Doha, April 20, 2010: (Agencies) – Under the Patronage of H.E. Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani , the first Gulf Forum of National Human Rights institutions kicked off at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Tuesday and is to run for two days.
Opening the forum, Dr. Ali Bin Smaikh Al Merry, NHRC Chairman expressed heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to H.E. the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani for patronizing the forum held at a time the world community accords much attention to human rights and relevant institutions working in the field as per the well-known criteria and international principles.
In his address, Al Merri reviewed the prime importance of human rights at the international level for their prime value for the welfare and dignity of all people.
In a keynote speech, UN high commissioner for human rights Navanethem Pillay said that by establishing the UN centre in Doha, NHRC ensures its commitment and readiness to co-operate and engage with the countries of the region, in order to further reinforce the efforts of promotion and protection of human rights.
The official observed that the workshop represented a milestone in the efforts to establish “Paris Principles compliant”? National human rights institutions in the GCC states. “Compliance with Paris Principles is not only a worthwhile goal, but also an achievable one,” she said.
Pillay explained that the forum aimed at offering practical examples on how national human rights institutions, in compliance with Paris Principles, carried out their mandate to promote and protect all human rights.
The opening session was also addressed by Mr. Hamad Bin Rashid al-Marry of the GCC secretariat, who read a speech on behalf of the GCC Secretary General, H.E. the GCC Secretary General who stressed the importance of human rights as an Islamic and Quranic value. He also drew attention to a decision adopted by the 30th GCC summit in Kuwait in December 2009 which called for the establishment of a Gulf Civil Independent Human Rights Body.
At the end of the session, H.E. NHRC Chairman presented the UN high commissioner for human rights Navanethem Pillay with a souvenir present on the occasion of her visit to the country and her participation in the Forum.
Field operations and technical co-operation division office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Anders Kompass noted that according to the Paris Principles, approved in 1993, the national human rights institutions should be as broad as possible, covering both promotion and protection of human rights.
He said that this type of institutions must be able to develop relationships with relevant non-governmental organizations and maintain consultation with other similar bodies.
The forum, organized by Qatar National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Centre for Studies and Documentation of human rights for South West Asia in the Arab region, brings together representatives of the gulf and global parties and organizations concerned with human rights affairs.
The two-day Forum, held under the theme (Promotion and Protection of Human Rights … Challenges, Achievements and Aspirations), is aimed at establishing a Gulf network for human rights institution, support human rights institutions in the region and encourage the setting up of national institutions for human rights in countries that do not have these organizations.