Czechia stakeholders prepare for their 3rd UPR in November

October 3 – 4 saw UPR Info travel to Prague to train civil society organisations (CSOs) and the State ahead of the third UPR of Czechia on 6 November 2017.

The first day saw UPR Info provide an introductory training to CSOs on the UPR ahead of many of them speaking at the UPR Info Pre-sessions in Geneva from 10 – 13 October. Following the training a round-table took place to discuss how CSO and State preparations had been progressing since the previous UPR and UPR Info, at this stage, offered the CSOs a variety of best practices, many found in “The CSO Compendium” and “The Butterfly Effect”, on how to sustain their engagement in the UPR beyond the review in November.

On October 4, UPR Info were based at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to deliver two sessions; the morning was spent training the State under Review (SuR) and the afternoon session focused on the role of Czechia as a Recommending State (RS). The first session provided members of the Czech delegation for the upcoming UPR, from the ministries of interior, health, labour and social affairs, justice, education and youth and from the governmental office for human rights, with an overview of the mechanism, how the UPR works, approaches of different delegations, and what is the expectation of the delegation. The training involved an interactive session giving the delegation a chance to discuss their approach and responses, and to familiarise themselves with the Geneva based procedure and their role in it.

The afternoon session included almost 20 MFA staff, ranging from diplomats from the capital and territorial departments, and the Department of International Cooperation and the Department of the UN as well.

The training worked as an awareness raising process to engage the staff in the UPR and provided them with a better understanding of the mechanism. The role of the RS, and these government staff, is vital at each stage of the UPR. From sending initial remarks on issues expected to be addressed at the UPR and providing updates on implementation of our previous recommendations, to commenting on proposals for advance questions and recommendations for the UPR sessions it is paramount that those in these positions understand the mechanism they are being asked to interact with. For human rights to be a long-term priority the State, as both an SuR and RS needs to effectively engage in the UPR.

The feedback from the event was positive with the MFA commenting that they “believe they [the trainings] were exactly what we needed for both the groups and this was an excellent beginning for our delegation” and the CSOs being trained ahead of the Pre-sessions stating that they “found the training very useful and hope to stay in contact regarding assistance to CSOs and UPR”.