Pre-sessions: CSOs, NHRIs and Recommending States meet ahead of UPR 28

Overview
UPR Info successfully organised the most recent series of Pre-sessions for the 28th session of the UPR on 10-13 October 2017. The international human rights conference gave national human rights defenders from: ArgentinaBeninCzechia, GhanaGuatemalaJapan, PakistanPeruSri Lanka, Republic of KoreaSwitzerlandUkraine and Zambia the opportunity to present their concerns and recommendations ahead of their countries’ reviews in the UPR Working Group 6-17 November 2017. 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 states delegates.

Of the 68 CSOs who took the floor at the Pre-sessions, 40 were represented by women, and almost all were national CSOs, including two National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). This round of the Pre-sessions welcomed a total of 68 different Permanent Missions, with approximately 33 present at each session.

Furthermore, all but one of the States under Review attended the sessions on their own countries, demonstrating a willingness to engage and discuss with national civil society.
 
Human rights themes
The coordination of civil society speakers meant that each panel covered a broad range of topics, and while each country situation is different, there were some notable commonalities: panellists from Argentina, Ghana, Japan and Switzerland spoke on the right to health, and the rights of indigenous peoples and the right to land featured in presentations on Guatemala, Japan, Peru and Zambia. Children’s rights and sexual and reproductive rights were discussed in 9 of the 13 sessions, and women’s rights, the rights of migrants, and the rights of LGBTI persons also featured prominently; as did those of persons with disabilities.

Among the civil and political rights discussed, freedom of expression (Argentina, Benin, Ghana, Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia), and torture, inhuman and degrading treatment (Czechia, Ukraine, Ghana, Japan, and Pakistan) were the most prevalent.

Overall, both civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights were addressed in the Pre-sessions, and we hope that the range of topics will be reflected in the recommendations made in the Working Group in November.
 
Thanks
UPR Info wishes to express its gratitude to all the civil society organisations, national human rights insitutions, 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 Thursday 12 October. UPR Info also thanks the United Nations for assisting participants to access the venue, as well as special thanks the Permanent Mission of Switzerland for facilitating the 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 12-15 December 2017 at Palais des Nations, in room XXII; more information is available on our Pre-sessions page.