Given the nature of the issues at hand and challenges in the region, the conference provides an environment that is conducive to meaningful dialogue and sharing of experiences over the issues related to the challenges of human rights implementation. Also, the conference aims to identify the possible areas of cooperation among national human rights institutions, civil society members, lawyers and security bodies by taking into consideration the experiences of each participant. Planning, thus, requires preparatory coordination with participants, and also includes sessions that will be useful to them. The sessions will take variety of formats, including three plenary sessions, in addition to smaller-group discussions and possible workshops that may be closed to the public to provide maximum opportunities for learning and discussion. The conference is a full two and a half days program, starting with inauguration ceremony on the first day. Chairs from each national commission, as well as from different delegations will be invited to moderate sessions and encouraged to share their own expertise and experiences throughout the conference.
The focus will be thematic presentations and discussions on the following key issues of impunity in South Asia today. By starting with the following selected topics within the frame of Human Rights and Impunity, the conference conveners anticipate that participants will be able to have productive discussions, reflection, and develop meaningful next steps. The conference conveners will reach out and explicitly invite panelists and papers.
On the first day, NHRI representatives will briefly outline some of the key challenges and one area of success they have encountered.
The second day and third day will comprise discussions on the following topics, with human rights and impunity as the center point of each conversation. The following points will serve as the guidelines or ‘take-away’ points for the thematic sessions:
- Best practices in collaboration for impact with the government
- Best practices in collaboration for public impact
- Successful methods of regional networking for combating impunity and promoting and protecting human rights, and the outcomes of that networking
The sessions will be divided as follows.
Day 1 - Registration and Opening Ceremony
Day 2 Plenary - National Human Rights Institutions’ accounts of challenges and best practices in human rights advocacy in their respective countries. Day 3 Plenary – Experiences of Human rights organizations about the challenges in advocacy and work against impunity along with best practices including collaboration with NHRIs.
Each Plenary will be covered by thematic discussion and Paper presentations.The thematic sessions will have at their core the same questions of impact. To discuss on the over-arching commitment to combat impunity and addressing the issues of judicial challenges, each of the following sessions will have:
- Legal Obligation and Accountability measures for security sectors in human rights protection and ending impunity
- The rights of women and other marginalized communities and challenges of combating impunity
- Migration and livelihood and specific challenges with regard to ensuring safeguarding of their rights and combating impunity in this sector.
- Regional and domestic: obstacles, challenges and best practices in cooperation among NHRIs and Human Rights Organizations at the regional level and at the domestic level for achieving human rights objectives
- Truth and reconciliation: commissions, lessons learned, and what not to do.
Given the many international treaties to which South Asia’s states are party, presenters and participants in these sessions may discuss the ratification, enforcement and monitoring of international treaty agreements in domestic law and political processes. With respect to the region, have stakeholders in human rights changed over time, and how? What space exists for civil society today? What are the limitations faced by IHRIs, NHRIs, and other defenders? How do we account for shrinking space for human rights work? What resources exist for human rights work, and what changes are taking place? These are all examples of cross-cutting questions.
The conference will take the format of paper presentations and discussions, led by 2-3 experts on a given issue area, ideally one academic and one practitioner, or one lawyer and one non-lawyer.