The Human Rights Council Seminar on Universal Periodic Review (13-14) June 2013

APF photo

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).

Launching Ceremony for publication and distribution of UDHR text from English to Myanmar Language

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The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission in its activities to promote and protect human rights of the people has translated and published the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from English into Myanmar Language. The launching ceremony for the distribution of the translated text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (English/Myanmar) for dissemination of wider knowledge of the Declaration among the people was held at the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission on 18 June 2013 at 10 A.M.

After the opening statement by U Win Mra, Chairman of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, the booklet containing the translated texts was distributed to the guests. These translated texts have been extensively distributed to the Ministries, the members of the Parliament and the State and Region Governments.

The officials concerned from various government departments, representative from the Office of the Yangon Regional Government, civil societies and media attended the launching ceremony.

Member of the MNHRC U Nyunt Swe attends the Human Rights Workshop held in Bangkok

  At the invitation of the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, U Nyunt Swe, Member of the MNHRC attended the Workshop entitled “ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism: Challenges and Ways Forward” which was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 10-11 June 2013.

   The main objective of the Workshop is to prepare the ground for the review of the Terms of Reference of existing ASEAN human rights mechanisms, among others. The Workshop was attended by the representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, and the ASEAN Committee on Migrant Workers; representative of the National Human Rights Institutions of ASEAN Member States; representative of regional and national civil society organizations; and relevant international organizations.

   The Workshop was divided into six sessions and Session Two: “ Pressing Human Rights Issues and Concerns in ASEAN” was chaired by U Nyunt Swe, Member of the MNHRC.

Asia Pacific Forum held a Training of Trainers’ Workshop in Yangon.

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission in collaboration with Asia Pacific Forum held a Training of Trainers’ Workshop in Yangon from the 3rd to the 7th of June 2013 at Hotel Yangon. The Workshop was attended by (12) senior staff members of the Asia Pacific Region National Human Rights Institutions. A total of (9) countries were represented at the Workshop: namely; Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Nepal, India and Myanmar. The Workshop is the second phase of a two phase blended learning Workshop, the first  being the one month on-line training course that took place from the 8th of April to the 3rd of May 2013.

The on-line training course consists of (4) Modules which the participants have to undertake by going through the learning and reading materials of each module and completing the assignments proscribed to each module.

Only the participants who were  able to fulfill all the requirements were selected for the face- to- face workshop held in Yangon. Participants from a number of countries who were not able to meet the prerequisite requirement, unfortunately did not make it to the  workshop held in Yangon. Professor Chris Sidoti led a team of (4) Master Trainers in conducting  the face-to-face Workshop. It was a very fruitful (5) day event and what was stated in the first day of the Workshop, ” Learning is fun-” proved true in every sense of the word. All in all it was a workshop that exceeded all the expectations.