On 12-13 August 2017, the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), in partnership with UPR Info, organised a post-UPR civil society strategy workshop in New Delhi, India. The event gathered some 60 participants from more than 13 states across India, representing a wide spectrum of rights holders, including: children; women; human rights defenders; persons living with disabilities;
LGBTI persons; and the elderly, as well organisations working on other human rights issues such as housing, education, freedom of religion, dalit rights, access to justice, police reforms, and others. The workshop also welcomed the participation of international NGOs, including Amnesty International India, and Human Rights Watch, as well as the National Law School, Delhi.
The first day of the workshop included a recap of India's third UPR, which took place in Geneva on 4 May 2017. During the review, India received a total of 250 recommendations. In this regard, the State opted to provide all responses to the recommendations at the adoption of the report, scheduled to take place on 21 September 2017 during the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council. The workshop participants divided thematically into groups in order to analyse the formulation of the recommendations, with a view towards identifying what steps both the Government and civil society could take to ensure implementation.
The second day of the workshop shifted the attention towards advocacy, including a collective brainstorming session about the steps which could be taken to promote the adoption of the maximum number of recommendations. During the day's activities, the participants heard from Professor Ranbir Singh, the Vice Chancellor of the National Law University of Delhi, who was instrumental in drafting the national UPR report of India, and was also a part of the official Indian delegation to Geneva in May. In addition, Mr. Miloon Kothari, President of UPR Info, gave a brief presentation on how to construct an effective implementation plan, drawing on good practices from various countries.
The two-day workshop proved to be a fruitful and energetic event, resulting in collective decisions regarding advocacy for the acceptance of recommendations. Participants agreed to undertake diverse advocacy activities such as meeting with government ministries, human rights insitutions and parliamentary representatives, and raising UPR awareness through social media campaigns.
The second step of the workshop will entail organisation of one-day state workshops to be held between 1 to 15 September in approximately 20 states of India, followed by 500 live screenings across the country of the adoption of the UPR report on 21 September.