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Caribbean States to meet in Guyana to enhance engagement of Small Island States with UN human rights body

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16 November 2018

marks first official visit by a Human Rights Council President to Caribbean region

GENEVA/GEORGETOWN (16 November 2018) -- On 19 and 20 November, government representatives from across the Caribbean region, together with the President of the Human Rights Council, Vojislav Šuc of Slovenia, will gather in Georgetown, Guyana to participate in an unprecedented meeting to discuss ways to maximize their engagement with the Geneva-based Council, the United Nations’ body responding to all human rights situations across the globe. 

The unique event marks the first official visit by a President of the Human Rights Council to the region, and will be opened by Moses Nagamootoo, Prime Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. 

The two-day workshop, organized by the 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, of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Government of Guyana, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, will provide a unique opportunity for officials of the 14 member States of CARICOM to interact, exchange information, experiences and ideas on how to better engage with the Geneva-based Council.

Some 40 participants, who include senior Government officials from Guyana, and Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General of CARICOM, will identify and document good practices that can further enhance and strengthen the effective participation of their respective countries in the Human Rights Council, both nationally and regionally. 

“Only six of the 14 countries in the Caribbean region have a permanent mission in Geneva.  It is therefore essential that those unable to attend our meetings in Geneva have their voices heard which will enhance our efforts to promote universality in our work.  Thanks to the Trust Fund and this gathering in the Guyanese capitol, this is becoming a reality", stated Ambassador Šuc.

In June 2017, the CARICOM region became the first of the three regions - the others are Africa and Asia and the Pacific - to reach the milestone of universal, 100 per cent participation in the work of the Human Rights Council due to support by the Trust Fund.  As of 1 October 2018, the LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund has supported the participation of 23 Beneficiary Delegates and Fellows, 18 women and 5 men, from CARICOM countries in the work of the Council.

This workshop is taking place a few weeks after the election of The Bahamas, by the UN General Assembly on 12 October, to serve a three-year term on the Human Rights Council, commencing 1 January 2019.  This marks the first time a State from the CARICOM region will serve as a member of the Human Rights Council since it was established in 2006.

Taking place against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, workshop participants will be invited to contribute to the OHCHR global standup4humanrights campaign to celebrate UDHR70.  A photo booth to support universal participation in the Human Rights Council and the activities of the Trust Fund will constitute one of the highlights of the Caribbean Region’s contribution to the campaign. 

Background

The workshop is organized pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 34/40of 6 April 2017.  This resolution, the second most sponsored resolution since the establishment of the Human Rights Council attracted the support of 120 countries including all 14 member States of the CARICOM.

That resolution encouraged the Trust Fund to hold a series of workshops prior to its tenth anniversary in March 2022, in the three geographical regions that the Trust Fund supports, namely Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Caribbean.  The objectives of the workshops include: reflecting on its achievements; identifying where further improvements might be made; and assessing the value of its activities in fulfilling its training and capacity-building in support of the engagement of LDCs and SIDS in the work of the HRC and its mechanisms."

ENDS

For more information about the Trust Fund visit - https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/TrustFund/Pages/SIDS-LDCs.aspx
For more information about the UDHR70 campaign visit - www.standup4humanrights.org

For more information and press inquiries, please contact: (in Georgetown) Fatou Camara-Houel:  +41 79 444 3702 or fhouel@ohchr.org or Colette Hytmiah-Singh: +592 226 4040 (ext 251) office; +592 623 9011 mobile, or colette.hytmiah-singh@one.un.org

For media inquiries related to the Human Rights Council please contact:  (in Geneva) Rolando Gómez: +41 22 917 9711/ rgomez@ohchr.org


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