A group of South Asian human rights defenders have decided to jointly advocate for the establishment of a regional human rights mechanism. The rights defenders have come up with a strategy and an action plan to that effect.
The decision came from a regional workshop on “human rights mechanism in South Asia” organized by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and INSEC on 25-26 July.
The rights groups also decided to form an “informal working group” from the South Asian countries to work with the official SAARC.
The two days regional workshop discussed on in-depth prospects and opportunities for the path towards the creation of South Asian Human Rights Mechanism for promotion and protection of human rights within the frame work of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Speaking in the workshop Chairperson of FORUM-ASIA and INSEC Mr. Subodh Raj Pyakurel stated that
Ms. Hina Jilani, Former UN special Rapporteur of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders and Chair of the South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), delivering key note remarks expressed grave concern towards the deteriorating human rights situation due to anti-terrorism measures adopted in South Asian countries. She further pointed out the problem of rule of the in different countries of South Asian region. She also expressed grave concern towards the deteriorating human rights situation due to anti-terrorism measures adopted in South Asian countries.
Speaking in the workshop, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh, Dr. Mizanur Rahman, stated that the civil society organizations should collaborate and cooperate for regional human rights mechanism which can complement the role of the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). Similarly Mr. Gauri Pradhan, Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal shared his experiences of the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal for the protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights and expressed that NHRC Nepal is willing to work together with the civil society organizations for the establishment of the regional human rights mechanism in
Mr. Miloon Kothari, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing stressed out that regional human rights mechanism could be very useful platform for the South Asian countries to utilize the opportunities under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which is a new and unique monitoring mechanism of the members of UN countries human rights mechanism.
Delivering key note remarks, Former Assistant Secretary –General of the UN Mr. Kul Chandra Gautam pointed out that despite the national human rights mechanism being the most important and effective mechanism for recognition and respect of human rights, the regional mechanism is useful in South Asia because most of the NHRIs are weak and such regional mechanism would be useful when the perpetrators escape across the border after committing human rights violation.
Mr. Rafendi Djamin Chairperson and Representative from Indonesia for the ASEAN Inter Governmental Commission for Human Rights (AICHR) expressed that the vibrant civil society organizations of South Asia can constructively engage with the SAARC process for the advocacy of regional human rights mechanism as the civil society had played significant role in the establishment of the regional human rights body in the ASEAN.
Speaking in the workshop, Ms. Jyoti Sanghera, Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in
The workshop was inaugurated by Constituent Assembly Chairman Mr. Subas Chandra Nemwang. The two-day workshop was attended by the prominent members of the Civil Society, Human Rights Activists, NHRIs, academicia from India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan including Ms. Nimalka Fernando from Sri Lanka, Ms. Sultana Kamal from Bangladesh and Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.
The workshop was concluded with strategy and action plan towards the advocacy on the regional human rights mechanism including agreement on forming informal working group from the South Asian Countries to work with the official SAARC.