UPR Info successfully organised the most recent series of Pre-sessions on 9-12 October 2018 ahead of the 31st session of the UPR. The international human rights conference gave national human rights defenders from Belize; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo (Republic of); Jordan; Malaysia; Malta; Mauritius; Mexico; Monaco; Nigeria; Saudi Arabia; and Senegal the opportunity to present their concerns and recommendations ahead of the country reviews in the UPR Working Group from 5-16 November 2018. Held in the Palais des Nations, the Pre-sessions provided Permanent Missions with specific and action-oriented UPR recommendations drafted by civil society, which reflect the needs of the rights-holders.
Facts and Figures
The Pre-sessions were a great success in terms of local representation and dialogue with state delegates. UPR Info covered sessions on all fourteen countries.
Of the 63 CSOs who took the floor at the Pre-sessions, 39 were national organisations and more than half were represented by women. Three National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) were also present on the panels. Two children took the floor to speak about the human right situation in their country, Senegal and Nigeria.
This round of Pre-sessions welcomed a total of 68 different Permanent Missions, with an average of 38 presents at each session, which is the highest level never attained, illustrating a growing commitment from States to engage with the UPR process.
Most of the States under Review were present at their own Pre-session demonstrating a willingness to engage and discuss with national civil society. As a way to engage in a constructive dialogue between CSOs and the State, they were given the opportunity to deliver a two minutes statement at the beginning of their session to present the progress achieve by the State under Review since the last cycle.
Human rights themes
Thanks to strong coordination among panellists, a broad range of human rights issues were raised throughout the week and for each country, addressing both civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights and at risk and marginalised groups. We hope that the range of topics will be reflected in the recommendations made in the Working Group in November.
Women’s and children’s rights were mentioned in every Pre-session as well as freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Civil society also expressed concerns about LGBTI and minorities rights such in countries such as in China. Access to sexual and reproductive health was also prominently raised, notably during the Pre-sessions of Belize and Senegal. At the Pre-session of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, restrictions of rights for statelessness persons have been discussed. CSOs raised concerns on torture and denial of detainees’ rights in Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic and Congo.
UPR Info wishes to express its gratitude to all of 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, 9 October. UPR Info also thanks the United Nations for assisting participants to access the venue, as well as the Permanent Mission of Belgium for facilitating the room 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 11-14 December 2018 at Palais des Nations, in room XXV; more information is available on our Pre-sessions page.