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APF Offers Assistance to Myanmar’s New NHRI

By Asia Pacific Forum  •  April 23, 2012

The APF and representatives of Myanmar’s newly established national human rights institution have identified a number of areas for initial cooperation, following a visit to the south-east Asian country this month by APF secretariat Director Kieren Fitzpatrick and APF Senior Consultant Professor Chris Sidoti.

In discussions with the Chairperson and members of Myanmar’s National Human Rights Commission, the APF undertook to:

  • provide technical advice on drafting the Commission’s establishing legislation, to promote compliance with the international standards set out in the Paris Principles
  • coordinate a high-level dialogue involving Commission members possibly in July 2012
  • provide assistance with the Commission’s strategic planning process, either later this year or in early 2013
  • provide training for Commission staff, as more are appointed.

Mr Fitzpatrick also indicated that the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission would be invited to attend, in an observer capacity, future meetings of the APF and to send participants to APF training courses, pending the Commission’s membership of the APF and international accreditation.

The Commission was established by presidential decree in September 2011, as part of reforms taking place in the country. Previously, there had been a governmental human rights committee under the Minister for Home Affairs.

The new Commission aspires to meet the standards of the Paris Principles. A draft law is currently being prepared that will provide it with a statutory basis.

The APF visited Myanmar from 8 to 11 April 2012 to meet the Chairperson and Commission members and discuss possible areas of support to develop and strengthen the work of the organisation.

Mr Fitzpatrick and Mr Sidoti also met with the National League for Democracy, whose Deputy Chairman, U Tin Oo, greeted them warmly and expressed support for Myanmar having a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles.

The Commission has 15 members. Its Chairperson, U Win Mra, was formerly the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, as was the deputy Chairperson. Other members are former senior government officials and academics.

The Commission currently has 22 staff. The Commission plans to increase staff numbers to 167 over the next three years.

View the original post here.

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This post is in: NHRC Monitor

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