Human Rights Project Visit to Belfast

With Causeway Institute, Arab Network for Tolerance, Bahrain Human Rights Watch, Yemeni Observatory For Human Rights

Engi Co-Founder Yeshim Harris attended the Human Rights Project Visit to Belfast in 23 March 2012. The visit aimed to bring the Arab Network for Tolerance (ANT) to Northern Ireland for a series experience exchange seminars. ANT is a forum where activists, academics, media professionals and youth can come together to identify new strategies for improving human rights in the MENA region.  The Network was formed in 2008 by the Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies (RCHRS) and this study visit was led by the Centre’s Director Dr Iyad Bargouthi. 

The visit to Belfast was part of a wider programme of activity that CIPCR is undertaking in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).  This involves working with the RCHRS and ANT to build their capacity and capability in order to enable them to be more effective in their own countries and across the Middle East region.

The programme was specifically aimed at the higher level of engagement.  Delegates met and were briefed by some of the key players in the Northern Ireland peace process, past and present.  These included former and serving Human Rights commissioners; the Chief Executive of the Equality Commission; the Victims Commission; the Police Ombudsman and the Policing Board as well as the leadership of the PSNI.  Delegates also visited a number of community groups who are working across the sectarian interface in Belfast to deliver comprehensive programmes focussed on rights and justice.  Representatives from the major political parties in Northern Ireland also briefed delegates on their respective parties’ views on human rights and equality.