Doha, May 25 (QNA) – The first UN human rights training and documentation centre for South-West Asia and the Arab region will be established in Qatar, it was announced yesterday.
The centre, a joint initiative between the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Qatari government will be declared open tomorrow by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs HE Ahmad bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud.
This will be followed by a two-day inaugural workshop with the theme: ‘A comprehensive vision of the United Nations human rights mechanisms’.
The centre will offer human rights training to government representatives, national human rights institutions, civil society and rights experts as well as UN staff members within the region.
It will have a comprehensive human rights reference library with publications and training material both in Arabic and English as well as other training facilities.
The project, being supported by the Gulf Co-operation Council, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Arab Regional Conference on National Human Rights Institutions and the Arab-Latin American States Summit, will cover the multi-sectoral training needs of 25 Arab and South-West Asian states.
Renaud Detalle, the acting head of the centre and a human rights officer, said at a press conference the aim of the project was to promote greater awareness and understanding of human rights and the international human rights system and to facilitate the sharing of the experience and practices.
He said the setting up of the centre in Doha was first announced in 2004 and the decision was later ratified by resolution A/60/153 of the UN General Assembly in 2005.
“The creation of the centre as an educational institution is very important because we believe that human rights is always based on education and people don’t tend to know their rights if they are not sufficiently informed,” Detalle said.
He stressed that the centre will work hand-in-hand with Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee, which is already one of the UN’s partners, in performing its functions of training, documentation of human rights issues as well as promoting human rights awareness in the region.
“The centre will not only ensure that international legislations are put in place, but will also encourage that the laws are translated into actions,” he said.
Asked if the centre will act as watchdog and prosecute human rights violators, Detalle said: “UN is a body known for raising concerns and always tackles issues through dialogue with affected governments or bodies and the fact that we opened the centre here does not stop our mediating role in issues affecting the region.”
Present at the press conference yesterday was the director of Bureau of Human Rights within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Jassim al-Thani