Identifying best practice in parliamentary oversight of human rights to enhance effectiveness

AHRCentre Chair Prof Andrew Byrnes presented a paper at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London's high level workshop on 13 and 14 November. The workshop brought together leading academics and policymakers and practitioners, including from the United Nations, national parliaments and National Human Rights Institutions from nine jurisdictions to identify best practice in parliamentary oversight of human rights and to identify practical measures to enhance effectiveness. Speakers included: Professor Yuval Shany, Hebrew University and UN Human Rights Committee and Murray Hunt, Legal Adviser to the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights.

Dr Philippa Webb and Ms Kirsten Roberts, who are running the project, said:

“While parliaments can play a crucial role in human rights protection, the effectiveness of parliaments as human rights actors is not being fully realised. At present different methods are used by parliaments around the world to monitor human rights within their countries, with starkly varying degrees of success. Using the latest academic thinking on assessing the effectiveness of institutions, our project aims to encourage a fundamental shift in parliaments approach to Human rights and to improve domestic human rights protections. This workshop was the first step in that process.”

Panel sessions covered examined parliaments and human rights from a range of perspectives through panels on how to measure the effectiveness of parliamentary oversight of human rights; international and national regional perspectives on parliamentary oversight of human rights and stakeholder perspectives. Speakers included leading experts on human rights and on parliaments from the Philippines, Bosnia, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands. Participants included attendees from international organisations, academia and diplomatic missions.

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