Report of the action of lobbying of the coalition “Equality without reservation” during the 1st Session of the Universal Periodic Review – April 2008

1. Summary of lobbying actions

Lobbying targeted in particular the missions of states mobilised on women’s rights[1] .Members of the Coalition delegation (with representatives of FIDH’s generalist member organisations) met with the following missions: Jordan, Brazil, Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Morocco, Peru, United States of America, Canada, Senegal and Slovenia.

Press conferences were organised on all four countries with participation of Reuters, AFP etc.

The NGO Declaration on the occasion of the 1st UPR session, signed by 624 organisations, as well as the Rabat Appeal and the recommendations of the Coalition (see annexe) were widely distributed. Copies were sent to the missions by FIDH and distributed by the delegation of the Coalition during their meetings with Special Procedures and missions.

The opportunity was also used to meet with the assistant to the Special Reporter on Violence against Women (Morocco, Tunisia) and the assistant to the Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) as well as the assistants to the Special Reporters on Independence of Lawyers and Judges (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), Torture (Tunisia, Algeria), Terrorism (Tunisia, Algeria) and the President of the Working Group on arbitrary detention (Algeria).

The Coalition representative for Bahrain also had a valuable meeting with the Representative of the Women’s Human Rights and Gender Unit in the research and right to development branch of the HC. This Unit prepares briefings for the CEDAW experts and prepares notes for visits of the Special Procedures etc. For future lobbying on the campaign in Geneva efforts will be made to obtain systematically meetings with this Unit.

Countries examined:

Bahrain – 7th April 2008

Morocco – 8th April 2008

Tunisia – 8th April 2008

Algeria – 14th April 2008

Delegation of the Coalition:

Farida Ghulam, BHRS, Bahrain

Saida Idrissi Amrani, ADFM, Morocco

Nabia Haddouche, ADFM, Morocco

Khadija Cherif, ATFD, Tunisia

Naidia Aït Zai, Collective 95, Algeria

Alexandra Pomeon, FIDH MENA Desk

Julie Gromellon, FIDH – Geneva

2. General evaluation of the impact of the lobby

l The recommendation to remove reservations to CEDAW was taken up during the examination of all four states (notably by Slovenia).

l The recommendation to ratify the Optional Protocol to CEDAW was taken up during the examination of Bahrain, Morocco and Tunisia.

l The recommendations accepted by each state include the removal of reservations to CEDAW, (however in the case of Algeria the recommendation refers only to article 2 of CEDAW).

Concerning Bahrain, all recommendations made by the Coalition were taken up by the UPR Working Group and are reflected in the recommendations accepted by Bahrain.

Concerning Morocco, all recommendations made by the Coalition were taken up by the UPR Working Group, however only the recommendation concerning communicating the withdrawal of reservations to the UN Secretary General appears in the recommendation accepted by Morocco. (Article 9, paragraph 2, article 16, paragraph 1 (h), and article 16, paragraph 2, as well as the declaration on article 15, paragraph 4).

Concerning Tunisia, the recommendations on the withdrawal of reservations (Brazil, Mexico and Republic of Korea) and the training of judges on CEDAW (Slovenia) were taken up by the UPR Working Group; however only the recommendation on withdrawal of reservations appears in the recommendations accepted by Tunisia. In its opening presentation Tunisia « undertook » to ratify the OP-CEDAW.

Concerning Algeria, the recommendations on the withdrawal of reservations and amendments to the family code were taken up by the UPR Working Group. Algeria accepted the recommendation on considering the withdrawal of the reservation to article 2. However, Algeria expressly refused to accept the recommendations on withdrawal of article 16 and reform of the Family Code.

3. Follow-up to the session

The reports of the 1st UPR session have been adopted by the UPR Working Group. At the 8th session of the Human Rights Council, from 2 – 13 June, the reports will be discussed and adopted by the plenary session of the Human Rights Council. The Council also decides if and when specific follow up will be necessary.

There will be one hour to discuss each report. States will have the opportunity to make comments on the reports and recommendations and describe the measures taken since the session to implement recommendations. Members of the Council, observer States, and other “stakeholders”, including NGOs, will have the opportunity to make oral interventions. It should be noted that there will be very little possibility to influence the contents of the report at this stage.

[1] Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom

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