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A cooperative approach to human rights

Around 200 delegates gathered in Geneva to explore ways of enhancing the cooperation between the UN human rights system and regional human rights mechanisms. The international workshop included representatives from the various regional human rights mechanisms, Governments, representatives from National Human Rights Institutions, non governmental organizations, academics, and independent regional and UN experts.

Geneva talks build cooperation between regional and international human rights bodies © OHCHRAddressing the delegates, Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said, “Regional human rights mechanisms have been instrumental in promoting respect for human rights in their geographical sphere of action… [and] make a valuable contribution to the implementation of international human rights instruments.”

The UN Charter provides for the involvement of regional arrangements in peace settlements and in dispute resolution. Pillay acknowledged in her remarks that much progress has been made in building and consolidating the relationships between regional and international human rights mechanisms. However, she said much remained to be done by finding more and better ways of sharing information, undertaking joint activities and working together to follow-up on decisions and recommendations to avoid duplication and fragmentation of efforts to protect and promote human rights.

Delegates proposed a number of ways to move forward: judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms should establish arrangements to better share their jurisprudence; mandate holders from international and regional human rights mechanisms could consider more frequent joint visits and statements; and it was also proposed to expand the practice of issuing shared reports and coordinating follow up recommendations.

6 May 2010