Human Rights organizations and Arab Human Rights Committee engage in constructive dialogue

21/10/2009
Press release

Cairo- October 15th- Four international and regional non-governmental organizations (NGOs) met with the newly formed Arab Human Rights Committee in the Headquarters of the League of Arab States.

Representatives of Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Arab Organization for Human Rights and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies welcome this first opportunity for constructive dialogue with the Arab Human Rights Committee.

The Chair and members of the Committee stressed the importance of dialogue between the Committee and NGOs, committed to hold similar meetings with NGOs in the future in every session of the Committee, and highlighted their appreciation to the expertise that the NGOs have in working with other treaty bodies, which the Committee wishes to benefit from.

In the meeting the four NGOs highlighted a number of issues including:
the importance of securing systematic access for NGOs to the Arab Human Rights Committee based on clearly and publicly stated procedures;
the role NGOs will have in assisting the committee in its work by providing expert advice, preparing country briefings and the wide dissemination of the Committee’s concluding observations.

the contribution NGOs can make in raising awareness about the work of the Committee and
the need for active civil society engagement with the Committee.

It was also highlighted that the Committee should ground its work firmly in developments achieved so far in international human rights law.

The four NGOs also emphasized the Committee’s responsibility to recognize the important contribution of NGOs and human rights defenders make to the promotion and protection of human rights in the region.

Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Arab Organization for Human Rights and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies welcome this first opportunity for dialogue and expressed their desire to continue this constructive cooperation with the Committee as appropriate.

Background

The Arab Human Rights Committee was established in March 2009 as an expert treaty body of seven members to supervise the implementation of the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Its members come from the United Arab Emirates (Chair), Algeria (vice-Chair), Bahrain, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Libya. The Committee had three sessions so far, during which it has been discussing procedural aspects of organising its work. As of end of September 2009 ten Arab states ratified the Arab Charter on Human Rights. These are: Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen.

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