education.

Ms Tuner-Mann said workshop participants would further develop their projects and continue to collaborate on the APF's online community.

"We have seen through this blended learning course that having a mobile-friendly way to learn and connect has encouraged people to share information and collaborate a whole lot more," she said.

"Our goal now is continue to support each other in this monitoring work and build an active community of human rights leaders."

Date: 23 November 2018

People walking on city streets at night, Delhi

Image credits

  1. Woman sells goods on the street at night, Kathmandu - APF/Kate Turner-Mann
  2. Discussions at the APF-CESR course, Kathmandu - APF/Kate Turner-Mann
  3. People walking on city streets at night, Delhi - APF/Michael Power