The President of India, Droupadi Murmu will inaugurate the Biennial Conference of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) of Asia Pacific on 20th September, 2023, at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It is being organized by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India, in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) on September 20 – 21, 2023. The Asia Pacific Forum will also hold its 28th Annual General Meeting on 20th September, 2023 to discuss the issues of common interest to member countries. In the conference, more than 1,300 plus delegates from India and abroad are likely to participate.
The conference will be attended by Heads, members and senior officials of the National Human Rights Institutions of 23 countries and 5 observer countries along with representatives from the Union and state governments, State Human Rights Commissions, Special Rapporteurs, Monitors, various institutions involved in the protection and promotion of human rights in the country, members of civil society and NGOs, human right defenders, lawyers, jurists, academicians, diplomats, representatives of UN agencies, academic institutions, etc. Earlier, in 2002 and 2014, such an AGM of Asia Pacific Forum and conference was held in India.
On 21st September, 2023, the Biennial Conference will mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR). It will also celebrate 30 years of National Human Rights Institutions and the Paris Principles, with a sub-theme on the environment and climate change.
During the conference, three plenary sessions on the themes ‘Setting the Scene – 30 Years of Promoting and Protecting Human Rights across Asia and the Pacific’; ‘Advancing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its Promise of Freedom, equality, and Justice for All’; and ‘The role of NHRIs in responding to and mitigating the human rights impacts of climate change-national, regional, and international actions’, will be held. The Biennial Conference also aims to provide an opportunity for sharing good practices to support communities to respond to human rights impacted by climate change.
A separate session on ‘Business and Human Rights’ will also be held in partnership with UNDP, which will be attended by the representatives of business and industry, workers organizations and associations, various ministries, departments, statutory organizations, UN agencies, human rights defenders, NGOs, etc. In this session issues related with the human rights of workers in various businesses and professions will be discussed.
The Asia Pacific Forum of the NHRIs was founded in 1996 with the support of five NHRIs, including the NHRC, India, to promote the establishment of independent NHRIs in the Asia Pacific region and to support them in their work to promote and protect human rights as effectively as possible. From five founding members, the APF membership has expanded to 26 NHRIs.
The APF is one of the four regional NHRI networks, including Africa, NANHRI; Americas, RINDHCA; and Europe, ENNHRI, part of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). The NHRC, India, has been a valued partner of the APF as an independent and autonomous ‘A’ status NHRI, fully compliant with the Paris Principles. The year also marks 30 years of the existence of NHRC, India.
NHRC during its journey of 30 years, disposed of more than 22 lakh cases and payment of more than one billion rupees to the victims of human rights violations on its recommendations indicate the respect given by various government institutions and agencies to the decisions of the Commission. Several spot enquiries, open hearings and camp sittings covering the length and breadth of the country, reviews and comments on many bills and legislations, conduct of several seminars, conferences and workshops, advisories, internships, research projects, more than 100 publications including monthly Newsletters, hundreds of media reports, engagements in international arena etc. bear the testimony of the multi-dimensional work of NHRC. The wok done in India to promote human rights and role of NHRC, India to protect and promote human rights, placing it uniquely in the comity of the NHRIs in the world.