The UN System in Guyana conducted a capacity building training on human rights in the context of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Recommendations were made by staff members of eight (8) agencies at Cara Lodge Hotel, Georgetown on 28-29 January 2013.
The objectives of the meeting were:
1. To build capacity of UN staff members to support the government of Guyana with the implementation of the recommendations of the UPR process.
2. To draft a UNCT Human Rights Action Plan.
The Expected Outcomes were:
1. Knowledge on UPR improved among UN agencies and capacity strengthened to support the GoG.
2. A draft joint UNCT HR Action Plan.
During the training, technical presentations were made by Ms. Patricia Varela, Associate Human Rights Officer, Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and Ms. Sandra Del Pino, Human Rights Specialist, PAHO/WHO HQ. Ms. Gail Teixeira, Presidential Advisor on Governance who was also present at the training provided inputs on Guyana’s perspectives in relation to the 2010 UPR recommendations. She also asked the UNCT to select the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations which could be identified with UNDAF outputs and to prioritize the recommendations. During the latter part of the first day, a sub-group was formed to complete this task.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Khadija Musa in her remarks noted that the topic of the training was very important, because it relates to aspects of all of our work. She expressed hope that by the end of the workshop the UNCT should be able to approach initiatives and be more informed and better prepared to support the national authorities. She also urged to participants to reflect on the words of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in which he states that “the Universal Periodic Review, has great potential to promote and protect human rights in the darkest corners of the world.”
The UPR mechanism is a unique process, which is State-driven, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. It provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their respective countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. The mechanism is designed in such a way to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.
The ultimate goal of UPR is the improvement of the human rights situation in every country with significant consequences for people around the globe. It is designed to prompt, support, and expand the promotion and protection of human rights on the ground. However, to achieve this, it involves assessing States’ human rights records and addressing human rights violations wherever they occur and aims to provide technical assistance to States and enhance their capacity to deal effectively with human rights challenges and to share best practices in the field of human rights among States and other stakeholders.
It was in this context that the workshop was held.
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