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Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

 

12 | 05 | 2010 | 20:30 | Report, by Levon Barseghyan

 

Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is one of the new mechanisms initiated by UN, the goal of which is to summarize the situation with human rights in 192 UN member-states with a 4-year periodicity. This system established in accordance with the 60/251 Resolution of UN General Assembly in 2006 makes the countries report in accordance with certain schedule. 3 Sessions of review are called annually, and the situation in 16 countries is reviewed at each Session. The sessions are called in Geneva, in the Palace of Nations. The first period of review started in 2008 and will finish in 2011. Being quite new, this system of UPR is mostly unknown to the public and a lot of terminology and notions need to be thoroughly commented and properly translated. By this new human rights protection mechanism UN have created an opportunity to follow how the countries implement their commitments in the sphere of human rights.

 

The UPR mechanism is new and is not like any other review system functioning in any international structure. UPR is based on (1) the national report which is submitted by UN member-state, (2) UN reporting compilations, (3) suggestions and alternative reviews of other corresponding beneficiaries-society structures, human rights national and international organizations, academic and research centers. All the countries can participate in sessions, which are interactive discussions; they can have 1 speech or cannot. The maximum duration of each meeting is 3 hours, the time frame of which is as follows: the report of an exact country in accordance with the timetable, which should not exceed 9700 words (and lasts about 20-25 minutes), short speech of countries – with the duration of no more than 2 minutes each. These speeches as a rule include greetings and words of gratitude, questions and suggestions.

 

Depending on the circumstance which country is making speech on the review of an exact country, this speech can be categorically friendly, full of best wishes, greetings, readiness to assist and various compliments, or it can be very critical, with questions full of blame and discoveries of human rights violations having taken place or occurring in those countries and recommendations on quite exact activities directed to improving the situation.

 

The speeches taking place after the report of the reviewed country as a rule take 2 minutes each, and in some cases they exceed them. While in the first Session, in 2008, the UN member-states had average 30 suggestions-recommendations for the countries that underwent UPR, in the 6th Session all the 16 reviewed countries received totally more than 2000 suggestions-more than 120 suggestions for each of them.  It is obvious that this newly created system of UPR is developing quite rapidly. During the 3 hours of review the countries under review are given an opportunity to submit brief answers to the written questions received from other countries before the Session, and with this goal the reporting countries, besides their report, can speak several more times. To make the review process easier this process is managed during the Session by the “triples” made from representatives of the countries.

 

The countries under review have to answer all the suggestions, at the same time they do not have any obligation to accept implicitly all the suggestions directed to the improvement or change of the situation in their countries, they can accept them as commitments and can refuse them. At the same time part of the suggestions is of such a kind that the states cannot refuse them objectively, for example, on elimination of abuse of children’s work, on not using the kids at war, suggestions on investigations of cases of persecutions or murders of journalists, etc. Refusal of such suggestions includes risks of negative comments and image damages for the states. Decisions on accepting / refusal of verbal suggestions made during the meeting and those received earlier are made within 3-4 months.

 

UPR is a 4-year process, the culmination of which is the sessions of reports and interactive discussions in Geneva. The rest of the time is the implementation by the states their undertaken commitments on solution of human rights problems, till the next Universal Periodic Review, when they will have to report what has been done during the past 4 years.

 

UPR of Azerbaijan took place at the beginning of 2009, and the UPR of Georgia will be early in 2011, at the 11th Session. UPR of Armenia and Turkey will take place now, in the frames of the 8th Session taking place currently in Geneva: Armenia-on May 6, Turkey-on May 10.

At the 8th Session which is taking place in Geneva now, the situation in 2 post Soviet countries-Kyrgyzstan and Armenia-is under review. 

 

Kyrgyzstan

 

The main speaker on behalf of Kyrgyzstan, the deputy Minister of Justice Yildiz Mambetalieva, told the UN member countries at the meeting of May 3, that the authorities, together with the civil society have worked out a project of return to democracy, presidential and parliamentary elections will be held, as well as a Referendum on amendments to the Constitution.

 

The deputy Chief Prosecutor of Kyrgyzstan Aybek Turganbaev, speaking about the issues of freedom of speech and press, mentioned that Kyrgyzstan has recently been numbered among authoritarian countries. At present a thorough examination of the case of the Kyrgyz journalist Genadi Pavliuk who was killed in Almaty on December 22, 2009, is being done. During 2005 – 2010 34 different crimes against journalists were registered. Taking criminal proceedings in 6 cases has been refused, in 28 cases proceedings were taken: murders, captures, health damage with fatal result, etc. 16 of these cases are revealed, 13 of which are already sent to court, others are quashed because of absence of proof. The deputy Minister assured that all the measures will be used to disclose and punish those guilty.

