Tahir Ahmad Machengo, Kenya Correspondent
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held a seminar to discuss the contribution of development to the realisation of all human rights, specifically in Africa.
The seminar was held at the United Nations building in Nairobi, Kenya, and had several distinguished panelists and attendees, both in-person and online, from 24 to 25 November 2022. Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Kenya was honoured to receive an invitation from the International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers (IAAAE) to attend as a representative.
The seminar began with opening remarks by the chairperson, Mr Todd Howland, Chief, Development, Economic and Social Issues Branch (OHCHR) and other distinguished guests. The opening remarks touched on a variety of topics, ranging from the general purpose of the Council to the topic of the seminar itself.
The main theme focused on development as a tool to achieve human rights. This was because, after several discussions and considerations on whether human rights come first or the need for development, it was agreed on in prior forums that for human rights to be upheld or even recognised in a society, there needs to be a minimum amount of development achieved.
The panel discussions covered a wide range of areas that absolutely needed attention in the search for sustainable development, such as; reflections on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of human rights, the essential role of international cooperation for sustainable development in promoting and protecting human rights, including in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the commitment to ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions, the contribution of the Doha Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries to the enjoyment of all human rights, the contribution of the development of infrastructure and governance in the energy and digital sectors to the enjoyment of all human rights, the contribution of regional development strategies to the enjoyment of all human rights and finally, good practices and experiences in addressing challenges and gaps and ensuring the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights.
IAAAE was included in the panel, “The contribution of the development of infrastructure and governance in the energy and digital sectors to the enjoyment of all human rights.” Mrs Rima Hmayed and Mrs Nadia Khalaf Aletawi, representing IAAAE, talked about their experience working with grass-roots communities on infrastructure projects and presented IAAAE’s project structure. It begins with liaising with local communities from different regions in Africa, which is always helpful in facilitating projects and improving outcomes.
There was also a presentation on the organisation’s experience in transitioning from traditional water extraction methods to more sustainable ones using solar energy, which not only shortened the distance to water sources but also increased safety for the communities getting the water.
Finally, the organisation reflected on the importance of coordination within itself in the different regions of Africa and emphasised the challenges and difficulties facing the development process in Africa, such as corruption and the lack of evaluation of the projects that neglect the empowerment of local communities.
IAAAE was represented by Akram Ahmedi Sahib, Chairman IAAAE Europe, Anwar Mehmood Ur Rahman Sahib, Public Relations, IAAAE Europe, Mrs Rima Hmayed, Mrs Nadia Khalaf Aletawi, and Mr Nasir Shabooti. Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Kenya was represented by Tariq Mahmood Zafar Sahib, Amir and missionary-in-charge Kenya, Habib Mohamed Shatry Sahib, Naib Amir Kenya, Abdulaziz Gakuria Sahib, Athar Bhatti Sahib, Ismail Kishoma Sahib, Raya Habib Shatry Sahiba, and my humble self.