June 23, 2023 (MOMBASA, Kenya) — The Political Affairs Program of the IGAD Peace and Security Division concluded a three-day Roundtable Consultative Workshop that discussed and deliberated on the Draft Mandate of the IGAD National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) Network in Mombasa, Kenya, from 21-23 June 2023. The Consultation and the launch of the Network marked a significant step forward in advancing the protection of and advocacy for human rights within the IGAD region. Commissioners and Senior officials from the National Human Rights Bodies of IGAD Member States (MSs) convened to discuss the ways and mean to foster collaboration, cooperation, and communication on a shared commitment to upholding human rights in the region.
The workshop commenced with a speech by the Director of the IGAD Peace and Security Division, emphasizing the significance of the gathering. He highlighted the workshop’s purpose in nurturing democracy, good governance, and the rule of law within the IGAD region. Acknowledging the challenges in governance, the rule of law, and human rights in the region, the Director emphasized the need for collective action and collaboration to address the challenges.
The previous training workshop held in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, in November 2022, laid the foundation for the establishment of the platform for collectively advancing human rights within the region. By leveraging the Network’s platform, the NHRIs of the Member States intend to collaborate, benchmark good practices, and collectively advocate for the protection and advancement of human rights. This unified effort aimed to foster regional collective synergy complementary to the national mandate of the MSs and the efforts within.
The Consultative Roundtable Workshop brought together Commissioners and senior officials of NHRIs of IGAD MSs. During the remarkable Launch, representatives of IGAD MSs NHRIs signed and endorsed the Agreement to Establish the Network of IGAD Member States National Human Rights Institutions, followed by a Press Statement issued by the members of the Network, which expressed its concern on the crisis in Sudan, among others.
The Statement expresses the “. . . grave concerns regarding the situation in Sudan. The Network particularly notes and condemns the human rights violations being perpetuated with the vulnerable groups including women, children, persons with disabilities, and elderly persons bearing the brunt of the war.
The Network of IGAD NHRIs calls upon all actors in the Sudan conflict to desist from violence and instead embrace dialogue as a mode of achieving sustainable solutions. . . .”
Finally, the IGAD Executive Secretary H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu inaugurated the Network and lauded this visionary initiative by the Political Affairs Program of the Peace and Security Division. “Delighted”, he described, “this as a notable milestone in our endeavor to promote and protect the rights of our citizens, foster good governance and rule of law in the region. During the occasion, the Executive Secretary also called upon the Warring Parties in Sudan to stop the war and give peace a chance, and end of suffering of the people of Sudan.
Download the signed statement at the launch of the IGAD-NHRI