Opening Statement by Mr. Norimasa Shimomura, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative at the 2nd Forum of the National Preventive MechanismApr 26, 2018
26 April 2018, 10:00 am
Hall “Kazakhstan” at the MFA, Astana
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Vasilenko,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Nearly a year ago we met together at the 1st National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) Forum. Today I’m delighted to see all participants, and to welcome distinguished guests from Central Asian and Russian human rights institutions as well as the new members of Kazakhstan’s NPM.
The annual forum initiated by Kazakhstan’s National Human Rights Institution is becoming a good tradition that highlights progresses made in implementing NPM’s mission, and which indicates the path for further efforts in protecting human rights in Kazakhstan. It also helps to share knowledge and best practices between the countries of the region, and to build and strengthen partnerships.
In the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which we celebrate this year its 70th anniversary, the Member States committed themselves to uphold the universal inalienable human rights and freedoms of their people. In this regard, we look forward to Kazakhstan’s effort towards increased adherence and promotion of human rights values.
Kazakhstan’s NPM has made incremental progresses in responding to violation of human rights in specialized institutions since 2014. However, the effort must continue: The monitoring groups revealed cases of human rights violations in specialized institutions that included the use of torture against detainees and prisoners as well as the elderly. At the same time, recommendations of the last year’s Forum on enlarging the mandate of NPM and its institutional and financial support still need to be addressed.
Given the highest importance the UN attaches to supporting the work of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), here in Kazakhstan and Central Asia we have specifically established the Strategic Tripartite Partnership between OHCHR, UNDP and Global Alliance of NHRIs (GANHRIs). Through this partnership, we facilitate concerted efforts of NHRIs in Central Asia to strengthen its work on protection and promotion of human rights in the region, also in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) and the European Network of NHRIs (ENNHRI).
A joint statement was issued by the 5 NHRIs at the regional Almaty meeting held in November last year, in order to establish a regional platform that promotes stronger compliance with the Paris Principles. The platform is expected to serve as a mechanism for the NHRIs to strengthen cooperation, knowledge sharing and peer support to better protect and promote human rights, as well as to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Through this platform, NHRIs will now undertake joint actions, conduct regular consultations at all levels of their staff and arrange professional networks to exchange best practices.
We sincerely hope this regional platform will help address the following remaining challenges in NHRIs’ operation. (1) NHRIs still work in an isolated fashion and do not sufficiently engage with other similar regional institutions and international human rights mechanisms; (2) Oftentimes they have low functional capacity, which curtails their ability to promote and protect human rights; and (3) State actors, which define the scope of work of NHRIs in the region, need to do more to ensure compliance of NHRIs mandates with Paris and Belgrade Principles.
The objective of our regional initiative is to foster effective, independent and inter-connected NHRIs in Central Asia, contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal #16 dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Let me conclude my statement by quoting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who made an appeal in his annual message devoted to Human Rights Day on 10 December last year - “Human rights are the foundations for peaceful societies and sustainable development. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes equality and dignity of every person… Let us make sure to translate the words into action”.