Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC) participated in the previous cycle of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the enhancement of human rights by preparing a civil society’s shadow report on the state of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the next two years (December 2018 – December 2020), SOC will actively participate in the 3rd UPR cycle through reporting, advocacy and capacity building activities. Other partner civil society organizations, also advocating for human rights, will take part in the whole process.
UPR Shadow Report: SOC will establish a network of organizations interested in the preparation of UPR Shadow Report and monitoring of the UPR process. In the cooperation with partner organizations, SOC will prepare the report which will contain all relevant and reliable information on human rights in the country. Later on, the report will be orally presented at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
Advocacy Activities Towards International Stakeholders: In order to find allies who will turn the UPR Shadow Report findings into recommendations, SOC and partner organizations will organize meetings with embassies and other international organizations, institutions and representatives as part of advocacy activities.
In-country Advocacy Activities – CSOs, Institutions and Media: SOC and partner organizations will organize workshops in order to develop an advocacy strategy for the UPR cycle. Afterwards, advocacy activities towards national institutions will follow in order to accept implementation of recommendations which BiH received during the UPR process. Media campaign will be included.
Capacity Building on the UPR Recommendations Implementation: In order to raise awareness among national institutions regarding the significance of implementing recommendation and the UPR process itself, SOC will organize targeted workshops and produce advocacy factsheets which will ensure the comprehensiveness of recommendations in BiH.
What is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)?
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council for enhancement of human rights in its member states. Relevant information are being collected by member states, the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and any other relevant stakeholders such as civil society organisations.
Afterwards, the UPR working group will discuss the recommendations addressed to member states based on data collected. States which issue a recommendation can ask questions, comment and give recommendations to the states under the review. Member states cannot “reject” recommendations, but they can provide an explanation on why they do not support recommendations.
After accepting the recommendations, member states should ensure their implementation until the next UPR report which will evaluate the work on previously issued recommendations, after which new process of collecting recommendations will commence.
What is the Role of Civil Society in the Process?
The UPR report, as well as the recommendations issued, are one of the most significant advocacy tools for civil society in the field of human rights. Responsible institutions often neglect these recommendations, which is why they do not get implemented. This is why civil society organisations have an important role in the UPR process in order to ensure that BiH receives best recommendations and develops best measures which will be implemented in accordance with BiH legislation. The ultimate goal is the enhancement of human rights through the implementation of international standards.