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ECNL supports the UN OHCHR in its work on the right to participation

The June 2016 civil society space resolution A/HRC/32/31 tasked the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with preparing a report on participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in regional and international organizations. In order to support this effort, ECNL/ICNL and  partners under the Civic Space Initiative project organized a side event on this topic during the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Seven notable speakers from different regions participated upon ECNL’s invitation, including

  • Lidiya Grigoreva, NGO Liaison Office, United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG),
  • Hannah Forster, Executive Director of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
  • Emilio Alvarez Icaza, former Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
  • Anna Rurka, President of the Council of Europe Conference of INGO,
  • Phil Lynch, Director of the International Service for Human Rights,
  • Gillian Dell, UN Coalition on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC),
  • Safir Syed, Civil Society Section, UN OHCHR.

The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Patricia O’Brien, Permanent Representative of Ireland. The participants outlined main recommendations for the framework and scope of the report, and ECNL looks forward to continuing work with the OHCHR on developing these further.

ECNL also engaged with the Czech UN Mission in drafting the resolution on public participation and submitted comments and expertise in the process. The adopted resolution tasks the OHCHR to prepare guidelines on public participation in consultation with civil society and other actors. It provides an important step forward in framing the content of the ‘right to participation’ and in reminding governments that participation is not a will, but a right. The resolution will shortly be available on this link.