Bangladesh’s human rights situation was reviewed under Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2018. As one year has passed, time has come to review the progress of the government in the last one year towards the implementation of its commitments under UPR. Keeping this in mind, Human Rights Forum Bangladesh (HRFB) and United Nations Resident Coordinators’ Office (UNRCO) jointly organised a day long training on ‘UN Human Rights Mechanism, UPR and UPR Follow-up’ on 18 June 2019 at NGO Forum, Dhaka. Sheepa Hafiza, Executive Director, ASK and Convener, HRFB gave the opening remarksof the event sharing the significance of the Workshop.
The event had multiple session shedding lights on various topics centering UPR and Human rights mechanisms.
The first session on ‘Overview of the International Human Rights System’ was conducted by Heike Alefson, Senior Human Rights Adviser to UNCT and UNRCO Bangladesh. Through an interactive presentation, she set the scene on the overall international human rights system highlighting the norms, principles and standards that exist out there, and the mechanisms in place under the Treaty-based bodies and the Charter-based bodies.
The next session was a participatory group work on ‘UPR Follow-up and Treaty Body Engagement: Actions by CSOs’ which was conducted by Heike Alefson. Joining her on the panel of facilitators were Livia Cosenza, Human Rights Officer, Asia Pacific Section, Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Zahid Hossain, Human Rights Officer,
UNRCO. The session gave an in-depth knowledge and idea on the Charter-based human rights Mechanism, UPR, and the actions that are to be taken by the CSO's to do for its follow up. The next session on ‘Situation analysis/State of Affairs’ was jointly conducted by Livia Cosenza, Zahid Hossain, and Sharmeela Rassool, Chief Technical Adviser, UNDP Human Rights Programme. This session covered Bangladesh’s reporting and implementation obligations, and its current engagement with the UPR and Treaty Bodies. The facilitators gave an in-depth analysis on the priorities to be set for the implementation of recommendations under treaty-based bodies HR mechanisms as well as UPR. The facilitators further emphasised that the situation can also be analysed through the monitoring of SDG goals and the Government’s commitments and
policies adopted in ensuring the achievement of such goals. Moreover, the interaction of the government with the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh shall also be looked into to gauge their priorities.
The final session was on ‘Special Procedures’ which was facilitated by Livia Cosenza and Zahid Hossain through an interactive presentation and discussion with the participants. The facilitators in this session highlighted the key features and importance of using the special procedures by the civil societies as a means of communicating the human rights violations taking place in the country.
At the end of the event, the participants, being informed of the procedures at depth, were encouraged to be actively involved with the UPR Follow-up procedures.