Sima Samar Will Deliver the Keynote Speech at the Geneva Human Rights Platform 2021 Annual Conference

21 September 2021

Sima Samar, Member of the United Nations Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement and former Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) will deliver the keynote speech at the 2021 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

In her speech, she will notably address the importance of connectivity between international and national human rights systems and how this interdependent relationship is particularly crucial in contested spaces.

‘We are very pleased to have Sima Samar delivering the keynote speech at our conference. As the first AIHRC Chairperson, she reported on and addressed key human rights issues in her country, including the realization of economic and social rights and the status of women. Her work is a testimonial of the key role that national human rights actors play in implementing international human rights law at the local level. Her participation in our conference has a particular resonance in these difficult moments Afghanistan is going through and the current lack of such strong accountability mechanism in the country’ says Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Addressing the Role of National Actors and their Interplay with UN Human Rights Mechanisms

This one-day event in Geneva and online – on 12 October 2021 – will address the connectivity between national human rights actors and Geneva-based international mechanisms.

‘We will do so via very concrete issues and cases in order to develop a clearer understanding of the role that national human rights actors play in the implementation of international human rights law, how they engage – or should engage – with UN human rights mechanisms, and how these could better support the work carried out at the national level’ explains Dr Domenico Zipoli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.

From the Digital Shift to Systemic Racism or the Protection of the Environment

Plenary and thematic sessions will therefore address the connectivity between national human rights actors and Geneva-based international mechanisms in relation to the human rights impact of new technologies, systemic racism, the protection of the environment, the role of cities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities.

‘These sessions are organized with more than 20 partners – UN, NGOs, international organizations, academia and other platforms – showing the growing convening power of our platform and its annual conference’ says Felix Kirchmeier.

A Session Integrated in the 2021 Fundamental Rights Forum

The afternoon thematic session on how national human rights actors should address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities also forms part of the 2021 Fundamental Rights Forum and its Geneva Hub.

‘This Forum is a unique platform for dialogue about the most pressing human rights challenges that Europe faces today. The fact that one of our sessions forms part of this major conference strengthens our close partnership with the Fundamental Rights Agency – whose Director delivered the keynote at our 2020 annual conference – and allows us to reach a wider European audience’ underlines Dr Zipoli.

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