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How can NGOs engage with the UPR?
Wednesday, 16 July 2008 08:53

Participate in the national consultation process

States are encouraged by the Council to hold a broad national consultation in preparing their submission to the UPR. NGOs can therefore urge their governments to hold such consultations, and raise awareness about them and participate in them. NGOs can, for instance, draw their government’s attention to particular issues or regions of concern. Involving NGOs at this early stage of the process can be beneficial for governments, because it gives them an opportunity to hear and address NGO concerns nationally, before they are raised at the international level.

So far, States have informed the Working Group on the UPR of their national consultation process, either through their national report or in their introductory statement before the review.

 

Provide input to the OHCHR summary of stakeholders’ information

NGOs can submit reports to OHCHR for inclusion in the summary of stakeholders’ information. These reports must follow strict technical guidelines, available on the OHCHR website, and must be submitted within a deadline, announced on the website.

Given the strict five-page limit, these reports should be clear and focused. It is also important to note that the page limit applies to submissions on each State, not submissions by each NGO. In other words, if an NGO wishes to submit information on more than one State, it should submit separate reports of five pages each on each State.

As to the structure, it is strongly recommended that the report is organised according to the five categories mentioned in the General Guidelines, as this is the structure that OHCHR follows in its summary. OHCHR has stated that will only include information that is explicitly identified as pertaining to each section. The categories are background of the country and framework for the protection and promotion of human rights; promotion and protection of human rights on the ground; achievements, best practices, challenges and constraints; key national priorities, initiatives and commitments; capacity building and technical assistance. NGOs can also publish and disseminate reports independently of the OHCHR summary.

Moreover, NGOs can have an indirect input into the OHCHR compilation of UN information. This can be done through the submission of information to relevant UN mechanisms such as treaty monitoring bodies and special procedures, the observations and recommendations of which will be included in the OHCHR compilation.

 

For more information see also OHCHR's information note for NGOs.

 

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Lobby States prior to the UPR Working Group session

NGOs can lobby States to include human rights experts in their delegation, to nominate such individuals as troika rapporteurs or to raise specific issues during the interactive dialogue. To facilitate States’ mention of particular issues, as well as to influence the wording, NGOs can formulate potential questions and recommendations on behalf of States. Needless to say, NGOs can lobby both member States and observer States of the Working Group. Awareness of different States’ particular areas of interest, and their general receptiveness to NGO information, are crucial for effective lobbying. It must, nevertheless, be highlighted that a State under review cannot be compelled to answer any of the questions put to it, and may thus choose to ignore those which it is uncomfortable with.

The troika members may be lobbied to raise certain issues with the State under review before the interactive dialogue. The troika can also be lobbied to include references to and recommendations on particular areas of concern in the report of the review. Recommendations should be as specific as possible to encourage effective implementation and facilitate the monitoring of its implementation.

 

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Attend the UPR Working Group session

Although NGOs cannot take the floor during the review, a strong NGO presence and independent monitoring of the process are vital. NGOs can observe and report nationally and internationally on the examination. In being present at the session, NGOs can lobby States with regard to the interactive dialogue as well as the adoption of the draft report on the review.

 

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Make comments before the adoption of the outcome

According to Council Resolution 5/1, ‘other relevant stakeholders’ can make general comments before the adoption of the outcome by the Council. NGOs can use this opportunity to make oral statements on the report and, again, to lobby members of the Council with regard to the adoption of the outcome.

 

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Get involved in the follow-up to the review

NGOs can get involved in the implementation and monitoring of the recommendations arising from the UPR. Although the State should have the primary responsibility in implementation, NGOs often have the necessary expertise for it. Thus, NGOs can, for example, approach their governments with specific project proposals, input into the development of national action plans, conduct field research or develop indicators.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 04 September 2008 03:20
 

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