The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaborations the Civil Society Platform with support from the UN/EU Spotlight Initiative has begun a series of training on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Shadow Report Writing and Advocacy.
The CEDAW Shadow Writing and Reporting training include sessions on the monitoring of CEDAW implementation, advocacy strategies, and human rights data collection.
OHCHR is providing technical and financial support to the Civil Society Organization Human Rights Advocacy Platform to build the capacity of women rights advocates in drafting CEDAW Shadow Reports.
The first in a series of three pieces of training ended in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, which runs from 16-17 March, while the second that was held in Ganta, Nimba County lasted from the 19-20, and borough together participants from both Lofa and Nimba. The last is the series expected to be held in Senji, Grand Cape Mount County from the 23-24 of March 2021.
The purpose of those three series of training is to produce a draft shadow report of the Human Rights Advocacy Platform for the forthcoming CEDAW State report review of Liberia. The training is also intended to strengthen the capacity of women human rights defenders to advocate for the implementation of recommendations from the Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, and Human Rights Council Working Group on Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
“Some of those areas that the training is aiming at include training CSOs organizations in identifying gays in treaties that were signed up-to by Liberia if Liberia is meeting its obligations of respecting and following human rights treaties, how to identify gays using the CEDAW Shadow reporting methods, and the CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” said Francis Igiriogu, OHCHR human rights officer.
Igiriogu added that the importance of the UN treaty bodies noting, “if any state signed up to the treaty it means they need to follow and respect the provisions therein because signing a treaty is one thing and following its provisions is another thing.” “Each treaty set-up task-force to make sure that the provisions of the treaty are respected and obey by those that subscribe to it.”
“The training and capacity building for you guys to know the process involves in CEDAW Shadow Reporting,” Igiriogu said.
He said training CSOs about the CEDAW is very important to the office of OHCHR “because when you talk of rights of women is among the human rights that are still being violated with impunity.” Speaking about the UPR process, Igirioqu said the Liberia UPR 10 cycle was adopted Thursday by the Human rights council and part of the constraint is that the government refused to accept the recommendation that borders on female genital mutilation that many countries have criminalized.
“The fact that practice in Liberia is still not a crime is a concern for civil society. In every country, the CSOs are the watchdog to make sure that human rights are implemented and see how the government is implementing this recommendation and treaty that they signed,” Igiriogu told participants.
He disclosed that whenever government sends a report to the committee, they accept and compare it with the report that the CSOs have sent to know whether the report is accurate.
Igirioqu said OHCHR is happily supporting the CSO Platform to go through the process of producing Shadow report.
Ara Chea, a Consultant in a PowerPoint presentation said reporting on treaties to the International committees requires data collection. Educating participants about how to collect data, Chea said there is no special way to collect data but to answer a relevant question, the data collector can decide to use a method that gives them the answer they are seeking.
Chea named observations; documents and records; questionnaire; interview; focus group and experiment are all means of data secretary-General can be used. Adam Dempster, Secretary-General of the CSOs platform in since their establishment, they have been able to provide two UPR report to the International body but the backward report shows that Liberia is going backward rather than forward.