The training session served as a practical guide to Members wishing to engage in the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. This unique mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN Member States once every five years. It aims to improve the human rights situation on the ground and to ensure States’ commitment to their human rights obligations on an ongoing basis.
The training session was given to Members who are based in countries due to be reviewed in the next two UPR cycles. It was led by Humanists International’s Advocacy Officer, Lillie Ashworth, and covered a range of topics, including the different methods of NGO engagement in the UPR procedure, the components of an effective written statement and the “real world” impact that UPR recommendations have had over the years. The training also involved an interactive exercise on framing appropriate recommendations.
The Advocacy Officer commented:
Civil society plays a critical role in ensuring that UPR reviews are evidence-based, objective and comprehensive.
Not only is NGO participation necessary for developing recommendations, it is essential for ensuring that accepted recommendations are in fact implemented after the review has finished.
The UPR provides a unique opportunity for Members to advocate for human rights issues that do not receive enough international attention, and we would encourage all our Members to participate in the process, if they are able to.