Statement by the Resident Coordinator, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh at the opening at the Virtual Training on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Kingdom of Eswatini
Opening Statement delivered at the Virtual Training on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Hon. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,
All senior officials,
All protocols observed,
A very good morning to all of you partners and colleagues attending this important virtual training on the Universal Periodic Review for the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Let me start by thanking the organisers: the Government of Eswatini, UNFPA, UNDP, OHCHR and other partners for putting this comprehensive programme together to include Gender and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at a time when we are also raising awareness on these issues in the ongoing 16 days of activism against Gender-based Violence.
The UPR is carried out by the Human Rights Commission, which was established under the UN Charter. It covers the review of the full range of human rights and provides a valuable opportunity to assess progress against the realization of human rights and gender equality.
In Eswatini, the UN family has just completed and signed with the Government of Eswatini its United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2021-2025. That very strategic instrument places ‘Accountable Governance, Justice and Human Rights’ as a strategic outcome priority to contribute to “a prosperous, just and resilient Eswatini where no one is left behind” in line with the Eswatini National Development Plan 2019-2022. For the next five-year cycle, the UN in Eswatini has committed to ensuring an efficient public service delivery that respects human rights, justice and the rule of law.
The human rights challenges in Eswatini include the incomplete domestication of international and regional human rights treaties, as well as inconsistencies between customary law and statutory law. Eswatini’s discharge of its reporting obligations to UN Treaty Bodies has also been a challenge. This UPR training therefore comes at an opportune time to build the capacity of national stakeholders to discharge the country’s reporting obligations.
Under outcome 3 on Accountable Governance, Justice and Human Rights, the UN has committed to:
- Strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations, oversight bodies and government for good governance and human rights;
- Build the capacity of rights-holders, particularly women, children and other vulnerable groups, to participate in decision-making processes; claim their rights, access justice and seek redress;
- Strengthen multi-sectoral capacity to prevent and respond to violence and discrimination against women, girls, boys and other vulnerable groups; and
- Increase the use of digital solutions to improve public services, transparency, accountability and other government functions in implementing the SDGs and eradicating corruption.
We take note of the delay in organising the UPR working group sessions in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. We commend the resilience and determination of the organizers to revive this process to ensure that Eswatini is ready and equipped to present it’s a qualitative UPR National Report at the 39th session in October/November 2021.
I take this opportunity to wish you a productive training, so that you are empowered to formulate plans to implement recommendations from the UPR report as well as other human rights mechanisms and for other commitments; as well as demonstrate the use of the national recommendations tracking database.
Over the next two days I also hope you will be empowered to create a synergy in the UPR reporting process with other national reporting mechanisms such as treaty bodies, the SDGs through the Voluntary National Reports and the ICPD Programme of Action.
I thank you.