Human rights defenders last week briefed State delegates on human rights situations in Botswana, Burundi, France, Israel, Mali, Romania, Serbia and United Arab Emirates. Representatives from national and international NGOs presented Recommending States with specific and action-oriented recommendations they would like to see at their country’s UPR in January 2018. Held in the Palais des Nations from 12-14 December, the Pre-sessions are a platform for civil society engagement in the UPR process.
Facts and Figures
Of the 42 CSOs that spoke, 29 (70%) were represented by women, and 31 were national organisations, including two National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). This round of the Pre-sessions welcomed a total of 71 different Permanent Missions, with approximately 33 attending at each country session.
Furthermore, a strong willingness to engage and discuss with national civil society was expressed by many of the States under Review, with all Permanent Missions attending the Pre-session on their country.
Human rights themes
The coordination of civil society speakers meant that each panel covered a broad range of topics: torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, both by State and non-State actors, featured prominently at the Pre-sessions on Burundi, France, Mali, Israel, Serbia and UAE. Women’s rights were addressed mainly at the sessions on Mali, Israel and Romania, including sexual and reproductive rights, gender-based violence, and women human rights defenders. Six of eight panels had a CSO discussing the rights of the child, and human trafficking was also discussed at many of the sessions. Many recommendations on freedom of expression and association were also suggested, particularly to do with the situation of human rights defenders and civil society space.
UPR Info wishes to express its gratitude to all the civil society organisations, national human rights institutions, Recommending States, and States under Review for their strong engagement throughout the Pre-sessions, and further thanks Mr. Gianni Magazzeni, OHCHR, for delivering the opening remarks on Tuesday 12 December. UPR Info also thanks the United Nations for assisting participants to access the venue, as well as special thanks the Permanent Mission of France for facilitating the reservation.
The Pre-sessions were organised thanks to the support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Canton of Geneva, the City of Geneva, Irish Aid, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
The next round of Pre-sessions is due to take place from 10-13 April 2018 (tbc) at Palais des Nations; more information is available on our Pre-sessions page.