We must continue to work together
November saw the first snowfall of the season in Geneva and also the last UPR of the second cycle. The final 11 countries were reviewed receiving over 2100 recommendations. To date approximately 56,000 UPR recommendations have been made across the first two cycles and all 193 UN Member States have now been reviewed twice.
This month UPR Info organised, with the support of four Permanent Missions an event to mark the end of the second UPR cycle and encourage reflection on the successes and failings of the mechanism to date. At this event, which was attended by over 150 people in the Palais des Nations, UPR Info also launched its newest publication: The Butterfly Effect: Spreading Good Practices of UPR Implementation.
UPR Info Asia has run two "Credible Evidence for Evidence-based Human Rights Documentation" workshops this month and is currently delivering a third while UPR Info Africa has been working towards upcoming follow-up programmes in Uganda in light of their UPR earlier this month.
As the year the draws to a close there are plenty of UPR Info activities still to come.
Moving from Pre-sessions to the 26th Session of the UPR
Less than one month ago UPR Info ran its Pre-session event hosting almost 50 civil society speakers from nine of the States under Review at the 26th UPR Working Group, beginning on Monday (31 October). Once again human rights defenders from across the world travelled to Geneva to update UN Missions of the human rights situation on the ground. Worryingly, some speakers due to engage with the UPR experienced difficulties, and feared significant reprisals, on the part of the State and were unable to carry out their human rights advocacy work in Geneva. For the panel on South Sudan, for example, only international NGOs, instead of local voices, were able to take the floor. Speakers from Venezuela also faced issues of intimidation throughout their involvement with the Pre-sessions.
October also saw the annual Seminar for Recommending States which, just ahead of the 26 Session of the UPR, calls for states to make S.M.A.R.T recommendations and demand action on the part of the State under Review to improve human rights standards for all.
There are exciting times ahead at UPR Info with a side event at the UPR session, the launch of its newest publication, and job opportunities in the UPR Info Africa office.
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.