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UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the work of the Human Rights Council



Video - HRC SIDS/LDCs Trust Fund Beneficiaries attend HRC


Transcription (Word)


Version française de la vidéo - Bénéficiaires / Fonds d'affectation spéciale des PMA PEID HRC assistent CDH

Transcription (Word)

NEW ! Practical Guide and FAQ




Background

In accordance with its resolution 19/26 of 23 March 2012, the Human Rights Council (HRC) established the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs)and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the work of the Human Rights Council (HRC).

The main objective of the Trust Fund is to support activities designed to enhance the institutional and human capacity of least developed countries and small island developing States, including by enabling their delegations (in particular those that do not have a permanent mission in Geneva) to participate more fully in the work of the Human Rights Council, upon their request, and encouraging their effective and informed participation in consultative and decision-making processes, such as negotiation sessions.

The Fund, which is managed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), provides funding for the following activities:

(a) Targeted training courses and capacity-building activities, including e-learning, on the international human rights system, international human rights law and the rules and functioning of the HRC and its mechanisms;
(b) Travel and accommodation for government officials to participate in HRC sessions;
(c) Fellowship programmes for government officials from LDCs/SIDS to undertake three-month work placements relating to the work of the HRC; and
(d) Induction training sessions for government officials of LDCs/SIDS to provide them with information on the multilateral human rights system as well as focused, practical training related to the work procedures of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.

PROGRAMMES AND ACTIVITIES OF THE LDCs/SIDS TRUST FUND

PROGRAMME I: Participation in a regular session of the Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations system that is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations, including by adopting relevant recommendations. The Council also discusses a wide range of thematic human rights issues and county-specific issues that require its attention throughout the year.

The Human Rights Council holds three regular sessions each year: in March, June and September. It can also decide to hold a special session to address human rights violations and emergencies whenever necessary. The Council meets in Room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Who can apply?

As a rule, only a government official/civil servant from a LDC/SIDS who is based in their home country is eligible to apply.

A representative of a LDC/SIDS can apply to participate in any of the three regular Human Rights Council sessions.

Duration

Programme I covers the participation of a government in a regular session of the Human Rights Council:

  • March: up to 4 weeks
  • June/September: up to 3 weeks

Scope of the financial coverage

Based on applicable UN rules on travel, the Trust Fund covers the following:

  • One round-trip ticket in economy class per regular session per Member State; and
  • Daily subsistence allowance for the duration of the mission in Geneva (not exceeding the duration of the regular session);
  • The Trust Fund does not cover costs for health insurance or other expenses, including personal expenses, during the government official’s stay in Geneva.

How to apply?

Government representatives from interested LDCs/SIDS should submit their applications through their permanent missions to the United Nations Office at Geneva (when applicable), along with the following documents:

  • An official letter or Note Verbale endorsing the designation of a government official; and
  • A scanned copy of the passport of the designated government official. The passport must be valid for at least four months after their return to their home country.

Important notice: Only fully completed applications that are submitted prior to the deadline will be considered. Applications should be sent to: sidsldc@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org.  

Deadline

Interested representatives from LDCs/SIDS should submit their request to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with the following deadlines:

Regular session of the HRC

Deadline for submission

March

1 January

June

1 April

September

1 July

Additional questions?

Any additional questions pertaining to Programme I can be sent to: sidsldc@ohchr.org

PROGRAMME II: Fellowship

Feature story: "Fellows Bring Human Rights Back Home to Small Islands"

Bringing human rights home, so the saying goes. That’s one of the main tasks of the United Nations and central to the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). But doing so takes commitments from States and civil society, steadfast advocacy, dedication, passion, enthusiasm and active participation. One can argue that with the advent of social media and enhanced internet connectivity, this task is easier. Yet, despite increased awareness and social movements, there remain obstacles in transporting the very concept of human rights into people’s homes. Read more...

What will the Fellow take back home?

It is envisaged that the Fellow will continue working with her/his government after the Fellowship at OHCHR. This will enable the Fellow to contribute to the strengthening of their national capacity to participate more effectively in the work of the Human Rights Council, including by facilitating the effective and informed participation of representatives in consultative and decision-making processes such as negotiations.

How does the Fellowship Programme work?

