Project: Sharing the Human Rights Experience from North-Ireland into the Middle East and North Africa

Project: Sharing the Human Rights Experience from North-Ireland into the Middle East and North Africa

Implemented by: RCHRS (as the direct representative of the ANT) in collaboration with the Causeway Institute for Peace-building and Conflict Resolution

Funded by: the Westminster Foundation for Democracy

Project duration: March 2012 - March 2014 (24 months)

This project aimed to share experiences from post-conflict Northern Ireland’s human rights institutions and apparatus to aid the development and effectiveness of organizations and institutions in Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. This project drew inspiration from all sides of the Northern Ireland experience: political parties, the Human Rights Commission, civil society groups, the Ombudsman etc. The peace process and agreement in North-Ireland include five sectoral areas, namely (1) policing; (2) justice; (3) equality; (4) human rights, and (5) prisoners. Collectively, these sectors demonstrate the national conflict thesis that can be considered a template, particularly for countries in/emerging from conflict. As such, this project shared the Northern Ireland learning on these matters across the MENA region to contribute to an ethic which helps the process of post-conflict development in different countries in conflict such as Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, and Iraq.

The human rights dimension is very clear in (conflict) cases like Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.   After the Arab spring, severe conflicts are threatening additional countries in the Arab region, like Libya and Syria. Embedding a Human Rights perspective to any attempts to resolve such conflicts will have a greater impact for lasting stability.

The Arab Network for Tolerance was responsible for the delivery of the project by using its wide network of NGOs specialized in human rights and peace and reconciliation, as well as provided a contribution to the costs of a regional meeting to cover participation from other countries in the MENA region and spread the project benefits and maximize its impact. 

The activities of the project included:

1. A visit to Belfast by the delegation from MENA (representatives from Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen)

2. A visit of the North-Irish delegation to Erbil, Iraq

3. A visit of the North-Irish delegation to Ramallah, Palestine

4. Presence of the North-Irish delegation at the ANT annual conference in 2013; thereby meeting all ANT members in addition to and specifically with the Lebanese member

5. Presence of the North-Irish delegation at the ANT strategy meeting in January 2014

6. Visit of the North-Irish delegation with Yemeni representatives in Lebanon



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