The European Union today participated in a roundtable organised by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the establishment of Human Rights Institutions and National Preventive Mechanism'." The roundtable was part of the European Union-funded project on assisting Lebanon in the implementation of recommendations from international human rights mechanisms. The Minister of State for Human Rights Affairs Ayman Choucair, the Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin El-Merhebi, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon Ambassador Christina Lassen, the OHCHR Regional Representative Abdel Salam Sidahemd, in addition to members of the Lebanese Parliament and representatives of civil society participated in the roundtable.
The roundtable addressed the Lebanese law establishing the National Human Rights Institution and the challenges in this regard. It provided an opportunity to review the experiences of Ireland and Morocco with similar institutions in their countries. Discussions focused on the mechanisms of national human rights institutions, their structures and tasks, as well as their relation with governmental bodies and non-governmental organisations.
Speaking at the opening of the roundtable, Ambassador Lassen said: "Human rights are not just an abstract concept; they are clearly defined and protected by law. The role of the Institution will therefore be instrumental to help shape relevant laws, but also policies and attitudes that create stronger and fairer societies." "We like to think that protecting human rights is in Europe's DNA, and over the past decades we have done huge efforts to improve the human rights situation, both inside Europe and in the world around us," she added.
The objective of the EU-funded project is for national institutions and civil society to take sustainable measures to uphold Lebanon's international human rights obligations. The EU has funded several initiatives to help the National Human Rights Institution and a National Prevention Mechanism become a reality.