The aim of the Fellowship Programme is to give representatives of governments from LDCs/SIDS a better understanding and appreciation of the Human Rights Council. Through this experience, the Fellow will gain knowledge and practical working experience with the Council, its mechanisms and subsidiary bodies. In addition to enhancing the participation of the Fellow in the work of the Council, the Fellowship will enable each Fellow network with other Geneva-based delegations, OHCHR, and other UN departments and agencies, as well as NGOs represented in Geneva.

The Fellow will be based in Geneva and will work under the guidance of the Human Rights Council Branch of OHCHR for a period of 3 months: from the beginning of September to the end of November. The Fellow will engage with other delegations, the Human Rights Council Secretariat, other OHCHR staff, UN departments and agencies, as well as NGOs.

Overview of the Programme

It is envisaged that the Fellow will:

  • Attend the OHCHR/UNITAR human rights orientation programme;
  • Attend a regular session of the Human Rights Council;
  • Attend a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session;
  • Substantively engage with OHCHR on questions relating to the Human Rights Council, special procedures, the UPR and other mechanisms and subsidiary bodies;
  • Attend other relevant meetings of the human rights mechanisms taking place during the period; and
  • Carry out a project that will facilitate ensure the future participation/involvement of her/his country in the work of the HRC. A project proposal should be submitted at the end of the Fellowship before returning to her/his country (ten page maximum).

Timeline

The Fellowship programme runs only once a year. It starts at the beginning of September and ends in November.

The dates of the Fellowship Programme were selected to enable the Fellow to attend a September session of the Human Rights Council, a session of the UPR Working Group and relevant meetings of other human rights mechanisms.

Who can apply?

As a rule, only a government official/civil servant from a LDC/SIDS who is based in her/his home country is eligible to apply.

At the time of application, the candidate must have:

  • An advanced university degree in law, political science, international relations or a related discipline. Significant relevant experience may be considered in lieu of an advanced university degree.
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in the government of her/his home country with relevant experience in the field of human rights. Experience in intergovernmental affairs is an asset.
  • Fluency in English and/or French. Knowledge of other UN languages is considered an asset.

Each interested candidate must submit a supporting letter from a government official authorizing her/his participation in the Fellowship Programme. The candidate must also be committed to sharing the knowledge and experience gained during the Fellowship with their colleagues.

How is the selection made?

The following criteria will be taken into consideration during the selection process:

  • Current functions performed by the Fellow in the capital;
  • Fellowships/requests for participation previously granted to the Fellow’s country;
  • Applications submitted by LDCs/SIDS that have not received previous assistance from the Trust Fund will be given priority;
  • Gender balance; and
  • Motivation for applying to the Trust Fund and expressed level of commitment, including the outline of a concrete plan for post-participation follow-up action.

A pre-selection is made following a careful desk review of all received applications.

Applicants are informed of the final decision by mid-July.

Scope of the financial coverage

The Trust Fund financially supports the selected Fellow in the form of a monthly stipend for the duration of the Fellowship Programme (three months) and covers the cost of a round-trip ticket in economy class (based on applicable UN rules on travel).

The Trust Fund does not cover costs for health insurance or other expenses, including personal expenses, during the Fellow’s stay in Geneva The Fellow is responsible for obtaining any necessary visa and health insurance. She/he is also responsible for arranging her/his own temporary accommodation.

How to apply?

Interested and qualified candidates must submit applications through their permanent missions to the United Nations Office at Geneva (when applicable), together with the following documents:

  • Completed application form
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Detailed curriculum vitae in English or French;
  • Personal letter of motivation explaining concrete follow-up actions that will be undertaken upon return to the capital (two pages maximum);
  • Signed letter of support from the permanent mission to the United Nations Office in Geneva (or from the capital in the absence of a permanent mission in Geneva);
  • An official letter or Note Verbale endorsing the designation of a government official; and
  • A scanned copy of the passport of the designated government official. The passport must be valid for at least four months after their return to their home country.

Important notice: Only fully completed applications that are submitted prior to the deadline will be considered. Applications should be sent to: sidsldc@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org.  

Deadline: 1 June of each year. For 2015 deadline is on 15th June.

For updates, including on the dates of upcoming Human Rights Council sessions, please refer to the following link:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/SIDS-LDCsFellowship.aspx

Additional questions?

