June 12, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL), in collaboration with Amnesty International, yesterday commenced a two-day training of its staff and civil society organizations.
The Commission’s Executive Secretary, Francess Alghali, said the rationale for the training was to build the capacity of their staff and CSOs in the Universal Periodic Reviewing (UPR) reporting process.
Ms. Alghali informed participants at the Bank Complex in Freetown that Sierra Leone successfully went through the UPR process in May 2011, during the 11th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“Sierra Leone is due for second review in 2016. The process will provide another opportunity to assess its human rights situation and the steps taken so far to fully implement recommendations and commitments made during the 2011 review,” she said.
The HRC Executive Secretary said shadow reports presented by national human rights institutions and civil society organizations are very crucial in the UPR process, and urged the latter to ensure that their reports are well structured, organized and coordinated so as to meet reporting criteria and standards.
Also, one of the facilitators, Marianne Lilliebjerg from Amnesty International, stated that the UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council to review human rights situations in all 193 UN member states every four to five years.
According to her, it is a state-on-state peer review political process and not expert review and that it seeks to improve the human rights situation on the ground.
“The UPR is base on cooperation between states and sharing of good practice. Primarily, it is a national process of reflection on the situation of human rights. The review is carried out by the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council in three (3) annual sessions,” she explained.
She maintained that the state under review presents its national report and may respond to questions submitted in advance as other states make recommendations to the state under review regarding her human rights situation.