On December 9th–15th, CESR conducted a training workshop with national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Network of African National Human Rights (NANHRI) Institutions in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop brought together over 20 representatives from more than 10 national NHRIs from across the continent and was supported and hosted by the Nigerian Human Rights Commission.
The seminar focused on how NHRIs can better engage with economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) in their work; build skills to better analyze ESCR-related policies, laws and programs; and learn how to use tools and resources to further that work. The workshop was the second in a series conducted by CESR in partnership with DIHR and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights on ESCR.
Over the course of the training, facilitators and participants discussed the details of ESCR norms; ESCR and the Sustainable Development Goals; implications for monitoring activities, human rights indicators and benchmarks; and budget analysis from a human rights perspective. These issues were of particular interest in a region where ESCR issues tend to rank among the most important issues facing many countries, especially given the primacy of development.
Participants also discussed how NHRIs can be most strategically used to effectively monitor and engage with ESCR issues. These issues often require multi-stakeholder engagement and cross-disciplinary knowledge and expertise, which makes strategic engagement all the more important.
One discussion that resonated with all participants involved illicit financial flows and how their recapture would yield an amount more than that of foreign development assistance flowing into the continent. Another point of wide agreement was the detrimental impact of corruption on the region’s realization of ESCR, specifically regarding resources.
“The CESR workshop put to rest most of the myths attached to economic, social and cultural rights,” said Yemisi Akhile, of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission. “One important takeaway was that through proper budgeting, accurate disaggregated data and clearly set goals and indicators, ESC rights are attainable.”
The series concludes with a workshop in 2018 in Latin America, hosting NHRIs from across the region.