Posted on January 15, 2016

HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani yesterday opened at Ritz-Carlton Hotel the conference on UNHCHR’s Role in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights in the Arab Region. The conference is organised by the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in co-operation with the Arab Network for National Human Rights Institutions (ANNHRI).

Speaking at the opening of the conference, NHRC Chairman Dr Ali bin Samikh al-Marri pointed to the serious threats the Arab region is facing. He said these threats have heavily affected the human rights situation in the region and the performance of civil society organisations and human rights organisations, and led to a significant decline in respect of human rights “in an unprecedented way and a manner that can’t be ignored or overlooked.” 

He said that the conference features a group of senior personalities who are interested in human rights - government representatives, representatives of parliaments and consultative councils, international and regional organisations, national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, research and studies centres, and a group of experts and international and Arab personalities. Dr al-Marri said that the conference reflects the belief in the important and significant role of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the protection and promotion of human rights in the world in general and the Arab region in particular and its crucial role in this regard. 

He expressed hope that the conference will be a suitable platform to exchange ideas and visions on how to support the development and strengthening of co-operation between the Arab government and non-government organisations in the field of human rights and the United Nations human rights system, led by the high commissioner, the exchange of lessons learned and good practices, discussing mechanisms of a common understanding on some priorities of the human rights, and supporting the commission’s efforts to promote and protect them in the Arab region. 

The NHRC chairman stressed that the international community must put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people and stand firmly against Israel’s gross violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. He called for putting an end to the killing, displacement and starvation of the Arab people in Yemen and Syria, highlighting in this context the siege of the city of Taiz in Yemen and the town of Madaya near Damascus. He added that the promotion and respect of human rights is first a responsibility of states and second a moral, legitimate and constitutional demand, stressing the role of the high commissioner in enhancing and protecting human rights. 

Dr al-Marri stressed the importance of employing more Arab expertise and cadres at the office of the high commissioner and providing opportunities of training and grants for Arab youth, calling on Arab governments to provide more support to make Arabic a working language in human rights mechanisms and develop the Arabic edition of the commission’s website.

source: Gulf Times

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