Representatives of German NHRI and Head of the Cabinet of the NHRI of Bosnia and Herzegovina posing for a group photo
25 Feb 2020

European NHRIs take part in ENNHRI’s peer-exchange visits, focusing on their role in (post-)conflict situations

In recent months, the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) of Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Germany, Kosovo*, Northern Ireland, Portugal and Serbia have taken part in the peer-exchange visits programme, a feature of ENNHRI’s Project on the role of NHRIs in situations of (post-)conflict. The programme stems from a call by ENNHRI members for more opportunities for NHRIs to work closer together.

The peer-exchange visits serve to enhance the capacities of participating NHRIs working in (post-)conflict situations and strengthen their ties with other European NHRIs, encouraging solidarity within ENNHRI. They also help increase understanding of the roles and responsibilities of NHRIs working in (post-)conflict contexts, encourage exchanges of good practices, methodologies and practical tools, and allow for specific human rights concerns to be addressed.

The latest peer-exchange visit took place last week in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where Niman Hajdari, Senior Legal Adviser for Prevention of Torture, from the Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo* visited the NHRI of Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission). The host institution shared good practices as an NHRI operating in (post-)conflict, focusing on the protection and promotion of cultural rights, transitional justice and working with victims and survivors. The host institution also facilitated opportunities for Mr Hajdari to meet and share experiences with other public bodies and non-governmental organisations that work on these issues.

In August, a peer-exchange visit took place in Berlin, Germany, where the Head of the Cabinet of the NHRI of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Ombudsmen of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Haris Šahbaz, visited the German NHRI (German Institute for Human Rights). The visit addressed the work of the institutions on various fields, such as asylum and migration, business and human rights, and disability rights. Participants also exchanged methods and practices relating to human rights monitoring and reporting, communication, promotion and education.

In June, a peer-exchange visit took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Artyom Sedrakyan from the Armenian NHRI (Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia) and Meri Kochlamazashvili from the Georgian NHRI (Office of Public Defender of Georgia) jointly visited the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. During the visit, the host institution shared insights as an NHRI operating in a society emerging from conflict. Practices on transitional justice, engagement with victims and survivors, communication strategies, advice to government and reporting to international bodies were exchanged.

In May, the first peer-exchange visit took place in Lisbon, Portugal, where Vladimir Milošević from the Serbian NHRI (Public Defender of Serbia) visited the Portuguese NHRI (Provedor de Justiça). Participants exchanged about NHRI procedures and methodologies across various departments. This included exchanges of practices regarding the NHRIs’ mandates as National Preventive Mechanisms and their complaints handling functions.

To learn more about the peer-exchange programme, contact Zoé Vautard at the ENNHRI Secretariat.

» Learn more about ENNHRI’s Project on the role of NHRIs in situations of (post-)conflict

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence

Photo: Peer-exchange visit in Berlin, Germany (26 August 2019)