The Charter is an Arab regional mechanism that regulate joint efforts among the countries of the region
The success of the Charter in achieving its noble objectives depends on the seriousness of Arab countries and Arab human rights organizations in dealing with it
Al-Jamali: the cooperation between the Arab Network and the Charter Committee is an honorable example and a model for Arab cooperation
Doha: 20 March 2019
The NHRC in cooperation with the Arab Network for National Institutions organized a seminar entitled “The Arab Charter for Human Rights” at the Mondrian Hotel in the presence of representatives of a number of government authorities and civil society organizations. In her opening speech, Ms. Maryam Bint Abdullah Al-Attiyah, Secretary General of the NHRC, stressed the importance of the Arab Charter on Human Rights as an Arab regional mechanism that regulates the joint efforts of the countries of the region in the field of protection of human rights. The Charter represents an official Arab consensus in the field of human rights and devotes specificity to the Arab region in light of the existence of a large number of international conventions concerned with the protection and recognition of all human rights and freedoms. The Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Committee pointed out the importance of promoting and protecting all rights for all individuals without discrimination and stressed the need to exert more efforts to lift all violations of human rights in the region.
Al Attiyah pointed out that the success of the Charter in achieving its noble objectives depends on the seriousness of the Arab States and Arab human rights organizations in dealing with it, and the need for changes in laws and practices to be in line with the provisions of the Charter as well as the seriousness and credibility of discussions on state reports on the human rights situation before the Charter Committee. Al-Attiyah called on Arab governments to show willingness to reopen the debate to amend some of the provisions of the Charter, which are clearly contrary to international standards to achieve the desired goals.
Mr. Sultan bin Hassan Al-Jamali, Executive Director of the Arab Network of National Human Rights Institutions, said that defending and protecting human rights and freedoms, and working hard to promote and protect them, is one of the noblest goals of national human rights institutions, stressing the network’s keenness to extend cooperation with all the actors in the Arab region, especially the Arab Human Rights Committee (the Charter Committee). In this context, the Arab Network signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Charter Committee to provide mutual support to NHRIs in all areas of human rights, including the exchange of experiences and best practices, and raising the capacity of national human rights institutions in the Arab world. Al Jamali added that this cooperation came within the context of the implementation of the strategic plan of the network and its operational plan for activating cooperation with regional and international organizations, as well as strengthening the capacities of national institutions to develop their work.
Al-Jamali pointed out that the memorandum of understanding developed cooperation with the Charter, and said: “Before the signing of the memorandum of understanding, we organized the Arab Conference for the Development of the Human Rights System at the League of Arab States” on June 3-4, 2013, in Doha in cooperation with the National Human Rights Committee in the State of Qatar. Among the recommendations of the conference was developing the Arab Charter on Human Rights through the development of additional protocols, including human rights issues such as: violence against women, prevention of torture, economic, social and cultural rights, human rights defenders, protection of journalists and media workers, refugees, forced disappearance, transitional justice, persons with disabilities, especially during wars and conflicts.
Al-Jamali explained that the network’s cooperation with the Charter Committee dealt with several other aspects, such as building and raising capacities, enabling institutions to cooperate with the Charter mechanism, attending its meetings and following up on its recommendations, pointing out that one of the outcomes of this cooperation is that several member institutions of the Arab network submitted parallel reports to the Charter Committee. Al-Jamali extends his thanks to the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar for its cooperation with the network, expressing the hope that this cooperation and support for the Arab Network will continue in the framework of achieving its goal of promoting, developing and protecting human rights in the Arab region.
During the seminar, Mr. Ghaffar Al-Ali, legal adviser at the Arab Network, reviewed the history of the Arab Charter on Human Rights while Col. Saad Salim Al-Dosari, Assistant Director of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of the Interior, addressed a working paper on the engagement of the department with the mechanisms of the Arab charter. In this context, Mr. Jaber Al-Huwail, Vice-Chairman of the Arab Human Rights Committee (Charter Committee) addressed the mechanisms of selecting the members of the Charter Committee, their functions and the working mechanisms of the Committee. For her part, Ms. Hala Mousa, legal expert of the National Human Rights Committee, presented a working paper on the interaction of the National Human Rights Committee in the State of Qatar with the mechanism of the Arab Charter.