Some Reflections on the ERI Training Program

  “Our sessioDSC_7887ns included and covered an overview of the UN Human Rights System, Spirituality of Justice, Treaty Body systems, Legal statuses of various UN conventions, how NGO’s can engage with treaty body and UPR systems, how students can become involved in advocacy, the drafting up of a UPR submission and Special Procedures.

We were also able to attend an event hosted by the World Council of Churches, the UPR sessions of the Human Rights Council for Bangladesh, Canada and Russia and a sitting of the Committee for Economic Social and Cultural Rights which reviewed Azerbaijan.

The importance of advocacy work was always something that I underestimated. Yet sitting in sessions with Permanent Mission members, representatives of Rapporteurs, Human Rights Defenders and others, really resonated for me as I realised the true potential and need for advocacy to take root in our communities.

Overall the course was an amazing experience and a privilege to attend”

– Jessica Dewhurst, South Africa

“Often, at ground level we feel that there is lack of support in the work we do; our helplessness in the face of powerful governments and local officials who are mostly corrupt, can be very discouraging, and is a big hurdle when we try to bring in a desired change in society. Going to Geneva and participating in the UN procedures was a great assurance that the duty bearers can be pressurised by the rights holders at international level to bring about a desired change in society.

Attending the UPR was an extraordinary experience; to see all the nations of the world given equal opportunity to express their opinion on human rights situations in the country under review”

– Br Roshan D’Cunha, the Philippines

“Having experienced first-hand how the UPR and other UN mechanisms such as Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures work, and having learnt how local organisations can effectively contribute into the processes, I feel well equipped with relevant skills that will in the long run help to improve the human rights situation in my country, Kenya.

While I could have easily shied away from engaging the UN mechanisms due to imagined bureaucracy at the United Nations, on the contrary, I was humbled by the warm reception and courtesy of UN staff and their readiness to engage with local organizations as key partners. I learned that local organizations are an important partner in the entire process and can play an effective role by preparing and submitting reports…”

– Joash Sigu, Kenya

“Our interactions and the presentations from various presenters involved with the UN were very exciting. I vividly recall and see reasons why I need to double my efforts towards advocating for human rights at my local level and wherever I am, since I saw how important my participation can contribute to world wide change – something that I never imagined.”

– Johnstone Shisanya, Kenya

“I gained courage and confidence to know the way forward, to speak and work for the voiceless, powerless and vulnerable people in Papua New Guinea  at different levels, including the international level.”

– Br Blaise Semoso, Papua New Guinea.

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