Concept Note: NGOIC and UPR

NGOIC

NGOIC (NGO Information and Cooperation) has been established as an online platform (www.ngoic.org) for communication, collaborative drafting and planning among NGOs engaged in the work of the UN Human Rights Council. The intention of NGOIC is to provide a secure online workspace – divided into ‘virtual interest groups’ according to identified topics of interest among users – for, inter alia:
• Drafting joint statements
• Formulating joint lobbying strategies
• Developing follow-up plans
• General information sharing among NGOs on specified topics of common interest

UPR

UPR (Universal Periodic Review) is a new mechanism of the Human Rights Council under which each UN member state will be reviewed periodically (initially every 4 years) on its human rights record. UPR is perhaps the single most important innovation in the new UN human rights machinery, and has the potential to provide a meaningful response to the complaints of selectivity that bedeviled the previous Commission on Human Rights. Significantly, one of the three documentary bases for UPR (in addition to the member state’s own report, and a compilation of recent treaty body and special procedure recommendations with regard to the state in question) is a summary of information provided by “other relevant stakeholders”. This category of actors may be understood as including national human rights institutions (NHRIs), academics and academic institutions, and NGOs. However, the entire summary may not exceed 10 pages in length. The task of summarizing the information submitted is to be undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which will undoubtedly place heavy additional demands upon OHCHR’s limited personnel resources, as well as risking the loss of significant aspects of the information submitted.

NGOIC’s valued-added in the context of UPR

NGOIC can provide a platform for online drafting and organization of material for submission into the UPR process on behalf of a collectivity of NGOs, regardless of their physical location. By organizing this material collectively in advance, NGOs will have an opportunity to reach agreement among themselves as to the most important issues, priorities and recommendations to raise in the context of each country review in the UPR process. By sharing information on each others country and thematic focus, NGOs will will be better encouraged to build coalitions in the drafting of their submissions and sharing the tasks among themselves to make their collective contributions to the initial information on which the review would be based more coherent. By undertaking this task online, NGOs and their donors avoid the expense and time entailed in organizing multiple meetings and consultations for the same purpose. By summarizing their own joint submissions in advance, they reduce the risk of salient points being lost in the summarization undertaken by OHCHR.

NGOIC can provide:

  • Online collaborative drafting tools for the preparative of joint NGO submissions for the each country review under UPR.
  • A better knowledge and understanding of which organizations / NGO coalitions are planning to work on a specific country or/and specific themes;
  • Password protection and bit encryption (subject to receipt of anticipated additional funding)
  • A liaison point with OHCHR
  • A platform for developing civil society strategies to influence on the review process to be processes in the HRC Working Group on UPR and with the Rapporteurs’ troika;
  • A platform to share information on the parallel activities on country specific during the review process in the HRC Working Group on UPR
  • A platform to develop civil society strategies on follow-up on the outcome of each review, including the monitoring of the implementation of the outcome
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