The elegant Mount Pleasant Hotel (Nay Pyi Taw) was the venue for the Seminar on Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review that was jointly organized by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for South East Asia Region (Bangkok) from the 13th to 14th of this month.
A total of (46) participants and resource persons attended the seminar. The participants cut across a broad range of stakeholders including parliamentarians, relevant concerned ministries, UN organizations, civil society groups and NGOs.
The Chairman of the MNHRC U Win Mra and Regional Director of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Ms. Matilda Bogner made welcoming remarks on the occasion. Both U Win Mra and Ms. Matilda touched on the importance of various stakeholders’ initiatives in preparing Myanmar’s report for the second cycle, which is due in 2015. Ms Heike Alefsen Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) (Bangkok) then made a presentation on the “Brief overview of the UPR, – process and substance,” followed by a presentation delivered by U Nyunt Swe, member of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) on the “Implementation of 2011 UPR of Myanmar-Recommendations and Preparations for the 2015 UPR.” In his presentation U Nyunt Swe dwelt in detail on the recommendations and called on the participants to make best use of this workshop to prepare for the second cycle report.
The afternoon session resumed with a presentation by Ms. Pittikan Suthidej, Deputy Director General, Rights and Liberties Protection Department Ministry of Justice, Thailand on the “Preparation, Conduct and follow up of the UPR Review of Thailand 2011, prioritization of recommendations for Implementation, coordination and the roles of government departments- reflections on theory and practice,” followed by a presentation by Ms. Karen Gomez-Dumipt, Director for Government linkages, Commission on Human Rights of Philippines on the “ Priority areas of substantive focus for implementation and the contribution of civil society in ensuring the effective implementation of the UPR.” A penal discussion involving all the resource persons followed the tea break and the discussions centered round the UPR process. The discussions were stimulating and invoked a lot of interest. The first day’s session came to a close at 17:00 hrs. In the evening, a dinner was hosted by the Regional Representative at the Tower Restaurant of the Hotel.
The session for Day Two started with a presentation by Ms. Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Chairperson on Human Rights of the Philippines and the Philippines Chairperson put up a short but informative presentation on “Cooperation between National Human Rights Institutions and Government, Parliament and civil society in the UPR”.
A question and answer session followed the presentation, after which the participants were divided into (3) groups to discuss about the “2011 Universal Periodic Review recommendations for Myanmar-Prioritization and Implementation.” The Group presentations were put up after lunch to the Plenary Session.
The rapporteurs of each group did justice to their groups’ efforts by their presentations and the seminar came to a close with remarks by the Chairperson of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC).