Since the beginning of 2017, in close collaboration with the Human Rights and Refugees programme and our colleagues at QUNO New York, the Peace and Disarmament programme has been working on a project linking human rights and sustaining peace. The yearlong project aims to strengthen the links between the peacebuilding and human rights communities within the UN and on the ground through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a UN process that reviews the human rights records of all 193 UN member States in a five-year cycle. The UPR was designed as a mechanism to improve the human rights situation in every country by encouraging and supporting states to effectively implement and protect human rights at every level. To support this process, information from UN agencies and civil society organisations are compiled to provide recommendations to the state under review and background for other states to create recommendations and questions.
For our project, we have chosen six test case countries, each facing particular challenges to differing degrees in human rights, conflict and violence from the Syria in the throes of war to Guatemala facing chronic and destabilising violence. For the upcoming UPR Sessions, we chose to focus on Indonesia and Brazil and we invited two peacebuilding civil society representatives - Ruslan from KOMPAK (Kupang Peacemakers) in Indonesia and Ivan Marques from Sou da Paz in Brazil- to attend briefing sessions for diplomats and off the record meetings organised by QUNO in Geneva. They were able to discuss their work and explore ways in which the UPR could better support peacebuilding and violence reduction and elimination.
Both organisations produced briefing documents, highlighting their work around peacebuilding and human rights, country specific issues and key recommendations targeted toward their respective countries that can be used for the upcoming UPR Sessions in May.