Turkmen delegation prepares for UPR dialogue at the Human Rights Council
Members of Turkmenistan’s delegation for the dialogue under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the Human Rights Council (HRC) came together at a two-day workshop to finalize preparations for the UPR session on Turkmenistan, scheduled for 22 April 2013 in Geneva. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Bunafsha Gulakova, international human rights expert, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Members of the delegation were introduced to the working procedures of the HRC and deepened their understanding of the UPR mechanism. More specifically, they focused on the progress in implementing the UPR recommendations following the first review of Turkmenistan and developments in the sphere of human rights since the first review.
"With this workshop we are making an important step together with the Government in the final stage of preparations for the second Universal Periodic Review I am pleased to note that with the support of the joint project of the United Nations Development Programme, the European Union and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights Turkmenistan has improved its capacity to report to the UN Treaty Bodies and prepared for the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review," said Ms Cao Lin, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Turkmenistan.
In the workshop, members of the delegation of Turkmenistan looked closer at the reporting procedures of the UPR mechanism. They also held a mock-up session of the interactive dialogue between the delegation of Turkmenistan and members of HRC that helped the Turkmen delegation to experience the process which is before them.
"The EU is willing to share its experiences and values with peoples outside its borders and in particular the Central Asian region and Turkmenistan. Human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the core values of the EU. These values are put to the forefront of EU relations with its cooperating countries. We are glad to promote these principle values in Turkmenistan, where we cherish our development cooperation agenda and a long-term engagement," said Mr. Theo Hensels, the Europa House Turkmenistan Coordinator.
Turkmenistan was reviewed in 2008 in the first UPR cycle and is expected to follow up on the HRC’s recommendations and report back to the HRC on the progress made in the period before the second cycle of review, due on 22 April 2013.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by October 2011, has reviewed the human rights records of 193 UN Member States. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is one of the key elements of the Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.
This workshop was organized within the framework of the EU/UNDP/OHCHR project "Strengthening the National Capacity of Turkmenistan to Protect and Promote Human Rights" which is implemented in partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan. Its overall objective is to increase knowledge on international human rights standards and mechanisms in Turkmenistan and to strengthen national capacities to promote and protect human rights in accordance with these standards.
Ms. Branka Šesto, Human Rights Specialist, EU/UNDP/OHCHR project