Why National Human Rights Institutions Matter for Prevention and Crisis Response

May 24, 2024

UNDP supports Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to address challenges arising from the war

The Office of Ukraine’s Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights

New York, 24 May 2024 – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) together with the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions and the UN Office for Human Rights convened the 2024 Annual Review Meeting for the Tri-Partite Partnership (TPP) to Support National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) on 23-24 May. 

“In UNDP we are proud to partner  with human rights institutions in over 100 countries around the world.” said Katy Thompson, Head of UNDP Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights. “Supporting NHRIs is a critical part of our efforts to prevent, respond, and recover from crisis and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.” 

The gathering of NHRI representatives, their regional networks and UN partners in New York was marked by a sense of urgency.  The discussion focused on the strategic initiatives necessary to bolster capacities to promote and protect human rights amid growing global challenges. There was a recognition that National Human Rights Institutions are often on the front lines, responding to human rights risks and violations in ongoing crisis and conflict zones.

Katy Thompson emphasized the importance of robust and coordinated international cooperation in supporting NHRIs in amidst adversity to enable the resilience of national institutions to support inclusive recovery and to sustain peace in the long term.  This emphasis was repeated in presentations from TPP colleagues from Mali, Timor-Leste and the Gambia.

In Ukraine, UNDP’s enhanced cooperation with the Parliament Commissioner for human rights has been vital in advocating for the rights of war-impacted populations. UNDP through the TPP supported Capacity Assessment of the institution. “This is probably the first time in the world when a national human rights institution has been assessed in the conditions of an international armed conflict. The process continued throughout the year 2023” said Olga Strepochenko, Head of International Cooperation and European Integration Department, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. “I am convinced that the [capacity assessment] report will become not only a cornerstone for our institution, but also an example for NHRIs worldwide”. Following this assessment UNDP supported the Commission to develop its five year strategy that will serve as a roadmap to effectively address challenges arising from the conflict. 

For over a decade, the Partnership has leveraged the mandates, expertise, and operations of the three organisations  – and their regional networks – to jointly support NHRIs around the world.  Looking ahead, the TPP aims to bolster support to NHRIs around the world in carrying out their mandates, focusing on critical areas such as early warning, crisis and recovery, efforts to protect the right to a healthy environment as well as NHRIs’ digital readiness.  The TPP Annual Review meeting served as a platform for sharing reflections and best practices. Participants explored opportunities for enhanced collaboration to advance the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

Support to the TPP is provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development.