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Collaboration between NHRIs and regional inter-governmental mechanisms

Graphic: Two people harvesting a large field in Thailand

Many of the pressing human rights issues in our region today cross national borders. They include the impacts of climate change and environmental damage, public health emergencies, the rights of migrant workers, human trafficking and the human rights impacts of business operations.

Unlike Africa, the Americas and Europe, the Asia Pacific does not have a region-wide inter-governmental system — such as treaties, courts, a commission or other institutions — to protect and promote human rights.

This makes it even more important to encourage strong and strategic engagement between all institutions with a responsibility to develop policies or take action on human rights issues.

The APF is bringing together two powerful agents for change in the Asia Pacific: national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and regional inter-governmental mechanisms.

By establishing regular platforms for dialogue, NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms will have opportunities to share their expertise and develop strategies that improve people’s lives and build strong, resilient communities.

Learn more


Graphic: The sun rises over a street in Dili, Timor Leste

Establishing dialogue for change

Inter-governmental mechanisms seek to promote peace, prosperity and partnerships among their member States. In pursuing this vision, many of the issues they address involve common human rights challenges facing communities across their sub-region.

State representatives to inter-governmental mechanisms rely on rigorous advice and analysis to shape region-wide policies that respond to these challenges and strengthen national and regional institutions.

The unique mandate of NHRIs means they can add significant value to these discussions, including to support the integration of rights-based approaches into policies and actions. NHRIs can also play a vital role to promote implementation of these policies and actions at the national level.


Community education program led by the Philippines NHRI

The APF will assist NHRIs in South-East Asia and the Pacific to engage with the State representatives of their respective inter-governmental mechanisms: the Association of South-East Asian Nations and its human rights institutions, and the Pacific Islands Forum.


Building partnerships for human rights

In bringing together representatives from NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms for a series of facilitated roundtable discussions, we aim to:

  • Build recognition of the unique and complementary roles of NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms to promote and protect human rights
  • Develop a shared understanding of the means to address region-wide human rights issues
  • Identify opportunities for collaboration between NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms on human rights issues of shared concern
  • Generate positive sentiment about the value of collaboration and a commitment to ongoing dialogue in support of future joint initiatives.

Priority focus: Environmental rights and climate change

Two boys in a canoe in front of houses built over water

One of the most urgent issues facing communities in South-East Asia and the Pacific is to promote environmental rights and respond to the human rights impacts of climate change.

Our project will establish a foundation for engagement and collaboration on environmental rights and climate change, with the ultimate goal of empowering communities to respond to the human rights challenges they face.

Through a series of strategic national activities, selected NHRIs will conduct research and engage with communities and other key stakeholders. They will share their analysis with their inter-governmental mechanism and discuss policy and planning measures that best respond to the issues they identify. This will form the basis for a joint outcomes paper.


Project activities

Activities for our multi-year project will commence in February 2022. 

In collaboration with participating NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms, we will:

  • Design and implement blended learning courses for NHRIs in South-East Asia and the Pacific on environmental rights and climate change
  • Establish online communities of practice for NHRIs in South-East Asia and the Pacific to discuss effective approaches for engaging with their inter-governmental mechanism
  • Support roundtable dialogues in South-East Asia and the Pacific for NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms, with a focus on environmental rights and climate change
  • Establish a small grants program for selected NHRIs to support national research and stakeholder consultations on environmental rights and climate change
  • Support NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms to develop a joint outcomes paper on human rights and climate change
  • Support NHRIs to establish focal points for engaging with their inter-governmental mechanism.

Our goal is to lay the foundation for an ongoing, formalised relationship between NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms to address human rights issues in the Asia Pacific.


Graphic: Two people harvesting a large field in Thailand

Fostering collaboration between NHRIs and Inter-governmental Mechanisms

This brochure introduces the APF's project to promote collaboration between NHRIs and inter-governmental mechanisms in the ASEAN and Pacific regions.


European Union logo

The project is funded by the European Union and supports the APF’s efforts to build stronger NHRIs and work collaboratively to address human rights challenges at the national, regional and international levels.


Image credits

  1. Two people harvesting a large field in Thailand - Soundeath on Shutterstock
  2. The sun rises over a street in Dili, Timor Leste - IndonesiaPix on AdobeStock
  3. Community education program led by the Philippines NHRI - Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
  4. Two boys in a canoe in front of houses built over water - SUHAKM photo competition
  5. European Union logo - European Union