UN holds workshop on building national human rights commission in Iraq

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Iraqi Government officials, members of the country’s Council of Representatives, civil society organizations and United Nations workers came together in Larnaca, Cyprus, from 8 to 10 March to discuss the body’s establishment. The workshop aimed to lay the groundwork for the building of an independent national human rights commission for Iraq, as provided for in the Constitution approved by referendum last October, according to UNAMI.In a message to the meeting, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said the establishment of a commission is part of the process of creating a strong national protection system in Iraq, as it could help ensure the provision of remedies for abuses and contribute to the building of a culture of human rights. Nermin Othman, Iraq’s Acting Minister of Human Rights, encouraged those present to air their views for the benefit of all, including the representatives from other national human rights commissions. During the workshop, participants discussed a range of topics including the independence of a national human rights commission; its core functions, structure and methodology; and best practices from other similar commissions. Representatives from the Afghan and Malaysian national human rights commissions shared their experiences. The participants adopted a Statement of Principles and Plan of Action for follow up work toward the creation of the commission in Iraq

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