Ombudspersons from across the globe gathered to discuss current human rights challenges

Geneva, 23 March 2016 – Valeriya Lutkovska, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, and other representatives from over 100 national human rights institutions (NHRIs) met for their Annual Conference.

12321333 1051116674954778 9179724797963298175 nThe Conference was hosted by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) – formerly known as the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection for Human Rights (ICC) – in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

It featured discussions on the role of NHRIs in conflict and post conflict situations – with presentation from the NHRI of Ukraine; protecting refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and displaced persons and the roles of NHRIs; adopting human rights-based approach to confronting violations with focus on intolerance, racism, and xenophobia.

1474610 1005948216144875 2716485177081917279 nIn her statement, the Ukrainian Ombudsperson drew attention of the participants to the fact that the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has an extremely negative impact on human rights in the country.

"In October 2015, with the support of UNDP, GANHRI, and its European networks, we organized the International Conference on the Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations. Over 20 NHRIs from conflict or post-conflict countries gathered in Kyiv to discuss how national institutions should act in the most challenging circumstances. Sometimes, we can really do more than official authorities, as we are more flexible in our actions with primary focus on people, their rights, and freedoms. Therefore, we can act beyond our functions and powers defined by the legislation," summed up Valeriya Lutkovska.

12294687 1051116618288117 4862694094123988916 nDuring the session, the Ombudsperson presented the Kyiv Declaration adopted at the conference in October 2015. This important document provides for the principles of activities of the national institutions in challenging conflict and post-conflict periods, as well as safeguards of their independence and freedom from any interference or prosecution. Afghanistan, Egypt, Georgia, Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland also shared experience related to their efforts in difficult conditions.

Conflicts in different regions of the world, first and foremost, negatively affect observation of human rights. Ombudspersons' activities under similar circumstances call for tailored solutions and support of the international community, since the main objective of all NHRIs is to focus exclusively on humanitarian aspects of the defense of human rights.

The participation of the Ukrainian Ombudsperson in this event is a result of consistent support of the Ombudsperson's initiative on protecting human rights in armed conflicts by UNDP's Strengthening Capacities of the Office of the Ombudsperson Project.