The Regional Office for Central America was established in Panama City, Panama, following the signature of an agreement between OHCHR and the Government of Panama on 15 February 2007.
The Regional Office for Central America covers the following countries: Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize and Honduras. In Central America the OHCHR has country office in Guatemala and a Human Rights Adviser in Nicaragua. Over the course of 2010, a Human Rights Adviser will start working in Honduras as well.
The Office works with governments, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations to promote and protect human rights. UN regional offices, also based in Panama, and UN country teams are key partners. In the previous biennium, the Office introduced human rights training-of-trainers sessions for UN country teams and organized regional seminars to disseminate the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These seminars led to the establishment of follow-up activities at country level.
The thematic priorities of the Regional Office for Central America for the biennium 2010-2011 are:
- Pursuing economic, social and cultural rights inan effort to combat inequalities and poverty,including in the context of the economic and foodcrises, with a focus on indigenous rights and theright to food;
- Countering discrimination, with a focus on indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants;
- Protecting human rights in the context of responses to violence and insecurity;
- Combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law, with a focus on violence against women;
Expected Accomplishments 2010-2011:
- Increase number of countries in the region that have ratified the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, by organizing workshops and discussions for relevant authorities in cooperation with national human rights institutions, UN partners and civil society organizations.
- Increase integration of human rights standards and principles into the UN Pan-American Alliance for Nutrition and Development initiative and UN country teams’ programmes in the region, especially in relation to the right to food and indigenous rights. Planned activities include organizing a “training-of-trainers” workshop for UN country teams, and activities to promote the UN Development Group guidelines on indigenous peoples. These activities will be implemented in cooperation with the Regional Office for South America.
- Increase use of international human rights protection systems and standards by key indigenous and Afro-descendants’ organizations, including in drafting alternative reports to treaty bodies, and by organizing capacity-building and awareness-raising activities in cooperation with the UN Inter-agency Regional Working Group on Indigenous Issues, chaired by OHCHR.
- Increase number of national human rights institutions using international human rights standards and commitments relating to the rights of Afro-descendants, especially the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action and the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, in their monitoring activities. To this end, the Office will provide technical advice and undertake capacity-building initiatives.
- Greater integration of a human rights approach into the proposals of the System for the Integration of Central America in relation to security. OHCHR will advocate and provide technical advice for the implementation of the recommendations of the report on citizen security and human rights.
- Increase number of measures adopted to improve the investigation, prosecution and reparation of femicide and other forms of violence against women. In cooperation with the Salvadorian Institute for Women, the Office of the Ombudsman, and civil society organizations, OHCHR will use the recommendations of treaty bodies and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women to raise awareness among relevant authorities.
- Greater implementation of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review, by providing technical advice on best practices, including inter-ministerial mechanisms tasked with establishing a plan of action for follow-up.