Doha: (NHRC-23/06/2008): The sub-regional workshop called NHRIs and Human Rights Defenders for West Asian NHRIs jointly organized by NHRC, APF and ISHR opened at the Doha Millennium, Simsima Hall yesterday with opening speeches from NHRC secretary general, Dr. Ali Ben Smaikh al-Merry, Isabelle Scherer, Director of the International Services Organization for human rights and APF project manager, Suraina Pasha.
In his speech to the workshop, His Excellency the Secretary General welcome the participants wishing success for the forum aiming to assist key staff from NHRIs to understand the role and functions of human rights defenders and the international standards and mechanisms that protect their rights. H.E. also stated that the organizers have designated a number of highly qualified trainers to supervise and conduct the workshop. Dr. al-Merry particularly underlined the role of civil society institutions and the private sector, in supporting institutions on the national, regional and international levels to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
For her part, Ms Isabelle Scherer, stressed the importance of workshops and training courses in human rights, adding that the current workshop underway in Doha is the third of its kind organized by the International Service for Human Rights, which comes coinciding with the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also stressed the important role of civil society organizations in promoting the protection of human rights adding that cooperation between these institutions and non-governmental entities operating in different ways to disseminate the principles and goals is of vital importance to the cause of Human Rights goals.
For her part, Ms Suraina Pasha said that participants comprise representatives of up to 17 different institutions, including institutions from Afghanistan, Jordan, Palestine and Qatar. She added that human rights organizations have the capacity to blend easily with international norms. Suraina highly valued the contribution to the workshop by NHRC and the International Services Organization for human rights.
After a short break, the participants discussed in four consecutive sessions two of the major topics on the agenda: Human Rights and International Law, and, Human Rights Defenders. NHRC legal advisor, Mohammad Fuad led the discussions during the first session on Human Rights and International Law. While, Mr. Andrea Rocca and Ms Inmaculada Barcia led discussions on Human Rights defenders during the second and third sessions. The fourth and final session was devoted to assessment and evaluation.