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Kräuter participated at an expert meeting on strengthening independence of national human rights institutions in Warsaw

December 9, 2016

Representatives of national human rights and ombudsman institutions, international organizations and academia gathered for an expert meeting on the independence of NHRIs hosted by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw on 28 and 29 November 2016.

The expert meeting was jointly organized by ODIHR, the Council of Europe, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) and the Office of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights. The conference aimed at reviewing specific aspects of international standards related to guarantees of independence and pluralism of NHRIs, including functional and financial independence and offered a platform to share first-hand experiences and discuss how NHRIs can be strengthened and supported to maintain their independence in the OSCE region.

In the course of the conference, it became clear that in order to effectively protect human rights, NHRIs and Ombudsman Institutions should use all available instruments, ranging from complaint handling, ex officio investigations, litigation, amicus curie, and use of NPM-mandates, to cooperation with media, with civil society and state actors and last but not least with international and regional organizations.

In his key note speech on the role of international cooperation for the strengthening of independence of NHRIs, IOI Secretary General Kräuter highlighted the IOI fact finding mission on the human rights situation in Poland and the positive impact it has had on the independence of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, who was not only facing budget cuts, but was also personally attacked for his engagement. Thanks to international support the situation improved and further cooperation and support were guaranteed.