AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC REGIONAL SEMINAR FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT ON THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS IN THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Date: 30 July- 1 August
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

The Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) convened a three day regional seminar for Australian and Pacific Branches focused on strengthening the role of Parliamentarians in the promotion and protection of human rights.


Background

 
Legislatures in democratic societies, as well as the two other branches of government, the executive and the judiciary, are legally bound to respect, protect and fulfil internationally recognized human rights standards in force in their countries. Through their legislative functions, parliamentarians hold the primary responsibility for ratifying international human rights treaties, integrating international norms and standards into national legislation, holding the government accountable for the enforcement of the law, and overseeing implementation of national strategies, plans and programmes aimed  at promoting and protecting human rights. The mandate entrusted by the people to  parliaments, as their legitimate representatives, places them in a unique position to influence policies and budgets at the national level, monitor policy implementation programmes at local levels, address the needs and concerns of their constituencies and play a catalytic role in the realization of human rights at all levels. Parliamentarians’ awareness and understanding of the international human rights system including international norms, procedures and mechanisms for human rights protection, is indispensable for ensuring their commitment to promoting human rights through effective laws and democratic structures and institutions.
 
The objectives of the seminar are to:
 
- provide up to date information on regional and international human rights protection mechanisms and standards and their application in the region;
 - promote discussion on experiences, issues and good practices relating to human rights ratification, reporting and implementation;
 - strengthening the capacity of Parliamentarians to assist in the effective and sustainable implementation of accepted Universal Periodic Review recommendations;
 - discuss key human rights issues relevant to the region and take a practical approach to building parliamentarians’ capacity to address them; and
 - encourage greater interaction and cooperation between parliamentarians in the region and their involvement in regional and international human rights protection mechanisms.