Role of NHRIs in promoting peace in fragile and conflict-affected contexts highlighted in preparation for global review of SDG 16

Meri Kochlamazashvili (centre) from the Georgian NHRI (Office of the Public Defender of Georgia) representing ENNHRI at ‘SDG 16+ Technical Consultation: Justice for Sustaining Peace’ (16 May 2019 – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina).

In May, ENNHRI participated in ‘SDG 16+ Technical Consultation: Justice for Sustaining Peace’ in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, helping to build greater international awareness of the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in (post-)conflict situations. The meeting was held to gather inputs on SDG 16 (peaceful, just and inclusive societies) in preparation for the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), an annual gathering for reviewing progress towards achieving the SDGs.

NHRIs in compliance with the UN Paris Principles are an indicator of SDG 16, reflecting the recognition in the SDGs framework of the important role of NHRIs. SDG 16 is often depicted as an enabler of the whole 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as it recognises that there can be no sustainable development without peace-building and strong institutions.

The role of NHRIs in contributing to SDG 16 through their broad human rights mandate was one of the central elements for discussion at the meeting. NHRIs’ unique characteristics and potential to contribute to conflict prevention, management and resolution initiatives were highlighted as being central to the preparation of the review of SDG 16 at HLPF in July. This helped contribute towards greater international recognition and understanding of the role of NHRIs in fragile and (post-)conflict contexts.

Representing ENNHRI, Meri Kochlamazashvili from the Georgian NHRI (Office of the Public Defender of Georgia) spoke about the role of NHRIs in acting as early-warning mechanisms, based on examples of European NHRIs’ experiences. She explained that in fragile contexts, NHRIs’ multi-faceted functions are key to engaging the state, civil society, the public and international human rights mechanisms on key trends of human rights violations, which can be leading factors to (renewed) conflicts.

Based on their mandate, NHRIs call governments to account for their human rights obligations and commitments under the SDGs and provide legal advice to authorities. Through human rights education, they promote a culture of rights, civic participation and the rule of law. Some also handle individual complaints of human rights violations, often particularly violent and acute in times of (post-)conflict.

The results of this consultation will be launched at the HLPF in July.

In March, ENNHRI also highlighted the relevance of NHRIs in the implementation of the SDGs (including SDG 16) at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region. This input was included in the conclusions of the Regional Forum for the HLPF.

» Learn about ENNHRI’s Project on the role of NHRIs in situations of (post-)conflict
» Learn about NHRIs’ advocacy for a human rights-based approach to the 2030 Agenda at the UNECE Regional Forum on SDGs
» Learn more about the roles and functions of NHRIs