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Ms. Bouayach highlights good practices adopted by the CNDH during the Covid-19 pandemic

Ms. Amina Bouayach, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) took part, on Thursday 4 November 2021, in the online Dialogue among Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN Human Rights High Commissioner, and African National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) on COVID-19, challenges and opportunities.

This dialogue was an opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities encountered by NHRIs in the implementation of their mandate in the context of the pandemic.  It was also an occasion to shed light on best practices, actions and innovative methods adopted in this context.

In her statement, Ms. Bouayach underlined that this pandemic led the CNDH to renew its tools and ways of action, but also prompted it to reflect on and implement new mechanisms to protect and promote human rights.
One of the first questions addressed by the CNDH at the beginning of the pandemic was to reorganize its work to ensure public accessibility and its continuity as a redress institution to protect human rights, she added.

Thus, to ensure better interaction with citizens and stakeholders, the CNDH digitized its working tools. This made it possible to ensure continued relations with rights holders, handling complaints, and organizing consultations and exchange with members, including at the local level.

Despite the pandemic crisis, the CNDH was able to conduct consultations with civil society and defenders, particularly those working with vulnerable populations, including children, persons with disabilities, migrants and persons deprived from liberty, etc.

Ms. Bouayach indicated that the CNDH published its annual report which represents an assessment of the implementation of 22 fundamental rights and 06 group rights in the context of the pandemic.

She also seized the opportunity of this dialogue to highlight the importance of international solidarity, which has paved the way for NHRIs to exchange good practices and experiences.

For her part, Ms. Bachelet commended the innovation and capacities of the NHRIs to adapt their working methods while implementing their mandates even with the challenging context of the COVID-19. She however raised concerns about reports received of institutional attacks and threats towards NHRIs, and the online and offline threats and attacks on staff of NHRIs for merely undertaking their work.

The High Commissioner stated that OHCHR is committed to providing capacity building, in monitoring, reporting, data collection, and maximising the use of data in NHRI work etc. She encouraged the NHRIs especially those fully compliant with the Paris Principles, to continue to engage with the UN and regional human rights systems and use the Human Rights-based approach to respond and guide the post COVID-19 recovery plans, and advise government of same.

This dialogue was organized on the sidelines of the 13th Biennial Conference of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) which was held from 3 to 5 November 2021. It focused on the impact of COVID-19 on human rights in Africa, the role of NHRIs in proposing a human rights-based approach for a better sustainable recovery towards development beyond COVID-19.