UPR adoptions and the final Pre-session of the second cycle
September saw the adoption of the final reports of States from UPR session 25, the Human Rights Council (HRC) debate on the UPR, and the deadline for stakeholder submissions for those engaging with the UPR session 27. During the adoptions, at the HRC, Samoa were unable to send a delegation however their responses and explanations had been submitted in advance and were therefore accepted by the President. At the debate, on the final day of the adoptions, UPR Info, alongside others, delivered a statement on the UPR mechanism and the need for states to focus on implementation and reporting, a call echoed by many, during the third UPR cycle beginning in May 2017.
Alongside monitoring these activities UPR Info has been finalising the plans for both the final Pre-session of the second UPR cycle, and the Seminar for Recommending States at the UPR, both of which took place in October. UPR Info Asia has also been working tirelessly to support the civil society organisation (CSO) coalitions from Thailand and Burma/Myanmar in their UPR follow-up engagement, whilst also delivering training and workshops on the benefits of the UPR in the region.
UPR INFO HQ
The power of the UPR is embedded in effective implementation of recommendations
A range of topics were raised during the General Debate on the UPR at the 33rd HRC Session. Numerous countries and CSOs delivered statements calling for all UPR stakeholders to build on current good practices in light of the third cycle of the UPR beginning in early 2017. Amongst others, Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, called upon States to strengthen the focus on thorough implementation of recommendations made during previous cycles. They explained that "the power of the UPR is embedded in effective implementation of recommendations". Read more here.
UPR Info delivered their statement and it is available here.
Ban Ki-moon shines a light on reprisals against human rights defenders
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released his annual report, entitled "Cooperation with the United Nations it’s representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights”, in August. In his report he expresses concerns about reprisals against individuals and CSOs collaborating with the United Nations on human rights issues. He focuses specifically on the case of travel bans issued to human rights defenders from Sudan due to travel to Geneva to take part in UPR Info's Pre-session event in May. Read more here.
Uncharacteristically low acceptance rates as specific recommendations become the norm
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 55,000 recommendations by the end of the second cycle of the UPR. Access the database here.
Thai CSOs coalition engaging in UPR follow up
On 11 May 2016, Thailand accepted 181 of the 249 recommendations made by UN Member States as part of the second UPR. Following the review of Thailand, in May 2016, CSOs engaged with the Royal Thai Government to discuss the 68 recommendations left pending ahead of the response given during the final UPR adoption on 23 September 2016. Read more here.
Over the past 12 months UPR Info Asia has brought together 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. Read more here.
Kicking-off the UPR follow-up phase with the Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum
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 centre of Myanmar 2nd UPR cycle. The Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum is a coalition of independent CSOs with the commitment to engage constructively in the UPR process to improve human rights situations of all people and communities of Burma/Myanmar and border areas. Read more here.
UPR Info Asia promotes the UPR at Regional Advocacy Workshops
As part of supporting local communities engaging in the UPR process, UPR Info Asia has, through advocacy workshops, emphasized the importance of community representation at the international level and the need to engage with CSOs throughout different UN human rights mechanisms so they can become the “agents of change” in their respective countries. By doing so, governments are kept accountable on their international human rights and developmental obligations. Read more here.
International Day of Democracy showcasing the UPR as a crucial instrument for inclusion & equality
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’. UPR Info was present and discussed, with those in attendance: the link between democracy and human rights; the watchdog role of civil society to monitor and check that the State is respecting and protecting the rights of the people; and the importance to promote an inclusive society to dismantle inequalities. Read more here.