NHRIs operating in conflict and post-conflict situations

In conflict and post-conflict or fragile contexts NHRIs can play a key role in preventing further conflict and human rights violations and monitoring respect for international human rights and humanitarian law. The neutrality of NHRIs can be instrumental in facilitating dialogue between conflicting parties.

Many NHRIs operating in conflict and post-conflict contexts are already implementing a wide array of actions, including monitoring and documenting violations which is contributing to early warning and prevention, alongside educating state (including security sector) and non-state actors on human rights, and providing justice and legal services to the population. Where other approaches fail, NHRIs can promote access to justice and contribute towards transitional justice processes. NHRIs are therefore expected to play an instrumental part in supporting Member States in achieving SDG 16 to promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

In 2015 NHRIs, in a conference organized by the Ukrainian National Institution for Human Rights with the support of UNDP, gathered and drafted the “Kyiv Declaration on the role of NHRIs in conflict”. The declaration identifies clear areas of work, including monitoring the country situation and respect of international human rights and humanitarian law; taking measures for prevention of further violations; promoting dialogues between all parties to the conflict; systematically communicating and engaging with civil society organizations, state institutions and other parties; placing human rights at the center of peace negotiations; supporting measures to address consequences of conflict including tackling impunity and facilitating access to justice; promoting awareness raising and human rights education for security forces; and promoting implementation of Agenda 2030 and Goal 16 on just, peaceful and inclusive societies.