In September, the Global Protection Forum brought together 3,000 experts to discuss real-time protection challenges, share experiences and provide strategic direction for protection actors and the Global Protection Cluster (GPC). GPC is a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations and UN agencies engaged in protection work in humanitarian crises including armed conflict, climate change and natural disasters.
As part of the Forum, the GPC Human Rights Engagement Task Team organized a session titled “Human Rights Engagement and How We Can Practically Use it in the Cluster Context” on 16 September. The event explored what human rights engagement is and how it is relevant to the work in a displacement context, seeing human rights engagement as part of a broader advocacy/ protection strategy.
The session was divided into two segments: a high-level panel discussion with Special Procedures Mandate Holders and a technical level exchange on ways forward in terms of human rights engagement with field protection clusters.
Elisa Gazzotti of SGI, as co-chair of the Task Team, co-moderated the session together with William Chemaly (GPC Coordinator), Valerie Svobodova (Human Rights Liaison Unit, UNHCR; Task Team co-chair), and Isaiah Toroitich (Lutheran World Federation; Task Team co-chair). Speakers included Cecilia Jimenez Damary (Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons) and Siobhán Mullally (Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons).
During the second part, the Task Team shared the initial findings of a survey with field protection clusters on human rights engagement, conducted in August 2020, as well as what kind of support they can provide. This seminar was the first event of the Human Rights Task Team. It represented an opportunity to bridge the different stakeholders between humanitarian and human rights fields and to officially “launch” the Task Team.
Around 160 participants from civil society, national human rights institutions, and UN agencies participated.[Photo Credit: UNHCR]