European NHRIs take part in ENNHRI’s first peer-exchange visits, focusing on their role in (post-)conflict situations

Peer-exchange visit in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 10 June 2019. Left to right: Meri Kochlamazashvili (Georgian NHRI), Les Allamby (Northern Ireland NHRI) and Artyom Sedrakyan (Armenian NHRI).

In recent months, the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) of Armenia, Georgia, Northern Ireland, Portugal and Serbia have taken part in the peer-exchange visits programme, a feature of ENNHRI’s Project on the role of NHRIs in situations of (post-)conflict. The programme stems from a call by ENNHRI members for more opportunities for NHRIs to work closer together.

The peer-exchange visits serve to enhance the capacities of participating NHRIs working in (post-)conflict situations and strengthen their ties with other European NHRIs, encouraging solidarity within ENNHRI. They also help increase understanding of the roles and responsibilities of NHRIs working in (post-)conflict contexts, encourage exchanges of good practices, methodologies and practical tools, and allow for specific human rights concerns to be addressed.

In May 2019, the first peer-exchange visit took place in Lisbon, Portugal, where Vladimir Milosevic from the Serbian NHRI (Public Defender of Serbia) visited the Portuguese NHRI (Provedor de Justiça). Participants exchanged about NHRI procedures and methodologies across various departments. This included exchanges of practices regarding the NHRIs’ mandates as National Preventive Mechanisms and their complaints handling functions.

In June 2019, the second peer-exchange took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Artyom Sedrakyan from the Armenian NHRI (Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia) and Meri Kochlamazashvili from the Georgian NHRI (Office of Public Defender of Georgia) jointly visited the Northern Ireland NHRI (Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission). During the visit, the host institution shared insights as an NHRI operating in a society emerging from conflict. Practices on transitional justice issues, engagement with victims and survivors, communication strategies, advice to government and reporting to international bodies were exchanged.

The next peer-exchange visit is planned to take place in July in Berlin, Germany. A representative from the NHRI of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina) will visit the German NHRI (German Institute for Human Rights). The visit will focus on the German NHRI’s work on asylum and migration issues, including human rights communication, promotion and education.

To learn more about the peer-exchange programme, contact Zoé Vautard at the ENNHRI Secretariat.

» Learn more about ENNHRI’s Project on the role of NHRIs in situations of (post-)conflict