NHRIs face challenge to fulfil mandate

THE National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have a broad mandate and face a challenge to fulfill their mandate, especially in small island states where staffing and resources are small.
These were the sentiments shared by Pacific Community’s (SPC) senior human rights adviser Dr Jayshree Mangubhai while responding to questions sent by this newspaper regarding the challenges faced by NHRIs in achieving their goals and carrying out their responsibilities and powers in the region.
Dr Mangubhai said where there was a small number of staff in NHRIs, and there was a challenge to coordinate work across different functions.
“For example, where an Ombudsman’s office has both a human rights and good governance mandate, staff recruited under the human rights mandate may be required to support activities under the good governance mandates at times, and need to be able to communicate effectively the work the office does under both mandates,” Dr Mangubhai said.
“There is a need for ongoing opportunities for capacity building of staff to be able to perform all the human rights functions as well.”
She added the challenge of developing a strong monitoring and evaluation framework to track the results of the reports produced and recommendations made by NHRIs also existed.
NHRIs are specialised bodies established by governments but intended to provide an independent assessment of the nation’s duty to protect and promote the human rights of its people, including vulnerable groups.
They provide an essential role in the human rights ‘machinery’ of any country.

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