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West Asian NHRIs share COVID-19 initiatives


The APF’s sub-regional office has published a case study documenting how NHRIs in the West Asia region have responded to the challenges of COVID-19.

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The APF's sub-regional office in West Asia (SRO) has published a case study documenting how NHRIs in the West Asia region have responded to the challenges of COVID-19.

The case study, available in Arabic and English, brings together experiences shared by NHRIs in Iraq, Palestine and Qatar during a webinar held by the SRO in August 2020.

In each country, NHRIs have worked collectively with government, civil society and other stakeholders to ensure human rights are upheld during the crisis.

Some of the initiatives detailed in the report include:

In Iraq, the High Commission for Human Rights has developed an evaluation form to assess institutional responses to COVID-19, with a focus on the right to health and the social and economic impacts of the virus.

In Palestine, the Independent Commission for Human Rights has worked with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to issue a series of guidance notes on the impact of the pandemic on human rights.

In Qatar, the National Human Rights Commission has engaged government, business and civil society to ensure the needs of vulnerable groups are addressed in the government response to the pandemic.

"In the West Asia region, the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities and impacted upon human rights, making the work of NHRIs more important than ever," said Ms Ameera Al-Hedfa, Director of the APF Sub-Regional Office.

"We hope that other NHRIs can draw on the experiences in this case study to inform their own work," she said.

In December 2020, the SRO shared the initiatives during an online conference held by the Ombudsman of Uzbekistan in partnership with the OHCHR office in Central Asia.

The event was an opportunity to share examples of good practice during COVID-19, highlighting how NHRIs have continued to protect and promote human rights throughout the pandemic.

The SRO has developed a work plan for 2021 - 2022 to align with the APF Strategic Plan. The work plan is informed by a needs survey conducted in 2020 and contribution of members in events such as the COVID19 webinar. The work plan is currently being reviewed by members in West Asia, before sign-off early this year.

Date: 28 January 2021

Image credits

  1. Image by Abu Adel