“The UN cannot be effective if we, the civil society, do not provide any real and significant contribution to its workings”.
Commented by a participant during a training organised by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, for regional civil society organisations (CSOs) on reporting to UN treaty bodies, held July 9-10 in Yerevan, Armenia.
Despite possessing a wealth of data, CSOs directly or indirectly affiliated with human rights in Armenia struggle to relay this information to the various UN Human Rights mechanisms. Several factors contribute to this gap, including a lack of knowledge of such mechanisms, limited human resources and general unawareness of their roles within the monitoring process.
Recognising the need for improved alternative reporting to UN human rights mechanisms, the two-day training was conducted within the framework of the DRI project Promoting Human and Labour Rights through GSP+. Twenty-one regional organisations and human rights activists from seven regions of Armenia (Shirak, Syunik, Gegharkunik, Armavir, Tavush, Vayots Dzor, and Ararat) came together to learn about practical tools and guidance on the steps of initiating the alternative report drafting process.
The training concentrated on: explaining the European Union’s GSP+ trade scheme and its role in observance of international human rights commitments by Armenia; exploration of several key stages of the reporting process beginning from the preparation of the State report, ending with CSOs submissions and reports; as well as possibly attending the treaty body sessions for the UN Committees on the Rights of the Child and Social Economic and Cultural Rights. The training specifically focused on: the right to adequate standard of living; ethnic/religious minority children’s rights; the right to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and the right to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work.