Doha: (NHRC: Intercontinental Hotel: 29/5/2010)-GULF TIMES: A workshop on ‘Peaceful Settlement of Conflicts and Democratic Transition’ started in Doha yesterday with a call for “closer co-operation” based on mutual respect among governments and civil society organisations.
The two-day event has been organised by the Qatar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), the Arab Democracy Foundation (ADF) and the US and Canadian ministries of foreign affairs.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Follow-up Affairs Mohamed Abdullah al-Rumaihi told the gathering that the workshop was a precursor to the “Doha Forum for the Future” scheduled to be held in December with joint Qatari-Canadian participation.
NHRC chairman Ali bin Sumaikh al-Marri said that peaceful settlement of conflicts had become one of the most essential values of human rights.
He said that conflicts of all natures put human rights at risk, particularly if they led to wars where the lives of people were threatened.
Al-Marri said democratic transition was one of the clearest types of peaceful settlements of political conflicts.
The NHRC chairman added that civil society organisations could play a major role in ensuring peace by acting as mediators in negotiations or initiating peace moves.
He highlighted Qatar’s policies that encouraged peaceful settlement of conflicts and without intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.
Representing the NGOs, ADF secretary general, Dr Mohsen Marzouk, told the delegates that Arab governments should be involved in the democratic reforms.
“The (Arab) governments should establish a new type of relation with the NGOs based on dialogue instead of suspicion.”
The ADF official said: “We don’t criticise anybody for the sake of criticism or absolute opposition but we witness (governmental) practices that we can never accept. Wherever there are positive things, we will point them out as well.”
Bob Paquin of the Canadian Foreign Ministry, said the key to the success of the forum was to ensure that regional participants, both governments and civil society, were full partners and said “my country will continue to pursue dialogue with the countries of the region.”
Paquin said: “The values that Canadians share have taken my countrymen to the far corners of the earth, where we have worked hard to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
The Canadian official said: “Discussions on issues like democratic governance and conflict resolution are of central concern to Canada and so we greatly look forward to the outcome of this workshop.”