Any additional questions pertaining to the Programme II can be sent to: sidsldc@ohchr.org

TRAINING

In addition to the regular briefings and orientation programmes conducted in Geneva for delegations, as part of its support to LDCs/SIDS, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organizes specialised briefings in New York for officials from these countries without representation in Geneva. These briefings cover the activities and work of the Human Rights Council, including the Universal Periodic Review.

E-LEARNING

In line with the objectives of the LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund (HRC Resolution 19/26) and focused on the practice, the online training will aim to enhance the capacity of government representatives from LDCs and SIDS to participate in an informed manner in the discussions and decision-making processes that are taking place in the context of the regular sessions of the HRC in March, June and September as example.

In addition, the delegates will be encouraged to enrich their understanding of the work of the Human Rights Council mechanisms.

To that aim they will have access, among other components, to information and tools that will enhance their capacity and the one of their government to participate in the sessions of the HRC Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR): as a State under Review as well as with the aim to contribute to the dialogue in regard to the review of another Member State.

Opportunities to contribute to the HRC discussions between sessions will also be promoted. As example, the training will serve as an opportunity to enhance the knowledge and access to the information that is necessary for an increased participation of LDCs and SIDS in the consultations and calls for contributions prior to the preparation and presentation of the thematic reports of special procedures mandate holders to the HRC.

The training will include both basic and advanced level sessions for more experienced delegates. It will also take into account the complementary role of the government representatives based in the capital and of the ones posted in the Permanent Missions in Geneva.

In regard to the methodology, the training will integrate the perspective of gender as well as the one of accessibility both in terms of format and content including in regard to the HRC decisions and actions on these issues. It is to be noted that the approach adopted address the issue of accessibility from the following standpoints: for persons with disabilities; in terms of technology for LDCs and SIDS; SIDS and LDC without representation in Geneva; and linguistic – the first version of the training will be accessible in English and French. The possibility to translate the training in other languages will be considered in subsequent phases.

The development of the online training is currently in its conceptualisation phase (May – June 2015). It is undertaken notably through the assessment of existing trainings, training materials and needs. It is conducted in particular through various methods of consultations with the concerned stakeholders. Discussions are planned to this effect in the context of the presence of the LDCs and SIDS Delegates to HRC 29 under the Fund’s Programme. The first phase of the development of the online training is taking place between May and December 2015.

ACHIEVEMENTS

2014

Since becoming operational in January 2014, the Trust Fund has facilitated travel and accommodation for seven government officials from LDCs/SIDS to participate in Human Rights Council meetings in 2014. These officials represented Ethiopia, Madagascar, Maldives, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname and Vanuatu.

The Trust Fund also financed two fellowships in 2014 for representatives from Barbados and Tuvalu for a period of three months.

2015

Two Government officials (Niger, Sierra Leone) were funded to participate in the 28th session of the HRC.
In addition, the Trust Fund supported the participation of the President of Kiribati and Prime Minister of Tuvalu as high-level panellists in the annual full-day discussion on human rights and climate change, held on 6 March 2015. In the context of the upcoming Paris Conference on climate change (December 2015), the address by two dignitaries from climate change- affected SIDS was welcomed, hence creating an important momentum to integrate the human rights dimension in this important global issue.

Twelve Government officials were funded by the Trust Fund and participated in the 29th session of the HRC. They were coming from the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, DRC, Haiti, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Liberia, Madagascar and Togo.

NEW : The Trust Fund also financed six fellowships (for a period of three month: 31 August-26 November) for representatives of the following countries: Bahamas, Nepal, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone and Solomon Islands.

Four Government officials will be funded by the Trust Fund to participate in the 30th session of the HRC. They are coming from the following countries: Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica and Lesotho.


Rules of Procedure
Background documents

Organigramme of the Human Rights Council

General Assembly Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council (2006)

HRC Resolution 5/1: Human Rights Council “Institution-building package” (2007)

HRC Resolution 16/21: Review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council (2011)

GA Resolution 65/281: Review of the Human Rights Council (2011)

Report of the Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (2004)

Report of the Secretary-General “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all” (2005)

Addendum to the Secretary-General's Report: Explanatory Note on the Human Rights Council (2005)

2005 World Summit Outcome Document (2005)

Summary of Commission on Human Rights informal consultations (2005)

Compilation of Commission on Human Rights Practices (2005)

 

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