Its Official: SAHRC Chairperson Adv. Mushwana inaugurated as head of international human rights body
07 May 2013
Attention: Editors and Reporters
The Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Adv. Lawrence Mushwana has official been inaugurated as the new Chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC).
Adv. Mushwana took over the reins from Dr Mousa Burayzat, Chairperson of the Jordanian National Centre for Human, Rights during the session in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday.
This is a historical occasion in that this is the first time that Africa heads the office of the Chairperson of the ICC. This marks a symbolic point in South Africa’s legacy of human rights, having transitioned from Apartheid to a peaceful democracy where human rights are constitutionally promoted and recognized.
The ascension to the Chair of the ICC is a reflection of the appreciation of the work that the SAHRC does to promote and protect human rights at a domestic level and the influence that this has both regionally and internationally.
South Africa was voted to take over this non-renewable three-year term position by other Network of African National Human Rights Institutions at the ICC 11th International Conference in Amman, Jordan in November 2012.
The SAHRC looks forward to leading the ICC in supporting its work to strengthen the cooperation and collaboration between the four regional groups of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs): in the Asia- Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
One of the core functions of the ICC is to oversee the accreditation of NHRIs to the UN to receive ‘A’ status in accordance with the Paris Principles and to promote the role of NHRIs within the United Nations and with States and other international agencies.
The position of ICC Chairperson is a prestigious international position that will attract attention to South Africa and the region as a whole. There will be increased attention given to the country’s human rights track record and its compliance with international human rights obligations. This may create opportunities not only for the SAHRC but for the country as a whole to showcase its human rights successes, and to share and seek solutions to current challenges.
It will also afford the SAHRC the opportunity to play a prominent leadership role at an international level in the area of human rights and thereby strengthen independent national human rights mechanisms across the globe, particularly in developing countries and emerging democracies.
More importantly as the SAHRC we see it as an opportunity to leverage key African regional human rights concerns onto international human rights agenda.
South Africa is currently the Chairperson of Network of African Human Rights Institutions, (regional representative body of national human rights institutions in Africa), a position we assumed since October 2011. In his capacity of Chairperson of NANHRI Adv. Mushwana, has represented the position of African NHRIs at international and regional forums including the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
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