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Monday, 06 December 2010 03:00

Iraqi Civil Society Organizations Trained on Human Rights Reporting

Erbil, 6 December 2010: Iraqi civil society representatives completed this week in Erbil a series of four training sessions in shadow reporting to the UN human rights treaty bodies. Shadow reports, often called ‘alternative reports’, are submitted by civil society organizations that deal with human rights to treaty monitoring bodies at the United Nations and other international institutions in parallel with a government\'s official report regarding the human rights situation in a given country.


The training was delivered by experts from the Human Rights Law Centre of the UK-based Nottingham University, under the Support to Iraq’s Preparations for the universal periodic review (UPR) project. The two-year UPR project started in April 2009 and is being jointly carried out by the Human Rights Office of United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), with funding from the Government of Finland and the European Union through the United Nations Development Group - Iraq Trust Fund.

“Such training courses strengthen the resolve of activists to work to guarantee basic human rights and a democratic society that believes in human rights principles”, noted a participant from the Iraqi NGO Public Aid Organization.

The four training courses, which took place between August and December 2010 were attended by 23 representatives of human rights organisations from across Iraq. The training series focused on the UPR reporting mechanisms for each human rights treaty that Iraq has either signed, ratified or acceded to and the role of civil society in shadow reporting. Participants were trained on legal frameworks, international standards for reporting and data collection, drafting skills and monitoring and advocacy work as follow up to treaty body observances.

"We will continue to support the efforts of the Iraqi government to promote dialogue on human rights and to empower a growing civil society in Iraq," said Ms. Sarah Barnat, Programme Manager at the European Union Delegation for Iraq.

Officials from the Ministry of Human Rights also joined certain training sessions as part of an ongoing process to promote dialogue between government and civil society and build mutual knowledge and understanding of human rights commitments.

“This training has strengthened the spirit of cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi civil society organisations and the government,” said an official from the Ministry of Human Rights.

Established in 2006, following the establishment of the Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly, the UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 United Nations Member States once every four years. The mechanism provides an opportunity for all States to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.

“To help Iraq meet its obligations under the new Human Rights reporting mechanism, the UNAMI-supported UPR project, assisted the Iraqi government with the drafting of its first national submission of the 2009 UPR report. Building on this partnership, the project expanded its empowerment efforts to the Iraqi civil society through this training package to empower the Iraqi civil society organisations in a way that it can contribute to improving human rights protection in the country”, said  Andrea Ori from UNAMI Human Rights Office.

This training builds on two previous trainings under the same project, which developed the capacity of 25 NGOs to contribute to the UPR stakeholder report for Iraq - reviewed by the Human Rights Council in February 2010 - and supported them to improve their human rights reporting skills.

Under the UPR mechanism, civil society organizations including non-governmental organizations are entitled to participate in the UPR process. They can submit information which can be added to the “other stakeholders” report which is considered during the UPR review.

Last modified on Monday, 06 December 2010 03:00