Ghana CSOs Pre UPR-reports submission workshop held

Ghana Csos Pre Upr Reports
Ghana Csos Pre Upr Reports

The POS Foundation, Convenors of Ghana’s Civil Society Platform on the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UN UPR), has organised a two-day Pre UPR-reports submission workshop for Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s), in Accra.

The workshop organised with funding from the United Nations, Ghana was aimed at preparing CSO Reports to be submitted for Ghana’s pending fourth UPR Cycle Review.

Mr Jonathan Osei Owusu, the Executive Director, POS Foundation, said it was also to build the capacity of participants on the history, importance, stages, process and opportunities of the UPR and Ghana’s past review, and train participants on the UN bodies, treaties, conventions, covenants, and operations.

He said it was also to identify thematic areas for the drafting of shadow reports and to provide training and tools, including Ghana’s UN UPR Web Metrics for the CSOs to enable participants develop and finalize reports that would subsequently be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council and consequently push the human rights agenda in Ghana.

He said it was important that UPR process as another important process and not an event, as it was done in the previous review years.

“So, before we go to the international community, we have to put our heads together, prepare nice reports, and then we send to Geneva for review. After the report has been issued, submitted, reviewed and recommendation received then we conclude the proceeded.”

“The first cycle happened in 2008, second cycle 2012, then the third in 2017 and we would go through the same process and so we must maintain the momentum so that we will be able to use the new UPR to trigger change from government and stakeholders for the state on behalf of people.”

Mr Osei Owusu noted that for the first time there had been a lot of proactiveness from government in the preparation of the report.

“In this year’s report, there are four key highlights human rights, mental health, corruption, and violence against women and children, and we are going to use this platform to form thematic groups to be able to write and submit reports to the UN to this effect.”

Mr Charles Abani, the UN Resident Coordinator, said in order to take the UPR process forward, the workshop must compile reports that contain credible and reliable information on human rights situation in Ghana, highlighting the main issues of concern, challenges, as well as recommendations.

“Priority should be given to the submission of report tailored for the UPR, containing information on the follow up of the procedures and views, including an assessment of comments on the implementation of recommendations and development since the last law.”

He said the report must also be focused on analytical presenting conclusions based on comprehensive analysis because as formulations of achievements remained the concerns and recommendations from the people.

“We must have written contributions that comprehensively cover the main human rights issues, including civil and political, as well as economic, social, cultural, national, sub national, regional and local level.”

The UN Resident Director said the purpose was for Ghana to maintain, and be identified as one of the African countries that was working hard to protect, promote, and ensure the rights of its citizens, so the approach to this particular report was very key.

“Ghana is country on this continent that has a clear vision for its future and people, one that is driven around self-reliance, and ultimately, on the exercise of its sovereignty. And therefore this process is a key step in continuing to advance that cause.”

Mr Abani added that he was confident that government would through the various agencies need this UPR to assess other reporting mechanisms with the seriousness it deserves, as it matches forward on its own journey towards ensuring that all citizens experience their rights, and enjoy the prosperity that makes
Ghana a great nation that it is.

Madam Bertha Desmennu, Representing the Canadian High Commissioner, congratulated Ghana for its continued participation in the UPR process, saying that if Ghana intends to achieve peace, that is the promise offered by the UN, it must collectively stand up for a rules based international system for a place for human rights.

“Protecting and advancing human rights is our shared duty and while progress has been made together there is still much work to be done.”

The UPR is an important mechanism for the review of the human rights record of each country under the review and it provides an opportunities for countries to discuss their human rights framework as well as measures taken to promote and protect human rights in the country.

It helps in identifying strengths and recognizing challenges where implements are needed.

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