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OHCHR - National Institutions, Regional Mechanisms and Civil Society Section(NRC) ,and Regional Office for East Africa; together with the African Union Commission on Women, Gender and Development Directorate and the AU Department of Citizens and Diaspora Organizations organized a Regional Consultation on Cooperation between UN, African regional and Sub-Regional Mechanisms, civil society and NHRIs on the 8 July 2016,in Kigali , Rwanda.

This was a specific panel discussion held in the context of the African Union (AU) High Level panel on Gender , equality and women’s empowerment (9-10 July 2016), that was opened by Ms. Zuma, the Chairperson of the AU Commission. The HR Adviser in Rwanda, Mr. Chris Mburu, delivered OHCHR opening statement followed by presentations from UN Experts, including the SR on Slavery; regional and sub-regional African human rights mechanisms including: the AU Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders; the ECOWAS Court, The East African Court of Justice ; NHRIs. African Ministers, Members of Parliament; and civil society organizations, also participated in the discussions that focused on key human rights challenges in the region, the situation of human rights defenders in general and in particular women human rights defenders, and enhancing regional and international cooperation in the protection and promotion of human rights.

Women’s rights organizations and NHRIs were encouraged to use the UN and regional mechanisms for the protection of their rights, including by bringing cases and providing amicus briefs to regional courts and mechanisms. Cooperation between all mechanisms in follow up of recommendations addressed to state parties was also a key area of discussion.