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Fifth Aisa Pacific Forum Of National Human Rights

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-NZ-HUMAN-RIGHTS-COMMISSION

Fifth Aisa Pacific Forum Of National Human Rights Institutions Annual Meeting Hosted By New Zealand

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission is hosting this year's meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, a first for New Zealand.

It takes place in Rotorua from 7 to 9 August.

The Forum comprises Human Rights Commissions from Australia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Nepal has applied for membership and the establishment of institutions in Thailand, South Korea, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh and Mongolia is well advanced.

New Zealand Human Rights Commissioner Areta Koopu said that the New Zealand Commission is looking forward to hosting such a prestigious international human rights meeting.

"In light of recent events in our region, it is essential that National Human Rights Institutions meet to strengthen their resolve to protect and promote human rights in the Asia Pacific," Mrs Koopu said.

"We are honoured to welcome our Forum neighbours from the region.

The meeting will acknowledge and debate the on-going conflicts taking place in several member countries and within the region".

"The Commission is pleased to welcome Mr Justice PN Bhagwati, the former Chief Justice of India, who is Regional Representative for Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights".

"We look forward to addresses from Hon Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Hon Margaret Wilson, Attorney General and Associate Minster of Justice".

Over 100 guests will be attending, including Forum members, government observers, and United Nations and non-governmental organisation representatives.

Forum members share expertise, training and development and can respond to requests from other national institutions to investigate violations of human rights.

Members can assist governments to establish and develop National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission is the Forum's Co- ordinator.

The Forum is allocated special funding from the Australian and New Zealand governments.

This year's Forum will also include the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Council of Jurists of the Asia Pacific Forum, a specialist advisory body to provide guidance to the Forum and its member institutions.

Further information is available for journalists who wish to attend the meetings.

Sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday will be open to the media.

Please contact Glyn Walters, New Zealand Human Rights Commission Communications Officer on 09 375 8627, email glynwhrc.

co.

nz or 025 313 239.

An itinerary of events can be faxed or sent via email upon request.

ENDS

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