On 15 September 2016, the British Embassy in Bangkok hosted a reception as part of the United Nations designated ‘International Day of Democracy’. The event focussed on SDG 16, which calls for “inclusive and participatory societies and institutions”, as part of the theme ‘Democracy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. Democratic values were discussed which provided a forum to promote the positive role that civil society organisations (CSOs) play in protecting and defending democracy. The Regional Director for UPR Info Asia, Ms. Emilie Pradichit, spoke on the role of the UPR as a democratic mechanism promoting inclusion and equality, which are essential foundations to achieve real democracy, and stressed on ways CSOs and governments could uphold these democratic values. She discussed: (1) the link between democracy and human rights; (2) the watchdog role of civil society to monitor and check that the State is respecting and protecting the rights of the people; and (3) the importance to promote an inclusive society to dismantle inequalities.
- In his annual report published in August, entitled “Cooperation with the United Nations it’s representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights”, the United Nations Secretary General (SG) Ban Ki-moon expresses his concerns about reprisals against individuals and civil society organisations (CSO) collaborating with the United Nations on human rights issues.
- During the 23rd session of the UPR Working Group (November 2015) 2808 recommendations were made and they are now available in our database. With session 23 pushing the number of recommendations received to date at the UPR to 49,392 we are expecting approximately 55000 recommendations by the end of the second cycle of the UPR.
- Over the past 12 months UPR Info Asia has brought together perhaps the widest coalition of Thai CSOs to date. The formation of the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR has enabled local communities from different regions of Thailand, experiencing similar challenges, to meet each other and build solidarity. With a committed coalition, CSOs work together as a strong national movement towards a more representative UPR process to bring about change in their country whilst keeping the Royal Thai Government accountable on its international and development obligations.From the development of UPR Advocacy Factsheets, to supporting the Coalition’s lobbying efforts both at the country level and in Geneva during UPR Info’s Pre-sessions, the next steps for UPR Info Asia were: (1) to raise awareness during Thailand 2nd UPR on 11 May 2016; and (2) to seize the momentum to kick-off the UPR follow-up phase.
- UPR Info Asia has been working with the Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum since June 2015, as part of its strategy to support local communities to engage in the UPR process. The aim is to build the capacity of the coalition to ensure local communities are at the center of Myanmar 2nd UPR cycle. The Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum is a coalition of independent civil society organisations (CSOs) with the commitment to engage constructively in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process to improve human rights situations of all people and communities of Burma/Myanmar and border areas.