UPR roleplay at UNITAR human rights training

On 23th February, UPR Info was invited to train participants at UNITARs Human Rights Workshop on the UPR process. The 11 participants came from diverse backgrounds including Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Missions, CSOs, private sector and academia.

Following a comprehensive introduction to the UPR, which catered for newcomers as well as those with experience from using the mechanism, UPR Info lead an interactive exercise in which participants were divided into three groups; State under Review, Recommending State and Other stakeholders. Each group was provided with a questionnaire containing questions and situations they would face in their UPR engagement. For example, the State under review had to organise nationwide consultations as a step towards finalising their National Report, the Recommending state had to draft action-oriented UPR recommendations and make explicit linkages with SDG targets, and Other stakeholders prepared a joint CSO submission and related advocacy activities. Each group was also introduced to UPR Info’s database.

After tea-break, the groups presented their work in plenary and received comments, questions and feedback from their colleagues and UPR Info. It was encouraging to see participants drawing on the introductory presentation combined with their own working experience. The need for CSOs to seek genuine cooperation with their Government was underscored as well as the many benefits of working in CSO coalitions to pool human and financial resources. The State groups acknowledged that while the inter-governmental nature of the UPR makes it a political mechanism, it is critical to avoid vague recommendations which are unhelpful in improving the human rights situation on the ground. The Recommending state added weight to their recommendations by referring to the dual reinforcement between the issue addressed and specific SDG targets. The role of Embassies as a source for information in the follow-up phase and drafting of recommendations was also discussed. Several of the good UPR practices referred to during the training can be consulted in UPR Info's publications

UPR Info is grateful to UNITAR for the invitation and look forward to the next opportunity for cooperation.

Testimonies from participants:

"A mix of theory and practice in a way that guaranteed an easy exchange of ideas between participants and benefit from the facilitators and expertise."

"It was dense but very valuable. I learned a lot, including through the exercise. Extremely informative, very pedagogical. Very satisfied with the sessions overall."