Iranti’s work in 2015 on the
Universal Periodic Review processes
in Swaziland and Tanzania
by Joshua Sehoole - Regional Human Rights Officer, Iranti
South Africa, 10 September 2015
During July and August 2015, Iranti and Pan Africa ILGA (PAI) hosted two Universal Periodic Review (UPR) workshops, in Swaziland (co-hosted by Rock of Hope and Gender Dynamix) and in Tanzania (co-hosted by Tanzania Trans Initiative).
The UPR is an instrument of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) aimed at improving the human rights situation on the ground of all 193 member states.
Under the UPR mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed every 4.5 years. 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.
Each year, 42 States are reviewed during three working group sessions, usually held in January/February, May/June and October/November. The review includes three documents:
- An official report from the State prepared report
- A compilation of the State’s recent reviews by UN agencies
- A “Shadow” report - information compiled by NGOs, National Human Rights Institutions and other relevant stakeholders.
Shadow reporting is an important tool for NGOs supporting LGBTI rights. It is an opportunity for civil society organisations to highlight issues not raised by their governments or point out where the government may be misleading the committee from the real situation.
Iranti co-hosted constituent consultations for participants from Swaziland and Tanzania to consolidate their knowledge regarding the UPR process and discuss local challenges that the community wanted reflected in the report.
Conversations also took place with human rights based NGOs on how they could mainstream issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in their reporting and in their work generally.
Post-submission workshops on strategies for follow-up will take place later in the year.