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Speech by H.E. Joaquín Maza Martelli at High Level Opening of Global Alliance of NHRIs' 2017 Annual Conference

8 March 2017

Madame Chairperson,
Mr. High Commissioner,
Mr. Deputy Assistant Administrator of UNDP,
Distinguished Representatives of National Human Rights Institutions,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish to thank Chairperson Dr. Beate Rudolf for the invitation to be here this morning. It is indeed an honour and a pleasure for me to address you during this opening of the GANHRI 2017 Annual Conference.

Allow me first to wish all of you a very happy international women's day. On this occasion, I wish to encourage all of you to commit yourselves to supporting and protecting of the rights of women everywhere.

NHRIs make a unique and fundamental contribution to the work of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.

Given their broad human rights mandate under the Paris Principles, NHRIs can provide the Human Rights Council with first hand reliable and transparent information, which helps the Council better understand the human rights situation at national level. Through their monitoring and reporting functions, NHRIs can document indicators of potential and emerging crises and report to the Council for its attention and action, which, in the context of prevention, is greatly useful for human rights compliance efforts.

At country level, NHRIs can support the Council's work in following up on its recommendations, including by offering advice to states on the implementation of recommendations and serving as a platform for dialogue among stakeholders.

The value of NHRIs' contributions to the work of the Human Rights Council has been recognised by the Council, including most recently in Council resolution 33/15 on National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, adopted last September 2016.

Together with civil society, NHRIs play a complementary role as early warning mechanisms in support of the Human Rights Council's mandate to promote and protect human rights as well as prevent human rights violations from occurring in the first place.

Given their investigative and monitoring mandates under the Paris Principles, NHRIs are often the beholders of relevant information, including indicators of emerging crisis or violations. And information drives us to search for the truth and, consequently, objective solutions.

The Human Rights Council, through its resolutions on the role of prevention in the promotion and protection of human rights, has stressed that ensuring the existence of a strong and independent NHRIs in accordance with the Paris Principles is an essential part of promoting a

For NHRIs to effectively take up such role, they must be vested with sufficient resources - including financial and human resources - and benefit from capacity building, in order to ensure that they can carry out the necessary activities for the prevention of human rights violations and continue working towards building peaceful and just societies. And the existence of an internal legal framework that allows for the full realization of their objectives to develop and protect human rights is essential.

I cannot conclude these remarks without emphasizing the importance of the work of NHRIs to prevent and address cases of reprisals against human rights defenders. I also acknowledge that NHRIs themselves face reprisals for their work. I assure you that as President of the Human Rights Council, I place great importance on preventing and addressing reprisals and intimidation, and I will make great effort to ensure that NHRIs, along with all other human rights defenders, can safely carry out their work in the Council.

GANHRI plays a valuable role in supporting NHRIs in their indispensable work, and I commend the Association for proving a platform for continued cooperation, capacity building and sharing of experiences among NHRIs, which undoubtedly benefits human rights.

I wish all of you a fruitful and successful Annual Conference.

Thank you.