DIHR participates in Arab-European Dialogue on Public Participation
[22-10-2012]On 9th-11th of October, representatives from the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) were in Algeria to organize and take part in the seventh annual meeting of the Arab-European Human Rights Dialogue (AEHRD).
Apart from the discussion on the main theme, participants also discussed a draft Code of Conduct proposed by the Steering Committee of the AEHRD. The Code of Conduct will be adopted at the next annual meeting of the AEHRD.
According to Programme Manager, Mu’ayyad Mehyar from the DIHR, this year’s meeting was characterized by the effort that was made by all participants to make recommendations that are very specific:
- We have learned to make specific, measurable, relevant, action oriented recommendations that focus on what the NHRIs should be doing, making it easier to follow up on the recommendations. If we make recommendations based on which effect should be achieved in society instead, it is difficult to see if the recommendations have had any effect, says Mu’ayyad Mehyar.
Topics for discussion
Among the topics for discussion were the integration of the AEHRD into the work of international and regional institutions, and the impact of internet and social media on public participation. Internet and social media have played an important role in providing information and mobilizing the public, especially during times of transition. This has underlined the importance of the right to access to a free flow of information.
An important topic in the discussion was how to make sure that free speech does not lead to incitement of hatred and intolerance amongst groups in society.
The participants also discussed how to ensure pluralistic representation in the governing bodies of NHRI’s. This is necessary if the NHRIs are to ensure support in their communities, Mu’ayyad Mehyar explains:
- If NHRIs are to succeed in furthering human rights in their respective countries, it is important that they gain the trust of many groups within their countries. Thus, it is important that NHRIs are not seen to be dominated by certain groups within the population, nor to be controlled by the government. This is especially important to consider in those Arab countries currently in transition, says Mu’ayyad Mehyar.
The Arab-European Human Rights Dialogue (AEHRD) was established in 2005 by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) in cooperation with the National Centre for Human Rights in Jordan. In 2008, the, then, Moroccan Advisory Council on Human Rights ( now the Moroccan National Human Rights Council) joined the secretariat and took a leading role in consolidating the Dialogue in the Arab Northern African countries. In 2010, the German Institute for Human Rights joined the Secretariat concluding the formation of the AEHRD Quartet. Currently the AEHRD is a network of Arab and European National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) comprising 21 member organizations and observer member organizations; 14 NHRIs as member organizations, seven of which are coming from the Arab World and Seven others are coming from Europe, in addition to two European Equality Bodies, two Research Institutions, two EU institutions, three UN agencies and the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Network.
The Arab-European Human Rights Dialogue is a process that is designed to promote the understanding, functionality and capacity of Arab and European National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) vis-a-vis their mandate in accordance with the UN Paris Principles and strengthen their role in promoting universal human rights with members committed to the UN Paris Principles and the universality and indivisibility of human rights.. This goal will be achieved, first, by enhancing participants' ability to make informed decisions and secondly, by building human rights capacity through partnerships and cooperation on common cross-cutting human rights issues, such as Access to Information, Counterterrorism, Non-Discrimination, Migration, Women's Rights, Torture and Rule of Law and Public Participation, as well as by sharing experiences and building consensus on human rights issues facing individuals and states at both the regional and inter-regional levels.
The AEHRD has so far organized seven High-Level meetings and a number of project and working group meetings to discuss human rights issues and concerns ranging from access to information, counterterrorism measures, discrimination, migration, and women’s rights and gender equality”, Torture and Rule of Law and Role of NHRIs in countries in Transition.
The Dialogue develops recommendations that set out a common framework for standards, action and inspiration to member NHRIs within the Dialogue themes. The Dialogue meetings are open and frank and focus on establishing inspiration, common expectations, standards, action and best practices