From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, HRC Schools Journalists on UPR
By Bampia Bundu
Jul 21, 2010, 17:48

The Human Right Commission of Sierra Leone HRCSL on 20th July 2010 schooled members of the fourth estate on the essence of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at their Wellington Street Conference Room in Freetown.

In his statement the Chairperson of the Commission Commissioner Edward Sam noted that the Universal Periodic Review was established by the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 on the 15th of March 2006, which also established the Human Rights Council (HRC), replacing the Human Rights Commission. He said UPR is a unique interactive and cooperative state-driven mechanism designed to review human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years.  He informed that the process reminds member states of their responsibilities to fully respect their human rights commitments and obligations, adding that UPR strives for the improvement of human rights situations in all countries through the identification of violations wherever they occur as well as supporting states in rectifying them.

Commissioner Sam however revealed that the UPR is the most significant and all encompassing tool that Human Rights Commission utilizes towards its primary task of strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The UPR mechanism is the key promoter of one of the three key pillars of the United Nations Systems: peace, development, and human right. No other universal mechanism of this nature exists, he said. He disclosed that many countries in Africa have been reviewed on the dates specified by the Council and that Sierra Leone will be reviewed in May 2011 as slated by the Human Right Commissions. He concluded by calling on the government of Sierra Leone to allow the review process to commence next year as Sierra Leone needs to submit its reports in September 2011.

UNIPSIL Human Right Officer, Mr. Kedar Poudyal commended the HRCSL for their stance in ensuring that the government meets its international obligations, adding that they are always ready to support the commission and other organizations in the country as it is their mandate to provide technical and capacity building training for Sierra Leoneans

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