Implementing the UPR Recommendations in Syria: A Training Course for the UN Country Team

In May, 2022 our Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) organized – along with the Syria Offices of the United Nations (UN) Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commission of the Human Rights (OHCHR) – a customized training course for UN staff in Syria.

The course focused on the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations on Syria that were issued in January 2022.

‘We are very pleased to have organized this course for the UN staff in Syria. The role of the UN agencies present in this country will be key to ensure that there is proper follow-up and implementation of the recommendations emanating from the UPR in Syria’ explains Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Acquiring the Tool to Monitor Implementation

During three days in Beirut, 26 practitioners working in Syria for various UN entities – UNESCO, WHO, UNICEF, ILO, UNHCR, OHCHR, UNOCHA, UN Women, UN-HABITAT, the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator for Syria, UNFPA and UNDP. The vast majority of participants were Syrian nationals, who learned how to follow up in the implementation of UPR recommendations including via the conversion of UPR recommendations into SMART recommendations, the development of indicators to track implementation, as well as via the drafting of a human rights action plan in coordination with national partners.

‘We are eager to ensure proper follow-up to the UPR recommendations in Syria, notably to ensure access to quality healthcare and social services’ highlighted Omar Ballan, Assistant Representative of UNFPA in Syria – Officer in Charge.

The course was also the occasion to learn about implementation best practices in other countries, to reflect on the various agencies’ role in the implementation of the recommendations and to discuss the synergies between the UPR and other human rights mechanisms as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

‘The main objective of the course was to train the Syria UNCT on the UPR process in order to increase their participation – both in relation to the contribution of the UPR report itself but also in relation to follow-up and implementation’ explains GHRP Advisory Board Member Miloon Kothari, who led the course.

‘We conducted the course in an interactive and participatory mode, combining illustrated lectures and group exercises – including on how to draft SMART recommendations and utilize the sophisticated tools and matrices developed by various actors at the national level to monitor progress with the UPR recommendations – to ensure maximum participation and involvement’ he adds.

An Online Follow-Up Session in July

An online follow-up session will take place in July, following the UN Human Rights Council’s consideration of the outcome of the review of Syria.

‘This follow-up session will enable participants to discuss the recommendations that were either ‘supported’ or ‘noted’ by Syria and reflect on strategies to ensure implementation and monitoring of recommendations, based on the knowledge and expertise acquired during the course’ explains Miloon Kothari.

Part of the New GHRP Training Hub

This customized training course forms part of the newly created GHRP Training Hub that organizes regular training courses – in Geneva and online – on the work of United Nations (UN) human rights mechanisms and on specific human rights issues, as well as customized training courses for international organizations, NGOs, governments, or National Human Rights Institutions.

All participants in our training course have access – ahead, during and following their course – to a dedicated community platform that brings together all the participants of our courses who have unlimited access to the training materials and resources shared during their respective course and can exchange with all the alumni of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Training Hub.

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