Wednesday, October 22, 2008
More than 150 delegates from 71 countries are convening today at a United Nations conference in Nairobi to explore the roles of national bodies set up to protect or promote human rights in relation to the judiciary, law enforcement and monitoring of detention centres. During the three-day meeting, national human rights institutions will also report on activities undertaken as part of the Dignity and Justice for Detainees Initiative.
Launched earlier this month by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, the initiative seeks to increase the pressure on States, parliaments, judiciaries and other relevant institutions to abolish – or at least reduce – arbitrary and unlawful detention. Part of the campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, the scheme also seeks to ensure that conditions in prisons and other places of detention are brought in line with minimum global standards.
The Nairobi meeting is expected to conclude with the adoption of a declaration providing further guidance on the role national human rights institutions can play on issues related to the rule of law and administration of justice. The gathering has been organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in cooperation with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
(UN Press Release)