Policy and Advocacy Programme (PAP)
Previously known as the Pre-session Programme, the Policy and Advocacy Programme (PAP) was established in 2019 to further promote the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a mechanism for the promotion and protection of human rights. Our Programme follows two main objectives:
- It contributes to collaborative and constructive dialogue on the role of the UPR to improve human rights, in line with the objective, transparent, and non-politicised nature of the mechanism;
- It supports the engagement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in the UPR by providing them with tools and opportunities to conduct advocacy activities.
At the policy level, the PAP supports the strengthening of the UPR by engaging in constructive dialogue, participating in discussions at the Human Rights Council (HRC) and through the UN mechanisms. This includes presenting a statement on UPR issues as part of item 6 of the general debate at each HRC session.
The PAP also monitors discussions at the HRC on the UPR, including those on its long-term effectiveness. These discussions are particularly important because current proposals to move the adoption of UPR reports from the HRC to the UPR Working Group could have some drawbacks.
Indeed, this could lead to inequalities in the review of some States and affect the possibility of consultations among all stakeholders before the adoption of the UPR Reports. In order to ensure that the mechanism remains an inclusive and effective means of promoting human rights, UPR Info is actively participating in these discussions.
In the perspective of enhancing the mechanism in a constructive and inclusive way, UPR Info launched informal consultations with civil society in spring 2021 to discuss its contribution to the reinforcement of the UPR ahead of its 4th cycle.
Since its creation, UPR Info has been able to develop a unique expertise regarding the UPR mechanism. Thus, we put this knowledge at the disposal of all stakeholders, both States and civil society, in order to strengthen their capacities and foster greater participation in an inclusive manner.
In order to reinforce the capacities of CSOs and NHRIs, we offer various training opportunities for actors to familiarise themselves with the UPR process, and thus be able to engage continuously with the mechanism.
Through these training sessions, CSOs acquire tools and information that enable them to better prepare their advocacy strategies. We also organise forums that allow CSOs to carry out their advocacy activities directly with States.
The PAP continues to provide an international advocacy platform for CSOs and NHRIs through its Pre-sessions, while giving these actors tools to engage in the UPR process.
The Pre-sessions are essential in amplifying the voice of civil society in the UPR process. Pre-sessions are meetings organised one month before the sessions of the UPR Working Group to discuss the human rights situation in the future States under Review.
The general objectives of the Pre-sessions are:
- To strengthen and formalise the engagement of CSOs in the UPR by giving them the opportunity to share specific recommendations with the Reviewing States;
- To allow diplomatic missions to quickly get informed about the human rights situation in the country to be reviewed.
To this end, the Pre-sessions offer one hour of speaking time to NHRIs and CSOs to address the issues they have chosen and propose recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the State under review. The representatives of the Permanent Missions present in the room listen and take notes for the next UPR. This allows diplomats to make recommendations taking into account the context and the human rights issues raised by the rights-holders. For more information about our Pre-sessions, please visit our Pre-sessions page and the frequently asked questions page.
Key figures for the Pre-sessions
The Pre-sessions are one of the largest international advocacy forums on human rights. During the third cycle of the UPR, UPR Info organised 14 rounds of Pre-sessions which addressed the human rights situation in 172 States, 129 of which were present on the day of their Pre-session.
Among the Recommending States, there was also a strong interest in our Pre-sessions, since on average we had 60 Permanent Missions present for each Pre-session series. During the third cycle, our platform allowed 838 human rights defenders to take the floor, of which 616 were from national CSOs and 55 from NHRIs. Finally, among these speakers 56% were women and we had the participation of 29 children/young people.