GENEVA, 11th May, 2023 (WAM) — The UAE National Human Rights Committee held an event on the sidelines of the 43rd Conference.third Session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, where the UAE presented its fourth national report on its progress in protecting and promoting human rights.
The panel, which was organized under the title “Community Engagement as a Tool to Advance Human Rights of Vulnerable Groups: A Regional Perspective”, drew on regional human rights organizations to discuss the importance of community engagement of vulnerable groups such as women, children, people Invited experts. determination and of the elders. Moderated by Hind Al Owais, the panel included the UAE representative from the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, as well as representatives from the African Union, ASEAN, the League of Arab States and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The panel aims to analyze different approaches to community engagement, explore challenges and opportunities based on the panel’s experience, and share best practices in this area.
Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Jarman, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, opened the panel, highlighting community engagement as a long-standing practice by the UAE leadership. In particular, Al-Jarman shared the example of the advancement of women’s rights in the UAE under the guidance of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, President of the General Women’s Union (GWU). Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, who initiated the General Women’s Association through gatherings of women in her majlis, which later grew into a network of organizations spread across all seven emirates.
Al Reem Al Falasi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, spoke about the UAE’s efforts to include children in the dialogue on issues affecting their lives, including through the Children’s Advisory Council. Express your opinion and interact with high-level government officials. His Highness also pointed out how the UAE government has prioritized engagement as a key element of its future-focused vision, adding, “By involving children in decision-making processes and providing them with a platform to voice their opinion, , the UAE has successfully integrated its perspectives into policy-making and development initiatives. This inclusive approach has not only contributed to the welfare of young individuals, but also fostered a more robust, diverse and sustainable society that benefits all its members. benefits.
Honorable. Janet Ramatouli Sallah-Ng, Commissioner for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, shared ACHPR’s experience in promoting human rights through community engagement and pointed to a principle long held by the AU that, ” A unique feature of the African Charter reflects the values of African societies on human and people’s rights, where ‘an individual is not considered as a separate and abstract person, but as an integral member of a community, a principle Which we share with UAE. As such, we make a special effort to empower these communities as drivers of change, not as passive recipients of laws and decisions that affect them. This leads to a greater sense of ownership, thereby allowing the effective implementation of instruments and decisions relating to human rights. We commend the UAE in this regard and believe that it is a reflection of the country’s commitment to advancing the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly. Which are areas that have seen tremendous effort and results.
Munir Al-Fassi, director of the Human Rights Department at the League of Arab States, also highlighted the need for a well-coordinated and planned approach to carrying out community mobilization, adding, “Community mobilization can help build trust between communities and governments.” promote participation and inclusion, and promote cooperation and partnership, ultimately leading to greater respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights for all. The UAE’s achievements in this regard are a source of pride at the regional level. The progress made by the UAE in the area is remarkable. The UAE’s national laws and policies will serve as a good basis for regional action plans and strategies.”
Mohammed Alansour, OHCHR Head of the MENA Section, provided an overview of international standards related to community engagement, and said, “We congratulate the UAE on submitting the fourth national report to the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism of the Human Rights Council. We support the Universal Periodic Review process. We also congratulate the UAE’s reaffirmation, which demonstrates the country’s commitment to promoting and protecting human rights. We welcome the panel discussion on engagement with communities and hope that It will look at finding new ways to include all communities, especially vulnerable groups, in developing and achieving Agenda 2030.
Miguel Musangi of the ASEAN Secretariat also highlighted ASEAN’s work in this area, sharing that, ‘ASEAN is working closely with stakeholders especially women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, and vulnerable and marginalized groups. Continues to leverage regional cooperation for institutional platforms and mechanisms for engagement. Towards Realizing an Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient ASEAN Community’
The panelists agreed that community engagement should be an important building block in designing and implementing strategies to advance human rights. The panel also emphasized that community engagement strategies must be tailored to legal, institutional, social and cultural contexts, rather than proceeding with a one-size-fits-all approach.