The idea for the creation of the Centre was born out of the 12th Asian Regional Forum on Human Rights, which was held in Doha in March 2004. The then HR Commission welcomed the idea in 2005 and Resolution 153/60 for the “Establishment of the UN Human Rights Training Documentation Centre for South West Asia and the Arab Region was adopted in 2005. Resolution 153/60 welcomed “the initiative of the State of Qatar to host the” UN Centre, and emphasized that the Centre is “under the supervision of the” OHCHR and “with the mandate to undertake training and documentation activities according to international human rights standards and to support such efforts within the region by Governments, United Nations agencies and programmes, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations.” The Centre’s broad mandate has been further elaborated in the Host Country Agreement between OHCHR and the State of Qatar, which was signed in December 2008. Article V of the Host Country Agreement outlined the following functions for the Centre:
- Provide training on Universal Periodic Review (UPR), Treaty Bodies (TBs), and Legislative Harmonization;
- Development of Training manuals and training for trainer tools;
- Develop information and documentation Systems on human rights;
- Work with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs);
- Work with CSOs
- Raise Public Awareness on human rights;
- Develop training and documentation activities with regional and sub-regional organisations such as the LAS, OIC, GCC and the Union of Arab Maghreb States”;
- Develop and deliver training to UN agencies working in the region; and
- Advise States and non-governmental entities on human rights education programmes and appropriate professional training programmes.
The Centre, which was officially inaugurated by the High Commissioner in May 2009, completed its initial phase of establishment in 2010 and started it first full year of activities in 2011. The main objective of the Centre’s work is to strengthen human rights knowledge and skills in its areas of operations. In order to achieve the foregoing goals, the Centre has piloted the following programs:
- Annual regional training on UPR, Tb’s and Special Procedures;
- Annual Regional Training on the Human Rights Approach to Combatting Human Trafficking;
- Annual Regional Training on the Human Rights Approach to Media Coverage;
- Regional Follow-up Consultation on the implementation of the World Programme for Human Rights Education;
- Development of specialised Human Rights Programme in Higher Learning Institutions;
- The provision of technical support to National Human Rights Institutions (individually and through the existing Arab and GCC Networks); and
- The development of an advanced information gateway to basic and advanced human rights knowledge through website and through the provision of audio-visual and printed materials.
The Centre will also inaugurate its public website and an annual regional advanced human rights training for law-enforcement officials in 2012.