KATHMANDU, April 7: Human rights defenders and members of Forum-Asia have urged South Asian governments to work towards setting up a regional human rights mechanism.
Speaking at the Regional Dialogue on Regional Human Rights Mechanism in South Asia that concluded here on Friday, the rights defenders and civil society organizations adopted a declaration, urging SAARC governments to support civil society efforts on this front.
The rights defenders underscored need for regional human rights mechanism, stating responsible agencies like SAARC have overlooked the issues in the region, and human rights, in practice, has not been achieved in SAARC member states.
"We call on SAARC Governments to support civil society efforts towards the establishment of a South Asia regional human rights mechanism, and take measures towards the establishment of such a mechanism," read a three-point declaration issued after the regional conference. "We call on SAARC Governments to establish and strengthen national human rights institutions in line with Paris Principles in respective countries.”
The meeting also urged the governments to repeal all repressive laws and legal provisions that criminalize and restrict the work of human rights defenders and restrict the space for civil society to operate freely.
It also called on national human rights institutions to encourage governments to ensure that national laws and policies are in line with international human rights law and repeal those that are in conflict.