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OHCHR opens new offices

Agreements to open a country office in Mauritania and a regional office for South America in Chile, have strengthened the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to assist governments in the development and advocacy of their human rights programmes.

The UN Human Rights Office also signed an agreement with the Chile government for the creation of a regional South America office © OHCHR/ Ann SyuataIn New York, at a ceremony to sign the agreement establishing a country office in Mauritania, in the presence of Mauritania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mrs. Naha Mant Hamde Ould Mouknass, High Commissioner, Navi Pillay thanked the Government of Mauritania for its commitment to work with her Office. Pillay said she hoped the new country office would help strengthen national capacities for the promotion and protection of human rights. The focus in Mauritania will be on reform of the judiciary, women’s rights, the consequences of slavery, and the issue of impunity for crimes.

The regional office in Chile’s capital, Santiago, will support the governments of South America implement their international human rights obligations and promote the incorporation of human rights into national policies. The High Commissioner told the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mariano Fernández Amunátegui, as the agreement was signed, that it was a “true testament to the Government’s commitment to human rights and cooperation”.

The mandate of human rights regional offices extends beyond the borders of the country in which the office is based. The office in Santiago will focus on issues common in a number of South American countries – poverty, economic, social and cultural rights, discrimination and the fight against impunity. Pillay said the regional office; “will bring a new level of cooperation between her office and the countries of South America.”

1 October 2009