11 November 2006

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) signed on 9 November an agreement covering cooperation in the promotion of the rule of law, the strengthening of democracy and good governance, among other areas.

Through the agreement, OHCHR and CPLP will carry out joint activities of technical cooperation and to provide advisory services in the field of human rights to the eight CPLP member States.

Other areas of cooperation listed in today’s agreement include:

Encouraging wider ratification, possibly without reservation, of international instruments on human rights;
Strengthening the capacity of member States to meet their reporting obligations under United Nations human rights treaties as well as their capacity to adequately address complaints pending under treaty-based individual complaints procedures;
Strengthening national capacities for the promotion and protection of all human rights;
Establishing and strengthening national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights in compliance with the Paris Principles;
Strengthening civil society;
Promoting human rights education and collaborating in the development of teaching and training materials in Portuguese.

Following the signing, High Commissioner Louise Arbour welcomed the agreement, saying she hoped it would serve as a model for cooperation for other countries and regions sharing a commitment to improving human rights promotion and protection.

Ambassador Luís Fonseca of Cape Verde signed the accord on behalf of the CPLP.

The CPLP was created in 1996 and is composed of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Principe and Timor-Leste, countries with a combined population of some 240 million people.

OHCHR is present in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Timor-Leste.