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Main title The Universal Periodic Subheading

Review:

Have your say on the governments human rights record


About BIHR We are an independent national charity aiming to bring human rights to life in the UK – in particular as a tool to promote social justice and tackle inequalities by: • Raising awareness of human rights • Building capacity with to use human rights „out of the court room‟ • Influencing policy change


About the EHRC • Ensure people are aware of their rights and how to use them • Work with policymakers, lawyers and the Government to make sure that social policy and the law promote equality and human rights • Conduct official inquiries • Work with employers, service providers and organisations to help them develop best practice • Monitor human rights situation and provide evidence to the UN


Civil Society Engagement in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Today’s Agenda: 1. To introduce the UN human rights system broadly (overview) and specifically the UPR process and upcoming review timeframe 2. To explain the importance of the process and the key role the VCS 3. To stimulate discussion and ideas on key human rights issues/concerns and how these can be raised with the UN 4. Next steps and planning


Background to today •

• •

UK Government being reviewed by UN next yearOrganisations can also join the submission . Opportunity to hold UK government to account, raise concerns and give recommendations Low levels of awareness amongst VCS of the rights signed up to and the monitoring mechanisms The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has commissioned the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) to build capacity encourage independent submissions and discuss domestic impact. – BIHR will hold three events: Cardiff (20 October), Leeds (31 October) and London (2 November). – BIHR will produce a submission from these events and our core work. You are encouraged to join us or submit your own


Why is this important? Your chance to comment on the Government’s human rights record! • The information provided to the UN by NGOs allows for specific recommendations for the Government • These recommendations can be used to lobby and raise awareness of your issues. • It requires advanced planning as happens every 4 years and requires regular monitoring in-between


Why are you important? • The UPR can only consider issues brought up in the review. It is therefore important that human rights issues are exposed to ensure that the UPR is as thorough as it can be. • The VCS can shine a spotlight on gaps in protection and tell the human stories behind the issues, particularly of the most vulnerable. • The human rights machinery will not work properly without VCS cooperation. • Your information can help to find solutions by influencing the recommendations given to the government by the UN working group.


Main title The Universal Periodic Subheading

Review:

Have your say on the governments human rights record


The Universal Periodic Review “…..to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.” • •

The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, Involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years under the Human Rights Council, Assesses the extent to which governments respect human rights including their obligations as set out in: UN Charter, UDHR and Ratified Treaties Provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.


What are the reviews based on? It is a cooperative process based on: 1. Information provided by the State under review, which can take the form of a “national report� 2. Information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies and other UN entities; 3. Information from other stakeholders including NGOs (you/us) and national human rights institutions (NHRIs).


Key UN roles in the UPR process •

UPR working group, which consists of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council, oversees the review. The „troika‟, consisting of three country representatives, act as rapporteurs and take written questions in advance of the review as well as preparing the report to be submitted to the Human Rights Council. The UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN body responsible for promoting human rights and the secretariat for the Human Rights Council, gathers and collates the views of the voluntary and community sector and civil society directly, as well as those of the a National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)


Role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI‟s) • National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) are UN- initiated bodies whose role it is to independently monitor human rights • Accredited according to the Paris Principles: UK has 3 A status NHRIs: EHRC, NIHRC, SHRC • Core principle: independence from government, NGOs, business etc. • Core duties: Monitor, promote and protect Human Rights


What is the EHRC doing? • Inform on and promote the UPR process (web site, mainstream in our projects/events, BIHR project) • Encourage government to consult widely (advise on, engage with and disseminate information on the consultation process) • Provide an independent evidence-based submission to the OHCHR • Keep momentum between the submission and the examination • Following up on recommendations


Main title The Review Cycle Subheading


Calendar: 21st Nov: Oct 2011- Feb 2012: May 2012: June 2012:

Deadline for NGO submissions: Govt Consultation with NGOs Oral examination and review of UK The working group produces a draft outcome report and the UK has opportunities to make comments.

June- September 2012:

The working group submits recommendations and a summary to the full Human Rights Council. The UK government may produce a written response to each recommendation known as the Addendum.

September/October 2012:

Presentation of the UKâ€&#x;s UPR report the UK response to the review and statements from the NHRIs and NGOs with UN ECOSOC status. The UPR report is adopted.

November 2012- 2016

Government has to raise awareness of the recommendations, implement them and report on their progress in the next cycle (2016) Civil society begin influencing using recommendations and monitoring next phase Mid- term review (from Government and NHRIs) due in 2014


Key points of NGO participation: Report: • Send submission Influence: • Participate in the Govt consultation • Lobby member states (working group or Troika) Examination • Attend examination (if ECOSOC status) • Give oral statements after the examination Monitor • Monitor the implementation between reviews


Guidelines for NGO submission “Additional, credible and reliable information” 1. Highlight key human rights violations or trends 2. Highlight good and bad practice 3. Give recommendations, 4. No more than 5 pages 5. In official UN language (English) • OHCHR will prepare a summary of such information • The reports will be used to inform questions/recommendations http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/ TechnicalGuideEN.pdf


Main title The last UK Subheading

review (2008)


Key themes from previous review: 2008 • • • • • • •

Older people Asylum and refugees Freedom of expression Prisons/detention Counter-terrorism Disappearances Overseas territories and Armed forces abroad: • Missing themes?


Recommendations from 2008: 1: To set up a strategic oversight body, such as a commission on violence against women, to ensure greater coherence and more effective protection for women. (India) 8: Provide further information with regard to efforts to reduce poverty among children by half by 2010. 17: To provide more care and attention to the rights of the elderly. (Canada)

15: Harmonise its legislation with its human rights obligations towards individual protesters exercising their freedom of expression and opinion and to curtail excessive pre-trial detention.� 21. To protect the children and families of migrants and refugees (Algeria, Ecuador);


More Information:

www.upr-info.org/ www.ohchr.org


Afternoon Session: Focus Groups: 1. Discuss potential human rights issues and corresponding recommendations


BIHRâ€&#x;s report structure 1. Respecting human rights: Highlight incidents of breaches or violations of human rights e.g. older people in hospitals or residential homes not being properly cared for 2. Protecting human rights: Highlight issues when human rights have been neglected, e.g. police failing to take reasonable action to protect potential victims of hate crime or domestic violence

3. Fulfilling human rights: Highlight where laws, policies or procedures need to be in place – or are in place but are not being adequately e.g. Lack of policies to ensure child poverty targets met, withdrawal of Legal Aid, potential repeal of the Human Rights Act*


EHRC report structure Rationale – evidence, added value, new developments Structure – These are the headings of the most recent OHCHR summary. The EHRC is going to use this template and focus on the first two headings for reasons of space • Background and Framework– policy and legal issues • Promotion and protection on the ground – implementation and reporting • Achievements best practices and constraints • Key national priorities, initiatives and commitments • Capacity building


Th Universal Periodic Review