[UPR Trax] No 56: Recommending States play crucial role in ensuring human rights advancement and accountability

Taking advantage of the quiet summer period at Palais des Nations, UPR Info staff worked on several activities in advance of what will be a busy autumn. Preparations are on-going for two rounds of Pre-sessions to be held in Geneva in October and December respectively, while UPR Info’s Asia office held its first regional Pre-session on Myanmar. Two new publications have been launched on the UPR process, including a Guide for Recommending States (published by UPR Info) and the book “Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism” (edited by Hilary Charlesworth and Emma Larking, including an article by UPR Info). In just under a week, the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council will commence, which will include the adoption of the UPR of States reviewed at the 22nd Session of the UPR Working Group (May 2015). As summer cedes to autumn, it brings with it a rentrée charge for multistakeholder activity at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

New UPR publications, including UPR Info’s Guide for Recommending States, emphasise the importance of cooperation between States and civil society in the UPR Process

Two UPR publications were launched on 7 September 2015, at the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations in Geneva. One of the two publications launched at the event was UPR Info’s “A Guide for Recommending States at the UPR”. Published with the support of the Australian Government, the Guide shares both practical information on how to participate, and best practices in terms of drafting specific and action-oriented recommendations, and following up on the implementation of recommendations from one UPR cycle to another. The second publicationHuman Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism” (Cambridge University Press, 2014) is a compilation of articles written about the UPR mechanism through both a socio-legal prism and with a practitioners’ perspective. UPR Info Executive Director Roland Chauville, a contributing author of the book, assesses in his article the successes and challenges of the first cycle of the UPR. Read more.

Pre-sessions

UPR 23: The timetable is now available here for UPR Info’s next round of Pre-sessions, which will take place in Geneva on 7-9 October 2015. The Pre-sessions will act as a platform to discuss the human rights situation of the States to be reviewed at the 23rd UPR Working Group session (2-13 November 2015): Australia; Austria; Georgia; Lebanon; Mauritania; Myanmar; Nauru; Nepal; Oman; and Rwanda.

UPR 24: Registration is now open for the Pre-sessions of States to be reviewed at the 24th UPR Working Group (January/February2016): Belgium; Denmark; Estonia; Latvia; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Palau; Paraguay; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Somalia; and Solomon Islands. The Pre-sessions will take place from 14-17 December 2015. Civil society organisations (CSOs) wishing to take the floor are asked to fill in the registration form and return it by email by 20 September 2015.

Burmese Human Rights Defenders engaging in Myanmar Second UPR to improve the Human Rights situation on the ground

Today, 9 September 2015, UPR Info and the Burma-Myanmar UPR Forum will host a Lecture on “Voices from the Ground: Burmese Human Rights Defenders engaging in Myanmar 2nd Cycle UPR to improve the Human Rights Situation on the ground”. The lecture will take place at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan Campus, in Thailand, where Burmese Human Rights Defenders will present on the human rights situation in Burma and in the borders of Thailand/Burma. On-the-ground defenders will discuss their engagement in the UPR as the only Political Process which legitimately brings solutions from local communities to the Government, with UN Member States acting as the main Bridge. Read more.

The event is a second initiative of UPR Info’s Asia Office to facilitate discussion on the human rights situation in Burma, following the successful first regional Pre-session on the State, held in Yangon on 2-4 September 2015. On 3 September 2015, Aung Myo Min, Executive Director of Equality Myanmar, and Emilie Pradichit, Asia Regional Representative of UPR Info, moderated a Media Briefing focusing on the important role of the media in Myanmar’s second cycle UPR. The event sought to stress the importance of the UPR and how the media could support local voices, help raise awareness and influence the recommendations coming from local communities to be addressed to the Government. Read more.

30th Session of the Human Rights Council

The next session of the Human Rights Council (HRC30) will take place on 14 September until 2 October 2015. The Working Group (WG) Reports of States reviewed during the 22nd UPR session (May 2015) will be adopted from 24 to 25 September 2015. A general debate on the process will then follow.

The WG Reports will be adopted on the following States (in order of review): Belarus; Liberia; Malawi; Mongolia; Panama; Maldives; Andorra; Bulgaria; Honduras; the United States of America; Marshall Islands; Croatia; Jamaica; and Libya. A draft Programme of Work (EN, FR) is now available. Read more.

Mrs. Harriet Berg, Permanent Mission of Norway, elected to UPR Info’s Advisory Board

UPR Info is delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs. Harriet E. Berg of Norway to its Advisory Board. Mrs. Berg is presently the Minister Counsellor at the Norwegian Mission to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva, where she heads the human rights team. She has also held numerous positions in the public and private sector in Norway, including State Secretary (deputy minister) for the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as several appointments in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read more.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

[...] the commitments made by states under review provide unique opportunities for relevant stakeholders, such as [CSOs] and UN country teams, to take specific action to support the government in implementing specific recommendations. These positive effects will, however, only be sustainable in the long term if states under review continue to regularly report about achievements realised since the last UPR cycle, and if peers systematically insist on the implementation of recommendations which are yet to be addressed.

Walter Kälin, Ritual and ritualism at the Universal Periodic Review: a preliminary appraisal, in Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism

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UPCOMING DEADLINES

  • 9 September 2015: Registration for oral statements at HRC30 (opens at 2pm).
  • 20 September 2015: Deadline to register for CSO participation at next round of UPR Info Pre-sessions (December 2015).
  • 22 September 2015: Tentative deadline to submit civil society written contributions for the 25th UPR session.
  • 26 October 2015: Tentative deadline to submit States’ national reports for the 24th UPR session.

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