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National Human Rights Institutions in Gulf region

High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in compliance with international standards are “a unique and valuable part of the international human rights system.”

Qatar government officials and participants in a two-day workshop in the Gulf region © National Human Rights Committee of Qatar photo

Pillay, who is currently on a ten-day six-country mission to the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, told a regional workshop in Doha, Qatar, on 20 April that her Office places a high priority on the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs in compliance with the Paris Principles.

The effective functioning of a NHRI, as spelled out in the Paris Principles, requires “independence, pluralism, accessibility and functional autonomy.”

  • “Due to their unique mandate, which can include advising a government on its international obligations, reviewing legislation and administrative practices, monitoring the national human rights situation, and responding to human rights violations, these institutions act as an important ‘bridge’ within society as well as with regional and international fora,” said the High Commissioner.

“I hope this workshop will mark the beginning of a process which will lead to the successful establishment of independent and accredited National Human Rights Institutions in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. They will then be fully equipped to join the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar in its important efforts to promote and protect human rights in the region.

“I believe that when, in a few years time, all six of the GCC states have effective ‘A’ status National Human Rights Institutions, everyone will experience tangible benefits, because such institutions can have an immeasurably positive impact on the entire fabric of nations,” she said.

Read the full statement

22 April 2010