The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) held a three day consultative forum on conflict management, resolution and peace building for the East African Community (EAC) National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from 8th to 10th November, 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The forum aimed at evaluating and take stock of the status of implementation of the 3 year Action Plan adopted the NHRIs in 2014 to guide their work in conflict management, resolution and peace building. The forum was held within the framework of a 5 year cooperation programme (2012-2016) between the NANHRI and the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI). The NHRIs representatives were drawn from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The EAC NHRIs highlighted the activities undertaken to reduce conflict and promote peace-building within their respective jurisdictions. The activities mainly focused on capacity strengthening of staff and state actors to effectively engage in peace building work for the reduction of violent conflict. Other activities were, holding community dialogues, conducting human rights education, using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to resolve conflicts and instituting Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) to particularly prevent electoral instigated conflicts.
It was noted that considerable efforts were made by the NHRIs in the implementation of the action plan as reflected by the achievements and good practices reported. Further, the NHRIs agreed to do more particularly enhancing their capacities to fully understand and integrate conflict management, resolution and peace building in their work as well as allocate adequate resources.
To this end, the forum adopted a 10-point communique’ to guide implementation of the amended 3 year Action Plan to be implemented between 2017 and 2020. The communique’ put emphasis on a number of areas, namely:
1. Development of a practical guide and a monitoring and evaluation framework for the effective implementation of the Action Plan;
2. Strengthening the capacity of EAC NHRIs to effectively implement the Action Plan;
3. Integration of the Action Plan in respective NHRIs Strategic and Annual Work Plans supported by the required budgets;
4. Seeking additional support from NANHRI and RWI to coordinate and mobilize resources to particularly support the work of EAC NHRIs in community dialogues and develop the Early Warning and Early Response Systems.
5. Exploring strategic collaboration with the EAC Secretariat in the implementation of the Action Plan;
6. Mainstreaming and integrating gender and marginalized groups including but not limited to the youth and persons with disabilities in the activities intended for the implementation of the Action Plan;
7. Formalizing a sustainable structure for cooperation and coordination by merging the Association and Forum of EAC NHRIs in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of actions to promote and protect human rights in the region.
The priority areas of focus during the 3 year period were identified as:
1. Land and resource based conflicts; minerals, oil and gas; water; forests; pastures/ farmers rights; borders; investors and human/wildlife.
2. Governance based conflicts; elections; lack of level playing field for political players; term limits; abuse of office; lack of accountability; youth unemployment; corruption; ethnicity; religion and internal displacements.