Today I launched with my colleague, Dr. Par Engstrom at UCL, a new research project website ‘National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Implementation of UPR Recommendations Relating to Torture Prevention’ which can be accessed here:
The purpose of this research project, which began in August 2011, is to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs in Latin America – Defensorías del Pueblo, Procuradurías y Comisiones de los Derechos Humanos – to engage with the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council to promote State implementation of international torture prevention standards (CAT and OP-CAT). NHRIs as torture prevention mechanisms are well-placed to ensure better understanding of local context, monitor follow-up and facilitate implementation of CAT obligations and their role is increasingly recognised within UN structures. This project was initially made possible by a grant from the Human Rights and Democracy Programme of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The project has a number of objectives, including:
- Establish networks among NHRI and government officials, local civil society organisations and external stakeholders within the UN and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights focused on implementation of international torture prevention standards.
- Creation of a multimedia dissemination tool to facilitate regular communication of NHRIs and stakeholders and enhance transparency and exposure.
- Publication of a declaration based on Buenos Aires workshop held in December 2011, including specific action points for NHRIs on implementation of UPR recommendations relating to international torture prevention standards and State obligations under CAT and OPCAT.
The website highlights the important work of NHRIs in Latin America in the area of torture prevention and their engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process. It is also intended as an information ‘wiki-resource’ and toolkit for project stakeholders and those with a scholarly and/or professional interest in the work of NHRIs in Latin America and elsewhere. Towards this end, we will continue to build the website and would be extremely grateful for any electronic documentation, resources or news items that your organisation could contribute to enrich website content.
In addition to the website launch, we also issued the finalized Buenos Aires Meeting Declaration:
We believe it does justice to the impressive substance and quality of debate we enjoyed in Buenos Aires last December.
Looking ahead, the website will provide a venue for updates on new developments, events and announcements by NHRIs, project stakeholders, and partner institutions and we hope you will stay connected.