Turkmen delegation visits UN Human Rights Institutions in Geneva
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, June 18 / Trend H.Hasanov /
A high-level delegation from Turkmenistan visited Geneva in the period of 5-11 June to get a deeper insight into the functioning of the UN human rights system. The week-long study visit was organized within the framework of the EU/UNDP/OHCHR joint project "Strengthening the National Capacity of Turkmenistan to Promote and Protect Human Rights", the UN office in Ashgabat reported.
The delegation was led by the Director of the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of Turkmenistan, Mrs. Yazdursun Gurbannazarova, and included senior officials from the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economy and Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court as well as the Trade Union of Turkmenistan, who are members of the Interdepartmental Commission to Ensure the Implementation of Turkmenistan's International Obligations in the Area of Human Rights.
In the course of the study visit, the delegation of Turkmenistan observed the workings of the 14th session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations Office in Geneva, which this year focused on the need to empower women through education. The Human Rights Council is the principal UN intergovernmental body responsible for human rights.
The delegation was also able to observe the conclusion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Kazakhstan. The delegation listened to the interactive dialogue on the assessment of the human rights situation in Kazakhstan by members of the Council and non-governmental organizations and the presentation of the final recommendations of the Council before the outcome report on Kazakhstan's review was approved.
Turkmenistan was reviewed under the UPR in 2008. Given the need to follow up on the Council's recommendations and the obligation to report back to the Council on the progress made during the next cycle of UPR starting in 2012, the first-hand look at the deliberations and procedures of the Human Rights Council was very important for Turkmenistan officials.
The program also included a visit to the International Labour Organization (ILO), one of the oldest UN bodies headquartered in Geneva, which marked its 90th anniversary last year. The delegation of Turkmenistan was welcomed by the ILO's Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Ms. Susan Hoffmann, and senior officials from the labour standards department, who particularly emphasized the importance of implementation by member-states of international labor standards and for this matter close interaction between governments, employers and workers within the framework of the ILO.
The delegation of Turkmenistan also held a number of informative meetings at the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. The OHCHR officials working for different UN human rights treaty bodies provided the delegation with detailed information on the work of a number of these committees, including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee against Torture, the Sub-committee on the Prevention of Torture, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, OHCHR's American, Europe and Central Asia Division, the Human Rights Council's Special Procedures, the National Human Rights Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Sections, and the Methodology, Training and Education Section.
During the meetings with representatives of the Secretariats of the above-mentioned Committees, the delegation of Turkmenistan got exhaustive explanations on the workings of these bodies, modalities of reporting to the Committees by member-states, a clear overview of the constructive dialogue that the Government of Turkmenistan will have with these Committees following the submission of Turkmenistan's periodic reports.
In the course of meeting with representatives of OHCHR's Sections and the Human Rights Council's Special Procedures, members of the delegation were briefed on the work of the network of national human rights institutions and its International Coordinating Committee, the procedures of accreditation to the Committee and advantages of participating in the network at the global and regional levels; the procedures relating to organization of visits of Special Rapporteurs that can visit any member state to clarify certain issues of concern; as well as education and training opportunities for member states in the sphere of human rights as part of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and ways of accessing the vast stock of human rights literature both on-line and by direct request to the OHCHR library.
The joint EU/UNDP/OHCHR project "Strengthening the National Capacity of Turkmenistan to Promote and Protect Human Rights" is implemented in partnership with the Government of Turkmenistan. The overall objective of the project is to engage the Government of Turkmenistan on its duty and capacity to comply with its international human rights standards and to improve the knowledge and capacity of rights holders to claim their rights.
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