Myanmar National Human Rights Commission in cooperation with Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) and financed by Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) held a two day training Workshop on Human Rights and the Role of the Media at the Chatrium Hotel Yangon, Myanmar from the 21st to the 22nd of October 2013.
The training workshop was participated by the Chairperson of MNHRC U Win Mra and (9) Commissioners, also representatives from the Ministry of Information and staff members of MNHRC. Welcoming remarks were made by the Chairperson, followed by an opening speech by Prof: Brian Burdekin. A.O.
The first day’s morning session started with a presentation by Prof: Brian Burdekin on International Human Rights Law, with emphasis on Freedom of Information and Freedom of Expression. He explained in length Articles (19) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article (19) of the International covenant on Civil and Political Rights and a lot of insight was gained on the Right to Freedom of Expression with its special duties and responsibilities.
Ms. Margie Cook, then presented a lecture on NHRIs and the Role of the Media.
After lunch, Ms. Chris Larkin and Ms. Backy Palmstrom from BBC Media Action gave a power point presentation on the local Media Structure and challenges. It was very informative and the survey study made by BBC Media Action gave the participants a very frank overview of the local Media Structure’s Landscape. A long hard day’s work was capped by a welcome reception in the lobby terrace of the Hotel.
The second day session started with a presentation by Prof: Burdekin and Ms. Margie Cook on N.H.R.Is and Relevant Strategies, including National Enquires. This was followed by a session, titled, “Moving beyond Traditional Media”. The two young resource persons from BBC Media Action again impressed the participants with their lively presentation.
The afternoon was devoted solely to Q and A session with Prof: Brian and Ms. Margie Cook interacting actively with the participants. There was free flow of discussions on both days which gave rise to a lot of thoughts on the Role of the Media in the democratization process of Myanmar.
The Eighteenth Annual Meeting and Biennial Conference of the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) was held in Doha, Qatar from 1st October to 3rd October 2013. The Chairman of the MNHRC U Win Mra and two members of the Commission, U Hla Myint and Daw San San represented the MNHRC at the Conference.
H.E Dr Ali Bin Smikh al-Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar took over chairmanship of the APF from the previous Chairperson of the APF, Professor Amara Pousapich, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand.
At the opening session, Dr Ali Bin Smikh al-Marri urged “close cooperation and a genuine partnership” with governments and civil society, the unification of perception of human rights issues and the need to agree on mechanisms for resolving problems and challenges. He also expressed hope that the Forum would come up with applicable recommendations. He also noted that one of the forum’s tasks was to support the establishment and development of national institutions and to enhance their relationships with governments and civil society groups.
The Conference discussed a wide range of issues such as NHRIs as Human Rights Defenders; the role of NHRIs, in cooperation with the State and Civil Society, in working forward a peaceful transition to Democracy, challenges and opportunities; the role of NHRIs, in working with police and security forces; the role of NHRIs in Democracy and Good Governance; How are NHRIs promoting and Protecting the Human Rights of Women and Girls?; and NHRIs and Women in Political and Democratic Reforms.
At the Conference, the Chairman of MNHRC discussed the challenges and opportunities in Myanmar context regarding the promotion and protection of human rights. He presented to the Conference the efforts in creating public awareness about human rights issues in Myanmar.
On 1st October, the 18th Annual Meeting and Biennial Conference accepted Oman and Samoa as new Associate Members of the APF. The Conference also agreed to accept the offer of the National Commission of India to host the 19th APF Annual Meeting in India in 2014 and the offer of Mongolia to host the 20th APF Annual Meeting and Biennial Conference in Mongolia in 2015.
The APF annual meeting is a major decision making forum and plays a catalytic role in developing agreed new programmes and common policy position.
The MNHRC became the Associate Member of the APF at the 17th Annual Meeting of the APF held in Arman, Jordan in November 2012.