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ANNI Regional Conference 2018

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ANNI Regional Conference 2018

Tuesday-Wednesday, 18-19 September 2018

Hong Kong


The Asian NGO Network on National Human Rights Institutions (ANNI), established in December 2006, is a network of Asian NGOs and human right defenders working on issues relating to or with national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in their respective countries. It advocates for the strengthening of Asian NHRIs to better promote and protect human rights, as well as to advocate for their improved compliance with international standards. In countries where there are no NHRIs, ANNI, together with its members and partners, work with key stakeholders to advocate for the establishment of an independent and effective NHRI.

Every year, ANNI holds a conference which aims at discussing issues relevant to improving the work and functioning of NHRIs, as well as fostering dialogue and partnership with relevant stakeholders. This year, ANNI Conference will be held in parallel to the 23rdAnnual General Meeting (AGM) of the Asia Pacific Forum of NHRIs (APF). During the AGM, ANNI representatives will be present at the NHRI-NGO Dialogue session; an opportunity for ANNI to advocate for its main priorities and deepen ANNI’s continued engagement with the APF and NHRIs.

This year’s ANNI Conference will focus on the 25th anniversary of the Paris Principles, a set of international standards that serve as a guide line for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). Since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, the Paris Principles has a significant role in reflecting on the NHRIs’ legitimacy and credibility. It defines the roles, composition, status and functions of NHRIs with its six main criteria requiring the NHRIs to have independence, broad human rights mandate, adequate funding, adequate power of investigation, and transparent and inclusive selection and appointment process with a concern over pluralism.

ANNI has overseen that there are challenges for NHRIs to effectively promote and protect human rights according to the criteria set out in the Paris Principles. The key challenge is the legal and political landscape that may influence the independent operation of NHRIs or halt the process of their establishment. Structural problems, functional deficiencies as well as lack of adequate mechanisms for enforcement of human rights are also part of the challenges.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) usually experience some forms of intimidation and harassments which require the states to take urgent actions. As the institution which is the only national human rights mechanism which can be perceived as ‘defenders of the defenders’, NHRIs are required to protect HRDs and WHRDs and respond effectively in a timely manner, especially for those who are at risks. However, all those aforementioned challenges regarding NHRIs can prevent HRDs and WHRDs to have their voices heard and their cases being investigated. The particular challenges lie within the environment where the NHRIs operate in.

Given the primary objective of ANNI is to strengthen and promote the role of NHRIs towards better respect and protection of human rights in Asia, it is important for ANNI to revisit the Paris Principles and General Observations on the occasion of the 25thanniversary of the Paris Principles and particularly address on how NHRIs can effectively work on the protection of HRDs and WHRDs. The role of NHRIs on the protection of HRDs and WHRDs will also be the theme of the 13thInternational Conference of Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in October 2018.