In December 2019 , TSC Delegation (Siang Bacthi/USA and Teo Virasih/France) attended the Universal Periodic Review of Vietnam at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

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UPR PRE-SESSIONS IN GENEVA  –  DEC 10-12, 2018

REPORTED BY SIANG BACTHI

 

Dec. 10, 2018     Training Day

About 30 people attended the training, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, including TSC’s delegation – Siang Bacthi/USA and Teo Virasih/France. Following is the summary of the training:

 

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

  1. In 2006 the UPR was established, under the remit of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), to review all UN Member States (countries).
  2. There are 193 UN Member States, plus the Holy See (Vatican) and the State of Palestine as observers.
  3. The Working Group doing the reviews meets 3 times/sessions in Geneva, Switzerland: January, May, and November.
  4. In each session, 14 countries are reviewed (Vietnam and Cambodia in January 2019).
  5. Each review is based on 3 reports:
    1. National Report – the country under review (e.g. Vietnam) explains its accomplishments and challenges in implementing recommendations since the previous review.
    2. Compilation of UN Information – the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) compiles information it receives from various UN agencies and other States.
    3. Stakeholders Summary – OHCHR summaries reports submitted by various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and national human rights institutions.
  6. The UPR process is cyclical every 5 years. The first cycle started in 2008-2011, the second 2012-2016, the third 2017-2021.
  7. Each session of review lasts about 3-4 days, in Geneva.
  8. Roughly 6-8 months before the review, concerned NGOs can submit written statements known as submissions to OHCHR.
  9. An NGO can submit one submission, and another with other joint-submission.

The Pre-Sessions

  1. The Pre-Sessions Program was organized by UPR Info, a non-profit organization headquartered in Geneva.
  2. The Pre-Sessions create a space to allow for everyone to come together – NGOs and States.
  3. The Pre-Sessions meeting takes place one month prior to the UPR review.
  4. On each session, UPR Info selects 5-6 NGOs to discuss their submissions and to submit them to OHCHR for UPR review under the Stakeholders Summary.
  5. Each NGO’s representative, of these 5-6 NGOs, presents or speaks for 5 minutes in front of the Permanent Missions (States’ ambassadors).
  6. Some states’ ambassadors make recommendations.

Group Work – Participants were split into several groups to work on UPR advocacy exercises by using two forms: the FACTSHEET & the “Promoting and Strengthening the UPR.”

Dec. 11, 2018    Pre-Sessions for other countries. To get some knowledge on the system, we attended their sessions.

Dec. 12, 2018    Pre-Session for Vietnam, 9:00-10:00 am. Since TSC’s submission was not selected by UPR Info to review, we attended the meeting as observers only. Following is the summary of the Pre-Session:

  1. Six NGOs were selected to review and speak at the meeting:
    1. The Death Penalty
    2. Discrimination Against Women in Laws & Policies
    3. LGBT Rights
    4. Labor Rights
    5. Children Rights
    6. VOICE for Human Rights
  2. The first 5 NGOs, by joint-submissions, are based in the country, inside Vietnam.
  3. The VOICE’s office is based in Bangkok but run by Vietnamese, including the speaker.
  4. Each submission was well presented with credible and reliable information for the last 4 years.
  5. No indigenous or minority groups, other than the Tai Dam, were present at the meeting.
  6. Note: There was a table for all displays such as flyers & booklets for the Permanent Missions to collect, including TSC flyers. We also displayed the “Zero Hunger” banner outside the meeting room during break-times, and met with representatives of Vietnam, USA and Australia.

CONCLUSION:  Following are our observation and recommendations:

  1. Submissions from minority groups, such as Tai or Khmer Krom, won’t probably be reviewed at the UPR Vietnam Review on January 21-24, 2019, because none was selected by UPR Info.
  2. If TSC plans to submit a Tai Dam issue or issues of human rights at the next UPR review, we should start documenting all relevant information and references in the next 4 years.
  3. Beside the written submission, there are 2 important documents or formats for TSC to follow and work on – the FACTSHEET & the “Promoting and Strengthening the UPR.”