HE the Secretary-General and Acting Chairman of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, has called for rethinking governance and how to build more participatory and inclusive societies.
He was speaking at a virtual high-level panel discussion on the sidelines of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, hosted by Uruguay, on future challenges of participation, human rights, and governance.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet; Special Representative of the European Union for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore; Founder and Executive Director of Action for Justice and Human Rights in Liberia Satta Sheriff; member of UN Human Rights Committee and professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria Christoph Heinz, and attorney-general and Gambia’s Minister of Justice Dawda Jallow participated in the panel along with the sponsors from Argentina, Costa Rica, Korea and Ukraine.
The discussion was moderated by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kehris.
HE Dr al-Marri said the world is going through unprecedented times that pose many challenges which require adapting and rethinking the way the world used to deal with life itself, noting that human rights contribute constructively during the difficult times.
Human rights embody values that guide the way forward, including the importance of safety, dignity, decent living, fairness, freedom, equality, respect, well-being, and responsibility, he added.
He noted the necessity to implement many comprehensive and participatory processes at all levels, within the framework of the central elements to move forward in “our path, as well as a safe and conducive environment for those who have a role in promoting and defending human rights.”
He added that participation in public affairs is a human right.
Dr al-Marri stressed that sustainable development goals can only be achieved in the presence of a safe and conducive environment for participation in policy planning, implementation, and evaluation, pointing to the critical role of national human rights institutions in supporting countries to build bridges of more comprehensive and effective participation in their societies.
The secretary-general and acting chairman of GANHRI said that national institutions are an essential source for preserving democracy and civic space, such as independence, participation, inclusion, pluralism, and security.
He stressed the importance of ensuring that human rights are at the core of the new culture of governance shaped by the current changes.
HE Dr al-Marri noted that the UN General Assembly recently called on all countries to establish and strengthen national human rights institutions as a means to accelerate and ensure progress within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He explained that a comprehensive dialogue with governments about public policies, a safe environment for human rights defenders and independent media, as well as the availability of the necessary resources to ensure the existence and continuity of civil society organisations are essential requirements for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He said the GANHRI fully supports the mandate of the UN secretary-general and the work of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a coalition of national institutions at the global level.
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