Myanmar: GANHRI committed to constructive dialogue with civil society

Myanmar: GANHRI committed to constructive dialogue with civil society

GANHRI and its regional networks value the constructive relationship we have built with civil society organisations and coalitions in all parts of the world. We regularly engage in dialogue with civil society partners to listen to the issues they raise and this, in turn, informs and strengthens our work with member national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and regional NHRI networks.

Our goal, like our civil society partners, is to ensure that human rights are promoted and protected for all people, in all countries. To do this, we support, strengthen and encourage our member NHRIs to deliver on their human rights mandate at the national level.

Given our commitment to dialogue with civil society, we were disappointed to be notified of an ‘open letter’ by the CSO Working Group on an Independent National Human Rights Institution (Burma/Myanmar) and the Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI) condemning GANHRI for inviting the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) to attend a global meeting of NHRIs.

No copy of the letter was sent to the GANHRI Chairperson or the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), despite recent face-to-face meetings with CSOs and ANNI with the APF.

GANHRI is not “supporting war criminals” by inviting the MNHRC to attend our Annual Meeting. Representatives of all 120 member NHRIs have been invited to participate, in accordance with the GANHRI Statute.

The MNHRC has been a member of GANHRI since 2015. Of the 120 NHRI members, the MNHRC is one of 31 NHRIs with ‘B status’ accreditation.

International accreditation of NHRIs is a rigorous, peer-led process that assesses the extent to which NHRIs operate in accordance with the Paris Principles, internationally-agreed standards that underpin the establishment and strengthening of all NHRIs. Independence is a key requirement of the Paris Principles.

‘B status’ accreditation means an NHRI has not fully met the requirements of the Paris Principles. Recommendations to support and strengthen the independence and effective functioning of an NHRI are issued by GANHRI’s Subcommittee on Accreditation following each accreditation and re-accreditation process.

We believe it is important that open and transparent lines of communication between GANHRI, its regional networks and its members remain in place.

Participation in meetings with other NHRIs, either at the global level or the regional level, provide an important opportunity to encourage the MNHRC to fulfil its mandate and effectively promote and protect the human rights of the people of Myanmar.