Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), has intensified training for civil society organizations (CSOs) with the aim of monitoring government compliance to treaty bodies, reporting and implementation of recommendations of the international human rights treaties it signed onto and the gaps of CSOs in monitoring and reporting as well.
The first phase of the training took place on August 27-28, 2019 at the YMCA on Crown Hill, Broad Street and the second phase was at I-Campus on Carey Street respectively.
Rescue Alternatives Liberia is implementing a project titled: “Compliance to Treaties Bodies” with funding from the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Peace Building Fund (PBF) focusing on the implementation of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
Giving an overview of the project, the National Coordinator of RAL, Sam Nimely named the objectives of the project as Research to identify barriers to timely reporting (by government and CSOs), identifying Civil Society gaps in capacity building to monitor Treaty Bodies’ Recommendations; Strengthen CSO engagement in monitoring compliance with treaty reporting and implementation; and Coordinate the drafting and submission of the 3rd NGOs Report to, and engage with the UPR process.
Mr. Nimely reminded the participants that Liberia has been reviewed by a number of international treaty bodies, including the Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review process, twice; the Human Rights Committee, Committee of the Rights of the Child; Committee on Discrimination against Women among others.
Moreover, it is yet unknown why the government has done little or nothing to implement those accepted recommendations. On the other hand, civil society has little or no capacity to monitor and/or advocate the implementation of the recommendations.
The 3rd cycle of the UPR process is due in May 2020; The Government should be holding national consultation leading to the drafting of the national report, which is not going on. CSOs, national human rights institution and regional and international partners and stakeholders will have to be submitting shadow reports by 19 September 2019.
Mr. Nimely called on the participants to pay keen attention during the deliberations as their participation is important to their contribution in preparing the shadow report.
As part of the capacity building, RAL has simplified the UPR recommendations by producing over 2000 copies and distributed among participants and will later be given to schools, government ministries and agencies, among others.
Nimely said it is important for CSO actors to have good understanding of the recommendations.
According to him, there is a need for good advocacy as CSOs. He added “we need to implement what we accepted as a country.”
What is the Universal Periodic Review?
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries. It provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe. Currently, no other mechanism of this kind exists.
The UPR was established when the Human Rights Council was created on 15 March 2006 by the UN General Assembly in resolution 60/251. This mandated the Council to “undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States.