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First session of the Human Rights Council

Agenda item 4

Statement by IWRAW Asia Pacific on the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism

28 June 2006

Geneva, Switzerland

Speaker : Anuradha Rao

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I speak on behalf of IWRAW Asia Pacific, and international NGO based in Malaysia that works on the promotion and protection of women’s human rights through the lens of the CEDAW Convention and other human rights treaty bodies.

We wish to place on the table a matter critical to enhancing the credibility of the new Human Rights Council and making it effective, a principle that we are all agreed upon. We welcome the remarks of many government delegations stressing the need for the Council to focus on the implementation mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights, a key agency for which is the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. The need for a transparent, inclusive and effective mechanism has also been stressed across the board. However, there seem to be differing interpretations of inclusiveness and transparency. Some countries, such as Brazil, Mexico, the EU, Indonesia and others have placed on the table their support for NGO participation. Others, such as India, Canada, Australia, NZ and others have signed on to the principle of inclusiveness and transparency, but have no specific mention of NGOs. Others have suggested a closed door working group exclusive to participation by government representatives.

At this stage of formulation of the UPR mechanism, which will set the precedent for future functioning of the Council, we believe it is necessary to clearly articulate the role of NGOs. If implementation is indeed the serious focus, NGOs have, and have always had, an integral role in implementation. They therefore, should be an active part in designing the mechanism for implementation. We respectfully submit that:

  1. There should be formal a representation of NGOs in the formulation of the UPR mechanism in the deliberations of an inter-sessional open-ended working group, with a space for active participation.

  2. The information on the meetings and agenda of this working group should be circulated well in advance to make such participation meaningful.
  3. International NGOs for the South should be supported financially to participate.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chair.


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