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APF hosts dialogue between member institutions on gender-based violence inquiries

Graphic: Participants during virtual meeting on gender-based violence inquiries

Virtual meeting provided an opportunity for valuable practical exchange between APF members on running national inquiries into violence against women.

The APF has hosted a virtual dialogue between NHRI representatives in Bangladesh and Afghanistan to support the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on its upcoming national inquiry into gender-based violence.

The meeting, held on 5 May, provided an opportunity for valuable practical exchange between APF members on running national inquiries into violence against women.

Dr Sima Samar, former Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), shared the experience of the AIHRC in undertaking a national inquiry into rape and honour killings in 2013.

During the national inquiry, the AIHRC worked closely with civil society organisations to lobby government, engage with the media and raise public awareness on gender-based violence in Afghanistan.

One of the key recommendations of the AIHRC's national inquiry was to criminalise "honour killings" as murder, with appropriate punishment for perpetrators. Another key recommendation was to establish special courts to deal with cases of violence against women in all provinces.

Dr Samar answered questions from participants, including the NHRC Chairperson, Nasima Begum; NHRC Honorary Member and convener of the national inquiry, Jesmin Ara Begum; and coordinator of the national inquiry, Dr Abul Hossain.

Also in attendance were Andrew MacGregor, Chief Technical Advisor, Human Rights and Justice Programme, UNDP Bangladesh, and the APF's Pip Dargan, Principal Adviser, Capacity Assessments and International Engagement, and Rosslyn Noonan, APF NHRI Expert Consultant.

The virtual meeting was a continuation of support provided to the NHRC by the APF, following on from online discussions held between the NHRC and the Ombudsman of Samoa last month.

The national inquiry to be undertaken by the NHRC will include a public investigation into violence against women and girls, with a specific focus on rape, as a systemic human rights problem.

Date: 31 May 2021


Image credits

  1. Participants during virtual meeting on gender-based violence inquiries - APF