His Excellency (H.E.) Chairman of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Dr. Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri called for the need to protect national institutions and their employees from any pressures related to cutting financial budgets, interfering in its affairs, damaging its independence and neutrality and restricting its work, according to the UN General Assembly resolution in this regard, which called for ensuring greater participation of these institutions in United Nations (UN) bodies and mechanisms.
This came during the speech at the opening of the training workshop organised by the Arab Network for National Human Rights Institutions (ANNHRI), headquartered in Doha, in cooperation with Morocco's National Human Rights Council on the accreditation of national institutions with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), held between July 9 to 11.
His Excellency reiterated the need for national institutions, their members and staff to not face any form of retaliation or intimidation, including political pressure, physical intimidation, harassment or undue budgetary constraints, as a result of their activities in accordance with their respective mandates.
As president and secretary general of GANHRI, Dr. Al Marri stressed on the importance conduct ongoing procedures by the participants to ensure that the activities of their institutions are proceeding as planned, that the accreditation process of the GANHRI is examined effectively and carefully and to address the problems they face as closely as possible with the Paris Principles and the observations of the GANHRI Sub-Committee on Accreditation.
H.E. Dr. Al Marri presented his experience with accrediting national human rights institutions due to being a member of the accreditation committee previously and currently serving as the GANHRI secretary general and NHRC chairman which was awarded (A status) twice in a row. He reiterated the importance of national human rights institutions obtaining a certificate of accreditation which is a recognition of their credibility and an opportunity to expand their participation in international and regional forums.
His Excellency pointed out that what is more important than the accreditation itself was is the process of submitting the documents to the accreditation committee which helps assess the institution's compliance with the Paris Principles. This is an opportunity for the national institution to carry out self-evaluation and then hold its work accountable in order to improve the performance of its functions and to improve any shortcomings in its performance.
His Excellency added that preparing for the accreditation helps identify the extent to which the criteria set out in the Paris Principles, particularly those relating to the composition, selection and dismissal of members, have been implemented.
His Excellency also stressed that through his experience as a member of the accreditation committee for over four years, the question of independence and neutrality in the selection of members was a priority for the committee.
H.E. Dr. Al Marri called for the workshop to focus on this aspect and to benefit from the various experiences and information exchange on the importance of the workshop in the accreditation process of national institutions.
His Excellency said implementing the criteria for membership of national institutions according to the committee requires further discussion and explanation for national human rights institutions in the Arab region.
H.E. Dr. Al Marri said that the GANHRI's Subcommittee on Accreditation is considering at least twenty criterion within the so-called Paris Principles, the most important of which are the Articles of Incorporation, Conditions of Membership, Independence and Immunity, in addition to the infrastructure, employment, budget and the implementation of the institutions of the functions and competencies contained in the Articles of Incorporation, as well as the role of institutions in encouraging governments to accede to international conventions and to implement the recommendations of treaty bodies and the universal periodic review, as well as to disseminate their culture of human rights, publish substantive annual reports and issue press releases and appeals.
H.E. Dr. Al Marri noted the importance of reviewing the accreditation of national institutions every five years as a practical tool for evaluating institutions to ensure that their efforts continue in the right direction. "In my experience as a member of the accreditation committee, I have felt that working hard to implement the Accreditation Committee's recommendations is in itself a measure of the efficiency of the institution and its programs at the legal and administrative levels. The accreditation is a great expression of the trust that the GANHRI confers on the national institution in terms of value to the constituent elements of the institution, as well as having expectations about the performance of the accredited institution, especially those with an (A) rating," he said.
This workshop comes within the framework of increasing international, regional and national keen attention in establishing national human rights institutions in accordance with the Paris Principles.
This attention is due to the broad functions and powers that these institutions have assumed and made them a central pillar of the national system for the protection and promotion of human rights.
To properly fulfill their role, these institutions must meet the criteria of independence, impartiality and pluralism, in addition to having adequate human and financial resources to exercise their competencies.
These competencies include handling complaints, visiting places of deprivation of liberty, monitoring and mediation, preparing annual and thematic reports, education and education on human rights, and advising various national authorities to improve the human rights situation.
The training workshop aims to enable national human rights institutions to adopt an effective methodology in the accreditation process and to provide them with relevant information that allows them to correctly submit their files to the subcommittee on accreditation.
National human rights institutions in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, Mauritania and Morocco are participating in the workshop.
Cover image credit: Qatar Tribune
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