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FOCUS September 1999 Volume 17

Framework of Regional Technical Cooperation Programme in Asia and the Pacific Tehran Workshop (1998)

I. BASIC PROJECT INFORMATION

Region: Asia and the Pacific

Project Title: Strengthening of National Capacities for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific region as a means of facilitating regional cooperation on human rights and possible regional arrangements

Initial Duration: 3 years

Implementing Agency: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Total estimated budget: $728,500 (including 13 percent programme support costs)

Source(s) of funding: - Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation

- Other extra budgetary funds

- In-kind contributions by host countries of programme activities

II. CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND

Through previous workshops a consensus has been reached on the principles and "step-by-step", "building-blocks" approach involving extensive consultation among Governments of the region, concerning the possible establishment of regional arrangements. It was also agreed that regional arrangements must emerge from and be directed to the needs and priorities set by Governments of the region, with roles, functions, tasks, outcomes and achievements determined by consensus.

In particular, the Amman Workshop concluded that the sharing of information, the establishment of confidence-building measures and the development and strengthening of national capacities for the promotion and protection of human rights are crucial in the step-by-step process towards establishing regional human rights arrangements. The workshop also strongly recommended that a regional technical cooperation programme be designed and implemented as a matter of urgent priority.

This document is intended to provide a framework for this regional technical cooperation programme, as discussed at the sixth Asia-Pacific Workshop in Tehran. The areas of cooperation proposed in this document draw on the Amman Workshop conclusions as well as on Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/45.

The annual intergovernmental workshop on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region is the key forum for discussion of initiatives for regional cooperation, including through the technical cooperation programme outlined below. A progress report on technical cooperation activities should be made available by the Secretariat to future workshops so that Member States can assess the progress made in implementing the programme and provide further direction.

III. LONG TERM OBJECTIVE

The programme will contribute to the development and strengthening of national capacities for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Asia-Pacific region and be a means of facilitating further consideration of regional cooperation on human rights, including possible regional arrangements.

IV. AREAS OF TECHNICAL COOPERATION AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

1. National Plans of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and the Strengthening of National Capacities ($163,800)

Objective:

National capacities will be strengthened in order to develop, implement and evaluate national plans of action for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Activity (a): Preparation of a Compendium of existing practices and practical experiences in connection with national plans of action for human rights;

Activity (b): Provision by OHCHR of technical cooperation and * assistance at the request of Member States for the development of any such national action plans, including the holding, as appropriate, of national workshops to prepare review/finalize/launch such national action plans and related activities aimed at strengthening national capacities;

Activity (c): Holding of a regional intergovernmental workshop** with the participation of representatives of national institutions and NGOs active in this area, to share best practices concerning national action plans.


2. Human Rights Education ($157,000)

Objective:

National capacities will be strengthened to develop, implement and evaluate national plans of action and other activities for human rights education.

Activity (a): Preparation of a Compendium of existing national plans of action and specific programmes or activities for human rights education;

Activity (b): Provision by OHCHR of technical cooperation and * assistance at the request of Member States for the development of national capacities for human rights education, including the holding, as appropriate, of workshops to consider such activities;

Activity (c): Holding a regional intergovernmental workshop** with the participation of representatives of national institutions and NGOs active in this area, to share best practices concerning such national action plans and related activities;


3. National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights ($212,200)

Objective:

Capacities of national human rights institutions (or potential capacities of those in the process of being established) will be strengthened - including their capacity to promote economic, social and cultural rights.

Activity (a): Preparation of a Compendium of existing practices and practical experiences in connection with national human rights institutions;

Activity (b): Provision by OHCHR of technical cooperation and * assistance requested by Member States for the development/strengthening of any such institution;

Activity (c): Holding in cooperation with national institutions, the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Institutions and Member States regional and subregional workshops on the role and functions of national institutions in the promotion and protection of all human rights including, in particular, economic, social and cultural rights.


4. Strategies for the Realization of the Right to Development and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

($195,500)

Objective:

Obstacles to the realization of the right to development and economic, social and cultural rights will be identified in the regional context and national and regional capacities for the promotion and realization of those rights will be strengthened.

Activity: Holding of a regional workshop** with governments, and/or national workshops* at the request of Member States, with national economic planning authorities and with the participation of international development and financial institutions as well as development cooperation experts. This (these) workshop(s) will identify obstacles to the realization of those rights in the Asia-Pacific region and propose relevant action to strengthen national capacities for the promotion and realization of those rights.


* Activities at the national level are not costed.

** Venues of regional workshops will be determined in consultation with Member States.


Source: ANNEX II , FURTHER PROMOTION AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, INCLUDING THE QUESTION OF THE PROGRAMME AND METHODS OF WORK OF THE COMMISSION ( E/CN.4/1998/50 - 12 March 1998)


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