Search for common ground

Participants from all over the Nordic countries came to Lund to take part in a seminar that will discuss if the Nordic countries are fulfilling their requirements of the Paris Principles through their National Human Rights Institutions. Among the invited guests are representatives from the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Åbo Academy and the Icelandic Human Rights Centre.

The Paris Principles were accepted in 1993 by the UN General Assembly as a way to list what responsibilities the national institutions have. National institutions are for instance Human Rights Commissions, Human Rights Ombudsman and other national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. Different countries have constructed and defined their NHRI´s with some degree of variation.

–The feeling is that the Nordic countries are lagging behind, says Louise Nylin, Head
of Thematic Unit/National Human Rights Institutions. There are examples of countries that have taken their institutions much further. This seminar is a way to explore how we can learn from them.

Christina Johnsson, Head of Department for Research, is keen that the obstacles are properly discussed and analyzed during the seminar.

–I want to find out what is stopping us from going forward, she remarks. In Sweden for instance we have JO, BO and DO (Parlamentarian Ombudsman, Children´s Ombudsman and Ombudsman against Discrimination, but no Human Rights Commission. And none of our Institutions take individual complaints more than in exceptional cases. Why not?

Christina Johnsson hopes that by inviting a wide range of actors to Lund, there will be synergies and a search for a common ground. Perhaps a way forward will emerge during the intensive discussion she hopes for during the seminar.

The Institute´s expert on NHRI´s, Brian Burdekin, will be opening the seminar, which is only open for invited guests.

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