Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) is a regional umbrella body that brings together 46 African National Human Rights Institutions. NANHRI, whose Secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya, is registered under Kenyan law as an independent legal entity and has been operational since 2007.
The Network seeks to support and strengthen National Human Rights Institutions in Africa as well as to facilitate coordination and cooperation between and among themselves and other key human rights actors at the regional and international level. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) refer to bodies established by governments to aid in promotion and protection of human rights within their respective jurisdictions through handling complaints and conducting investigations, conducting research, advocacy and educational programmes in line with the Paris Principles.
Today, in a context marked by shrinking civic space that limits the work of Human Rights Defenders NANHRI is implementing a programme that seeks to support NHRIS to develop/strengthen existing protection mechanisms for human rights defenders. NANHRI therefore wishes to engage a consultant, to undertake the work of establishing and documenting the existing practices and experiences towards the protection of HRDs and provide capacity building support/training to NHRIs and other stakeholders. The consultant will also develop a HRDS legal assistance and complaints handling mechanism reference handbook based on the Marrakesh Declaration (2018).
“Human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. They seek the promotion of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realization of economic, social and cultural rights. The work of human rights defenders is protected in several national, international and regional international human rights instruments. Human rights defenders are identified by what they do and it is through a description of their actions and of some of the contexts in which they work that the term can best be explained. Thus, NHRIs are also considered human rights defenders, based on the context and nature of their work.
Human rights instruments enshrine rights that the State must respect and guarantee for all persons under their jurisdiction including human rights defenders. Further there are instruments that call on states to specifically protect human rights defenders. Such instruments include the EU guidelines on protection of human rights defenders, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Resolution on the protection of HRDs, 2004,Resolution 196 on Human Rights Defenders in Africa(2018), the UN Declaration on HRDs (Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998) among others. The most recent being; the Marrakesh Declaration (2018) which tasked national human rights institutions to ensure the protection of human rights defenders, especially women. 
Today, in a context marked by shrinking civil space and instruments that provide legal framework for the protection of human rights defenders, the work of human rights defenders continues to be essential for the process of strengthening democracies and expanding the civil space. In 2018, the 13th International Conference of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in Marrakech, Morocco, from 10 to 12 October. The conference took place against the backdrop of deep concerns about reports on the increasing number of physical attacks against human rights defenders particularly where these included sexual violence or killings. Additionally, there were also concerns on shrinking civic space and on threats, risks and reprisals faced by human rights defenders, worldwide. This had happened through restrictions on the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association or peaceful assembly, and the right to privacy, or through arbitrary use of civil or criminal proceedings, prosecution, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, or acts of intimidation or reprisals. The theme of the Conference was, ‘Expanding the civic space and promoting and protecting Human Rights Defenders, with a specific focus on women: The role of National Human Rights Institutions.’ The Conference marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Principles by the United Nations General Assembly and the establishment of the global network of NHRIs, today known as GANHRI; and the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
During the International Conference, the participants discussed several areas such as: what are the crucial elements of an enabling environment; how to monitor civic space and threats to it; how to protect human rights defenders; how specifically to protect women human rights defenders; how to protect NHRIs who are themselves human rights defenders; and how to develop effective communication on human rights and promotion of positive narratives; On the basis of all the discussions and taking inspiration from NHRIs’ lessons and good practices exchanged in Marrakech, the declaration came to life.
In light of the above NANHRI seeks to support NHRIs in six countries in Africa to develop/strengthen human rights defenders protection mechanisms. Based on the Marrakesh Declaration (2018). As such, there is need to establish and document any existing practices and experiences towards the protection of HRDs. Additionally, there is need to identify whether these actions are anchored in national laws and if the laws are compliant with the Marrakesh Declaration (2018).
Objective and Scope of Work
The main reason of the proposed assignment is to document current activities, practices and experiences by NHRIs on the protection of HRDs. The consultant should:
Development of a Regional Action Plan
Development of a 'quick response' reference handbook for NHRIs
Required Expertise and Qualification
The consultant should have: