GPW22 – NHRIs’ work in Conflict-Affected and Fragile Settings


On the 3rd of November 2022, GANHRI and DCAF – The Geneva Centre for Security Sector and Governance, co-hosted a 2022 Geneva Peace Week (GPW) Virtual Workshop on National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Conflict-Affected and Fragile Settings: Examining their Contribution to SDG 16 and the Sustaining Peace Agenda. 

The event, which saw the attendance of over 50 participants, provided an important opportunity to inform security and development actors of the crucial role of National Human Rights Institutions in the oversight of the security and peacebuilding sectors and propose possible future collaboration with NHRIs to prevent, manage and resolve conflict.

In her opening remarks, Maryam Abdullah Al Attiyah, GANHRI Chairperson, highlighted that the full compliance of NHRIs to the Paris Principles sets standards for independence and effectiveness of NHRIs and is one of the indicators of States’ progress under SDG Goal 16. “Hence,” she explained “NHRIs are placed among the key institutions for progress under the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. Performing a bridging role that embraces the interconnectedness between the three UN pillars; development, peace and security, and human rights.” 

Catalina Crespo Sancho, National Ombudsperson of Costa Rica spoke on the important function of NHRI early-warning mechanisms and their contribution to democracy and conflict prevention. During her presentation she stressed NHRIs’ need to focus on using SDGs and the Sustaining Peace Agenda as a basis to create a strategy framework for conflict prevention, handling grievances and creating a typology for addressing civil complaints. 

Jacqueline Ann Cruz de Guia, Executive Director at the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) addressed the situation of armed conflict in the Philippines. In her speech she conveyed the important collaboration between the Philippine NHRI and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in realizing their regular engagements through protection and educational activities and monitoring of HR compliance. The Philippine NHRI further reported on the role as facilitator between communities and security sector in the country.

Senior Adviser to the Ombudsman of Georgia, Dr. Meri Kochlamazashvili emphasized in her statement the crucial role of the Georgian NHRI in monitoring the situation on the ground, issuing reports and recommendations and advising governments and parliaments on human rights compliance. As an example of how NHRIs can use their mandate to push governments to forge new policies under HR standards she referred to how in 2014, the public defender’s office and their working group advocated and assisted in drafting a new law on Internally Displaced Persons. 

As a final intervention, Lucas Kimanthi, Assistant Director, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights brought attention to the importance of electoral monitoring projects in his country. He specified the NHRIs efforts in launching tools to capture information on the ground such as background checks, hot spot marketing and an internal digital platform. Paving the way for staff to monitor situations and identify areas of possible conflict to manage tensions through media briefings and official visitations.

The event was concluded with a Q&A addressed to the NHRI speakers, a report will be published comprising all interventions.