Civil Society and Permanent Missions working together towards UPR27
April saw UPR Info host the Pre-sessions ahead of the 27th Working Group of the UPR. It was the first time that the Pre-sessions were held inside the Palais des Nations and the event brought together over 70 human rights defenders, from the 14 countries to be reviewed at the 27th UPR session, with diplomats and Permanent Mission staff from the international community in Geneva. 93% of States attended their own Pre-session and a record breaking 51 Permanent Missions attended the Pre-session on India. The move proved the institutionalisation of civil society in the primarily State-led UPR process, as well as broader support for human rights advocacy across the United Nations as a whole, where we had more than 70 speakers from the 14 countries due.
During this time, we also published our latest publication, which is available to download in English, French and Spanish. The Civil Society Compendium: A comprehensive guide for civil society organisations (CSOs) engaging in the Universal Periodic Review, aims to facilitate CSOs engagement in the UPR to ensure it is a participatory process in which all voices are heard.
For all voices to be heard at the UPR it is of upmost importance civil society has a safe and enabling space within which to work. In this regard, we were saddened to hear that one of our Pre-sessions speakers was banned from travelling to Geneva and thus unable to participate and give an update of the human rights situation in their country to diplomats. UPR Info is working closely with partners to follow up on this issue.
UPR INFO Activities
Civil Society Compendium: A Guide to the UPR
On Wednesday 5 April, UPR Info launched its latest publication The Civil Society Compendium: A comprehensive guide for civil society organisations (CSOs) engaging in the Universal Periodic Review. The event welcomed approximately 100 peoplefrom CSOs and Permanent Missions alike and was opened by H.E. Ambassador Mr Julian Braithwaite of The United Kingdom or Great Britain and Northern Ireland (U.K.). Read more here.
UPR 27 Pre-sessions
UPR Info organised its most recent series of Pre-sessions for the 27th session of the UPR on 4-7 April 2017. It was the first time that the United Nations hosted the unique UPR advocacy platform, seeing a shift of venue to Room XXIII of Palais des Nations. The move is positive evidence of the institutionalisation of civil society in the primarily State-led UPR process, as well as broader support for human rights advocacy across the United Nations as a whole. The international event gathered together human rights defenders from across the globe to present to State diplomats an update on the human rights situation in the 14 countries due to be reviewed at the 27th session (May 1-12-2017): Algeria; Bahrain; Brazil; Ecuador;Finland; India; Indonesia; Morocco; Netherlands; Philippines; Poland; South Africa; Tunisia; and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. For more information, click here.
Bahrain’s Human Rights Defenders suffer reprisals
While the most recent series of UPR Info's Pre-sessions (4-7 April 2017) was met with success and enthusiasm by civil society and States alike, a deeply concerning incident arose with respect to the Pre-session of Bahrain. A prominent Bahraini human rights defender was due to speak at the Pre-session of Bahrain on 6 April, but was prevented from boarding a plane in Manama airport to travel to Geneva. Read more.
HRC 34 Item 6 General Debate: CSOs play key role
After the adoption of the reports of the 26th Working Group session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Human Rights Council (HRC) held its usual general debate on the UPR. On 17 March 2017 HRC Member States, Observer States, and civil society organisations (CSOs), discussed several issues regarding the UPR mechanism, including: general outcomes of the second cycle, follow-up and reporting under Item 6, as well as the expectations for the third cycle. For highlights from the debate, follow this link.
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UPR Info Regional Office
Ghana CSOs Pre Submission Workshop
Ghana will be reviewed in November, 2017. In preparation for this, UPR Info, together with the Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum, KASA Initiative and The POS Foundation organised a workshop known as the ‘Ghana CSOs Pre Submission Workshop’ which took place at the Cleaver House in Accra, Ghana on 21st and 22nd March, 2017. The workshop was attended by over 80 participants. Its objectives were to (i) Train participants of the UN human rights Treaty bodies monitoring mechanisms; (ii) Build the capacity of the participants by training them on the history, importance, stages, process and opportunities of the UPR and Ghana’s past review; (iii) Provide tools for the CSOs to enable them develop and finalise reports that will subsequently be submitted for Ghana’s pending UPR and consequently push the human rights envelop in Ghana; (v) Share good practices on lobbying and advocacy and how best to utilise the UPR; and (vi) To form a working Committee responsible for the report and provide an opportunity to develop and deepen collaboration among Ghanaian CSOs through a formidable coalition.