Non-governmental organisations (NGO) have an important role to play to ensure that Malawi Government implements recommendations made by fellow member states at the United Nations even though the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is largely a political process, UPR Info has said.
UPR Info, a Geneva-based organisation which facilitates NGOs and government participation in the UPR process, has organised pre-session meetings to enable NGOs take part in the process because they do not take the floor during the review itself.
Speaking after the training for NGOs prior to the pre-session, UPR Info programmes director Jean-Claude Vignoli said NGOs have the opportunity to make a strong impact on the UPR process.
Vignoli said during the first cycle in 2010, about 36 countries made recommendations to Malawi, but about 60 are expected to do so in the second cycle because of pre-sessions.
For the first time, government has sent a representative from the Ministry of Justice, Pacharo Kayira, to have a feel of the issues which will be addressed at the main review in Malawi, while Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (Ceyca), Centre for the Development of People(Cedep) and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Organisation (Ipas) are due to make statements in Geneva today before permanent missions.
Ipas director Chrispin Sibande said the opportunity to engage permanent missions in Geneva before the review in May would enable his organisation to press for commitments from the Malawi Government on sexual and reproductive health rights.
Said Sibande: “I have high expectations that countries which made recommendations on sexual and reproductive health rights last time, will urge Malawi Government to make commitments this cycle.”