“We need to come together for more advocacy plans to push the government to adopt the recommendations”
On August 5th 2022, BEBESEA organized and virtually hosted the UPR Forum on Migration: “Civil Society’s Advocacy to the 4th Cycle Universal Periodic Review: Indonesia and the Philippines”. The forum was attended by representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) from various countries across East and Southeast asia; HRWG Indonesia, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM), Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), BP Migran, Migrant Care, Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Centre (Hurights Osaka), Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), autonomous8a, International Migrants Allia and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
The forum was held to deepen understanding and share knowledge and experiences on one of UN human rights mechanisms, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), with focus on human rights issues related to migration among CSOs prior to the upcoming Session 41.
Indonesia and The Philippines are among the countries that will be reviewed in the upcoming Session 41 in November 2022, and of the human rights topics to be reviewed is on the issues of migrations. Indonesia’s review will be held on November 9th and the Philippines’ review will be held on November 14th. This session will be both countries’ 4th cycle of being the States under Review (SuR), following their past reviews back in 2008, then in 2012 and the last time was in 2017.
The four main objectives of the forum were; (1) To disseminate information on reports made by civil society groups in Indonesia and the Philippines at the 4th cycle UPR session which will be held in November this year; (2) To come up with a strategy to encourage the attention of UN member states to the situation of human rights in both countries; (3) To contribute to the preparation of CSOs in Japan and South Korea (to be reviewed in Session 42 in January/February 2023) for their prospective engagement with the UPR process; (4) To advance the enforcement of the recommendations from this mechanism both at the national, regional and international levels.
The forum started off with a brief session to get to know each other, followed by collecting everyone’s expectations on the on-going discussion forum.
Mr. Muhammad Hafiz, senior researcher of HRWG, presented the process of UPR as well as issues and concerns of CSOs’ advocating in UPR and how CSOs’ participation can ensure that the UPR process will meaningfully influence the improvement of human rights obligations of the states. In his presentation, he also mentioned the importance of the CSOs’ role in following-up, monitoring the progress of the states after the recommendations were made, sharing some examples of Indonesian civil society in creating and using indicators.
The participants had active discussions by sharing and exchanging their experiences involving the UPR process by producing shadow reports and/or recommendations as well as holding lobbying meetings with diplomatic representatives. Representatives from Indonesia reported that they have made a submission on the specific topic of migrant workers for their report this year. One of the highlights is that they want to push further for recommendations for improved protection of seafarer migrant workers’ rights (Migrant Care). Japanese participants shared their UPR recommendations (Hurights Osaka) that showed concerns on some issues regarding migrant workers in Japan and one of which was the issue on the human rights violations at immigration detention. It was also highlighted by some participants that information sharing and collaboration among CSOs in different countries is very important, particularly following up on issues related to migrants.
To end the meeting, in order to make this process participative, BEBESEA secretariat encouraged the participants to share thoughts on how to build the capacity among grassroots organizations or individual campaigners to strategically implement international advocacy.
“We need to make sure, for this cycle’s UPR, that we don’t only attend UPR meetings but also make sure we follow up the recommendations and the efforts of the states’ implementation itself..”
“We hope we can push to influence the reviewing member states to deliver more progressive recommendations as well as identify how to translate this international advocacy into national and local advocacy. We need to come together for more advocacy plans to push the government to adopt the recommendations.”
Thank you to all the participants for all the meaningful contributions!