Last week UPR Info held its annual Donor Meeting, at which we provided updates on out work and projects to donors and other interested parties, we made available our Annual Report, to promote transparency of our activities.
2016 has been a significant year, impacting human rights and international relations in ways we were yet to fully grasp. In this context, the reviews of the last countries of the UPR’s second cycle mark a historic moment both in the development of human rights, and for the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms as a whole. At UPR Info we have endeavoured to exploit every opportunity offered by this process, such as bringing stakeholders together to cooperate in the realisation of human rights implementation. Through 2016, with the support of our regional offices, we put our expertise to work by engaging with civil society and governments in no fewer than 18 countries: Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Finland, India, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, and Uganda.
Our UPR Info Africa Office was formally launched at a conference held in Nairobi in April. That same month we organised together with other Stakeholders, a strategic workshop for civil society organisations on implementation of UPR recommendations. This was followed by a multi-stakeholder dialogue that included the Government on how to effectively implement the recommendations. Over the last two years, UPR Info has been working in Burma/Myanmar UPR to kick-start the follow-up phase. For this, two CSO workshops were held in May and June 2016 to provide members of the coalition with strategic tools to effectively monitor and support the implementation of the recommendations.
In Geneva, we hosted two rounds of Pre-Sessions for the 25th and 26th UPR Working Group Sessions, giving the floor to 98 CSOs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) CSOs to present key insights into the human rights situation on the ground in advance of the UPR sessions of their respective countries. The Pre-sessions also provided an invaluable opportunity for local NGOs to conduct extensive bilateral lobbying of diplomats in Geneva. Together with the Pre-sessions, we continued to work on the implementation of UPR recommendations on the ground through our Follow-up Programme.
2016 was also a fruitful year for UPR Info in terms of producing UPR publications, ranging from best practices to policy guidelines. In September, we published “Ensuring sustainable UPR implementation: A call to action for States to strengthen the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review”. Later in November, we published The Butterfly Effect: Spreading Good Practices of UPR Implementation, thus providing a robust assessment of the UPR’s ability to deliver on its promises of strengthening human rights at the domestic level.
To continue this promotion of human rights “close to home” as Eleanor Roosevelt would say, we launched the Geneva-based initiative We Pay Our Interns. The initiative is a commitment by employers to pay their interns, and draws attention to the chronic situation of unpaid internships in international governmental and non-governmental organisations.
As the third cycle of the UPR takes on, UPR Info stands ready to engage in the next five years with the passion and commitment needed to ensure that the UPR remains a prominent and effective human rights mechanism that delivers a sustainable human rights implementation worldwide.
Read our 2016 Annual Report .