Geneva’s NGOs express enthusiasm for UPR follow-up activities

The very purpose of the UPR is to implement recommendations. In an attempt to coordinate international efforts on UPR follow-up activities, 25 activists representing more than 17 NGOs, came together on Thursday, 16 April 2015 to discuss how they can collaborate.

What started as an informal de-briefing for Geneva-based NGOs on UPR Info’s new project, turned into a sizeable meeting of some of Geneva’s most passionate activists enthusiastically discussing the possibilities of the UPR on the ground.

This year, UPR Info is unrolling a new project to support national actors at key moments of the UPR process. After national NGOs come to Geneva to present information to the diplomatic community at the Pre-sessions and after the Universal Periodic Review draws attention to the human rights situation of the state under review, it is important to keep the momentum going. UPR Info proposes to do this by  1) hosting a CSO Strategy Workshop shortly after the UPR, 2) organising a CSO-Government dialogue to discuss implementation soon after the adoption of the UPR outcome report at the Human Rights Council, and 3) encouraging mid-term reporting and discussion  two years after the UPR of a given country.

UPR Info’s project is already underway in Armenia, Kenya, Mongolia, and Malawi, and will soon begin in Rwanda and Nepal.

The NGO de-briefing on Thursday created much interest for UPR Info’s current activities and generated animated discussion about ensuring that the UPR has a maximum impact on the ground. Particularly, NGOs asked questions and shared views about the integration of the UPR with other mechanisms and into existing strategies, the importance of taking extra measures to include marginalised groups in civil society initiatives, the concern about financial support for UPR-related activities, the pressing issue of ensuring safety of human rights defenders working with the UPR, and the necessity for increased collaboration among international NGOs, national NGOs and UN agencies.

UPR Info will continue to work towards effective national and international partnerships to maximise the utility of the UPR for improving human rights. Stay tuned for future updates and events on UPR-related follow-up activities.

For a brief overview on the UPR Follow-up, check out the newly released Factsheet No. 4, created by UPR Info and Child Rights Connect.