News Releases 2009
Human Rights Day 2009: Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination
“Discrimination feeds mistrust, resentment, violence, crime and insecurity and makes no economic sense, since it reduces productivity. It has no beneficial aspects for society whatsoever...I would therefore like to encourage people everywhere – politicians, officials, businesses leaders, civil society, national human rights institutions, the media, religious leaders, teachers, students, and each and every individual – to honour Human Rights Day 2009 by embracing diversity and resolving to take concrete and lasting actions to help put an end to discrimination.”
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
» Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2009
» Human Rights Day 2009 website
» Watch the Public Service Announcement of the Human Rights Day 2009 - Wherever you are, embrace diversity - end discrimination
The Second Regional Universal Periodic Review Briefing: Building genuine consultation and an exchange of ideas
From 16 to 17 November, OHCHR, through its Regional Office for South East Asia in Bangkok, organized the second regional UPR consultations for six countries which are scheduled for the UPR review in 2010 and 2011. Representatives from governments, NGOs, national human rights institutions, and UN country teams from Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste participated in the meeting.
In opening the meeting, Mr. Bacre Ndiaye, OHCHR Director of Human Rights Council and Treaties Division underlined the universality of the UPR and the valuable role of the civil society actors. “The UPR is universal with regards to the rights that it covers – the basis of the review includes no less than the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself. It is also universal in the sense that participation is invited, and indeed should be ensured, of all relevant stakeholders, states, NGOs and national human rights institutions. And of course it is above all, universal because every Member State of the UN is reviewed under the same set of rules and modalities”.
The meeting benefited from the sharing of experiences from the region from the perspectives of the various stakeholders as well as the technical knowledge of OHCHR expert staff. The presence of all relevant stakeholders contributed to a practical, constructive and comprehensive discussion.
The UN working group on the use of mercenaries holds its regional consultation in Bangkok
Representatives from states in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East are meeting in Bangkok from 26 to 27 October, at the invitation of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries, to discuss current practices of mercenaries and private military and security companies registered, operating or recruiting personnel in the region. State representatives will discuss legislation or other measures to regulate and monitor the activities of private military and security companies on the international market. During his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Asda Jayanama, Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Royal Thai Government and host of this regional consultation, stated “greater attention needs to be paid to the human rights obligations that are incumbent on the private military and security companies. Thailand’s hosting of this meeting reflects our readiness to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms on these matters”.
Ms. Shaista Shameem, Chairperson/Rapporteur of the Working Group informed participants that the regional consultation in Bangkok was the third in a series of worldwide consultations being previously held in Panama and Moscow respectively. The consequences of the proliferation of private military and security companies on the role of the State, in particular the State’s ability to continue fulfilling inherently governmental functions in security and military areas, is of key importance and will be an issue for discussion during the regional consultation.
Meaningful Engagement on Human Rights: Thailand’s first Universal Periodic Review Workshop held.
The first workshop in preparation for Thailand’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held in Bangkok on 28 August. The Workshop, organised by the UNCT in Thailand, in close coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, raised awareness about UPR, a new human rights mechanism under the Human Rights Council. With over 100 participants, the Workshop brought together high level Government officials, civil society organizations, academics and UN agencies. Participants shared their experiences and discussed ways to develop ‘best practices’ for Thailand as it moves forward in this important process. International speakers, from countries that have already undergone UPR, shared their experiences. The UPR is an opportunity for countries to focus on the human rights challenges they face, progress made and areas where support from the international community is still needed.
The Second Regional Universal Periodic Review Briefing (16-17 November 2009, Bangkok)
The 75th session of the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The 75th session of the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, on 19 August, examined the 15th to 20th Periodic reports of The Philippines and presented its Concluding Observations, which constitute the Committee's final recommendations.
The 52nd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
52nd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child examined the 3rd and 4th reports of the Philippines and presented its Concluding Observations, which constitute the Committee's final recomendations to governments on the rights of children.
The 44th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
44th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, examined the combined 6th and 7th periodic reports of Lao People's Democratic Republic and presented its Concluding Observations, which constitute the Committee's final recommendations to governments about how to further equality for all women. During the 44th session the Initial Periodic Report of Timor Leste was also examined and Concluding Observations presented.
Lao PDR ratifies the ICCPR and the CRPD
On Friday 25 September Lao PDR ratified in NY the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). With these ratifications the country indicates its willingness and commitment to the further realization of human rights on the ground, including the rights of persons with disabilities.
On the Road for Human Rights
The Human Rights caravan - a large, double decker bus - travelled from Bangkok to three provinces, stopping along the way. Forums on a variety of human rights topics were held for each stop along with 'human rights clinics' where people could express their individual concerns about the full realization of their human rights. The basis for the discussions is the book, "Dignity and Justice for All of Us: Our Voices are Heard in Thailand ", published in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR.
Thai Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva (center) officiating at the start of the Caravan's journey, stressed his Government's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights for all people in Thailand.
Lao PDR and Timor-Leste and the Convention on the Elimination of the Discrimination against Women
44th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, will examine the combined 6th and 7th periodic reports of Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Initial periodic report of Timor Leste.
The Philippines and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
75th session of Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination will examine in August the 15th to 20th Periodic reports of The Philippines.
The Philippines and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
52nd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child will examine in September - October 3rd and 4th consolidated reports of The Philippines.