West Asian NHRIs collaborate on COVID-19 activities
Graphic: Staff members from Iraq's NHRI talk with doctors at a mobile health clinic
The NHRIs of Iraq, Palestine and Qatar have shared their experiences of working to promote and protect human rights during COVID-19.
Representatives from the national human rights institutions (NHRIs) of Iraq, Palestine and Qatar have met online to share their experiences of working to promote and protect human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The webinar – held on 25 August 2020 and hosted by the APF's Sub-Regional Office in Qatar – sought to highlight experiences of how NHRIs had responded to the human rights issues facing vulnerable groups during the pandemic and to identify good practices that could be shared with NHRIs and other stakeholders across West Asia.
It was inspiring to hear how these three NHRIs have worked with such conviction to uphold human rights in this challenging time.
Some initiatives described by presenters included:
In Iraq, the High Commission for Human Rights has published an Assessment Reportof the national response to COVID-19, while also undertaking community-based activities such as distributing relief packages to low-income families.
In Palestine, the Independent Commission for Human Rights published a detailed report of its work during the state of emergency declared on 5 March, which included a wide range of monitoring, advisory and training initiatives.
In Qatar, the National Human Rights Committee launched a campaign with migrant worker communities to inform them of their rights and the support available to them during the pandemic.
In each country, the NHRI has monitored places of detention and sought to respond to the issues facing groups vulnerable to human rights violations, including women, people with disabilities and older people.
The presenters were also candid in describing the challenges they faced in undertaking their work, especially with restrictions on movement.
With the pandemic still ongoing, Ms Ameera Al-Hedfa, Director of the APF Sub-Regional Office, said it was crucial to support and strengthen the work of NHRIs.
"There are many good practices to share, both among NHRIs in West Asia and the broader Asia Pacific region," she said.
"We will also further develop our work plan in order to respond to the needs that NHRIs have identified."
Date: 2 September 2020
- Staff members from Iraq's NHRI talk with doctors at a mobile health clinic - Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights