National Consultation Conference on Establishing South Asian Human Rights Mechanism
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
28, January 2014
Kabul Conference is held in relation and building up earlier steps namely as Kathmandu 2010 and 2011; New Delhi 2012; and Dhaka 2012 following the same track about the need for establishing regional human rights mechanism in the South Asia. The conference has been held on 28 January in Kabul-Afghanistan chaired by Dr. Sima Samar, attended by Hina Jilani and Subodh Raj Pyakurel Task Force members for the Regional Initiative for South Asian Human Rights Mechanism and Gayatri Khandhadai- South Asia Program Officer at Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). In addition, representatives from ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defence of Afghanistan; Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commissioners and staff members; CSOs representatives from across the country; representative from Indian, Pakistan and Iran embassies; and members from UN agencies such as UNDP and UNAMA attended the said conference. Number of participants who represented above said institutions reaches 110 persons.
Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the AIHRC inaugurated the Conference and gave a comprehensive speech, in a part she said as such, “existing common challenges and problems in the region are potential rationales for establishing regional human rights mechanism; and meanwhile available opportunities should be utilized for strengthening the regional cooperation”.
Deputy Minister of Ministry of Justice and Director of Human Rights Regional Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated the need for having such a mechanism in terms of protecting and promoting human rights in the region. Further, they assure about Afghan government support as member of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for the said objective.
Dr. Sima Samar and Task Force members who have come from India, Nepal and Pakistan talked in details about the origin and need for the South Asian Human Rights Mechanism. They stressed that the mechanism will address common and shared human rights issues in the region. In addition, civil society members and human rights activities reiterated the need for South Asian Human Rights Mechanism and its efficiency in tackling human rights issues and concerns.
Participants of the Conference discussed human rights situation and issues in the region; and after inclusive debates and group work; they have concluded in full agreement with government and civil society members as below:
Reiterating that South Asian Human Rights Mechanism it self will enhance political will in the region and respective States will more adhere to national and international human rights norms standards;
Recalling the pledge of all South Asian States for greater integration and co-operation;
Recognizing the rationale and urging need for a regional human rights mechanism for South Asia;
Resolving to advocate for greater support for the creation of an independent, effective and efficient regional mechanism in South Asia;
Proposing that the Task Force should form and formulate platforms that ensure regular contacts with respective ministry of foreign affairs and the idea of “Regional Initiative for South Asia Human Rights Mechanism” to be include in upcoming SAARC summit.
Noting in particular that “South Asia Human Rights Mechanism” will provide broader adherence of States and address common human rights issues/concerns including human trafficking, protection of the human rights of migrants and migrant workers, violence against women and children, people with disability rights, violation emerged from the corruption and drug trafficking and living environment issues.
Reaffirming the essential role of CSOs and human rights defenders in term of establishing, effectiveness, sustainability and advocating for South Asia Human Rights Mechanism;
Reaffirming that South Asia Human Rights Mechanism will further enhance relationships between the countries in the region; and create confidence between the States and people in the region;
Proposing that the intended mechanism should develop monitoring methods to places of deprivation of liberty in respective countries; and work to this end with governments in the region;
Reaffirming democracy is further strengthened via transparent elections; and electoral process monitoring mechanisms are in place by NHRIs and CSOs;
Reiterating that poverty restricts people’s enjoyment of their human rights, economical dynamisms are interrelated and can affect social-economical situation, South Asia Human Right Mechanism will contribute in harmony via providing specific recommendations to end poverty and improve economic situation;
Resolving a network of human rights defenders/professionals and CSO members is established to follow up, advocate and determine upcoming steps on national level towards establishing South Asia Human Rights Mechanism (names and contact details will be added soon);
Done in Kabul- Afghanistan on 28January 2014