The Civil Society Compendium Launch

On Wednesday 5 April, UPR Info launched its latest publication The Civil Society Compendium: A comprehensive guide for civil society organisations (CSOs) engaging in the Universal Periodic Review. The event welcomed approximately 100 people from CSOs and Permanent Missions alike and was opened by H.E. Ambassador Mr Julian Braithwaite of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K.).

Ambassador Braithwaite noted that “the multi-stakeholder nature of UPR is one of its great successes and it is worth bearing in mind that there is nowhere else in the human rights system where NGO information is treated on a par with UN information and a state’s national report as the 3 bases for a UN process. The U.K. has prioritised civil society engagement at the UPR since its inception and has tried to be open to civil society both as part of its own reviews and in formulating its statements and recommendations to other states.”

Following the Ambassador’s statement Shivani Chaudhry Executive Director of the Housing and Land Rights Network India, spoke and expressed that UPR Info through its work and this new guide for CSOs was helping to ensure that “the UPR is a peoples process, that reaches beyond Geneva.”
Roland Chauville, Executive Director of UPR Info, addressed the audience to explain the guide briefly and to reiterate UPR Info’s thanks to the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office for their support on this project.

This compendium, as Mr Chauville explained, aims to serve as a comprehensive guide for civil society actors engaging in the third cycle of the UPR and is presented in four parts.

As the third cycle begins, every UN Member State has had their human rights situation reviewed twice, in Geneva, and over 55,000 recommendations have been made. The first section of this guide offers a concise introduction to the UPR.

The main objective of the UPR is to improve the human rights situation on the ground. Therefore section 2 of this publications provides an up to date guide for civil society on when and how best to engage with the UPR. It offers simple tips for effective engagement with the entire UPR process for the advancement of human rights.

UPR Info has found, through previous studies and its projects, that CSOs can achieve maximum impact at the UPR when working in national and/or international coalitions. Building CSO coalitions should be a priority in the third cycle, in order to safeguard meaningful civil society influence on the UPR process. Part 3 of the guide offers advice, and examples of best practices, for strengthening national CSO coalitions, specifically relating to the UPR.

The final section of the guide, Part 4, provides non-state actors in the UPR with a resources toolkit for engagement.

The CSO Compendium is available in English, French, and Spanish.