April 21, 2015 By Ishmael Bayoh
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has undertaken a two-day stakeholders’ training on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report engagements, process and submission of report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The two-day capacity building training for Commissioners and staff of the institution is meant to provide a broader overview on the various processes involved and to enhance the Commission in providing the appropriate technical support to the state and other relevant parties.
The UPR was established by the General Assembly Resolution 60/25 on 15th March, 2006, which also established the United Nations Human Rights Council that replaced the Commission on Human Rights.
Sierra Leone was first successfully reviewed in May 2011 during the 11th Session of the Human Rights Council and in January 2016, the country is to also face its second review.
During the country’s first review which was led by Sierra Leone’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the latter presented the State’s report and out of the 129 recommendations made by the review committee, the government acknowledged that 57 of them had already been implemented.
However, as required by the reporting mechanism, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone should provide the necessary technical support to government for its report compilation for submission. Part of that obligation is to remind government of its reporting obligation, conduct strategic engagement meetings in ensuring the full participation of major stakeholders as requirement by the state reporting mechanism.
It is in this light that the HRC is required, under Resolution 16/21 and Decision 17/119 of the Human Rights Council, to submit a shadow report proceeding to the State report. Part of the Commission’s responsibility is to enhance the State’s capacity to report effectively on human rights issues, including timely provision of inputs by line ministries, departments and agencies.
Various facilitators presented on topics ranging from the UPR process, OHCHR and the UPR process, the role of stakeholders in the UPR process, the role of National Human Rights Institutions to status implementation of 1st and 2nd cycles UPR recommendations.