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Human rights-based approach key to effective SDGs implementation—MHRC

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has disclosed that human rights approach is key to the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MHRC Deputy Executive Secretary Winston Mwafulirwa made the sentiments in Lilongwe on Tuesday during the opening of a three-day in-country capacity building workshop on leveraging a human rights-based approach to SDGs implementation and monitoring.

The workshop has been convened by the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) with support from the European Union through the NHRI-EU Project.

Mwafulirwa observed that most of the SDGs targets are transformed from a goal or aspiration into immediate rights.

He said he was encouraged to note that one of the objectives of the workshop is to enhance the capacity of the Commission and the National Statistical Office (NSO) in human rights-based approach in SDGs’ implementation.

“The knowledge that we are going to gain from this workshop will lead us a long way to ensuring successful monitoring and reporting our nation’s implementation of the SDGs. As Malawi’s NHRI, we will continue to mobilize critical stakeholders including government to embrace a human rights-based approach to underpin national policies and programs for the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the SDGs,” he said.

Mr. Winston Mwafulirwa Deputy Executive Secretary MHRC

Added Mwafulirwa, “As a NHRI, we take cognisant that to create a linkage between the “leave no one behind” and the “human rights for all” principles of the human right-based approach in the implementation and improved monitoring of the SDGs, there is need to leverage data collection mechanism. Monitoring the progress towards the SDGs requires accurate and reliable data. Accurate and reliable data collection is essential to track progress, identify gaps, and make informed decisions regarding the implementation of various SDGs.  Poor and inaccurate data often lead to misinformed policies and programmes. The presence of the NSO, which is the country’s depository of all statistics cannot be overemphasized in this regard.”

Head of International Cooperation, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) of Ghana, Lambert Luguniah, who was speaking on behalf of  the chairperson of the NANHRI SDGs Working Group, Adv. Joseph Whittal, said NHRIs and NSOs play a crucial role in reporting on the SDGs and monitoring their implementation.

Luguniah added through partnerships between these institutions, data collection and analysis can be improved, ensuring a more effective approach to reporting on global and regional agendas.

“Indeed, in a ground-breaking report on human rights and voluntary national reviews the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) advised that ““One of the most effective ways of injecting a human rights-based approach into the collection and management of data has been through [partnerships between national human rights institutions and national statistical offices,” he said.

NANHRI Senior Programmes Officer David Barissa said his organization seeks to support and strengthen NHRIs in Africa as well as to facilitate coordination and cooperation among themselves and between them and other key human rights actors at the regional and international level.

Mr. David Barissa, Senior Programmes Officer NANHRI

“Our vision is an African continent with an enhanced human rights and justice for all. In terms of the theme of the workshop, the work of African NHRIs on sustainable development is guided by the 2015 Merida Declaration on the Role of NHRIs in Implementing 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and the 201 Declaration and Plan of Action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Agenda 2063 and the role of National Human Rights Institutions (the Kigali Declaration),” said Barissa.

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