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Qatar to host APF sub-regional office

Graphic: Signing of the MoU between the APF and the NHRC

The National Human Rights Committee of Qatar will host the APF's first sub-regional office, which will be established in January 2016.

Delivering a broad range of human rights training, advisory and other capacity building services for national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in West Asia will be the focus of a new APF office to be hosted by the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar.

The sub-regional office will open in January 2016, following a one-year agreement between the APF and the NHRC signed on 9 December 2015.

Over the coming 12 months, it will be responsible for organising a range of practical activities to support staff of NHRIs, as well as to engage with representatives from government and civil society in West Asia and North Africa.

The first activity, to be run in April 2016, will be a workshop on the role and functions of national human rights institutions.

The office will also support the APF in providing a greater range of human rights information and resources in Arabic.

This is a very exciting development for the APF and we are grateful for the leadership and commitment shown by the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar.

Asia Pacific Forum Logo Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director, APF secretariat

"Through this office, we will try to realise the principles of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Right Institutions and the Asia Pacific Forum to enhance cooperation and encourage the establishment of national human rights institutions," NHRC Chairperson Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri told The Peninsula.

The new office will play a crucial role in ensuring that Arabic-speaking NHRI staff have access to high-quality training and resources that will help them in their day-to-day work, said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"It is vital that we provide NHRI staff with the support they need to be effective human rights investigators, educators and policy officers, as well as effective advocates for vulnerable groups of people," he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the APF sub-regional office will also meet with governments in West Asia to encourage them to establish NHRIs, as well as offer support to those governments in the process of establishing an NHRI.

The current agreement builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the APF and the NHRC in 2014, which focused on strengthening regional cooperation for human rights protection and promotion.

Date: 21 December 2015

Image credits

  1. Signing of the MoU between the APF and the NHRC - National Human Rights Committee of Qatar