National Human Rights Institutions adopt joint Declaration in Kyiv

Kyiv, 22 October 2015 – Over 100 representatives from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), leaders, human rights experts, and civic activists came together in Ukraine to sign and adopt a new declaration calling for a stronger role of NHRIs in conflict and post-conflict settings.

20151022-sliderTitled Kyiv Declaration, the document is the outcome of the two-day international conference, organized by UNDP and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. The declaration reaffirms the important role of NHRIs in preventing conflict and ensuring respect for human rights and their protection in conflict-affected and fragile settings.
The conference brought together participants from as far away as Mexico and Iraq to share experiences related to human rights protection in conflict and post-conflict settings. Presentations came from Denmark, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Turkey, Croatia, Armenia, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, and Poland.
"The conference couldn't be timelier. Amid an ongoing armed conflict in the east, strengthening human rights protection is a major priority," said Valeriya Lutkovska, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Conference took place shortly after the 12th International Conference of NHRIs on the Sustainable Development Goals in Mexico, where world NHRIs adopted the Merida Declaration - The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Neal Walker
, Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative at UNDP Ukraine, lauded the importance of NHRIs to prevent conflict and ensure rights are respected and upheld in conflict situations.
"We are here at a pivotal time for development. Yet the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be fully achieved without the involvement of NHRIs," Mr. Walker said.
With its strong partnerships, including with the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) - the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) - UNDP Tripartite Partnership has supported more than 80 NHRIs worldwide.
In Ukraine, UNDP has been a long-standing and sustainable partner of the Ombudsperson. The partnership between the Ombudsperson's Office and UNDP intensified when the country, in 2014, entered a phase of societal upheaval, followed by a violent conflict in the eastern part of the country.
Isabelle Tschan, Human Rights and Rule of Law Advisor at the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub concluded: "Jointly with its partners, UNDP is committed to providing continued support to NHRIs in conflict situations. The Kyiv Declaration is only the beginning."
Check out the conference's behind the scenes video and story told in tweets.
Presentations of participants can be found here