GANHRI 2023 Annual Conference
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of the Paris Principles, GANHRI welcomed over 200 representatives from national human rights institutions (NHRIs), member states, civil society, academia, and partners to the 2023 Annual Conference on 16 March.
The 2023 Annual Conference co-hosted by GANHRI and the UN Human Rights Office, marked the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Principles by the United Nations General Assembly, And the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Specifically, the event offered an opportunity to participants to reflect on the current state of human rights identifying challenges and opportunities, and on the significance of the Universal Declaration and the Paris Principles in today’s context.
In addressing the consequences of the current complex and multifaceted crises on human rights, NHRIs from all over the world, and GANHRI as their united voice, play a crucial and positive role to responding to the challenges.
“Effective, inclusive, and independent National Human Rights Institutions do represent the bedrock of just and inclusive societies that can advance peace, security, human rights, and sustainable development for all” – Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
Opening the Annual Conference, GANHRI Secretary Amina Bouayach said “We stand here today on a momentous occasion, celebrating a significant milestone for international human rights. NHRIs are the backbone of our nations”.
Václav Bálek, President of the UN Human Rights Council in his opening remarks added that “NHRIs bridge the gap between national & international human rights institutions. Without translating Council recommendations into real outcomes on the ground, our work would be useless.”
“NHRIs are a critical component of the human rights ecosystem. GANHRI and its members can rely on our office as strong partner to promote human rights at country level” – Nada Al-Nashif, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Annual Conference also saw the participation of the Chairperson of the UN Child Rights Committee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, UN Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders under the Aarhus Convention, representative from UPR Info, Geneva for Human Rights as well as Chairpersons from NHRIs from all regions and contexts, and an interactive break out session inviting participants to exchange experiences and perspectives.
At the Conference close, participating GANHRI members adopted a powerful Statement in which they expressed concern at severe rolling back of human right protections and growing pressure on those who defend them and resolved to:
At the national level:
- Support States in implementing UDHR and Paris Principles
- Create safe space for human rights defenders, including NHRIs
- Investigate, monitor, and reporton human rights violations
- Advocate for embedding human rights in national approaches towards sustainable development
At the international level:
- Build partnerships to address urgent human rights issues
- Ensure NHRI compliance with Paris Principles
- Call on UN member states to establish and strengthen NHRIs
- Engage with international bodies to advocate for measures to improve quality of life
The Annual Conference provided a forum for GANHRI members and partners to consider the situation of human rights at the time, identify possibilities as well as challenges, and discuss about the actions, objectives, and priorities of NHRIs.
Also, it offered a chance to highlight the accomplishments and achievements of NHRIs in defending human rights, both on an individual basis and collectively through GANHRI. The significance of the Universal Declaration and the Paris Principles in the then-current context was also discussed.
The conference particularly emphasized the important role GANHRI in supporting and upholding its members throughout the years as well as acting as their collective voice for advancing and defending human rights.
“GANHRI will continue to work closely with regional networks, UNDP, OCHCHR and its other partners to support and strengthen the capacities of its members, and to ensure that NHRIs can operate independently and effectively to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms on the ground.” – Amina Bouayach, GANHRI Secretary