CSOs attend workshop on United Nations Universal Periodic Review

Accra, Nov. 20, GNA – The POS Foundation, in collaboration with the Ghana UN Universal Periodic Review (UN UPR) and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Platform, has organized a strategic workshop ahead of Ghana’s fourth cycle review CSOs Report Submission.

The workshop was on the theme: “CSO’s report submission; the use of technology amidst COVID-19 in the promotion of Ghana’s human rights record under the UN UPR Mechanism for the fourth Cycle Review.”

Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said the UN UPR was not just an event but a process, which required the concerted efforts of the State and CSOs towards ensuring that the rights of everyone in society were protected.

He said it was important to establish an environment, which fostered economic and social development while promoting human rights across all sectors.

“The State is working tireless towards the success of the UPR cycle and in that regard had already commenced the drafting of its report to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC),” he said.

The Minister said the efforts under the UPR mechanism were bearing diverse results, setting up the desk at the Attorney-General’s Department to manage not only the UPR but also other UN reporting mechanisms.

He, therefore, called on CSOs working under respective thematic areas to ensure that reports and complementing recommendations made to the HRC and the Member States were specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, time-bound and objective in reflecting the true nature or situation of the human rights situation in the country.

“This will go a long way to put the State in a better position to address human rights lapses and as well draw a healthy balance between criticism and commendation,” he added.

Mr Edward Ampratwum, Head of Governance and Peace Cluster, UNDP, said since its inception in 2008, the UPR mechanism had contributed to strengthening national human rights protection systems and the reduction in implementation gaps in terms of States’ compliance with international human rights norms and standards.

He said the UPR was an important addition to the existing UN human rights system, including UN treaty bodies and UN Special Procedures.

“This review process provides an opportunity for the country to assess its performance in promoting and protecting human rights as well as providing a mechanism for non-state actors to demand more accountability in the implementation of human rights recommendations,” he said.

Mr Ampratwum said the UPR process was not meant to shame any country but allowed countries to identify gaps in their efforts to promote and protect human rights.

He encouraged the countries to develop National Action plans based on recommendations received from the review.

He said the role of CSOs was vital in ensuring that the right situation was reported and urged them to take advantage of the opportunity to submit a final report that demonstrated their contributions to the human rights reporting process.

“To ensure that no one is left behind, UNDP is supporting the POS Foundation to develop a web portal to facilitate the collation of inputs for the CSO UPR report from across the country,” he added.

Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, Executive Director-POS Foundation, said Ghana was a party to the UPR that was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, by resolution 60/251, which also established the HRC.

He said the UPR was a State-driven process, which reviewed the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every five years, providing an opportunity for States to demonstrate what actions they had taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries under the same rules and supervision.

Mr Osei Owusu said the workshop was to provide training and enhance stakeholder involvement towards Ghana’s fourth Cycle Review through the effective use of technology, train participants on the importance and the use of the UPR Web-Metrics (Portal) for reporting under the UPR.

It is also to prepare for the drafting of Civil Society reports on the Human Rights record of Ghana to be submitted in June 2022.