 

Kyrgyzstan Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun told that the right of speech and freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution of the country, there are 1500 newspapers and magazines in the country, a dozen of TV and radio stations, both the ruling and previous authorities are being criticized. The investigations of the journalists’ murders lead to the previous authorities. The radio station Freedom faced difficulties with broadcasting with the previous authorities. The previous authorities initiated re registration of mass media, which caused difficulties for a number of them, strict monitoring was organized towards 7 broadcasters. The Ombudsman assured that his office controls the situation so that the rights of journalists and mass media are not violated.

 

Representatives of more than 80 countries who spoke in regards to the review of Kyrgyzstan value the problems of the children’s and women’s rights protection, problems of  capture of young girls with the goal to marrying them and domestic violence, the issue of micro loans for development of small business and agriculture, problem of the integration of the disabled. Hereby we represent speeches of several countries during UPR of Kyrgyzstan.

 

Norway mentioned that the authorities are obliged to condemn publicly the violence on April 7, which caused deaths.

 

Germany suggested conducting constitutional improvements in such a way that the independence of the court be assured, conducting special trainings and exercises to train the police and the army have respect towards the rights of the citizens and to gain knowledge on the use of power.

 

India mentioned that 35% of the population in Kyrgyzstan is below the poverty level, which is a serious challenge for the country.

 

Russia, mentioning that there are friendly links between the two countries and this country has passed a long path of building democracy, finished its speech with best wishes, and wishes of quick stabilization of the situation.

 

France expressed worry on the violence and tortures which took place in Kyrgyzstan, asked what measures are taken by the country to put end to this situation, suggested establishing a system of review in the prisons and isolation cells to stop all this. It was also asked how they exactly fight to put end to the violence against the freedom of speech.

 

Hungary suggested matching the law on referendum to the international standards and to put end to abuse of children’s work.

 

In Slovenia’s opinion the authorities of Kyrgyzstan haven’t succeeded in revealing the crimes against journalists. Part of the journalists has simply migrated. There were assaults on freedom of information; censorship was implemented against internet publications. A question was asked about measures taken by the Provisional Government to ensure the freedom of religion and press.

 

Palestine directed the attention of Kyrgyzstan to the protection of the children’s and women’s rights.

 

Spain suggested amending the law on NGOs in such a way that the non-governmental organizations be more protected; the issue of persons’ disappearance was also discussed.

 

Angola stressed the necessity of introduction of free health care system in Kyrgyzstan.

 

Jordan was concerned about the issue of the protection of the rights of the disabled, it appealed to Kyrgyzstan to join the UN documents concerning the rights of the disabled; Jordan suggested stating by law a minimum age for the girls’ marriage.

 

The United Kingdom expressed its worry about the violence which took place in Kyrgyzstan, about the freedom of press and speech. The UK suggested ensuring all the means to conduct the upcoming Referendum and elections in accordance with the international standards, as well as to exclude violence against journalists and mass media as well as offence and slander.

Canada expressed its worry concerning the fact that mass media have been closed in the country.

 

Armenia was the only country which didn’t exceed the 2 minutes time limit which she had and managed in 102 seconds to greet the Kyrgyz delegation, expressed gratitude for the provided information, suggested working in the direction of the protection of human rights, reduction of poverty, protection of the vulnerable groups and elaboration and introduction of juvenal legislation.

 

Next

 

The Session of Armenia UPR will start at 17:30 Yerevan time (14:30 in Geneva) on May 6. These hearings will be broadcasted live through the Internet on the following address: http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/index.asp

 

Judging by the volume of the preliminary questions directed to Armenia and the issues raised in them the meeting is going to be quite interesting. Only Azerbaijan has directed 14 preliminary written questions to Armenia: the text of the speech of Armenia, all the preliminary written questions and reports of the beneficiary groups are presented here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/AMSession8.aspx

 

17 non-governmental organizations and unions of organizations have directed reports to UN Human Rights Council on the issue of UPR of Armenia. The summary of these reports is also included in the documents of Periodic Review.

 

The official delegation of Armenia is present at the hall since the morning session, when the situation of Kenya was reviewed.


2010

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2009

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2007 1 հունվարի-3 հոկտեմբերի

2007 3 հոկտ-31 դեկտեմբերի

2006 թվական

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2004 թվական


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Ինտերնետային կայքի հետ կապված բոլոր առաջարկություններով կապվեք levon@asparez.am  հասցեով:

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