Great Lakes Region 2010 - 2011
A Regional Human Rights Adviser (RHRA) was deployed to support the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) for the implementation of the human rights dimension of the Pact for Stability, Security and Development. A major aspect of the RHRA’s work is to translate the 7 associated Protocol related to human rights into national laws of the signatory countries. The RHRA is focusing in particular on the Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence Against Women and Children, the Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons as well as the Protocol for the Prevention and the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination.
Human Rights context
The Great Lakes Region continues to suffer from a complex and interconnected set of challenges. These include weak governance and democracy, monopolization of political power by individuals or ethnic groups, widespread corruption, and deepening poverty. Many of these problems are regional in nature and have contributed to a spread of localized conflicts beyond national borders that continue to affect negatively on the realization of human rights.
In addition, some of the main human rights challenges faced by the countries in the region include sexual violence, the inadequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returning populations, the illegal exploitation of natural resources, wide spread poverty and social inequality, widespread impunity and the absence of adapted transitional justice mechanisms and weak institutional and human capacity in the administration of justice and more generally in public service provision.
The ICGLR is an inter-governmental organization of the countries in the African Great Lakes Region. Its establishment was based on the recognition that political instability and conflicts in these countries have a considerable regional dimension and thus require a concerted effort in order to promote sustainable peace and development. The organization is composed of eleven member states, namely: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
In December 2006, the Heads of state and government of the ICGLR member states adopted the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. The Pact includes 10 Protocols and 4 programmes of action with 33 priority projects covering four areas of activity: peace and security, democracy and good governance, economic development and regional integration, and human, social and environmental issues. It entered into force in June 2008.
The objectives of the RHRA in 2011 were as follows:
- Strengthen the capacity of UN country teams in countries of the region and the ICGLR to deal with human rights and their integration into programming, especially the rights of IDPs and returning populations, the combat against sexual violence, the prevention of genocide, economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and exploitation of natural resources and the fight against impunity in close collaboration with ICGLR. Notably, the RHRA supported the ICGLR in setting up its regional Committee on the Prevention of Genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and all forms of discrimination which was approved by the Heads of States Summit in Lusaka on 15 December 2010.
- Facilitate the development of joint programmes aimed at supporting the work of national, regional and international partners in strengthening national systems for the protection and promotion of human rights, especially during the pre- and post-election process.
- Foster collaboration and sharing of knowledge and experience among UN country teams and the National Coordination Mechanisms of ICGLR in the region.
- Support the implementation of the human rights dimension of the Security, Stability and Development Pact of the Great Lakes Region and the programme activities of the ICGLR.
The RHRA will continue to strengthen the human rights capacity of the UN country teams in the core countries and help establish a regional UNCT cooperation network.
The priorities for the 2012-2013 can be summarised as follows:
- To strengthen the UN country teams capacity to integrate human rights into their analysis, plans and programs, involving also national partners and foster a network of UN country teams to facilitate the exchange of experiences between countries and promote consultations on issues of common interest related to human rights.
- To continue to support the UN System in the Great Lakes Region and foster regional cooperation to address common challenges faced in strengthening human rights in the region and support the implementation of the human rights dimension of the regional projects and protocols of the ICGLR, especially the Regional Center on Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education and the regional human rights observatory, the prevention of genocide, the combat against illegal exploitation of resources, the rights of IDPs and the combat against sexual violence.