India Prepares for UPR
FI and the Association of Franciscan Family of India (AFFI) for the first time organised three workshops in October on the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in India. Over 90 participants, including Franciscans and other faith-based organizations, attended the meetings held in Bangalore, Raipur and Guwahati.
The workshops aimed to share and develop a good understanding on issues of: food and water security; contemporary forms of slavery; Dalits; tribes; and environmental protection. Persons from other non-governmental organisations working at the national or regional level of India provided relevant inputs on these issues.
FI advocates, Mr Sanjay Gathia and Sr. Odile Coirier FMM, presented on the UPR and how it can be used to address these concerns at the international level. The participants identified the systemic injustices happening in their own regions and made recommendations on how the Indian Government could improve them.
They then drafted the India NGO Stakeholder Report to address issues on contemporary forms of slavery, food security, tribal issues and religious minority rights. FI will submit the document to the UN Human Rights Council by 25 November 2011 to be reviewed in advance of the second UPR of India in June 2012.
“These workshops motivated the religious communities to work together and to bring their grassroots expertise to the international level. We were requested to organise follow-up workshops in 2012,” says Sanjay, FI Interim Regional Director for Asia-Pacific.