10 December workshop report
10 Dec. Report:
“Towards an efficient participation of the Civil Society
In elaborating the parallel shadow report on human rights in Lebanon”
Within the framework of the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, and on the occasion of ‘The International Day for Human Rights’, Khiam Rehabilitation Center organized a workshop, held within the preparations for Lebanon’s presentation of its universal periodic report about the situations of human rights in Lebanon and its parallel shadow report to be presented to The Human Rights Council of the United Nations in 2010. Representatives of nongovernmental organizations and civil community institutions attended and participated in the workshop.
Mr. Mohammad Safa, the secretary general of KRC began the workshop with his speech, greeting the human rights defenders, prisoners, and all victims of torture, " The workshop is organized in such a special day' The International Day for Human Rights' , while Lebanon is in front a very critical survey as the government is supposed to finish preparing its oficial annual report by the end of 2010." he said. "Lebanon is incharge of including all the records and the actions taken by the government within the past four years. "He continued, " This official report will be reviewed, discussed, and conducted by monitoring states that are members in the council and other civil community organizations. Besides, the new mechanism which was designated by the Human Rights Commissioner 2 years ago forms a very important progress as it urges the International community to monitor all human rights records as well as it obliges the governments to be more responsible and aware of human rights violations. With this unique mechanism, the governments all over the globe won't be able to evade from her duties towards the human rights issue."
Mr. Safa also added that Khiam Center invitation was not the first and won't be the last until the whole civil community gets involved in the process of reviewing human rights records.
He also invited the organizations of the civil community to unite and and cooperate to write te stake holder report which includes all the records and the committed violations against all prisoners, detainees, women, children, and all tortured citizens. He invited the whole community to unite and compe up with a report that reveals and reflects the Lebanese initiative and leadership in the field of human rights.
Mr. Walid Haydar, the director of the International organizations and representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, "We do not consider ourself a seperate party away from the civil community. Indeed, we are all in the same field, dealing with an important issue for all, and moving towards the same objective. That's why we should collaborate to achieve our aims."
Mr. Haydar talked about the Lebanese lead in establishing the human rights concepts in the International community, noting that the International law has a great significance as it has become more mandatory and comprehensive.
Mr. Haydar also announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in a continuous cooperation with all the goveret sectors, and it already has started the technical preparations which are relevant to the UPR report.
After that, Mr. Ahmad Karoud, the regional manager of Amnesty, thanked Kiam Center and appreciated its efforts in preparing for the workshop which is a very important opportunity for all the civil community parties as well as for the government to give more attention to these issue. He also invited everyone to have a realistic overview to the realistic facts of the community which suffers from miserable situations and overwhelmed by discrimination, poverty, and the lack of medical, social, and educational insurance.
Mr. Karoud focused on the essential role of the Lebanese government and its responsibility in supporting "The preparation for the Universal Periodic Review and the report inwhich the government declares all the records of human rights facts, and consequently continue its support through preparing for programs that aim at changing the current facts into better ones."
Mr. Dietal, the representative of the regional delegate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Middle East and representing Mr. Fateh Azzam , also affirmed the importance of involving the civil community and the government in a cooperative preparation, " It is a great opportunity to the government and the civil community to collaborate in recording and monitoring all human rights violations, while it's the government responsibility to make a new staff specialized in guarding and conducting human rights issues."
Then Mr. Kamal Mashreki, the regional representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Middle East, explained the possible mechanism to share in the Universal Periodic Review, "The civil community is a major factor, and consequently this makes all the non governmental organizations responsible in the whole process, starting from preparing for the report, following up the recommendations, and contributing in all relevant issues."
Mr. Mashreki distributed documents that explain the mechanism of the process to participate in the UPR.
The attendies suggested to have a meeting in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be more involved in the preparation for the report.
The Workshop included a detailed definition of the UPR "which is a new mechanism that has a great potential to promote and protect human rights, inwhich 192 UN member states are reviewed in front of the council through a report ohuman rights record.It is designed to ensure the equal treatment for every country, and provides the opportunity for all states to declare what actions they have taken to improve human rights situations in their countries, and to fullfill their human rights obligations. "
The UPR process completes once every four years, inwhich several practical steps are taken.
- Information provided by the states under review, which can take a form of ( national report ); information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups and other UN entities; information from other stakeholders(nongovernmental organizactions and national institutions) - UNHCR collect these information-
- The review which takes place through an interactive discussion between the states under review and the UN members.
The review is conducted by 47 members of the council(working group).
- Out come report which provides a summary of the actual discussions between the state, the working group, and the OHCHR information . This outcome report is adopted in the plenary session of the council.
- Follow up to the review through monitoring the implementation of the recommendations contained in the final outcome.
The civil community can participate and asses the implementation of the preceding steps through NGOs, national institutions, human rights defenders, and other regional organizations and associations.
Mr. Mashreki also discussed the goals of the UPR:
- improve the human rights situations all over the globe.
- provide technical assistance to states and enhance their capacities.
- prompt, support, and expand promotion and protection of human rights on the ground.
- share the best practices in the field of human rights among states and other civil organizations.
Mr. Mashreki noted that Lebanon will be reviewed on the 9th session on December, 3, 2010, while the deadline for the stakeholders is on April, 12, 2010.
At the end of the workshop Mr. Safa invited all the attendies and all the NGOs to collaborate and cooperate through follow up workshops and meetings. He also said that Khiam Center is ready to be the coordinator take the lead of the publications of the UPR all over the Lebanese regions, in addition to continuing the cooperation with the government which lead to enhancing and developing the human rights situations.